As we had to drive through town on our way out, we stopped off at Byng St Store for another great coffee to enjoy on the road. It gave Aron another opportunity to despair about 45angle back to kerb parking, a standard in N.S.W country towns but not something he had previously experienced.
Mudgee is a very pretty and well maintained town & we instantly took a liking to it. We spent an hour walking around the wide streets and looking at the architecture and shops, happening across a cosy hole in the wall café off Market St, Alby & Eshers, for lunch. The rustic cobbled & vine covered courtyard complete with French style bistro furniture and soft music appealed to us as did the menu and the ability to buy wine by the glass. The Chianti was Italian but the food, mine a warming Zucchini & Parmesan soup and Aron a Wagyu Corn Beef Reuben Sandwich, was made from local produce and both were really good!
Keen to see more of the area we headed off onto the main wine trail & stopped at High Valley Wine & Cheese Co. The marinated fetta range from HVWC is readily available in many stores in Sydney- although we couldn’t resist a taste of both the Chilli and the Pesto – delicious! What is not available elsewhere are the wedges of their cheese and we both agreed that the Caerphilly was superb….a younger cheddar style with a white mould rind (reminding me of brie), we took a wedge of that as well as the Stefan Blue, an earthy, creamy, robust and soft blue cheese. We also enjoyed the wine particularly the Cabernet Sauvignon of which we bought two. The lovely lady serving us was so helpful and when I mentioned that I was interested in cheese making, she gave me the name of a business which runs courses throughout N.S.W, ‘The Cheese Making Workshop’…..I will definitely be Googling to find out more as well as buying the fetta in Sydney.
As we were only in Mudgee for 2 days we knew we had to be selective as to which wineries we visited. It was already late in the day so we head for Robert Stein’s winery where co located is the highly recommended Pipeclay Pumphouse restaurant. The winery cellar door is in a quaint cabin complete with a central pot belly fire which not only warmed the room but gave a wonderful feel. We only tried the reds and were very impressed, walking away with several Cab Sav’s, Shiraz and a few Reserve Shriaz – all intended to be put down for a few years (well that’s the plan!!!). Unfortunately the restaurant was fully booked,(word to the wise, book at least 2 weeks in advance), but the very helpful floor staff advised that a good restaurant in town was Sanjo’s in Church St Mudgee, which we booked for our second night as we had already planned dinner at The Wineglass Bar and Grill in Mudgee central for the first.
Dinner at the Wineglass Bar and Grill was pleasant, Aron enjoyed his Pork Belly which he said was very tender and my King Prawns with Rosemary Roasted Pumpkin was tasty albeit a little oily. Aron enjoyed his main of Angus Scotch Fillet and my Daube of Lamb had all the right flavours – with silky mash, sweet peas and jus, although I found the lamb a little dry which was disappointing.
Day 2 saw us venture out to nearby historic Gulgong. We really enjoyed slowly walking through the town and snapping photos of the historic buildings. We also spent an hour or so at the museum – so much of it familiar to Aron’s and me from visiting our grandparents as children.
Back on the winery trail and looking for lunch we stopped at Di Lusso Estate which made and sold Italian varietals. Lunch was lovely, I had a thick and delicious Minestrone paired with a gutsy glass of Sangiovese and Aron had a Pizza Pollo, free range chicken breast, pesto, pancetta, Parmigiano and herbs. It was nice to see a tomato free pizza and Aron was well pleased.
We visited a few other wineries, Braeburn , Lowes and Bunamagoo before heading back to base to rest before dinner…..what a lovely trip.
We had dinner at Sojo’s where we shared for entre the Duck Live Pate which was light and rich. For main Aron had the Roasted Chicken with pumpkin dauphinose, braised eschallot, brocolinii and truffled jus gras. I ordered the Lamb backstrap with roasted prosciutto wrapped asparagus, tapenade, goat cheese and brioche. Unfortunately the meal came sans goat cheese and asparagus and upon informing the floor staff I was informed this was an unfortunate oversight in the kitchen….hmmmmmm!!! Aron finished his meal with a Lemon Brulee, served with a ginger nut biscuit and vanilla ice cream – none of it noteworthy.
The last day of our ‘mini break’ was wintry …it felt like the unseasonally good weather was coming to an end. We had our first breakfast out at Market St Café in the centre of Mudgee which serves simple good food and has friendly service. I had the scrambled free range eggs with a side order of tomato chutney from Angela’s Edible range of preserves and Aron had the poached eggs with Limerick Free Range bacon…which was so vey tasty…me thinks it came from a happy pig!.
Our last stop on our trip was Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens . We had booked lunch at the restaurant where one of my favourite Sydney chef’s, Sean Moran, mans the kitchen. He is a wonderful chef who leads with the produce….honest, robust, clean food….a joy to the eye and the palate, we were not disappointed with the food or the stunning view, we plan to come back in the not too distant future.
What a wonderful few days away…..now back to work and the daily treadmill, watching the kilos and of course planning our next food adventure.