Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mornington Peninsula - Heronswood Garden + Gourmet $250 Food Hamper Giveaway

105 Latrobe Parade
Dromana VIC 3936
Ph: 5984 7318

This post is part of my Mornington Peninsula weekend courtesy of Mornington Peninsula Tourism and Q Strategies. Check out the other posts here:
-Red Hill Estate and Max's Restaurant
-Peninsula Hot Springs
-The Long Table
-Woodman Estate
-Red Hill Brewery
-Linden Tree Restaurant and Lindenderry Hotel

I was fortunate enough to be offered an all expenses paid weekend trip to visit the Mornington Peninsula. I occasionally visit the Mornington Peninsula area and really enjoy it, but my visits tend to revolve around the wineries and winery restaurants. I haven't really experienced other aspects of the region. Thanks to Mornington Peninsula Tourism and Q Strategies, I now know of so many more gems in the region and am planning my next trip back to explore more of it. I might even bump into my fellow blogger Michele, who I joined for lunch and dinner and equally enjoyed her trip. Check out her posts on Foxeys Hangout and Green Olive at Red Hill.

My first stop on the weekend was Heronswood Gardens and Cafe. The gardens are part of the Diggers Club and contain a variety of components. The location of Heronswood Gardens is actually the headquarters of the Diggers Club, which is a seed and plant club. It is Australia's oldest seed and plant club, with over 63,000 members worldwide. Members swap and buy seeds, share information, meet up to learn more about plants and receive updates via emails and newsletters. The club was started by Clive and Penny Blazel, who still run it to this day and are still very involved. Clive and Penny's philosophy is about trying to preserve heirloom plants and to grow things organically, as they believe those plants are good for our health. The gardens and it's cafes are all certified organic now. Clive and Penny still live in the house during some parts of the year. The house originally belonged to John Hearne, a Melbourne University lecturer. He really loved Gothic architecture, but believed that it can still be nice to look at. Hence while the house has sharp edges, it's still soft and has a beauty to it. I was told the interior is quite cheesy, with gold wallpaper and corny ornaments, but it was closed at that time. I would love to go back, as I must see the inside of that house.

Nursery manager Kevin generously showed us around the gardens and explained a lot of interesting facts to us. The whole place was just so beautiful, with so many things to look at. The main nursery contained so many wonderful fruit trees (the majority of the plants) and the seeds shelves were so varied. Look at the wonderful varieties of pumpkins that are grown at Heronswood Gardens.

We wandered around the gardens and there were so many distinct beautiful areas. Below you see the Medicinal Garden, where plants are grown to help cure ailments. There are wonderful arches with vines growing on them, and the backyard of the house had an infinity pool where Summer festivals are held.

Parterre gardening is planting gardens in a formal manner. Heronswood use vegetables to show that you can make a good looking space and be able to get produce from it. I also really loved the espaliering, which is where you shape fruit tress onto rows of wire. It's such a great look and apparently is easy to achieve. A wander around the gardens also will open your eyes to so many items that you have never seen. Look at those amazing fluoro silverbeet. They're not rhubarb like I thought. I've also never seen half the fruits in the garden, let alone still on the tree. Look how an avocado grows.

The Heronswood Cafe is a very natural looking place, with a thatched roof and made of neutral coloured material. The herb table outside was such a great idea. You can literally pick your herbs and throw them into your salad. The interior of the cafe keeps the natural look going, with warm wood filling your view. Kevin helped order us a Vegetable Tasting Plate. I started to eat the vegetables and was telling Kevin how delicious it was, which is a rare feat given my dislike of vegetables. I started to ask him what vegetables were on the plate, when he told me it was all beetroot. What the? Beetroot? Aren't they purple? Nope. Beetroot comes in so many varieties and colours. They each had a different flavour and texture. I loved the white and orange one the most, but all were delicious. It was an utter eye-opener that there are so many varieties of vegetables. I must go back to the cafe to try more of their fresh produce, with nearly all of the vegetables coming from the organic garden behind the restaurant. There's certainly no food miles in those foods.

