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1ST TO 30TH JUNE—HUNTER VALLEY WINE & FOOD MONTH throughout Hunter Valley Wine Country Experience a month-long celebration of the Hunter Valley lifestyle through the unique wines and fresh produce that abound in this beautiful part of the world. Special events will run throughout the month of June and of course, no trip to the Hunter Valley would be complete without a visit to a local winery to sample a few of the world class wines and a meal (or two) at some of the Hunter Valley’s iconic restaurants.

1ST TO 30TH JUNE—STEAK & SHIRAZ MATCHING at Hunter Valley Steakhouse The Hunter Valley Steakhouse at Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens is offering the perfect steak and Shiraz matching experience from 5-6pm each Friday and Saturday night throughout June. For only $15pp (free when dining a erwards) you will be served samples of different Hunter Valley steaks accompanied by Hunter Valley Shiraz, and we challenge you to iden fy the best match. Aiding in your selec on will be some tas ng notes and, of course, our Chef’s selec on to see how well you do. Bookings are recommended—visit

EVERY SUNDAY IN JUNE—PAELLA CLASSES at The Verandah Restaurant Learn how to cook an authentic Spanish Paella, super tasting churros and of course sangria in the Calais Estate Barrel room with Chef and owner of the Verandah Restaurant, Matt Dillow. With each course (there will be three!) matched to a Calais Estate wine these events will be more than just an educational experience! For more information visit

1ST TO 9TH JUNE—FAMILIAR / UNFAMILIAR at Cessnock Regional Art Gallery This exhibi on of ‘one-off’ prints by 45 of Australia’s most influen al printmakers is a stunning display of what would seem to be every mechanical and digital prin ng technique known to mankind. This is an exhibi on by masters of their cra and con nues the Cessnock Regional Art Gallery’s presenta on of first class exhibi ons to our regional audience that rarely are seen outside the major metropolitan ci es. The gallery is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 4pm. For more informa on visit

6TH—10TH JUNE —WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY WILDLIFE EXHIBITION at Morpeth Gallery Birds, animals and plants painted by Australia’s leading wildlife ar sts in a spectacular display of investment art. See a large range of tradi onal and modern pieces over the June long weekend. Visit the gallery at 5 Green St, Morpeth or for more informa on visit

PUBLISHED BY: WCP Media ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES: PH +61 2 4930 9072 June 2013. Copyright © 2013 WCP Media. Published monthly by WCP Media. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint or quote excerpt granted by wri en request only. While every a empt has been made, WCP Media cannot guarantee the legality, completeness or accuracy of the informa on presented and accepts no warranty or responsibility for such. Unsolicited contribu ons are always welcome, please contact WCP Media using the contact details above.

SPECIAL OFFERS AVAILABLE from 1st June 2013 until the 30th June 2013 inclusive or while stocks last.

SATURDAY 15TH JUNE—RIEDEL GLASS TASTING at Wynwood Estate When it comes to wine glasses, size and shape really do ma er as you will learn in this master class tas ng. Enjoy a range of Wynwood Estate current release wines along with a museum release Chardonnay from sister winery Capercaillie Wines. A endees will also receive a set of four Vinum Glasses. Visit for more info.

29TH JUNE to 14TH JULY SNOW TIME IN THE GARDENS at Hunter Valley Gardens Experience Hunter Valley gardens under snow! Visit during the school holidays to see the Formal Garden under snow, go ice skating, tobogganing, see ice sculptures and throw some snow balls! For more information visit



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EDITORS If ever there was the perfect des na on for Wine, Food & Travel then the Hunter Valley is it. Not only is the Hunter Valley Australia’s oldest and most iconic wine region, its accessibility from two of our major ci es ensures that a great day out is only a short drive from your doorstep.

Our produce rich region struts its stuff on menus that have been specially created for the month of June at Roberts Restaurant, Esca Bimbadgen and Ridgeview Restaurant. You can also put your own culinary skills to the test by a ending a Paella Making Class at The Verandah Restaurant (see details on page 22).




Add to that the most recent count of wineries and restaurants in the area (there’s over 150 wineries and 60 plus restaurants and growing) and the term “spoilt for choice” seems synonymous with the region. Historically, June is Wine & Food Month in the Hunter Valley and 2013 is no excep on. There’s a vast array of ac vi es and events to be enjoyed throughout the Hunter Valley and throughout the month of June. This month’s wine & food special issue features many of these ac vi es.

This June special issue looks at the trends in both the wine and the food industries – who knows – we could be enjoying a marinated grasshopper (the bug not the drink!) with our Pinot Grigio some me very soon! Speaking of food trends, this month we take an indepth look at sustainable dining in the Hunter Valley and how some of our most well-known restaurants are not just embracing the green concept but making it a way of life. We also talk to Lou and Mark Davidson of Tamburlaine If you’d like to put your tastebuds to Organic Wines and find out how they the test then try the Steak & Shiraz or came to be the largest cer fied organic Semillon & Seafood Matching at Hunter winery in the Southern Hemisphere. Oh Valley Steakhouse or the Chocolate – and did we men on there are some Apprecia on Classes at The Hunter terrific wine sales in June? Keep an eye Valley Chocolate Company (see details out for them. above), the World in a Glass Wine School at First Creek or the Riedel Glass All in all – a very palatable special issue. Tas ng at Wynwood later in the month. Enjoy!


