Happy Monday everyone!
Hope your weekend was enjoyable and relaxing despite the miserable weather that Sydney experienced especially on the saturday. I can’t seem to keep up with Sydney weather…if it’s not bucketing down with rain then it’s unbearably sticky and hot.
My basketball team and I had planned to go to the Hunter Valley quite some time ago as a way to get away and have a good catch up with everyone on the team. This would allow us all to bond further and experience some good memories that we could keep for a long time. What we didn’t anticipate was the weather for that day. Come saturday morning, the weather looked dreary and miserable but not only this, the rain was heavy and pouring whilst also very windy. We had also heard from the news that there were torrential winds and flooding around the Hunter but despite all this, we decided to still head up to the Hunter as we did not want to waste all the bookings we had made earlier. I’m very glad we did as I had a wonderful time with the whole team with lots of laughs and silliness throughout the day.
I’ve never been to the Hunter so I was very excited about going. Though I’m not much of a wine connoisseur and don’t know much about wine and what is classified as a good wine, I went more for the shared experience. We visited quite a few wineries on the day, dined at a wonderful place for lunch and then ended the trip with a lovely cheese tasting experience.
WINERY #1 – Pooles Rock Winery
Winery # 2 – De Iulis Winery
Visit # 3 – Hunter Distillery – home to homemade vodkas infused with various flavours
Lemon Myrtle Vodka, Coffee Vodka and Chilli Vodka – Most people loved the coffee or the chilli vodka
Premium Vodka, Apple Vodka and Vanilla Vodka
Sampling each of the vodkas via test tubes – how cute!
The Hunter Distillery was not on one of our pre designated destinations and we went there rather on a whim as we had time and I think a lot of us were glad we went there. It was a lot of fun tasting vodka from test tubes. There were also various other vodka infused flavours such as butterscotch, ginger and blackberry. This distillery also did various liqueurs as well if you didn’t want to purchase any vodka and sold various condiments and sauces.
Winery # 3 – Krinklewood Winery
I loved the atmosphere and setting of Krinklewood with the lovely large white doors that opened to a nice courtyard type setting. The weather was slowly clearing up by this time so we were able to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of this winery. Everything was elegant but still quite simple at the same time. I think that this was the winery we bought most the wines from as they had a wonderful vast selection of wines to choose from: from red to white to dessert wines. The lady was very helpful and gave us 2 dozen fresh farm eggs free on top of our purchases.
Lunch @ Margan
The table we sat at was held in an enclosed part of the restaurant which was shared between 2 other tables for a more private setting. We were surrounded by stacks of wine behind us and plentiful amounts of barrels in front of us. You could also host a wedding reception further in the private room as we noticed the table settings which had been done up for a wedding. At the outside of the restaurant, you could taste the various wines and then choose them to drink at the table to accompany your meal. We ended up ordering 2 bottles – one white and one red to go with the entrees and mains.
Menu @ Margan
Sliced bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and truffled butter
Complimentary starter of Figs, Prosciutto and Blue Cheese on top of a relish served on a silver spoon
The starter was really delicious. The figs were very fresh and tasted wonderful with all the flavours as they all complimented each other. Everyone was raving on about how great these starters were despite how little the serving sizes were. We had hoped for more servings of this as it was that good! ;P
Mr Muscles Entrée: Seared Yellow Fin Tuna with Nicoise Salad, Quail Egg and Basil Pesto $26.00
Mr Muscles thoroughly enjoyed his meal and how cute are those quail eggs! All the flavours worked wonderfully together and all the ingredients used were fresh and flavourful.
