Travel

Coming Up: Hunter Valley Wine And Food Month

By Alexandra Hampton - 27 May 2015

Image credit: Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association 

Hands up if you like cheese and wine. Well it’s your lucky day (or should we say month?) because June is the Hunter Valley’s Wine and Food Month. Because there’s a fair bit going on, we’ve shortlisted a go-to list for the best activities and tastings going on just two hours drive away. 

Taste

Whispering Brook Olive Long Table Luncheon

Indulge yourself at Whispering Brook on June 6th with a delicious Mediterranean inspired menu created by chef Andrew Wright. There will be wine, live music, a walk and talk through the olive groves, as well as a taste testing of the on-site produced extra virgin olive oil. Bookings are essential, so get in quick, this is one afternoon not to be missed.

Tyrell’s winemaker’s table at Restaurant Botanica

Local winery Tyrell’s has teamed up Restaurant Botanica to bring you a gorgeous seasonal menu tailored and paired to their award winning wines. This intimate style sit-down lunch encourages discussion with the winemakers, which is perfect for those passionate about wine and food. If you’re keen to learn and enjoy the produce Australia’s oldest wine region book in at one of the two luncheons on the 13th or 27th of June to secure your place. 

Epic experience at Hungerford Hill

Award-winning Muse Restaurant at Hungerford Hill is hosting an ‘Epic Experience’ that is running Wednesday through Sunday throughout June. Taste the limited release and museum wines matched to tasty bites and be expertly guided by Hungerford Hill’s knowledgeable staff as you make your way through the menu. 

Sweet Decadence chocolate and wine matching at Pepper Tree Wines

Chocolate and wine is a match made in heaven, in our opinion. Every day throughout June, Pepper Tree Wines is hosting a decadent chocolate and wine tasting with Brix chocolate paired with a selection of their famous Hunter Valley wines. The views alone are worth a peek, but if you’re feeling like you need to extend the experience, coffee is also on hand to keep you nice and caffeinated. 

Dine at the new EXP. Restaurant

The Hunter Valley has a newbie and his name is EXP. Restaurant. With a gorgeous seasonal food and wine menu, a visit for lunch or dinner must be added to your June itinerary. Sometimes it’s nice to leave it to the experts and feel a bit decadent with specially designed seven-course menu paired with Oakvale wines, so go ahead and relax by taking out all the decision making. 

Drink 

Hunter Valley 101 at First Creek Wines 

For those who are new to the Hunter Valley or just want a little refresher course, there is no better way to learn about the region than this 101 course at First Creek Wines with their tour, tastings and complimentary gourmet cheese platter. 

You be the judge – Hunter VS the rest of the world

Get hands on and become a wine judge for the day with McWilliams’ winemakers and resident wine experts. As well as getting some super inside knowledge, there’s an aged iconic Mount Pleasant shiraz, semillon and fortifieds to compare with a select range of wines from Europe, USA and South Africa. If you’re feeling hungry, there will be canapés and cheeses served on the day. 

#VivaVerdelho

Learn all about Verdelho from the pioneering experts of the grape at Tulloch Wines. Experience the ‘Five Styles of Verdelho’ through a tasting session that will make you a glorified expert. And at only $10 per person, this is a bit of education we certainly would approve of. 

Do

Cooking class: The art of gnocchi 

Making gnocchi is definitely an art form, so why not get down and a tiny bit floury while learning from the experts from Il Cacciotore? Cooking classes are always fun and at the end, enjoy a hearty a two course hearty Italian meal. Running every Saturday through June at Hermitage Lodge, make sure you book in yourself and a gnocchi loving buddy, stat. 

From garden to plate cooking school with chef Michael Robinson

Join chef extraordinaire Michael Robinson through the Margan Kitchen Garden and be amazed as you turn the fresh, seasonal produce into a sprawling and delicious meal. The best part is, when the cooking is over, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour at this leisurely lunch matched with some award winning Margan wine. 

Food Fight!

Did someone say a food fight? We did, but it’s a more civilised version than those on the school bus home. Hosted at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, this Food Fight sees Southern Highlands and Hunter Valley chefs battle it out for the most delicious lunch ever. Not as violent or as messy as the name suggests, this annual event is always a crowd pleaser—and pretty easy on the tastebuds, too. 

Eat Drink Run at First Creek Wines

It’s tour time, people. Pack your comfy shoes and an empty stomach, because this progressive lunch is for serious food and wine lovers only. Make your way through First Creek Wine’s winery with oysters and Hunter Semillon, then to the Deck Café for more taste testing and canapés, to the Verandah Restaurant where tasting plates and more wine are available and then finally, to Twine where sweet tooths will be rewarded with a selection of desserts and a beautiful view of the Oakey Creek Valley to boot. All travel, food and wine costs are included in the $110 Saturday and Sunday five-hour event. 

Handmade Hunter Markets 

Shopping is a sure way to break up the huge consumption of food and wine through June, so make sure you pick up a few local bits and bobs as you wander through the Handmade Hunter Markets

Stay

Spicer’s Vineyards Estate

Spicer’s Vineyards Estate is the perfect location to stay on your mini getaway. Sit back and admire the on-site vineyards and surrounding bushland, take a long, leisurely bath in your private spa bath, and treat yourself to dinner at Restaurant Botanica. Leaving Spicer’s to go back to the real world is hard, but is made slightly less hard with the leaving gift given to you when you check out. 

Chateau Elan

This luxury five star resort has been a definite favourite for regular Hunter Valley visitors for a while now. There’s an expansive golf course to look out upon from your luxury room as well as delicious dining and spa options to spoil yourself in every imaginable way.  

Cypress Lakes Resort

Cypress Lakes Resort has everything you could possibly need and its central location means it’s a top pick for your Hunter adventure. With all rooms including a modern kitchen, dryer and a private balcony as well as the ability to reap the benefits from the resort’s amazing golf course, tennis courts, gymnasium, swimming pool and spa, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy between wine tasting sessions. 

H Boutique Hotel

H Boutique Hotel is great for guests who are after their own space but still want to feel a little luxurious. With a huge living area and kitchenette, a stay at H Boutique will complement your relaxing getaway very nicely. 

Hermitage Lodge

Settled within 25 acres in Pokolbin, Hermitage Lodge is right in the heart of the Hunter. With the most popular Hunter wineries within walking distance or a short drive. Hermitage’s on-site restaurant, Il Cacciatore is yet another great reason to stay in, especially if a day of exploring the area has tuckered you out.  

Getting around

Almighty Tours & Transport

Enjoy the Hunter Valley wine tasting to the fullest by leaving the driving to the pros. Specialising in private tours, the guys at Almighty Tours will get you around safely and knowledgably.

For more information about Hunter Valley Wine and Food Month, and just in NSW in general, check out visitnsw.com.

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