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Printmaker to SCULPTOR

DUAL EXHIBITIONS Cessnock Regional Art Gallery con nues surprising and deligh ng audiences with its latest exhibi on, Familiar/Unfamiliar, running un l 9th June. Forty-five of Australia’s most influen al printmakers were chosen by the Print Council of Australia to produce works in celebra on of the Council’s 45th anniversary. The resul ng exhibi on is a stunning display of what would seem to be every mechanical and digital prin ng technique known to mankind. There are etchings, aqua nts, mezo nts and monotypes; woodblocks, lithographs and linocuts, drypoint and collographs, screenprints and inkjets. The list seems endless but the variety of ideas explored even exceeds the techniques employed. From the 13th June, the gallery will hold Steel Seams, a collabora ve exhibi on between two of the Lower Hunter’s most exci ng and progressive emerging sculptors and installa on ar sts, Joanna O’Toole and Maggie Hensel-Brown. Joanna and Maggie are both recent graduates from the pres gious Newcastle Art School where they excelled in three dimensional work. They are both represented in major collec ons and have won numerous emerging ar st prizes and scholarships in their final years of study. Joanna has exhibited in the Sydney Biennale while Maggie has already been granted the honour of a solo exhibi on at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery, only a few years a er being a finalist in the CRAG Down to Earth Young Ar st Award. Now they are embarking on the next stage of their ar s c careers into full professionalism. This exhibi on is at the leading edge of contemporary sculptural prac ce, and drawings, maque es and affordable small works in addi on to a major installa on within the gallery.

A piece from the “Steel Seams” ExhibiƟon.



Steel Seams runs unƟl 14th July. Entry to both exhibi ons is free. For more informa on visit



Look out for the Hand Made in the Hunter Markets—everything at these popular markets is hand-made by the person selling it—making it the most unique markets held in wine country. They will be held on June 8th & 9th and June 22nd at Kevin Sobels Wines. Another not to miss is Sacred Tree Markets held at the Old St Brigids School Grounds on the corner of Station Street & the New England Hwy at Branxton.



EAT WHAT YOU GROW! Sustainable Dining in the Hunter Valley

Speak to any number of chefs and you will find that they all share a common desire to please the palate. This goal has now evolved to include providing healthier food, that tastes great and is good for the environment.

Here in the Hunter Valley a growing number of local restaurants are doing their bit to improve on their environmental ''footprint'', reduce waste and are passionately commi ed to sustainability and integra ng these values into every aspect of their opera ons and decision making process.

At Roberts Restaurant in Pokolbin sustainability isn't just a buzzword anymore - it's become a way of life. Execu ve Chef George Francisco has made it a priority to implement programs and prac ces that are healthier for diners as well as the environment. Crea ng a more environmentally In many ways this is indica ve of the growing awareness and belief in friendly dining program means providing diners with choices that help society that we are just as responsible for our wastage as we are for our minimise their impact on the environment. George has achieved this by produc veness. suppor ng local producers whenever possible and sourcing hormone free meats. George has also created a thriving market garden alongside the Today, sustainability is about designing an efficient, eco-friendly vineyard which provides the restaurant with many of its ingredients. There environment, reducing waste, recycling, compos ng, using biodegradable is also a greenhouse full of seedlings ensuring future crops and George has products whenever possible, conserving water and generally paying more also taken to making his own jams, pickles and harves ng his own honey. a en on to one's impact on the environment when drinking or ea ng According to George the market garden should guarantee a con nuous whether its serving organic foods and wines or simply knowing where the supply of organic fruit and vegetables throughout winter. Also located food comes from. nearby is the well established chicken coop with chickens that are laying well and supplying the kitchen with eggs. Restaurants are increasingly approaching sustainable food sourcing in various ways: For Roberts the benefits have also been financial with the restaurant ♦ Buying local - by suppor ng local food producers or growers located business doubling over the last 12 months and with no no ceable increase in costs. There has also been a significant decline in kitchen waste with the within a certain distance from the restaurant (eg: typically within chickens feeding on edible kitchen scraps and all oyster, clam and mussel 200km radius) shells crushed and recycled to create pathways now visible around the ♦ Sourcing organic ingredients - products cer fied for mee ng specific restaurant. standards, including being produced without most conven onal Similarly RidgeView Restaurant on Sweetwater road in Pokolbin are pes cides, synthe c fer lizers, an bio cs and growth hormones. commi ed to crea ng a stable, sustainable and environmentally friendly ♦ Purchasing responsibly-sourced animal products which include cage environment for their restaurant. Head Chef Donna Hollis and her team -free eggs, free-range chickens, hormone free meat products, create a new menu each season, u lising the fresh herbs and vegetables sustainable seafood and ethically produced (ie no cruelty). from their well established kitchen garden and other locally sourced produce. Organic eggs from their free range chickens are also included in More and more people are looking for healthier food served in ways that the breakfast meals. reduce waste and that are easier on the environment. From compos ng and conserving to recycling and conserva on, there is a growing These are just two of many local restaurants that are focused on move toward a zero-solid waste goal while sourcing and offering food and improving their understanding of the environment and community in beverages that are cer fied as sustainably grown, harvested, produced which we all live and looking for methods to eliminate waste and ways to and processed. give back to nature before taking from it. Let's face it, you rarely get to watch a cooking show without hearing the word ''sustainability'' in rela on to farming, produce selec on or food prepara on anymore.





IT’S ALL IN THE FAMILY at Tamburlaine

Mark and Lou Davidson's story goes back to 1974 when they met at Newcastle University where they were both studying for a BA degree majoring in Psychology. Lou went on to become a teacher at primary and infants schools while Mark worked with Community Support Programs and then as an HR trainer and psychologist for the Australian Government. With a love of growing things and a keen interest in wine, Mark also studied vi culture and wine science at Riverina College in NSW (now Charles Sturt University). They married in 1978 with Lou's teaching career being interrupted twice when they had their two daughters, Samantha and Eliza.

quality of future harvests. This started his interest in organics - growing grapes without the use of pes cides, herbicides, and other chemical fer lizers and producing the wine without any chemical addi ves. This then was the start of Tamburlaine's journey to become Australia's largest producer of labelled organic wine. In 1995, Tamburlaine expanded its produc on and quality base through the acquisi on of 100 hectares of prime vineyard land in the emerging cool climate wine region of Orange. Up to 70% of the annual produc on now comes from Orange.

