Monday, December 25, 2006

Beechworth Bakery and Chandon Winery, Yarra Valley

I love the Yarra Valley, I’d move here if I could, but for the moment, I’m going to have to settle for the occasional day trip up there. After visiting the Werribee Harvest Picnic a few weeks ago, I noticed a sign that said there was a Farmers Market on in Yering this weekend, so I thought I’d drive up and check it out.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t bothered to actually check out where this farmers market exactly was and when we got there, I couldn’t actually find it. Oh well, I wasn’t too fussed, it was a great day, not a cloud in the sky (only smoke from the fires) so we thought we check out Healesville for a few hours.

Last time we were up here, we noticed that the Beechworth Bakery was building a branch of their famous Bakeries up here, so we thought we’d see if it was finished and that it was.
The bakery at the end of the main street is a country inspired building with a modern feel. It’s a huge place, which has both indoor and outdoor seating – even it’s own car park.
Since I was planning on having breakfast at the farmers market, I had an empty stomach, so I thought here was a good a place as any to fill up.
I had a Cheese and Spinach roll to start with. These can often be a bit hit and miss, often being dry and tasteless and all too often un-seasoned. Not this one though. This one was very moist, with perfect seasoning and soft crunchy pastry.

Being the ‘guts’ that I am, I then ordered a Chicken and Leek Pie. Unfortunately, unlike the Cheese and Spinach rolls, this pie was very, very dry. I needed to have a glass of water just to wash down each mouthful! However, apart from the lack of moisture, the taste was there and the pastry was nice too.

Now, even though it was mid-morning, I thought, after stuffing my face with pies and rolls, I would treat myself to dessert. I spotted something which looked so gorgeous and had a great name – the Snickerdoodles! I’m sure I’d heard of these before, I think Nigella has them in one of her books. Basically they are kind of Custard Tarts topped with super fresh raspberries and drizzles with sugar syrup. I absolutely LOVED these things. I wish I had of saved my money and bought another 5 of these instead of wasting precious tummy space on the pies and rolls!

I definitely recommend picking up one of these little gems if you’re anywhere near on of the Beechworth Bakeries around regional Victoria.
Next we dropped by K&B (Kitchen and Butcher), the new shop owned by the guys who own the Healesville Hotel. It’s a great little specialty food store with all your standard specialty cheeses, pantry products, kitchen tools, etc. It also literally doubles as a butcher shop, selling the best of local meats. While I was there I picked up some lovely fresh eggs from the Harvest Farm and also some Pomegranate Molasses, which will come in handy with my Ezard Challenge.

On our way home, we stopped off at Chandon Winery. This place is probably the most beautiful place I have ever visited in Victoria.

Everything is perfect, from the lush green grass to the hundreds of rows of the curly, whispy grape vines. They water their gardens with dam water from the property, so it’s one of the few places around where everything is still green.
We took a seat in the tasting room and Rach ordered the Sparkling Wine taster, which consisted of 4 half glasses of Chandon’s signature sparkling wines.

The colours reminded me of those old Crayola Crayons that you used to be able to get with the metallic colours of Metallic Silver, Copper and Gold. I don’t drink, so unfortunately I couldn’t enjoy the 4 pretty glasses of sparkling colours, but it did come with a small plate of bread, cheese and relish, which I did help myself to. The 4 half glasses of wine came to $15, which included the bread plate.

Like I said earlier, I love the Yarra Valley, if you’ve never been make sure you pay a visit- especially if you love your food!

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