Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What's Happening 19-21 August

The chill has come off the Hunter air somewhat over the past week, which means Spring is just round the corner, yay!

If you're heading to the Hunter this weekend, here are a few things to add to your 'to-do' list!

Saturday 20 August - Winter Indulgence, a 5 course degustation @ Margan, Broke (http://www.margan.com.au/restaurant/)

Saturday 20 August - Dine with the Godfather of Australian cuisine, Tony Bilson, @ Tower Estate (http://www.towerestate.com/)
Saturday 21 August - Vertical Aged Shiraz Private Tasting @ Waverley Estate (http://www.waverleyestate.com.au)

Now Cam and I just need to see if we can clone ourselves so we can go to both the Margan & Tower dinners on Saturday night!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Absent With Leave!

We can now advise that we will be away for a couple of weeks, on our honeymoon!

Cam and I had a surprise wedding at our engagement party on Saturday 23 July, it was a fantastic day and night, one we will never forget. We were very lucky to be surrounded by our loving family and friends, and will treasure our wedding day forever.

As such, the Hunter Valley Grapevine will be having a couple of weeks of nothingness, however when we return in mid August, we will be getting back into the swing of things and will be ramping up our efforts with the Grapevine.

Thanks for your patience, please check back in with us.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What's Happening 16-17 July

As you may have noticed the Hunter Valley Grapevine has been a bit quiet of late, Cam and I are organising our engagement party to be held in Pokolbin next weekend, so we have been a bit strapped for time.  For the next couple of weeks we will list some info each Friday re what's on in the Hunter.  We look forward to getting things back to normal around the middle of August, when we will get back into the swing of our regular reviews and information. Thanks for your patience!

What's on this coming weekend, 16-17 July in the Valley:

1 July - 31 July
Christmas In July at Esca Bimbadgen

Embrace the frosty weather at Esca Bimbadgen restaurant during July for a mid-winter festive feast celebrating Christmas in July.
Executive Chef Ebonnie Newby has created a Christmas inspired menu with a distinct local style.

Prawn cocktail of Manning River prawns, verjuice dressing and lemon aioli
Matched with 2010 Estate Semillon

Five spice roasted pork belly, caramelised apple, micro turnips
Matched with 2009 Estate Shiraz

Treacle pudding, gingerbread soil, vanilla bean ice-cream, brandy anglaise
Matched with 2006 Botrytis Semillon
$55 per person or $70 with wine match

Christmas in July Menu available for lunch or dinner throughout July in addition to Esca’s regular menu. Bookings essential by contacting Esca Bimbadgen on 02 4998 4666 or email esca@bimbadgen.com.au

So if you're coming up to Pokolbin, be sure to head out to Bimbadgen Estate, the views are amazing!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What's Happening 09-10 July

Even though it's the middle of a cold windy winter, there is always something happening in the Hunter Valley.

If you are visiting this weekend, a highlights of what's on which may pique your interest:

Indulge Your Senses - 9-10 July
During this exclusive Wine & Chocolate tasting you will be guided through a selection of the finest wines from Wyndham Estate, which will be matched with the new premium chocolate range from Nestle.
Unfortunately we won't be able to attend, due to family commitments, however it is on our 'must-do' list for 2012!

Over the past few wintery weekends, we have visited a few local establishments for a warm lunch:

  • Blaxlands Inn - always worth a visit, open fire, great food & service
  • Harrigans Irish Pub - can be extremely busy, but if you get a seat near the fire, away from the door, it's a good spot
  • Oscars @ Hunter Valley Gardens - good food & service, a bit chilly outside, but great music, a regular haunt for us

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Morpeth Fiery Food Festival

Back in April Mel and I attended the Morpeth Fiery Food Festival.
We both like chilli, not too hot but we do regularly cooking with them, so were very much looking forward to trying all sorts of different types of food involving different types of chilli.

Morpeth was established in the early 1800's, being located on the Hunter River, it was an important river port during the early days of 'European Settlement'.

Located about 10km North East of Maitland, or approx 50km North East of Pokolbin, Morpeth
 is a beautiful little town with shops and café’s lining both sides of the main street.