In 2001, Tamburlaine built the new func on centre known as The Members' Lodge and Lou built the corporate and wedding func on In 1985, the wine estate known as ''Tamburlaine'' in Pokolbin came on the business to become one of the best wedding venues in the Hunter region. market. Mark and Lou, who at the me were planning to open a gourmet Daughters, Samantha and Eliza who had spent most of their childhood food and speciality wine store in Newcastle, decided to ''seize the living at Tamburlaine also contributed to the success of the business in the moment'', and with the assistance of investors, purchased Tamburlaine early years by working at the cellar door, laboratory and winery before from its founder Dr Lance Allen. They moved onto the property in 1986 then going off to pursue University degrees. Both daughters were also just 10 days before vintage which resulted in 2,000 cases of wine. married at Tamburlaine. Mark immediately took up the day to day responsibility for the whole business including winemaking and vi culture while Lou re red from Today, the 47 year-old winery has an enviable record in the Australian teaching and exchanged her ‘teaching hat’ to run the cellar door, domes c market with one of the largest wine clubs in Australia and is recognised as being one of the largest cer fied organic wineries in the administra on, accounts and wine membership club. Lou recalls that in Southern Hemisphere - based on 100 per cent organic and biodynamic those early days it was ''all hands on deck'' with friends and family all pitching in to help on busy weekends and during vintage. Even the girls farming and turning out upwards of 80,000 cases a year. who were only 2 and 4 at the me helped with the few ca le they had on A favourite brand with wine appreciators and wine cri cs, the winery was the property. awarded a red five-star ra ng in James Halliday’s 2012 Australian Wine The vineyard produced reasonable results, but it was ''ageing'' and the soil Companion, with seven of its wines given 94 points for outstanding was proving to be less fer le than expected, so Mark started inves ga ng quality. alterna ve methods to keep the soil nourished sufficiently to secure the





FOODWhat’s TRENDS on our plates in 2013 Looking back over the years there have been a number of fascinaƟng and noteworthy culinary trends - some good, some bad and others downright weird.

Now consumers are becoming increasingly health conscious and want to understand what ''good'' food is - whether it be organic, biodynamic, locally sourced, hormone free, green and even ethically produced with no cruelty involved.

Think back to the dishes presented by the elite of ancient Rome “some good, As a result we are seeing the introduc on of spa cuisine, where, a er making an offering to the household gods, the some bad and organic goodness, food miles, slow food movements, banquet would begin with starters that could well include others sustainable farming, ethical food produc on and back-tojellyfish and eggs, sow's udders stuffed with milk and eggs, basics whole foods as consumers become increasingly focused downright boiled tree fungi with peppered fish fat sauce or sea urchins with on understanding the journey their food has taken, from the weird” spices, oil and egg sauce. The main course may then typically farm to their forks. Whether it be purchasing a bunch of consist of fallow deer roasted with onion sauce, raisins, oil and honey. grapes, lamb chops or a hamburger, to them it is more important than Turtle dove boiled in its feathers was a popular dish, as was ham boiled with figs and bay leaves and then rubbed with honey and baked in a pastry ever to understand where food comes from, how it is made and whether the flavour is natural or manufactured. crust. For those who weren't crazy about doves, parrots were o en roasted and flamingos boiled with dates. Diners would also on occasion People are now also more adventurous than they were five to ten years find gold, pearls, amber or other jewels hidden amongst the food dishes. ago. Australia's obsession with food and access to informa on, through One banquet for a young emperor famously featured 600 ostrich brains, fashionable television cooking shows and social media channels, has with side dishes of gold-speckled peas and rice garnished with pearls. enabled people to be more knowledgeable about different foods, Parrot livers, peacock brains, flamingo tongues and the spleens of moray techniques and cultures. The result being that they are more willing to try eels were other delicacies of the me. new things such as novel food from nature that include Kakadu Plum, Jumping forward a few hundred years to Medieval mes and things were Saltbush, Sea Celery and Warrigal Greens. In addi on to the botanical produce there is a wider availability of na ve Australian animal products no less weird with feasts amongst the nobility las ng for days and o en included ''illusion foods” - with chefs trying to make the animal look alive on the market with many restaurants embracing these new products and a er cooking it. Live blackbirds and other songbirds really were baked into including kangaroo, emu, crocodile, yabbies and eels on their menus in addi on to flavouring these dishes with bush tucker spices. pies, flying out to amaze the guests, while swans and peacocks were roasted, then dressed again in their plumage. Since then we have survived more recent trends that have included congealed salads containing gela n accompanied by anything from chicken, hard-boiled eggs, olives, grapes and grated carrots; the introduc on of canned meat products such as SPAM; the meat and cheese fondue craze of the 1970's which dates back to the late 1600's; the emergence of func onal foods followed by instant and imita on foods such as the ''just -add -water'' products and the more concerning introduc on of gene cally modified foods. Since Australia's first fastfood outlet, Kentucky Fried Chicken, opened in 1968 closely followed by McDonald’s opening an outlet in Sydney in 1971, there has been a drama c increase in the number of fast food chains serving low cost, high fat and low nutrient fast food.



Time will tell if this adventurous spirit goes so far as to include edible insects like grasshoppers, locusts, wiche y grubs, honey-pot ants and tomato hornworms.

Image courtesy of The Verandah Restaurant



WINEWhat’s TRENDS in our glasses in 2013 Wine trends can signal a cultural shiŌ - a changing of the guard from old to new or in some cases, from new to old. The industry has seen a real shi in how people discover wine and while there will always be a place for wine cri cs there has been a no ceable decline in their influence as we see the rise of the “amateur expert” with people increasingly ge ng their wine informa on from online sources, social media channels and friends. Also, as consumers become be er educated and more sophis cated about wine, they are no longer sa sfied with a wine that is mediocre. As a result they are seeking out good value bo les of wine that don’t skimp on quality. Moscato and the Sweet Reds Over the past few years, Moscato has seen triple digit gains, making it one of the top up-and-coming wines around and other sweet reds are capitalizing on this success. Some predic ons claim that Moscato will soon be the introductory wine for new wine consumers. Rosé Comeback Rosé is making a comeback. Once viewed by wine experts as a sugary sweet, unserious wine, the new rosés are less sweet while while s ll retaining a refreshing character.Expect to see rosé as one of the wines of choice during the warm summer nights or days. Lighter-Alcohol Wines There has been a gradual increase in the number of lighter-alcohol wines entering the market – mainly due to consumer demands for lower-kilo-joule wines. Lindeman’s Early Harvest Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is a good example of a low-alcohol wine with an easydrinking style at only 8.5 per cent alcohol. These wines are selling well and appeal par cularly to the younger, female wine-drinking market. No doubt there are more to come..



