M rating, 91 min, Drama, Thriller, Action, 8 Oct 2013 (AUS)
Undercover agent Thanh Do is a bright and capable agent and has been sent to infiltrate a group of food lover on a trip to the King Valley. There has been a tip off that a mafia run counterfeit ring has been set up in the King Valley to sell cheaper Prosecco in place of the quality product made in the area. The whistleblower has indicated that an upcoming trip with an group of food lovers touring the area is actually a scouting mission to find new locations to sell the fake goods. Agent Do has been tasked with flushing out the criminals and breaking up this crime syndicate. Agent Do must realistically embed himself into the world of food and wine in order to not be found out. As Agent Do gets closer to others in the group, the developing relationships start to impede his judgement, which may ultimately result in his demise.
Read part 1 of the King Valley Love saga about Brown Brothers Winery and Jessie's Creek B&B here.
Suddenly, we saw the car rounding the bend and stopped to let it pass before crossing the road to our rooms at the Mountain View Hotel and having a peaceful night's rest.
Day 2 started at the Mountain View Hotel for coffees and some sweets, in the form of rocky road. I must say I wasn't that excited about rocky road as it's usually so terrible. But this rocky road was absolutely amazing. Good quality chocolate covered homemade Turkish delight, homemade marshmallows, glace cherries and nuts. It turns out they were made by Katrina Pizzini, whom with Fred Pizzini run Pizzini Wines. They had come to greet us and take us to their winery to try out some wines and have lunch.
Pizzini Winery is a really beautiful place, having been converted from a tobacco farm to a winery as tobacco started to lose favour. Like the other wineries around the region, the focus on is on some rather unique grapes that aren't found in other wine regions around Australia.
We drank Prosecco while learning to take photos. I followed Ashley as she went to learn to take photos with Ewen. She was snapping like a professional paparazzi, snap snap snap. She was also happily posing for photos. I knew straight away that anyone so accustomed to being photographed can't be a criminal who would want to keep a low profile. After the photography lessons, Fred let us try all of the wines that he made. They were all so unique and really good.
After the wine tasting, we went to the Pizzini Winery kitchen to cook up lunch. Veda instantly rolled up her sleeves and showed us how it was done. Instantly, I struck her off my suspect list, given her enthusiasm to cook food. A criminal would hang back and not want to be the centre of attention. Veda rolled the gnocchi with such aplomb you'd think she had worked in the hospitality industry before. And as I later found that, that is indeed what she used to do.
When all the food was cooked, we sat down to a beautifully laid out table for lunch. The food is what is perfectly described as simple yet perfect. The gnocchi was the best I've ever tasted, paired with a simple bolognaise sauce, which I had never seen before. I've since been informed that's a common combination in Italy. I guess it seems too simple for restaurants so they tend to do some fancy sauce with the gnocchi. But the bolognaise is perfect with the gnocchi. A cheese ravioli with browned butter sage sauce was again so simple and perfect. The pastry and cheese just melted together. Simple salads really finished off an excellent meal that made me see how good simple foods can be. The wines accompanying the meal worked so well to bring out the flavours of the food.
After the great lunch, it was back into the party car with Ewen, Rob and David where sang our way to King Valley Premium Beef headquarters, which also served as the home of Emma. Of course Prosecco was drunk before anything commenced. It's like no one in the region did anything before drinking Prosecco. Not a bad policy I say.
Emma raised cattle for meat, with the tiny cows being of a breed known as Square Meater. They are really small, for a cow, and are so cute. Emma showed us around her farm and the cattle, also giving away the secret to her meat's flavours, Prosecco. You heard it here first. The farm is a beautiful place, with the ubiquitous rolling hills that you see in promotional posters but you doubt are true in most cases. Well in this case, the cows roam the beautiful countryside and sitting up at the outdoor table eating cheese and drinking wine, I think I could graze those beautiful lands all day too.
After visiting Emma at the farm, it was back to the Mountain View Hotel for dinner. Fred and Katrina Pizzini brought along the wines, including a magnum of 2004 Sangiovese from their own cellar. Dinner was really good. Entrees of cured ocean trout and soy chicken wings were done so well. I was once again surprised as I thought the food was going to be cliche pub food. Choices of mains between slow cooked lamb, steak or crispy skin fish was all really good. My lamb was so tender and had good flavour. During the meal, I focused my attention on David who was sitting next to me. It turns out David had quite a large knowledge of wines and seemed to really enjoy it. I struck him off my list of suspect as a criminal wouldn't put time into learning about wines and enjoying them.
Day 2 has gone and I've struck off 6 people from the list of criminal suspects for the Prosecco counterfeit crimes. So far Ewen, Rob, Emma, Ashley, Veda and David are no longer suspects in my eyes. That left Jo, Sarah and Melissa as the prime suspects. It's getting harder and harder to do my job as I'm thoroughly enjoying the King Valley hospitality, scenery and overall atmosphere. With those thoughts, I bid farewell to everyone and walked to my room to go to bed. I had reached my room when I heard.............
TO BE CONTINUED
Read part 3 of the King Valley Love saga about Politini Wines, Gracebrook Vineyards and Dal Zotto Wines here.
Read part 4 of the King Valley Love saga about Lindenwarrah and Milawa Chese Company here.
I attended this wonderful trip courtesy of Squawk Media and the hospitality of the numerous companies of the King Valley