|Sitting down to lunch|
The first course was from chef Anthony Simone of Simone’s in Bright, a meaty assortment of salumi made especially for the lunch, figs, prosciutto on a slick of wild apple purée and topped with a triangle of crisp, fried pigs cheek. The salumi was paired with four different beers from local breweries. The region’s not all about wine and boutique beers have flourished here thanks to an easy access to fresh hops. My pick of the beers was the Bright Brewery’s Galaxy Hop which was light and clean but with a strong hops aroma.
|Salumi plate at the High Country World’s Longest Lunch|
Chef Michael Ryan of Provenance in Beechworth described the next course as “a simple dish of carrot”. He was seriously underselling what we ate as it was without doubt, the most amazing carrot I have ever tasted. Michael took organic carrots from Stanley and cooked them in meat stock and carrot juice to enhance the natural flavour of the carrot. Then the carrot was topped with slivers of pickled carrot and a crumble made from beef jerky. I’m never going to look at a carrot in the same way again. He managed to transform a simple vegetable, that I’ve eaten hundreds of times before. The matched wines were a Ringer Reef Chardonnay and a fabulous light, floral Rousanne from Wood Park.
|Organic carrot from Provenance at the High Country World’s Longest Lunch|
Next up was chef Simon Arkless from All Saints Estate in Rutherglen who had prepared thin slices of Murray Cod which he had smoked himself and then served with tiny, sweet apples, capers and créme fraiche. The cod was very delicate and the smoky flavour was sadly lost a bit in this dish. The matched wines were a vibrant Campbells riesling and an Italian variety known as arenis from Chrismont.
|Prosecco, smoked cod and the Indigo Shiraz at the High Country World’s Longest Lunch|
The final savoury course was created by Adam Pizzini from Rinaldo’s Casa Cucina in Wangaratta. He slow cooked a shin of beef over 24 hours and then served it as a medallion wrapped in prosciutto and teamed with a tomato bruschetta. The beef had a really rich flavour and was very tender and this was a really lovely use of the classic flavour combination of beef, tomato and basil. The beef was paired with not one but three different red wines. The highlight of these was the 2010 Indigo Secret Valley Shiraz which was really refined with a hint of spice.
|Roast beef at the High Country World’s Longest Lunch|
The sweet end of the meal was looked after by Ikuei Arakane, the chef at Boynton’s, he made a mixed berry mousse with cream cheese and a chocolate ganache. The individual elements of this dish were all delicious but there was a bit too much going on for one plate. On the dessert wine and sticky side of things of the three we tried my pick was the Scion Valley Rose Muscat which was sweet without being sickly.
|Berry mousse at the High Country World’s Longest Lunch|
What a lunch. It really showcased the brilliant produce from the High Country region and the talent of the chefs in the area. The High Country World’s Longest Lunch is not a cheap event to attend but we were served more wine than we could ever possibly drink (although some people had a good shot) and we got to sample the cooking from different restaurants and chefs. It was a truly memorable afternoon.
Details: Boynton’s Feathertop Winery, 6619 Great Alpine Road, Porepunkah, Victoria 3740 (Ph 03 5756 2356)
Damage: Budget Breaking $145 for five courses with wine.
|Elm on Bright|
We stayed in the centre of Bright at Bright on Elm which is one of Alpine Accomodation’s properties. Bright on Elm is very modern and clean and comes with a fully equipped kitchen if you want to do your own cooking. It has a separate living area, two bedrooms and bathrooms so it would be great for a family or group and being right in the centre of town you can walk everywhere. The downside is that the accommodation feels a little impersonal and doesn’t have any views of the beautiful Bright surrounds.
Details: Bright on Elm, Bright, Victoria.
Damage: Reasonable. $175 a night.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of Boynton’s Feather Top Winery for the Regional Longest Lunch and ofTourism North East for the accommodation. I paid for MTV’s ticket to the lunch.