Italian VarieƟes There is a fast growing apprecia on of Italian varie es by both winemakers and wine drinkers in Australia. Although plan ngs of Mediterranean varie es from Greece, Spain and Portugal are s ll popular, it’s the poten al of those from Italy that are exci ng winemakers in Australia. Sangiovese is already a popular wine, and due to its high drought tolerance it grows par cularly well in many Australian wine regions. The white Italian grape Vermen no is also popular due to its naturally low alcohol level and crisp acidity as is Fiano - a white wine grape variety that excels in and around Naples in Italy's south and is among the finest white wine grapes in all of Italy. Expect more of these varie es to come onto the wine scene in years to come.

“Is this the ShooƟng Star of Australian Wine? ”

Australian Pinot Gris Thought by many to be the wine to watch, Australian Pinot Gris con nues to impress with many winemakers and is predicted to surpass Sauvignon Blanc in popularity. It is also a great food match thanks to a richness of flavour and weight, and has a refreshing frui ness to suit all kinds of dishes.




Petit Verdot Pe t Verdot (meaning ‘the li le green one’) is a unique red variety that thrives in the warmer regions of Australia. Originally from the Bordeaux region of France it is most o en used in the region's famous red blends for the purpose of adding a dark violet colour, sturdier tannins and concentrated fruit flavours. This late ripening variety struggles to ripen in its home of origin which has caused it to lose popularity in the rela vely cooler Bordeaux region, to the point where it is now the least known and least grown of the Bordeaux red grape varie es which include Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Malbec and Merlot - all of which are also widely planted in other wine producing regions around the world. In Australia Pe t Verdot is being planted in warmer climates such as the Hunter Valley where it produces full bodied wines with concentrated flavours and integrated tannins. Here ripening on the vine is not such a problem and while s ll used in blends, it is increasingly bo led as a single varietal stand alone wine. As a stand alone varietal, it produces deeply coloured wines with violet aromas blueberry fruit and firm, structural tannins. The characters to look for in these exci ng new wines are its intense colour, the wonderful fragrant nose, firm tannins and rich vibrant flavours of blueberry - making it a good choice for true red wine drinkers. Food Pairings: When pairing Pe t Verdot with food, keep the acid and tannin level of the variety in mind. Rich and strongly flavoured foods are the best matches so experiment with rich cuts of red meat or wild game. Dishes to try include mint-rosemary lamb, lamb shanks, venison, crispy skin duck, barbequed lamb chops, pork spare ribs and any other rich meats. Hearty casseroles, mature cheeses such as s lton and fruit cake also work well.




Cellar Door Following the harvest, the vines con nue the process of photosynthesis, crea ng carbohydrate reserves to store in the vine's roots and trunks. This con nues un l a suitable level of reserves has been stored. At that point the chlorophyll in the leaves begin to break down and the leaves change colour from green to yellow. Following the first frost the leaves begin to fall to the ground as the vine starts to enter its winter dormancy period. Come spring and the cycle starts all over again. Here are some of the latest happenings on the local Wine Scene. The Hunter Valley Wine Industry award winners were announced at a formal dinner at Cypress Lakes on 23rd May with Ian Scarborough from Scarborough Wine Co. named as the 2013 Hunter Valley Wine Industry Living Legend. The 2013 Winemaker of the Year is Peter Hall from McGuigan Wines. The 2013 Hunter Valley Wine Industry Award for Excellence was awarded to Ian Napier (Wombat Crossing) and Stewart Ewen from Bin 688 Vineyard who both collaborated for many years to promote the Hunter Valley as a premium wine region in Australia and protect the GI regions from further mining exploita on. Harkham Wine Estate has opened their newly refurbished cellar door on DeBeyers Rd Pokolbin. Join owner and winemaker Richie Harkham for a tas ng and talk through his selec on of wines and chocolate liqueur. A historic piece of the Hunter found a new home in Australia’s oldest botanic garden when cu ngs from shiraz vines da ng back to 1867 were planted in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden in May this year. The vines date back to 1867 and were a gi from Tyrrell’s Wines, which has signed a three-year partnership with the Gardens and Domain Trust. Chinese buyers have returned to the Hunter Valley vineyard market a er more than 18 months with Fu Yip Interna onal Group spending $1.7 million on the 12.6 hectare Honeytree Estate, at Pokolbin. Renown Hunter winemaker Jim ChaƩo is considered one of the most talented winemakers in Australia and a er 6 years in the chief winemaker role at Pepper Tree Wines has made the move to join the McWilliam's group where he will assume direct responsibility for Mount Pleasant, replacing long-serving winemaker Phil Ryan who is re ring. Jim will also be responsible for the group's winemaking opera ons in other regions (Hilltops, Coonawarra, Margaret River and the Riverina). Pepper Tree Wines is pleased to announce the appointment of ScoƩ Comyns as Chief Winemaker. Sco was hired by Jim Cha o in early 2012 and now takes over from Jim in the main winemaking role for the company. Jim con nues his associa on with Pepper Tree in a consul ng capacity. Fiano grapes feature in 2013 harvest. Small quan es of the Italian fiano variety are among the whites harvested in the 2013 Hunter Valley vintage. Fiano is a white wine grape variety that excels in Campania, in and around Naples in Italy's south and is among the finest white wine grapes in all of Italy. Tyrrell’s, who make the wines under contract, harvested 10 tonnes of Fiano from Mount Eyre during the 2013 vintage. See the latest issue of Wine & Dine in the Hunter for a comprehensive list of cellar doors, suggested wines, local restaurants, dining reviews and food and wine trail maps for each of the 5 key wine growing areas.