(photo source)

It is the home of the famous Morpeth Sourdough bread that can be bought throughout the Hunter Valley. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.
We were expecting street stalls selling different types of food, music and real festival/party type atmosphere but driving down the main street looking for a parking spot it would have been hard to know that it was anything other than a normal Sunday at Morpeth.

We walked the length of town thinking to ourselves we must have the wrong weekend. So we grabbed a coffee and noticed the café had 3-4 specials on the menu that did involve chilli’s so thought we could still be on track but weren’t convinced.

Eventually we get to the other end of town and find a sign saying welcome to the Fiery Food Festival outside of the Ginger Beer Factory.

To our surprise the Fiery Food Festival was 40-50 different types of sauces, oils, jams and other bottled goodies that you could taste with broken rice crackers. We did the circuit and tried a few things that appealed but it was nothing that you cant do at any of the many markets that are scattered all over the Hunter Valley, and many of the wineries also stock these sort of items and have them available for tasting.  

The Woodfire Pizza café put on a special chilli pizza for their contribution and the nut shop had some hot nuts and some spicy condiments, but they looked as though they would always be available in the shop every week of the year.

The Morpeth cellars had Chilli wine to taste but we’d lost a bit of interest by now after looking forward to so much more.

Not sure how many years this festival has been running for but hopefully it develops a lot more over the years as we were left quite disappointed.

9 & 10 April 2011
Morpeth, NSW
Tel: (02) 4933 1407

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jungle Juice Cup - Cessnock Races - 5 July

Cam from Hunter Valley Grapevine will be attending this year's Jungle Juice Cup at the Cessnock Races on 5 July.
Jungle Juice Race Day
Cam has been to several meetings at the Cessnock track, but this year will be his first Jungle Juice Race Day.

One of the most popular Country NSW meetings of the year, the Wine Country Race Club, along with the Newcastle Jockey club, organise bus loads of racegoers, who converge on the track, to have a picnic, or enjoy the offerings in one of the marquees on course.

Dr Jurd's Jungle Juice is quite famous, or shall we say infamous!  For more info on the beloved juice read on >
A jug of Dr Jurd's Jungle Juice
From the Newcastle Jockey Club website:

The following packages are currently available:

• Jungle Juice Private Marquee
A private marquee is the perfect venue to socialise and has great views towards the finishing line. Call NJC to arrange a quote for your corporate or social group marquee.

• Wine Country Race Club Charity Marquee
The WCRC Charity Marquee is supporting the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, who provide a much needed service to Newcastle and the Hunter. The Charity Marquee package includes:
-Return Bus Transport from Broadmeadow Racecourse
-Racecourse Entry
-BBQ Lunch
Price: $77.50pp

• Jungle Juice Bus
Looking to enjoy racing at your own leisure - why not book a seat on the Jungle Juice bus. Includes:
-Return Bus Transfer from Broadmeadow Racecourse
-Racecourse Entry
Members Price: $25pp
Non-Members Price: $35pp

• General Racecourse Entry
Pre-purchase your ticket prior to the day for only $12pp ($15pp on the day).

For bookings & enquiries call Newcastle Jockey Club on 4961 1573.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hunter Valley Wine & Food Month - June

If you're coming up to the Hunter Valley this weekend, keep in mind that June is Hunter Valley Wine & Food Month, a month long celebration of Hunter Valley wines and fresh local produce.
From the HVWF website:

Throughout the month of June, our Fireside Series, will have guests cosying up by the fire for supreme indulgences while our Winemaker’s Table Series will allow dining up close and personal with iconic Hunter winemakers and chefs. The Edible Experience will have guests creating their own magic in the kitchen and interacting with some of the best gastronomic names using delicious local produce.

Our new Diverse Region Experience is perfect for the explorers amongst us who want to learn about the diverse areas within the Hunter Valley and what each unique region has to offer. And of course, no trip to the Hunter Valley would be complete without a visit to a local winery and sampling a few of the world-class wines from Australia's most historic family wine region.

This is only a taste of the many unique events that guests will be able to enjoy throughout the month... which will make staying for the weekend or longer in the Hunter Valley even more irresistible.

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