It doesn’t have to be summer to eat ice-cream is a well known rule at Chez Gourmet Chick. I’ve got to add to that mantra that it doesn’t have to be Summer to head down to the beach. I do love a bit of Mornington Peninsula action at all times of year and so was keen to check out the Mornington Peninsula Wine Food Farmgate Trail when I was invited to a media and blogger “Gumboots and Raincoats” lunch.
Rather than following the trail around the Mornington Peninsula the producers all came to us at one venue, the stunning Green Olive at Red Hill. Green Olive was a new discovery to me as I have always previously prioritised the wineries in the region rather than what I thought was just an olive grove. This was a mistake by me as while there are plenty of olives and lots of olive oil at Green Olive there is also some lovely simple food and (phew) wine.
We weren’t limited just to wine at Red Olive though. From the Wine Food Farmgate producers there was gin from Bass & Flinders Distillery, beer tastings from MP Brewery and cider from Mock Red Hill. The wine served during lunch was from Montalto and I particularly loved the 2013 pinot noir. The winemaker told us this was a warm vintage which meant the wine had a lovely lightness and complexity to it. I think this is the stage when I said a silent thankyou for the mini bus which meant I didn’t have to drive and could have more than just a taste.
Each course of our meal gave a taste of one of the Mornington Peninsula’s top restaurants. We started with hearty canapés including lightly spiced homemade lamb sausages from Green Olive. A real highlight was tender wood grilled pork shoulder served skewered on winter vine cuttings from Polperro Bistro. This newly opened restaurant has shot straight to the top of my wish list with such a simple, rustic and delicious dish.
There was also fall-apart-in-your-mouth confit duck with puy lentils from Mornington Peninsula icon Max’s at Red Hill Estate and the most spectacular winter vegetable salad served on a huge tiered stand from La Petanque. It was definitely too pretty to eat and I am thinking of framing the photograph of it and keeping it next to my bedside table!
Dessert was a wibbly wobbly pannacotta made with scorched almond cream and teamed with poached quinces and a sliver of gingerbread from Terre. Anotehr restaurant now on my wish list. Special guests came in the form of newly born baby goats from Main Ridge Dairy. Don’t worry we didn’t eat the goats, just their cheese!
I can’t say what the service is like at any of the restaurants we sampled dishes from but the food was top notch and made the local produce the hero of the day. What is clear is that one lunch is not enough to do justice to this region of Victoria. Looks like I will have to go back there. Poor me.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of the Wine Food Farmgate Trail.
Details: Wine Food Farmgate Trail lunch held at Green Olive, 1180 Mornington-Flinders road, Red Hill (Ph 03 5989 2992)
Damage: On this occasion I did not pay.
Kids: Green Olive has high chairs, trampolines and heaps of space for kids to run around.