AMBER FLUID With a Sophis cated Edge Gone are the days when beer went hand-in-hand with barbecues, thongs, singlets and footy shorts. The Australian beer landscape con nues to change every day and today the amber fluid has a far more sophis cated image, with beer lovers all over the world experimen ng with new innova ve and interes ng varie es, from diverse places and even matching them to food. Yes, finally, beer has found its righ ul place on the dining table!

Prickly Moses Beers - produced by Otway Estate Brewery and available at the Wynwood Estate Cellar Door in Pokolbin, is one of the many fast growing cra beer companies that have emerged in Australia. First established in 2007, Prickly Moses beers are diverse in colour, aroma and flavour and are created to match an appearance, aroma and flavour profile - using the best possible ingredients. Their repertoire of exci ng beers is constantly growing and there always seems to be something new.

Cra beer, the product of pint sized breweries seeking to reclaim taste and market share from the global beverage giants, now represents about 10 per cent of the premium beer market in Australia. More and more beer lovers throughout the country are turning toward full-flavoured beers, especially Indian Pale Ales (IPA’s), seasonal beers and Belgians and it is this divergence of flavours and styles that is the driving force behind the growing appeal of cra beers.

The Prickly Moses standard range consists of 6 different beers types that include the Otway Light, the refreshingly clean and crisp Summer Ale, the German style Otway Pilsener, the medium bodied Otway Ale, the medium to full bodied Red Ale which is my favourite and is an Irish style beer with a light reddish hue. This range also includes a classic dark full bodied dry stout - the Otway Stout.

Breweries are being forced to experiment too, with brewers constantly coming up with new hops and beer flavours as they con nue to innovate with new beers and new styles in an effort to keep customers returning for more. Retailers are also responding to this growing demand and are pu ng more cra beers onto their shelves which is driving demand even further.



The range of beers available also includes a growing number of Specialist Beers which include the rich and complex Farmhouse Ale which has an outstanding bouquet, the Belgian styled Saison, the French style Reserve De Otway and strong, dark Belgian styled Vintage Ale. Prickly Moses also produce a number of Seasonal beers and a delicious ''Forbidden Fruit Cider'' made from organic apples. If you appreciate really good beer, then pop into the Wynwood Estate Cellar Door and be prepared to be amazed.



WHY DRIVE When you can Safari!

Do you need to arrange an ac vity for a group of up to 12 people ? Are you interested in learning more about wine, do you feel like an early morning balloon flight followed by a champagne breakfast or a helicopter ride which includes a gourmet lunch, or do you simply want to kick back and try a range of cra beers at the local brewery ? The Hunter Valley is the most established wine producing region in Australia and includes in excess of 140 cellar doors, over 60 restaurants and loads of adventures and ac vi es to make your visit to the Hunter Valley a complete and memorable stay. The problem is that with so many to choose from it is o en difficult to navigate your way around. Well now you can, and without the concerns of drinking and driving. Hunter Valley Safaris offer day tours catered to individual needs and can arrange an array of packages to suit every whim - from winery tours and tas ngs to zoo safaris, horse riding, balloon flights, helicopter rides, golf packages, beer tas ngs, cheese and chocolate tas ngs as well as a superb lunch or dinner at Blaxlands Inn. They also provide local area transfers - concert transfers, wedding guest transfers and restaurant transfers. The best tours offer the most convenience and depend very much on having a well informed, experienced and informa ve guide as your host. Hunter Valley Safaris will pick you up from your accommoda on and provide you with a fun day out in a relaxed and unpressured environment. So, if you are looking for dinner with an added convenience, try Hunter Valley Safaris free pick up and drop off service for diners at Blaxlands Inn.







You don't get people more passionate about working with quality meat than Nick Middleton - Head Chef at Blaxlands Inn at Pokolbin. Nick spent 11 years growing up in Melbourne un l his parents decided to move the family home to Watsons Bay in Sydney. Nick was enrolled as a boarder at Chevalier College in Bowral - a Catholic Secondary College owned by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. A er leaving school in 1980, Nick started work as an appren ce with a local butcher in Sydney where he worked for 3 years. It was while working as a butcher that Nick felt inspired to take working with food and especially quality meats, to that extra level. A er making the career changing decision to become a chef, Nick commenced his appren ceship at Fishwives in Surrey Hills where he worked for 2 years before leaving to con nue his appren ceship at the historic Ta ersalls Club in Sydney. A er comple ng his appren ceship, Nick worked as a chef at the St James Hotel in Castlereagh Street, Sydney before deciding to turn his back on city life and make the move to the Blue Mountains where he worked as a chef at the Carrington Hotel. Nick lived in the Blue Mountains for 5 years before being oered the opportunity to move to the vineyards of Mudgee and the opening of the Country Paradise Resort where he was appointed to the role of head chef. Nick lived in Mudgee for about 20 years developing close rela onships with local producers and growers and in that me also headed up the kitchen at the renown Craigmoor Restaurant. A er joining the Australian Leisure Group, Nick started work at the Lawson Park Hotel - built in the 1860's and perfectly situated on the banks of the Cudgegong River. The hotel thrived under the new management and Nick was responsible for turning the business around and a rac ng more diners. S ll with Australian Leisure Group, Nick then le Mudgee for the Hunter Valley to take up the head chef role at Blaxlands Inn where he has been for the past 4 years. Nick has a love for everything to do with meat and cooking and believes working at Blaxlands Inn has it all - the people, the atmosphere and the high quality produce and meat which is cer fied Angus from the owners own Rivertree Land & Ca le Co. Nicks children (2 of them) have grown up and are now living in Queensland, leaving Nick to enjoy his spare me with friends and enjoying the abundant wine and food oered by the Hunter Valley.