Heronswood Garden and Cafe is such a wonderful and relaxing place that I could have easily spent the whole day. Unfortunately I only had hours so I must go back and slowly wander through the gardens, house, nursery and dine at the cafe. The gardens are open every day of the year, but you definitely have to make a booking for the cafe or you'll be disappointed when you can't get a table. Ask for nursery manager Kevin when you're there and his knowledge and enthusiasm will delight and amaze you.

If after seeing all that amazing fresh produce has made you want some of your own, here's your chance. I'm happy to giveaway a Mornington Peninsula Gourmet $250 Food Hamper.


One Mornington Peninsula Food Hamper

Photo courtesy of Q Strategies

The hamper includes:

*Sunny Ridge Strawberry Jam
*Ashcombe Lavender Honey
*Cazan’s Lime & Date chutney
*Zac and Jack’s kitchen produce beetroot and orange relish
*Four bottles of Mornington Peninsula wine from various wineries
*BBQ spices and aromatics from Mornington Peninsula Gourmet
*A bottle of Mock Red Hill Cider
*A bottle of Red Hill Brewery ale
*Leontyna extra virgin olive oil

Total Value is $250. Thanks to Mornington Peninsula Gourmet for the hamper.

How To Enter

Just leave a plain, funny, serious or wacky comment on this post. A random winner will be picked. I'll give an extra chance to win if you can tell me something interesting about the Mornington Peninsula, either a place, produce, restaurant, accommodation or winery. Check out the Mornington Peninsula website for tips.

Make sure there is a way for me to contact you, either via Twitter, a blog or an email. If you don't want to publish your email in the comments, please email me at ieatblog[at]yahoo[dot]com and let me know which comment was yours.

Conditions of Entry
- Melbourne residents only.
- Over 18 years of age due to the alcohol in the hamper.
- Competition closes Sunday June 5th 10pm AEST.
- The winner will be selected by me and announced on Monday June 6th. The winner will be notified personally.


  1. WOW! I have been up to Mornington quite a few times - HOW have I missed this??!! Thanks for sharing your experience here, the photos are stunning and the whole place sounds like a wonderful place to visit - I am putting it on the list!

  2. Wahhhh no Foxeys' Fortified Shiraz :-Þ ',
    That was amazing!
    Yes I am over 18 hehehe

  3. Great stuff... I really want to try that all-beetroot vegetable tasting plate!

  4. The pictures are beautiful. I would love to go back there with on our Anniversary Thanh.

    Great give away...

  5. ohhh.. and I'm 26 HEX .. so way over 18 for the competition.

  6. The Mornington Peninsular area was originally home to the Mayone-bulluk clan. mmmm Thanks wikipedia :)

    Also I like the pumkin photo

  7. Montalto restaurant is the bomb, beautiful scenery - perfect way to enjoy a glass and sit on the deck overlooking the garden - and yes, i want the food hamper! i heart Sunny Ridge & their strawberry Jam

  8. if you want to know THE best place to get locally grown
    organic fruit and veg in MP Thanh, we may be able to do a deal ... Mish ;-)

  9. Feel so good after reading the review because everything seems to be so close to nature!

    Thanks Thanh for bring us the breeze of fresh air! We need that sometimes to keep us going in life =)

  10. great photos. i think i should go back and visit, now that I'm older to appreciate it more!

  11. GIVE IT TO ME. You cheated me out of the apples contest, so you owe me this one! ;)

    Okay, something interesting about the Mornington Peninsula.. did you know that the Mornington Peninsula is the only part of Australia that has a particular fish species called morningtons? They're native to the region, apparently very good eating, and well known for their rainbow coloured stripe pattern.

    HAHAHA I totally made that up!! Okay, for something true, you can book a picnic at the Montalto winery - they give you a secluded spot and provide the food, picnic blankets, cutlery, etc!

  12. So beautiful. My Mr has been a Digger's Club member for a couple of years now but we're yet to trek out to Heronswood.

