The MFWF Regional Edition is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning your appetites around the many culinary hoorays plating up around the state in November. From char-grilled Southern rock lobster with Champagne butter sauce to slow-cooked black garlic and smoked chilli beef rib, here’s everything you’ll want to be eating and drinking in the Yarra Valley come Festival time.
We begin with our flagship event, the World’s Longest Lunch, unfurling over a wondrous Saturday afternoon at Hubert Estate, with smoked trout tartare and roast duck betel kicking things off. Buxton trout, bone dashi, caviar and finger lime follow, with slow-cooked Yeringberg lamb the festive centrepiece. Naturally, there’s single-origin Madagascan chocolate mousseline and pistachio mousse with raspberry compote to finish, and a pitch-perfect St Hubert’s Estate match for every course.
Our story continues at TarraWarra Estate, one of Victoria’s best-loved wineries. After a look through the vineyards and a guided movement workshop courtesy of Naarm-based artist and choreographer Gülsen Özer, it’ll be time for cheese, charcuterie and reserve chardonnay and pinot noir on the deck as the sun turns golden, with the odd museum wine scheduled to make a very special appearance.
Over on Healesville’s most unassuming street, an out-of-this-world wine party at Jayden Ong Winery threatens to get galactically tasty with house-made focaccia, fior di latte and Zuni pickle, char-grilled lamb arrosticini, Stone & Crow cheese gougères, Cellar Bar Gildas and fiocco with grissini – all circulating the room while you enjoy a glass of Jayden Ong Moonlit Forest. For those who like to push the boat out that little bit further, you can get a ticket that includes access to a private area dedicated to what the gang terms deep-cellared curiosities, where you’ll experience a personal tasting with winemakers showcasing some special wines from their cellars. And if you’re keen to go big on the eats, team Ong will be on hand shucking oysters to order, with legendary deluxe roast-chicken rolls (aka the wine lover’s friend), house-made pasta with brown butter and sage and, if you really want to let it rip, char-grilled Southern rock lobster with Champagne butter sauce – all available to purchase.
Over in the verdant climes of Warrandyte South, a chardonnay head’s delight awaits at Rob Dolan Wines, where the crew have rustled up four stellar back-vintages to drink with some cheese from their on-site fromagerie Stone & Crow Cheese Company.
The Sunday will see us lunching for Australia once more, this time at the fabulous Balgownie Estate. We’ll be joined by the producers whose bounties lay at the table before us, plus Balgonie Estate head winemaker Tony Winspear. Expect salt-baked kohlrabi with caramelised local nashi pears, slow-cooked black garlic and smoked chilli beef rib and spiced Syrian figs to feature, and be sure to bring your produce trolley; there’s a producer market ripe for the plundering over on the deck.
Finally, November means cherries, and what better way to praise their sweet return than at CherryHill Orchards. We’ll pick (and gobble) 1.5kg of new season cherries each, before enjoying a wood-fired pizza alongside the hero of the evening: a limited-edition cherry beer brewed by Coldstream Brewery.
It’s the year’s tastiest road trip, and it’s got your name written all over it.