Under the Table June is a great me to visit the Hunter Valley - a er all it's Wine & Food Month and the milder temperatures make a late morning breakfast or brunch a temp ng op on. Alterna vely, diners can take advantage of the cooler a ernoons and evenings and dine al-fresco. The Verandah Restaurant is hosƟng Locals Night on Sunday the 2nd June, with the theme "Asian Night". The evening starts at 6:30pm with complimentary canapes and bubbles, followed by a 5 course Tapas Style degusta on. $50 per person BYO No corkage. To book phone 4998 7231. Locals Night at Roberts Restaurant - every Tuesday and Wednesday night... Mul -award winning Execu ve Chef George Francisco has created a special locals night menu for these always popular dinners. Ph: 4998 7330. Casa Margarita - a new Mexican Restaurant is now open at the newly refurbished Harkham Wine Estate on De Beyers Rd in Pokolbin. Chef Nicolas Medrano, originally from Guadalajara in Mexico specialises in truly authen c Mexican cuisine. The restaurant caters for 140 diners with inside as well as outside dining op ons and is open for dinner on Fridays and brunch, lunch and dinner Saturday to Sunday. Ph: 4998 7776. On the move... Mul award winning restaurant Emerson's at Pokolbin is moving from Hermitage Rd to Adina Vineyard in Lovedale in September 2013. Owner and head chef Emerson Rodriguez is excited by the move to Lovedale and opera ng his restaurant at the popular Adina Vineyard. The new restaurant will seat 50 people for lunch and 30 people for dinner with a private dining room available for 14 people. Fireside Sundays at Twine Restaurant! Join Adam and his team on Sunday evenings from 5.30pm - 7.30pm and receive a Mezze plate, a selec on of meats plus sides followed by dessert for just $45 pp (kids under 12 eat free). To book phone 4998 7449. ViƩorio's Italian Cafe Restaurant in Pokolbin con nues to have their popular Pizza & Pasta Nights each Sunday night for just $25 per person. Ph: 4998 7945.



For a comprehensive list of local restaurants, dining reviews and food and wine trail maps for each of the 5 key wine growing areas - see the latest issue of Wine & Dine in the Hunter.


JUNE 23RD FROM GRAIN TO GRASS The Hunter Beer Co. located at Po ers Hotel Brewery Resort is a must see-and-do for all beer lovers. It operates seven days a week, producing a range of award-winning beers. Enjoy canapés whilst head brewer Keith Grice shares an educa onal view of brewery opera ons and a detailed look into how beer is created from the grain to the glass. The Brewery produces several signature beers such as the Hunter Kolsch and Hunter Witbier and also seasonal beers such as the Chocolate Porter and Banana Smoothie. Our brewers love making these fabulous beers, so we hope you'll love tas ng them. Cost: $80 per person. When: From 11:00am - 2:00pm June 23, 2013. LocaƟon: Po ers Hotel & Brewery - 130 Wine Country Drive Pokolbin. Ph: 4991 7922


MEXICAN WAVE Mexican food is playing a big part in the current food trends in Australia - a trend confirmed by the Mexican ''wave'' that's engulfing Sydney and Melbourne. Now this trend toward Mexican style cuisine has moved to the Hunter Valley with the opening of new Mexican restaurant Casa Margarita at Harkham Estate Winery on DeBeyers Rd in Pokolbin.

Viva Casa Margarita

a creamy guajillo chile sauce, and flavours like epazote a dis nc ve Mexican herb, play a part in accentua ng every dish. The bar also boasts mouthwatering drinks such as sangria, mojitos and classic tequila cocktails infused with fresh fruit. And of course, Casa Margarita’s desserts which include churros and rice and milk pudding. Todo lo mejor para el futuro, Casa Margarita!

The opening launch in May was a huge success with over a hundred locals and local business operators turning out to welcome the opening of this exci ng new venture in the Hunter Valley. Originally from Mexico City and Guadalajara, owners Max Soto and Nicolas Medrano created Casa Margarita out of a desire to introduce Australians to truly authen c Mexican cuisine. The restaurant features classic Mexican dishes, blending rich flavours, textures and tradi ons blended with Spanish and French influences. The restaurant has all the atmosphere of a charming, turn of the century can na with its rus c, stained wooden chairs and tables, weathered mber bar and golden-rust sponged walls, this warm and invi ng eatery is reminiscent of Mexico City restaurants of the 1900’s. The walls are decorated with classic Spanish pain ngs accentuated by a vast collec on of uniquely shaped and rare tequila bo les and authen c sepia photo illustra ons from revolu onaryperiod Mexico. The menu boasts a variety of family recipes, u lizing innova ve ingredients, many served as small plate-tapas style. Highlights include fresh Guacamole accompanied by crispy tor llas. The Tor lla Soup, Ceviche and several original fruit salsas are just a few of the many-featured dishes. Classic sauces like ancient moles, and



STIRRINGPaella THE PAN Classes in June As with all dishes created in rural townships, the consistency, ingredients and especially the taste of the paella varies from village to village and even from household to household. Some say true “Paella Valenciana” must be cooked outside over a fire made of orange branches, dished up with a boxwood spoon and eaten only at midday! One thing we do know is that tradi onally paella is made on a Sunday and (because women need a day off from cooking) it is usually made by the men – that’s the bit us girls like the most! It’s no surprise then that every Sunday in June you can experience the passion of Paella-Making with our resident Paella expert, Ma Dillow. Ma is the owner and head chef of The Verandah Restaurant in Pokolbin, a tapas style restaurant strongly influenced by Ma ’s frequent visits to Spain. Paella fits the “sharing” nature of tapas ea ng as it is cooked over the stove and is o en eaten straight from the pan, making it the perfect communal dish.

Paella (as we know it today) was first concocted in the south of Spain (Valencia to be exact) someƟme during the mid-19th century and while most of us deem it to be Spain’s naƟonal dish, Spaniards see it more as rusƟc regional fare. The basis for a good paella is white rice and green vegetables – aŌer that it’s up to the creaƟve talents of the cook!



