On a recent trip to country NSW I found the following:
Merriwa Cakes & Pastries
The historic town of Merriwa oozes rural charm and it seems that all the people you meet are friendly. Visit the Visitors’ Centre and you can ogle old tractors and a beautiful 1949 Ford Prefect (in working order and registered) or even buy a handcrafted, extra large, black and gorgeous teddy bear called ‘Black Jack’ for your collection. But all this fossicking for treasure can make you hungry, and Merriwa Cakes & Pastries, right across the road, is just the spot to help you out. The pies are great, especially the bacon & cheese, and the coffee is city quality.
Stop and enjoy the sunshine and follow your nose to the pastries!
Merriwa Cakes & Pastries
Tel.: 02 6548 2851
Broombee Organic Orchard & Vineyard
Barrie and Gwen Corner run this organic orchard and vineyard. All their wines are organic, and they produce a Shiraz, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sauvignon Blanc. But it’s the Pinot Noir, which, although just a drop in the ocean, is rather terrific. It is concentrated, fruit forward, low-yield but rather hot and quite alcoholic. It’s the savoury notes underpinning the fruit that lift this wine from good to very good. Note: their wines are organic, not just the fruit! Their orchard produces stone fruit but is of course at nature’s mercy; they had no crop at all for sale last year as part of it was destroyed by rain and the rest by heat.
RNB16, Sydney Road
Via Mudgee NSW 2850
Tel.: 02 6373 1314
Once back, one needs to relax and have a dram:
Bruichladdich Mòine Mhòr (3D – Second Edition)
Bruichladdich’s commercial resurrection is mainly due to the innovation and sense of adventure of its directors, who have the guts to bottle unusual and non-typical whiskies and market themselves on this difference. The Mòine Mhòr, a vatting of three different peat levels from Bruichladdich on Islay, even contains some of the fabled Octomore, the world’s most heavily peated whisky (I believe at 3 years old). It is non-chill filtered and does not contain caramel.
Colour: Varnished pine with a green tinge.
Nose: Sweet peat, crumbly shortbread with a smidgeon of acetone.
Palate: Immediately mouth-filling with a high impact on first contact. Hot (50% a/v) and maritime. Interestingly it falls apart on the middle palate but regains its composure at the finish.
Finish: Long, hot, maritime, turning vegetal and sweet.
Comment: A curio worth having in your collection and a food-unfriendly whisky.
For more information: http://www.bruichladdich.com/
Available in Australia through Vintage Cellars.
Duncan Taylor Invergordon
This is one hell of a whisky! One of the stars at the Malt Whisky Society of Australia’s Convention in 2005 it was, until recently, almost impossible to get. The Invergordon is a 39 years old Single Grain bottled at 49.6% a/v. Distilled in December 1965 it was bottled in December 2004 and is a glorious, satisfying dram. No collection should be without it!
Colour: Old gold
Nose: Aromas of freshly mowed grass and sweet cookies are immediately apparent. Honey and honeysuckle slowly assert themselves with a creamy, sweet almond-heavy lift.
Palate: Sweet with dried banana, vanilla and a hint of coconut. The wood is there but does not overshadow the sweetness of the grain and the complexity of the fruit. Layer upon layer of heady flowery perfumes compete with the flavour of slightly cooked root vegetables.
Finish: long and meaty with sweet undertones.
Comment: Absolutely fabulous! This will make a great blind to fool your whisky know-all friends – but make sure you drink it, too.
Available from Graham Wright at the Odd Whisky Coy in Adelaide
and maybe watch some TV
What is more Australian than drinking beer? The only thing I can think of is drinking beer while fishing with a mate. Peter Evans from Hugo’s takes to the Australian waters with his best mate, mad fisherman Udo Edlinger, and together they catch, cook and eat some of Australia’s best seafood. This show on the Lifestyle channel (available on Foxtel, Austar and Optus TV) on Saturdays at 7.00pm and Sundays at 9.00am from 8th April, is very well produced, beautifully filmed and both informative and entertaining. The episodes cover Bondi, Far North Queensland, Western Australia, the Snowy Mountains, Port Douglas and the Kimberleys. If you love fresh seafood and love Australia, then watch it, it’s worth it.
With a cup of coffee…
Zentveld’s Australian Coffee
The world has roast masters and Australia has a roast mistress. She’ll tie you up with a promise of great coffee, capture your imagination with chocolate-coated coffee beans, fire your passion with terrific crema and whip you into shape with her passion for the dark, mysterious drink that most of us can’t be without. Using her roasting and blending experience, led by a good palate and lots of hard-earned knowledge she manages to present coffee, grown by 25 growers in the hinterland of Byron Bay (and one from Queensland), that equals some of the world’s best. She may have won a swag of medals, but in the end the proof of the coffee is in the drinking. Four different roasts, mainly from K7 Arabica beans, inspire the Cappuccino and Espresso Set with the Plunger Brigade only a couple of cups behind. The roasts start with Matilda Roast, mild and naturally sweet, then the Ernesto Roast, rich and chocolaty, smooth without being bitter, via the Byron Blend, a strong, dark and full-bodied roast to the Reserve 01, their newest espresso blend with lots of complexity and flavour. Rebecca is committed to the principles of Slow Food and runs a clean, green and pesticide-free, sustainable business.
For more information contact:
193 Broken Head Road
Newrybar NSW 2479
Tel.: 02 6687 2045
or a cup of tea…
Cha for Tea
Like me you probably know the specialist teashop in Chatswood, Cha for Tea, but also like me you probably look into the window then keep walking. Asian teas take a while to ‘grow on you’ and you do need a bit of knowledge and to acquire a taste for them. What I didn’t know and only discovered last week is that Cha for Tea has an airy, bright restaurant at the back, complete with sunny courtyard where they serve pretty exciting food: all incorporating tea in one form or another. From tea-smoked duck to green tea ice cream, it’s there and it’s interesting. The black tea-scented sausages are a treat and the tea-flavoured soup is a surprise. Go and check it out, it’s cheap, cheerful and different.
Cha for Tea
389 Victoria Ave
Chatswood NSW 2067
Tel.: 02 9884 7667
Happy Birthday Claude’s
When a Sydney culinary icon turns 30 then it’s time for a special menu. During the month of May the following birthday menu will be in place:
Epigram of Lamb
Quail Breast en Crépine
Panaché of Pig’s Trotter, Oyster & Octopus
Caramel Duck, Sauce from the Press
King George Whiting, Sterling Caviar
Veal with a Pistachio & Kidney Farce
Cheese (optional course)
Black Velvet Vacherin
Millefeuille of Orange Blossom
Three courses $ 145 p/p
Six courses $ 165 p/p
Optional Cheese course $ 15
Corkage per bottle: $ 15
Congratulations to Claude Corne who started this institution, to Damien and Josephine Pignolet who lifted it to the stratosphere, to Tim Pak Poy who made it world-famous and to Chui Lee Luk who’s continuing the tradition of excellence and maintaining cutting edge cuisine.