    And a fact... ummmm... there are over 50 cellar doors?! ;)

    I am not far from Melbourne but if I were to win I know the perfect Melbournian to gift this to!

  13. There is something magical about the Mornington Peninsula soil that seems to propogate robust and creative food and rich and varied gardening environments. Thanks for your inspiration to re-visit for the food, the people and the wineries. I am going out back now to re-invigorate my forlorn greenhouse!!

  14. The Mornington Peninsula soil is a fertile ground for everything foodie! But you need to sniff around like a bit of a truffle pig to find some of the hidden treasures! I fell so much in live with the place I moved my family here!! And we are continuing to stumble upon more and more hidden treasures each year! Love Heronswood and love the "I Eat therefore I am logo and blog. It's a great motto fopr living! Thank

  15. My random fact about the Mornington Peninsula is that I've never been there, and I NEED to go... please give my husband a reason to go there!


  16. You know what? I've never been to Mornington Peninsula other than a side road trip when I hopped on the wrong bus on my way to attend summer lectures at Monash Frankston one summer... it was quite hilarious.. really.. the bus driver insisted we were going in the right direction.

    Needless to say, I had a panic attack was late for my first summer lecture (with all eyes on me as I walked in) and am now in mortal fear of Mornington.

    I need to get rid of my nightmares and phobias :P

  17. La Pentanque = hands down best French restaurant I've been to in a long time (and I've been to quite a few!) - in Red Hill, I think.

    And "Fed up Fish" cafe in Rosebud, a great little place to grab a seafood degustation lunch and not too badly priced. Made the Age Good Food guide a few years running. :-)


  18. If you have a few hours to spare and watch the world go by, why not sit and relax aboard the Arthurs Seat chair lift, where it seems time as well as the lift stand still.

  19. BTW... Red Hill Cheese is a must go place everytime I'm down at Mornington Peninsula. If only they'd pave bitumen on the dirt track to the cheesery. But worth the car wash required after each visit.

  20. When I was new to Melbourne and my parents came to visit, I suggested they visit MP. Printed info from the tourism site. They were quite disappointed that places were charging for tastings ..

  21. Ooh, great prize! We had a lovely meal at Noel's Gallery in Red Hill in November last year. It's mediterranean food in a house that's been converted into a gallery/restaurant. We sat out on a verandah that overlooked the rolling green hills. Paella and saganaki and a bunch of other delicious things were consumed!

  22. Nice post and some great shots in there, too.

    Did you know you can get killer deep fried oysters at the Mt. Martha fish & chipper? There's also some great snorkelling and spear fishing to be had down at Birdrock Beach, once you descend the many, many stairs.

  23. Omg those pumpkins made me think abt Toronto at Halloween time...

  24. I've only been to Mornington once and I've been wanting to head back down that way ever since. Your post has inspired me to make that something to do this year. :) Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos!
    What a great prize too. All the goodies sound delicious.

  25. My favourite pinot noir's all come from that reigon.

  26. I have just moved down to Melbourne and from everything I have heard - Mornington Peninsula is where I have to head next.

  27. 3 people became great friends on a trip to Mornington Peninsula 3 years ago. From the walk in Point Nepean National Park to sharing a strawberry fondue. 3 years on we are in 3 different places. One day we shall meet again and Mornington Peninsula will be the place to meet. Same time, same place :)

  28. Mornington holds a special place in my heart. That is where I first met my husband. It was an amazing trip that sealed my future :)

  29. Hi Thanh!
    I've been here for 4 years but have not been to Mornington Peninsula! Photos looks great, can't wait to visit it someday!

  30. Thank you all for entering the competition. I loved the answers and look forward to visiting some of the suggested places.

  31. I just went up to Morninngton Peninsula with my with my family who came from Singapore. We went to Red Hill Brewery and as we were there 4 years ago, we were excited to dine there as well! But we didn't realise how small the individual portions were, and ended up needing to order all the platters to share! Of course, we also ordered a large mug of beer, to fill us up!