This June take part in a hands-on paella cooking class and learn how to cook authen c paella in the giant paella pan. Then reap the rewards of your labours by ea ng it for lunch! The fun and fes ve class is followed by a three course lunch, which includes Spanish Iberico jamon with fresh baked Spanish bread matched with Calais Estate sparkling wine, Spanish paella served with Sangria (deadly Spanish wine punch) and Churros, a Spanish style donut, with chocolate dipping sauce. Cost is $80 per person and bookings are essen al – phone 4998-7231




& FOOD do WINE Special Events in June

Steak & Shiraz Matching: The Hunter Valley Steakhouse at Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens is offering the perfect steak and Shiraz matching experience from 5-6pm each Friday and Saturday night throughout June. For only $15pp (free when dining a erwards) you will be served samples of different Hunter Valley steaks accompanied by Hunter Valley Shiraz, and they challenge you to iden fy the best match. Aiding in your selec on will be some tas ng notes, and of course, their Chef’s selec on to see how well you do. Ph: 4998 2000. Trust the Chef: Leave all the difficult menu decisions to Chefs Ma Dillow and Adam Ireland at Twine Restaurant’s Trust The Chef five-course degusta on dinner. Each course is matched with premium Hunter Valley wines in an exclusive private wine room. When: Every Saturday night for dinner throughout June. Cost: $120 per person. LocaƟon: Twine Restaurant - Oakey Creek Rd, Pokolbin. Ph: 4998 7449. RidgeView Ocean to the Paddock DegustaƟon Dinner: Execu ve Chef Donna Hollis and her team draw inspira on from the local culinary offerings to bring you a seven-course degusta on dinner matched perfectly with estate-grown RidgeView wines. Meet the RidgeView crew and embark on a gastronomic journey up the Valley (from the Ocean to the Paddock). Cost: $125 per person including matched wines to 7 courses. When: 6:30pm - 10:00pm June 15, 2013. LocaƟon: Ridgeview Restaurant - 273 Sweetwater Road Pokolbin. Ph: 6574 7332.

Hunter Gatherer at Esca Bimbadgen: Get a taste of the region with Esca Bimbadgen’s Hunter Gatherer Tas ng Plates. All month long, sample the Esca menu with a white tas ng plate, followed by a red tas ng plate and finishing with a cheese pla er. Each tas ng plate features three ‘tastes’ from the menu matched with either red or white Bimbadgen wines, with ingredients sourced from as close to our home in the Hunter as possible. Lunch daily from 12pm & Dinner Wednesday - Saturday from 6pm. Cost: $80 per person. When: June 1 - June 30, 2013. LocaƟon: Bimbadgen Estate - 790 McDonalds Road Pokolbin. Ph: 4998 4666. Agrarian Garden Tour & Lunch at Roberts Restaurant: Join Execu ve Chef George Francisco and garden specialist Elisa Fitzpatrick on a tour of Tower Estate’s recently planted kitchen garden. Learn about sustainable produc on, the fundamentals of permaculture and how to grow and prepare your own fresh produce. Tours depart every half hour from 11am to 2pm on weekends (including Monday June 10 public holiday). A erwards enjoy a Chef’s Plate Lunch at Roberts Restaurant ($39pp). When: June 8 - June 10, 2013. LocaƟon: Roberts Restaurant - Halls Road Pokolbin. Ph: 4998 4998.

Fireside High Tea at Tower Lodge: Enjoy a decadent High Tea in the luxurious surrounds of Tower Lodge. The longstanding tradi on is synonymous with the enjoyment of the finer things in life, and has become a favoured way to celebrate special occasions in a refined environment with great company. Warm up by Tower Lodge’s grand open fire, enjoying Olive Oil Discovery Tour: The Olive Mill at Adina Vineyard opens its doors a wide selec on of fine loose-leaf teas or espresso coffee and indulging in for a fantas c olive and olive oil educa on and tas ng session. Discover a selec on of daily baked sweets and savoury treats. Sparkling Australian what “extra virgin” means, see how the extrac on process works and taste wine and French champagne available. Served from 2pm-5pm on a variety of olives, oils and olive products. You will also learn the weekends (including the public holiday on Monday 10 June) at Tower difference between good and bad olive oils and your knowledge and Lodge by the Lounge or Library fires or undercover in the Courtyard. enjoyment of olive products will be enhanced by this event. Each When: Every Saturday and Sunday throughout June 2013. Cost: $42 per par cipant will receive their choice of a bo le of extra virgin olive oil or a person. LocaƟon: Tower Lodge - Cnr Halls & Broke Road Pokolbin. jar of table olives. Bookings are essen al. Cost: $20 per person. When: Ph: 4998 4900. Every Saturday throughout June. LocaƟon: Adina Vineyard - 492 Lovedale Road Lovedale. Ph: 4930 7473.







The vines are bare, the days are chilly and the nights just perfect for snuggling up in front of the fire, red wine in hand! The July Issue will be the special “Gardens” issue as we look at the history of the gardens and talk to some of the people who have made it what it is today. There’s also loads of events happening in the Gardens throughout July, so get your mittens on and get out there!

6TH and 7TH JULY ...HUNTER VALLEY GARDENS CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL This amazing event will immerse you in a chocolate experience you will never forget, while enjoying family fun and ac vi es all inspired by chocolate. There will be delicious stalls along with free entertainment, demonstra ons, ac vi es, compe ons and prizes for all. Don’t miss out on this chocolaty delight! For more info visit

29TH JUNE to 14TH JULY ...SNOW TIME IN THE GARDENS at Hunter Valley Gardens. This year’s new and improved Snow Time in the Garden is on again these School Holidays at Hunter Valley Gardens. Bring along the whole family and enjoy a number of fabulous icy experiences in the brand new Marquee Area and Storybook Garden Play Zone! With some great new ac vi es including a large undercover real ice ska ng rink, a real ice toboggan, a larger snow play area, snow board and alpine racers, expert live ice sculp ng, Husky racing demonstra ons and lots more. This event will bring a taste of Winter to the Hunter Valley for 2 whole weeks. All of the listed ac vi es are FREE a er paid Garden entry, ckets are on sale now. The main ac vi es are on daily, however to make sure you don’t miss out on the fun, check the full program online at or call 02 4998 4000.