My entrée: Garden Sweet Corn Cream with Seared Scallop, Piquillo, Pepper, Saffron Oil and Baby Herbs $26.00
The scallops dish was the bomb! No other way to put it – the flavours were all so intense and the dish itself was so creamy and rich. It felt like eating a really lovely corn soup but one that was so creamy. Every bite provided new layers of texture and flavour. I scooped up all the corn soup and in no time it was gone. The scallops were plump and beautifully cooked. My only gripe was that I wish this came in a bigger size but that’s just my greedy side coming out ;P
Mr A’s entrée – Buffalo Mozzarella with Fried Olives, Zucchini and Salsa Salmorilgio $24.00
How good does that buffalo mozzarella look! Mr A was thoroughly content with his choice in entrees as we all took a piece to try after continuously eyeing it down ;P
My main: Pepper Crusted Beef Carpaccio with Smoked Onion, Heirloom Carrot and Brussel Sprouts $26.00
I picked an entrée for my main as I wanted something light and thought that the mains might be a bit too heavy for me. I was really happy with my choice as I had heard from other people who ordered this as their entrée that it was really delicious. They weren’t wrong on that as the flavours all complimented each other wonderfully and the beef slices were sliced up very thin. Everything had been placed on the plate very delicately with a lot of emphasis on presentation. The only gripe I had with the dish was that the Brussel Sprouts were a little bitter for my liking after a few bites of them. But all in all I really enjoyed my main course.
Mrs C’s Main: Beetroot Risotto with Confit Duck, Walnuts, Watercress and Truffled Honey $27.00
Mrs C ordered the entrée size of this main dish and was very relieved when the dish came to the table as it was quite a sizeable portion for an entrée. I had serious food envy when I tasted her dish. The dish was rich and had so much flavour and you could really taste the beetroot in the risotto. I’m definitely ordering this next time I visit this restaurant!
Mrs A and Miss E’s main: Twice cooked Pork Belly with Beluga Lentils, Radicchio, Rhubarb Chutney and Fennel Puree
Mrs A and Miss E both decided to get the pork belly but Mrs A decided to get the main size while Miss E ordered the smaller entrée size. They both loved how the crackling had been crumbled on top of the pork belly to provide a different taste texture to the dish. They both thoroughly enjoyed their meals.
I didn’t try this dish but Mr C seemed to enjoy his choice of main.
Mr Muscles Main: Grilled Trumpeter Fish served on top of a carrot puree accompanied with roasted kipfler potatoes and served with a tempura battered zucchini flower.
Mr Muscles decided to order the special of the day and was not disappointed by his choice. The fish was wonderfully cooked and I tried bits and pieces of the dish and really loved how all the ingredients worked so well together. Mr Muscles really enjoyed the zucchini flower especially. And in no time at all, Mr Muscles had finished his meal – always the sign of a good dish ;P
A picture of one of the wines we had at the table to accompany our meal
We didn’t get to order dessert as we were pressed for time due to an earlier booking made for cheese tasting. I was looking forward to ordering the pannacotta so it’s something I will try on my next visit here.
Complimentary chocolate truffles – which literally melted in your mouth – soooo sooo good!
The food at Margan was really wonderful and each dish was well presented and provided such wonderful flavour textures and tastes which really complimented each other. Thanks Mrs A for booking this. We all had a wonderful time. We finished the lunch hobbling back onto the bus with a slight food coma but nonetheless it was a delightful lunch shared with great company and of course great food!
Last stop – Hunter Valley Cheese Co.
Our last stop was to the Hunter Valley Cheese company for a cheese tasting experience. We were served with 5 different types of cheese: A 2 day old cheese, brie, washed rind brie, a matured cheddar and a very strong blue cheese. My most favourite out of the cheeses was definitely the brie and the washed rind. I had never tasted anything quite like the washed rind (the one pictured in the middle of the board) - the flavour was rich and completely different to anything I have tasted before. It was that good that most of us ended up buying the cheeses we had tasted and bringing them back to Sydney. Warning: The Washed Rind has a very strong cheesy smell so I would recommend this cheese only for the cheese lover.
I had a wonderful time at the Hunter and will definitely be back.Thanks again to Miss L for organising the trip for us! Mr Muscles and I plan to go back and visit some more places such as the chocolate place and the hunter gardens to take pictures.
I managed to squeeze in some baking on this jam-packed weekend so stay tuned for my Paleo Biscotti post! ;P
Until next time!