Sunday, December 15, 2013

Wine Food Farmgate in Mornington Peninusla + Giveaway Cherry Picking Experience

I really loved the Mornington Peninsula area, so when I was invited to try the new Wine Food Farmgate trails that the area has just implemented, I quickly accepted. It was such a great adventure as I got to go on the trip with Michele, Michelle, Agnes, Alastair, I-Hua, Aaron and Adrian.
I was invited by Q Stategies and dined and stayed courtesy of the businesses mentioned in this post.

The Wine Food Farmgate initiative brings together most of the producers, restaurants, wineries in the Mornington Peninsula area to provide you, the explorer, with an experience that will delight your senses as I found out. Basically, you can buy a trail kit and then work out all the places you want to go and plan an itinerary, collecting food and wine and eating on each stop.

In our two day trip, I visited and tried the following things:
Yabby Lake Winery
Green Olive at Red Hill Vineyard
2 Macs Farm
Red Hill Cherry Farm
Mornington Prime Cuts
Max's Retreat at Red Hill Estate
Somers General Store
Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm
Mornington Peninsula Brewery

Check out the other posts about this trip
Agnes' post
I-Hua's post

The first stop on the trip which we all experienced was lunch at Yabby Lake Winery. The winery has been around since the 1980s and is owned by the Kirby family. The kids loved yabbies so hence the name. And yes, I did ask, there are yabbies in the ponds on the vineyard. The winery is famous for their Pinots and Chardonnays as the soils in the are suit those varieties. We sampled a number of Pinot Gris, Chardonnays and Pinot Noir to match our lunch. I really enjoyed all the wines, especially the Pinot Noirs.

For lunch, we shared a number of entrees, mains and desserts. Entrees of duck and rabbit terrine was good, as was the antipasto platter. I really loved the white anchovies in the antipasto platter. However, my favourite entree was the mussels caught fresh that day from Dromana. They were so sweet and the tomato sauce was excellent. It was a hot item as we went to order another serve and it was all gone. So if they have it as a special, I'd highly recommend you order it quickly.

For mains, we shared a Lamb Tagine, Spanish Rice, Sanganaki and Cottage Pie. All dishes were good, but surprisingly I really loved the Cottage Pie the most. A good filling with soft potato topping.

Desserts was my favourite course for good reason. The fig and cinnamon cake with Persian fairy floss was really good. I love both the flavour and texture. The raspberry and white chocolate muffin was also really moreish. The Chin Chin dessert of meringue with honeycomb and ice cream wasn't too bad, but the highlight was surprisingly the rice pudding. It was stunning. The texture wasn't gluggy as I was expecting and the syrup and fruits worked so well in it.

After lunch, we split up to go to different stops along the Wine Food Farmgate. I went with Michele, Michelle and Adrian to Green Olive at Red Hill Vineyard. Green Olive is a restaurant, a farm, a food store and a cooking school. Chef Patrick showed us around the farm, from the fresh vegetables and herb that get used in the restaurant to the chicken and sheep that also get used and sold. We sampled a Chocolate Parfait with honeycomb and it was stunning. The parfait was really smoothy and chocolatey and worked so well with the honeycomb, which had a hint of bitterness. We also picked up a number of produce for our dinner which we would be cooking. Chef Patrick helped us gather a number of herbs, oils, rubs, sauces and lamb sausage. It was such a beautiful haul and I was salivating already at the thought of what we could cook up.

Next up, we went to my favourite stop for the trip, 2 Macs Farm. The wonderfully friendly Mary showed us around her farm which she runs with her husband Rob. Mary showed us around the farm where she plants lots of vegetables, keeps chickens, keeps lamb, harvest honey, makes raw butter, runs a B&B and soon will have a cooking school. It really was a delightful place and I'd definitely go back to stay at the B&B and take a course in the cooking school. Mary set us off on our trip with the best haul of goodies. There were leeks, garlic, cabbage, lemons, mint, honey, beetroot relish, raw honey, beans, nettle, pullet eggs (eggs from chickens under 1 year old) and my new favourite thing, raw butter, made with unpasteurised milk. The butter is so creamy and has a hint of sourness from the unpasteurised milk. It was so interesting to see the techniques that Mary used to grow and make her products and I have to say it definitely makes a different. Her produce are thriving and tastes so much better than the commercial stuff.

We all met back up at our accommodation for night, Max's Retreat at Red Hill Estate. The accommodation is stunning. A high ceiling classic house with 4 large bedrooms and beautifully decorated with eclectic decorations. It had a roaring wood fire heater, comfortable lounge area and a gigantic wooden dining room table. The kitchen was also well equipped so we got in there and started to cook up our dinner.

