This year’s drought has taken its toll on communities right across NSW and the Hunter Valley is no exception. But one positive is that, even though dry season leads to a reduction in the total size of the wine crop, it actually means they produce wines of exceptional quality. So, now is the time to head to the Hunter Valley for a food and wine weekend!
Baume Restaurant at Ben Ean, in Lindeman’s Estate, is an exciting eatery serving dishes loaded with vibrant Mediterranean flavours. Chef, Adam Bartley, gives his own twist on the Greek gastronomic acropolis of prawns saganaki by replacing the saganaki cheese with fetta. Plus, he uses a secret tomato base that binds the two together like the mortar on the Parthenon!
So many of the dishes at Baume – from their seafood to their pizzas and even their roasted cauliflower – has a unique flavour, largely because every plate is skilfully baked in their huge wood-fired oven. When you try their slow-roasted lamb with rosemary and jus, you’ll be wondering if you can take their oven home with you!
Dalwood Estate at Dalwood is the oldest vineyard in Australia, having first established vines there in 1828. But now on the grounds there’s a new café that’s becoming one of the hottest brunch spots in the Hunter Valley.
Mr Busby’s at Dalwood Estate serves a smashed avocado on toast so good, you’ll be happy to put off saving for your home deposit a little bit longer! It comes with lovingly poached eggs, snow peas and carrots and marinated goat’s cheese.
There’s also baked eggs – Brazilian-style – with black beans, hummus, tomato salsa and heaps of bacon. But the highlight has to be the barbecued shared plate! It’s loaded with rump steak, chorizo, chicken wings, home-made barbecue sauce and deep fried crumbed bananas that are so sweet they make any iced doughnut you’ve ever had taste like a cough lolly!
These are just two of the exciting restaurants you can find in the Hunter Valley. And with the current dry season producing some excellent wines, there are some astounding flavours just waiting to be discovered.