Hunter Valley Wine & Food Month offers the chance to wine and dine with leading Hunter Valley winemakers and chefs, take part in an array of interactive classes to fine-tune your culinary skills, or curl up beside an open fire with a glass of wine and a cheese plate. The month-long food and wine extravaganza includes more than 60 events throughout June, across about 40 different venues.
We had a taste of what’s on offer during a media preview and were blown away by the diversity of events. If you haven’t been before, mark it in your calendar now – you don’t know what you’re missing. If you have been, I’m sure there’ll be plenty more to pique your interest.
Our first stop was for breakfast at Peterson House for a preview of its Bare Vines & Bubbles event to be held on June 27 and 28, when wines from various local wineries will be served amongst the vines, along with food from Peterson’s Restaurant Cuvée and local producers.
We strolled in the flourishing kitchen garden at Margan Restaurant & Winery, which will host a number of events, including The Original 100 Metre Meal, available daily during June. Guests will do a similar garden tour followed by a cooking class and leisurely lunch, great value for $50. Lunch includes estate-grown Suffolk lamb with heirloom vegetables and a glass of White Label Barbera, everything grown on site within 100 metres of the restaurant.
A very popular event is the Olive Long Table Luncheon at Whispering Brook, where a Mediterranean-inspired menu will be accompanied by wine, live music, a walking tour in the olive grove and a talk on extra virgin olive oil. We sampled some of their Frangipane tart and guests are clearly in for a treat.
Many of the events are very imaginative, not least of them the Sweet Decadence tasting at Pepper Tree Wines (above) where the wines will be matched with ‘Brix’ chocolates, an interesting and delicious exercise, held daily during June.
Another interesting tasting is #VivaVerdelho at Tulloch Wines, held on weekdays in June, where you can taste five styles of Verdelho matched with different foods.
At First Creek Wines, we had a preview of their Eat, Drink, Run event in which guests travel by bus between four venues, sampling wines paired with morsels prepared by local chef Matt Dillow.
Then it was time to get down and floury at Il Cacciatore, where we had a hands-on preview of their Art of Gnocchi masterclass, making the gnocchi ourselves then sitting down to eat it in a couple of beautiful dishes.
One of the highlights of Wine & Food Month will surely be the Dine with the Dynamic Duo lunch on June 14 at Muse Restaurant, when two bright young Hunter talents, Gourmet Traveller Wine Young Restaurateur of the Year, Muse owner/chef Troy Rhoades-Brown, and Young Winemaker of the Year, Briar Ridge winemaker Gwyn Olsen, join forces to present a very exciting four-course menu. This event is definitely one not to be missed.
We stayed at The Sebel Kirkton Park which, with 24 hours notice, will make up lovely picnic hampers for anyone who is still hungry. It also has a fabulous Murder Mystery night planned for June 20, which you can read about in another post.
NSW TrainLink and Destination NSW are offering “Food & Wine Escape” packages throughout June. Phone 13 72 45 for details.
Listen to Christine talking about Hunter Valley Wine & Food Month on Radio 87.8FM.