Everyone chipped in to help cook up dinner, in between watching the cricket of course and eating Red Hill Cherry Farm cherries. Michele used the lamb sausages and beans and herbs to cook up a lovely stew. Aaron was the king of sauces while I-Hua marinated the meats. Agnes and Michelle helped do prep work and hit the shops when we found out no one got bread. I was BBQ master (modest is my middle middle name) and BBQed sausages, lamb chops and a Peri Peri chicken. I was really happy with how everything turned out really well without being dry. Aaaron had brought a meat thermometer and we used it for the chicken and it ensured the chicken was perfectly cooked and still moist. Aaron also used the thermometer on the beef and it was perfectly pink. He combined it with a nettle soup/sauce and it was such an amazing dish, worthy of any restaurant. The meal was accompanied by the wonderful Yabby Lake wines and some Spotify retro music lists that Michele had organised. Mass karaoke ensued. After singing well into the night, it was time to go to sleep. While the bed was comfortable, I had a hard time sleeping. The intermittent rain on the metal roof was not something I was used it so I kept waking up to the sounds. If the rain had been continuous it would have been soothing, but instead I found it rather disturbing. Bring ear plugs if you stay here just in case in rains.

On our second day, we started our exploration at Somers General Store. I had been here before and Leisa, the owner, remembered me. The restaurant now has a liquor license and also opens during dinner on Friday and the weekends. Their primary thing is still breakfast and lunch, served in a really comfortable setting full of funky elements that will draw your eyes. We all ordered coffees and different meals. The coffees were good and I ordered the Ham and Eggs. A perfectly poached egg was served on sourdough with a hollandaise sauce and a huge slab of ham terrine. I loved all the element and the servings were so large I couldn't even finish it. The others ordered dishes of granola, Croque Monseuir, Eggs and Beans and the Big Breakfast that I-Hua got. The big breakfast was humungous, but being the brunch Queen that I-Hua is, she ate it all. Everyone liked their dishes but the massive servings defeated most of us.

After a short stroll along the cold beach next to Somers General Store, we were all ready to go back to something warmer. Off we went to Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm. I had not been there before, but wow, the strawberries were amazing, super sweet. I bought a few punnets to take home and eat, while sampling many while at the shop. You can pick your own strawberries, eat dessert in the restaurant and buy heaps of products from the shop.

The final stop on our trip was Mornington Peninsula Brewery. Owner Matthew told us about the origins of the brewery, which was when the Hawthorn Football Team won the 2008 Grand Final, he decided to start a brewery. As I'm a massive Hawks fan, I instantly liked the place already. We learned about the different beers that were brewed and then got round to sampling. We tried every, and I say EVERY, single beer that they serve, from pale ales, to IPAs to Brown Ales. I liked all the beers and the IPA and Brown Ale the most surprisingly. Usually I prefer lighter beers but these two really captured me.

The brewery also makes pizzas, so again we sampled a number of them. The pizza bases are made using beer, and they really worked. They were crispy and tasty. The toppings are kept fairly simple but there were lots of great combinations. Traditional flavours like salami, margherita, cheese sat aside pear & ham, lamb and yoghurt. All the pizzas were great and my favourite was the four cheeses one.

I had such a wonderful time on this trip and can't wait to go back to Mornington Peninsula and visit more places on the Wine Food Farmgate. There is such a huge variety of places to visit and I'm always finding somewhere new and great to visit. I highly recommend you check out the Mornington Peninsula region, as well as the Wine Food Farmgate trail for yourself. The region make a great one day getaway or for longer as it's very close to get to via the freeway now. I think you will enjoy the region as much as I do.


Thank you all so much for all your wonderful entries.

Winners randomly drawn are SK and The Dream World. I will contact you to send you your prize.

2 x Voucher for a Family (2 adults, 2 kids) to pick and take home 1kg of cherries from Red Hill Cherry Farm.

The voucher expires January 31st 2015. Cherry season runs from November to January so it's worth booking in now.

Just leave a comment. You can write about anything.

Make sure there is a way for me to contact you. If I can't get in contact with you within 2 days, I will redraw the prize.

Conditions of Entry
- Anyone can enter. One entry per person. You can transfer the prize to friends or family.
- Competition closes December 18th 9pm AEST. The winner will be announced on the following day and published on this same post.
- The winners will be randomly drawn.
- I will contact the winner directly to get your address to send the vouchers.