15TH to 31ST JULY ...WINTER ROSE PRUNING at Hunter Valley Gardens Ever wondered how it’s done? Hunter Valley Gardens have 35,000 roses to prune and are ready and willing to show you how it’s done. With demonstra ons and talks beginning at 10.30am you can be sure you are caring for your roses correctly and everyone gets a free rose cu ng on departure. For more info visit 21ST JULY HUNTER VALLEY RUNNING FESTIVAL It’s not every day that you are allowed to run through world famous gardens, historic homesteads, interna onal golf resorts and of course some of the most famous wineries in Australia. Mix that with a huge selec on of races, a friendly country race crew, loads of prizes and you have an event not to be missed. Starts and finishes at Hunter Valley Gardens—for more informa on visit


The Perfect Couple Wine and cheese are old friends, with a strong affinity going back many thousands of years. Both are fermented products and require pa ence, care and moderate temperatures to mature naturally. Although a highly subjec ve topic, matching cheese and wine can be a great deal of fun and also one of the most difficult things to get right. While there are no hard and fast rules to wine and cheese matching, the following simple ''rules of thumb'' tend to work well:

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Match white wines with so cheeses and those with stronger flavours Match red wines with hard cheeses and those with milder flavours Fruity, sweet wines and dessert wines work well with a wide range of cheeses and therefore the safest op on with cheese pla ers The more pungent the cheese the sweeter the wine should be

Another handy p is to consider the texture, colour or flavour of the cheese when choosing a wine. A sparkling white wine for example goes well with a Brie or Rico a, fruity flavours in cheese go well with fruity wines, weigh er cheeses match well with weigh er wines and the whiter and fresher the cheese, the whiter and crispier the wine choice should be. Take the me to visit the Hunter Cheese Factory for more handy ps and to try their delicious range of hand made cheeses. Also, on June 8th - 9th you can take a behind the scenes look at wine and cheese making & enjoy a sumptuous selec on of regional produce. Enjoy Cheese & Wine Tapas - from 12pm to 7pm ( ckets at the door). Phone: 4998 7744. Bookings Required for groups of 12+ people. Individual bookings welcome.




27 23



THINGS An exquisite array of spectacular jewellery, stylish watches, amazing giftware and home wares. Gifts for all ages and occasions collected from all corners of the world. CANDELABRA One of Australia's most famous boutique candle stores—the stunning fragrances, colour and endless variety of product is truly amazing. CHRISTMAS IN THE VINES Where it is Christmas every day. Come on in to our little cottage, and see the great Christmas bargains in store. GEMS4U Visit Gems4u and select from a wonderful range of amazing and unique pieces—Gemstones, Minerals, Fossils, Beading and Gift Certificates. PULP ADDICTION Satisfy your paper cravings with our delightful range of designer stationery which is guaranteed to intrigue and delight. THE TWIG A gorgeous selection of home furnishings and personal giftware unlike anything else on offer in the valley. THE WAITERS FRIEND A great selection of quality kitchenware and barware and some of the best prices anywhere in Australia. VILLAGE BOOKS A fantastic range of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books and a unique collection of quality toys, games, souvenirs and gifts. WILSON & HUNTER Summer is heating up at Wilson and Hunter with a burst of colour. The latest from Camilla, Mela Purdie, Verge, Katherine, Samantha Wills, Metalicus, Bleu Blanc Rouge,Tilly Rose,Tolani and more… WILSON & HUNTER (EMPORIUM) We've got the whole family covered. Cool cotton dresses and tops for mum, everything dad needs for a great weekend, Oobilicous fashion for the kids and footwear, swimwear and hats for the whole family. WINE GLASS GALLERY An extraordinary gift gallery stocking unique colourful wine glasses, original artworks, homewares, hand bags, jewellery, shot glasses, magnets, souvenirs & much more.




gourmet picnics, fish, sandwiches, our famous gourmet pies, pizza and pasta, there is truly something for all tastes and pockets! Phone 4998-7355. BLISS COFFEE ROASTERS CAFÉ Relax and enjoy a delicious light meal or sweet treat and a blissful cup of coffee. Phone 4998-6700. TASTE OF THE COUNTRY Experience a Taste of the Country in this award winning café and retail outlet. This popular café is like walking into an old fashioned, country kitchen. Phone 4998-6605. THE CELLAR RESTAURANT Rustic Mediterranean cuisine in a relaxed, friendly environment. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday. Bookings recommended. Phone 4998 7584.

Established more than ten years ago the ORIGINAL Hunter Valley Chocolate Company & Fudge Factory is one of the premier attractions in the area. HUNTER VALLEY COOKIES Hand-made premium cookies in designer gourmet flavours. Cookie tastings daily, delicious coffee and gluten free cookies.

HUNTER VALLEY LIQUEURS & BAERAMI OLIVES Extra virgin olive oils, infused olive oils,

vinegars and a large range of specialty liqueurs and an impressive array of bottles to customize your selection. POKOLBIN CONVENIENCE STORE In the heart of the village is a genuine general store servicing the Pokolbin area with everything you might need while visiting the Wine Country. THE BRITISH LOLLY SHOP The largest range of imported English Confectionary. All your old favourites, humbugs, sherbet lemon, come in and sample our hospitality. THE GARDEN CELLARS Mount Eyre/Three ZEN HAIR SKIN BODY A full Hairdressing Salon Ponds Cellar Door. See the Tunnel Of Beer or taste and Beauty Spa in one location, innovative & deluxe 17 flavoured organic vodkas. treatments in an environmentally friendly setting, the salon can cater to any need. Phone 4998-6844.

Pamper Play


If you fancy a bit of action then visit our Aqua Golf and Putt Putt Golf Course—fun for the whole family! Win cash & prizes! Phone 4998-7896.


The Hunter Blackboard June 2013  
The Hunter Blackboard June 2013  

The Hunter Blackboard is your complete guide to everything that's happening in Hunter Valley Wine Country. The June "Wine & Food" Issue look...