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A Perfect Pantry

The Hunter Valley

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    Last weekend was my partner’s birthday. It was a drizzly weekend but we made the most of it, finding ourselves tripping through wineries and dancing through stunning restaurants with impressive menus. 

    Our first trip to the Hunter Valley and the Wineries started at Ernest Hill Winery. As soon as we ventured inside, I fell in love with it. Wide eyed, we headed into the rustic farm cottage. On the balcony is a stunning array of old wine barrels and high stools, sparkling wine glasses litter the tables and staff are chuckling with visitors. We were first approached by a man eager to help us with some wines choices and his knowledge astounded us. We introduced ourselves and found that he was the owner of the winery and ‘Ernest’ was his father.

    We tried some absolutely beautiful wines, but my favourite was one I have never heard of – Gewurztraminer – with hints of lychee and rose-water, it was crisp and light. Suggested served chilled, it perfectly complements spicy Thai food. Sounds perfect to me!

    We strolled across to the ‘Smelly Cheese Shop’, the name in itself is sheer brilliance. As I walked past the swing door, a sign caught my eye ‘Happy People Welcome’. If I wasn’t happy enough from the wine, the smell of cheese wafting out the door slapped a smile on my face and put pep in my step.

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    I was like a kid in a candy shop, literally, they had a fantastic lolly and handmade chocolate section, along with huge fridges, full to the brim, with store made gelatos and sorbets. There seemed to be sections that ran into each other, everything from hand crafted wooden cheese boards to every cheese imaginable and a small cafe section at the back – perfect for ordering a cheese platter or a pizza and relaxing with a beer in hand, watching the world pass you by.

    The helpful girl behind the counter followed us around until we were satisfied we had tried every cheese, ordered our breakfast and coffee, selected our chocolates and bought our share of organic biscuits. I love a good goats cheese, absolutely adore it and to my delight, they had a whole cabinet just for goats cheese! I bought two pieces of a beautiful blue goats cheese and one piece of a soft and bitey goats cheese dusted in ash. After I had recovered from the shock of seeing so much goats cheese in one place, we also bought a double smoked cheddar, vintage cheddar and double brie. It was a successful stop!

    I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our short weekend getaway and cannot wait until our next runaway from the city.

    Let me know if you have any awesome foodie stories that involve the Hunter Valley or have any questions about the places we went!


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