Check out my previous posts about the Mornington Peninsula for some great places to visit:

Montalto Winery
Food Tour
Heronswood Garden
Red Hill Estate
Peninsula Hot Springs
The Long Table
Woodman Estate
Red Hill Brewery


  1. Pizza based beer = yes please

  2. I'd love to go cherry picking! Never been fruit picking and it's something to do on my list of adventures. Especially as cherries are my favourite berry. :P

  3. Great places, I Need to search and take my little gang to the mornington This holidays

  4. Looks like a great trip. I'd love to go cherry picking so I hope I win.

  5. My newly wed friends would love this so much! Or even my aunt, uncle and grandson. There's something fun about picking fruit from off the trees with family.

    ~Jayne (

  6. The whole experience sounds amazing - love the pics and your weekend description of how one could spend the weekend @ the Mornington.

    My fav pics are:
    1) Pics from 2 Macs Farm - produce looks really fresh, looking forward to maybe booking in a cooking class there one day!
    2) Beer paddles.. ;)

  7. Cherry beer... mmmm.... now there's a thought...

  8. Would you believe I've never been to Red Hill, or done cherry/strawberry picking? Crazy, huh?

  9. I love cherries and have never been picking in my life. I would take my cousin and her kids to experience this wonderful day.

  10. What a better way to spend some time with my husband away from the children just him and I. Cherry picking, eating pizza and indulging in some beer. And looking at the beautiful scenery.

  11. Cherries on the way to the maze at Main Ridge, then cherries on the way to a game of golf, followed by cherries on the way to a winery or craft beer tasting, then cherries whilst relaxing at the hot springs before a cherry good rest at the end of the day. How cherifully wonderful.

  12. I'd love to make Maggie Beer's Sparkling Ruby Cabernet Jelly with Cherries!

  13. This place is just down the road from me and I didn't even realise. Wow! It would be great to take the kids to it!

  14. Love cherries - it would be so worth a trip for the kids t experience picking them themselves.

  15. I live on the peninsula and i didnt even know many of these places were here :) Thank you for your wonderful story.I think we will go exploring over the holidays to some of these local, wonderful places.Those pizzas look delicious!!.Thanks, from Kirsty

  16. Hi haven't been to Red Hill since I was 15 years old, I'm 31 now with a 3 and a 5 year old. The cherry picking would be delicious and a great day out.

  17. The pictures of your Peninsula trip look just amazing.

    The last time I went to Red Hill was as a kid 20 years ago, when my family went cherry picking - though my only memory was that there were far too many flies milling around! It would be great to have another visit and update that memory.

  18. Cherries! I love cherries. In a black forest cake.

  19. My stomach is rumbling!

  20. I've never been fruit picking at all. Would love to take the kids and experience it with them.

  21. what a great prize, fresh produce is the best and great to tech children where food comes from, I would really want my kids to have the best in life and this would be a great start.

  22. cherry picking is so exciting. I would love to do this with my little sister and brother when they are coming to visit me in Australia. :)

  23. My mouth is watering reading this post and my poor cold toast with vegemite for breakfast sadly just will not cut it anymore! Thank you for all the eating school holiday ideas!

  24. Great summer holiday ideas!

  25. What a wonderful activity to do as a family (perfect for all ages too)!

  26. Kate Dvornik12/18/2013 1:26 PM

    Perfect for a school holiday activity with my Cherryholic children! And only 30min down the road :)

  27. I will off those cherries for a whole week! i will be cherried out!

  28. I've never been cherry picking before,it would be an amazing experience!

  29. I've never been cherry picking before,it would be an amazing experience!

  30. Hope they still have cherries to pick at Red Hill.... I heard they ran out of ready to pick cherries over the weekend....

  31. Yum! cherries would love to make a cherry pie or a cherry crumble with these yummo...

  32. great places, yummy cherries

  33. I've never tied a cherry stem with my tongue but I'm willing to try.

  34. Cherries for the whole family to enjoy. I love the sweetness of them. We pip them and put them in our ice cream with some shaved white chocolate. Great summer treat.

  35. I want to go cherry picking

  36. Love cherries. Hope this year's cherries are nice.

  37. Cherry picking! wow what a great idea for the school holidays and spitting the pips in the in the bowl competition afterwards is a must!

  38. my comment about cherry picking and pip competitons being a great idea for the school hols should have included my email which is:

  39. I have serious egg porn envy.. The sauce... the yolk..
    Asians love eggs lah. I'm @sixinchheel as you would know :)

  40. Ahhh such a good trip. We should def do it again!

  41. My goodness your photos are stunning... I love Red Hill and you should definitely check out Foxeys Hangout - great wine (try their shiraz)!