Sunday, 24 April 2011

Harden Gold Trail Festival

Re-enactment of the shooting of John Barnes - Harden Gold Trail Festival

The south west of NSW is home to many towns which have been affected by the discovery of gold and ten local governments in the area have recently banded together to create a tourist trail to celebrate the region's gold rush history. Harden Shire Council has embraced this concept and in 2010, the first Harden Gold Trail Festival was held.

Re-enacment of the shooting of John Barnes, Harden Gold Trail Festival
The twin-towns of Harden and Murrumburrah are part of the 186 000 hectare Harden Shire Council area which is home to around 3 500 people. Today the area is better known for its quality dryland wheat but back in the 1800s, it was home to scandal and intrigue with several high profile bushrangers plying their trade in the area. Demondrille Creek near Harden saw the discovery of gold in 1856 and in 1897, Harden Murrumburrah was the site of the first call up muster of the 1st Australian Horse. These chapters in Harden's history are celebrated at the Harden Gold Trail Festival. The festival includes re-enactments of famous events such as the shooting of John Barnes by bushrangers Vane and O'Meally, the Murrumburrah Light Horse Troop manouvres, a bullock dray, gold panning, plays and muzzle-loading and firing demonstrations.

The festival also has market stalls featuring local arts, crafts, baked goods and produce.
Market stalls, Harden Gold Trail Festival
Harden is located three and a half hours from Sydney and one and a half hours from Canberra. The Harden Gold Trail Festival takes place at the Murrumburrah Showground on Woolrych Street in Murrumburrah with events scheduled between 11am and 4pm.
The cost of entry to the Harden Gold Trail Festival is $2.00 for adults and $1 for children or $5 for families.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Esco Pazzo, Mittagong

Esco Pazzo, Mittagong

The style: Esco Pazzo Italian Restaurant is located in a historic building with exposed brick walls, black and white photgraphs and huge glassed areas overlooking a garden. It is cosy and simple creating an inviting atmosphere without trying too hard. The only real negative with the decor is the tacky paper tablecloths.

Esco Pazzo, Mittagong
The taste: The a la carte menu specialises in Roman Italian cuisine and includes wood fired pizzas, pasta, risotto as well as various main meals including quail, veal, steak and lamb. There is also a daily specials board which is where I found the veal with tomato, anchovy, olive and caperberry sauce. The food here is truly spectacular and it isn't hard to see why Esco Pazzo has been a regular on the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Guide over the past few years.

Veal in a tomato, anchovy, olive and caperberry sauce, Esco Pazzo, Mittagong

Roma Pizza - mozzarella, sliced potato, pork sausage, rosemary and olive oil; Esco Pazzo

The price: Antipasti range from $13.50 - 19:50, Pasta from $14.00 to $18.00, Secondi from $23.50 - $28.50 and Pizza from $12.90 - $20.00. The pizzas were very generously sized. To view Esco Pazzo's menu, click here.

Esco Pazzo, Mittagong
The location: Esco Pazzo is located at 84 Main Street, Mittagong. Mittagong is at the northern end of the Southern Highlands in NSW about two hours northeast of Canberra and one and a half hours south west of Sydney.

Esco Pazzo on Urbanspoon

Monday, 18 April 2011

Cootamundra Picnic Races

Cootamundra Picnic Races

2011 marked the 104th meeting of the Cootamundra Picnic Races which is hosted by the Southern District Picnic Race Club. There was a six race program with the first race at 1:25pm and the last at 5pm. In addition to the races, other entertainment including Fashions on the Field, a jumping castle for the kids and food stands kept the crowds happy.

The picnic races provide a really relaxed atmosphere which is quite different to the big city meets and the event is family friendly. 

Billigaboo - Cootamundra Picnic Races
The races are held annually at the Cootamundra Racecourse which is located on Racecourse Road in Cootamundra. Camping is not available at the course but there are shuttle buses which run between the track and town.

The cost of entry is $20 for adults, $15 for pensioners and free for under 12s.

Grandstand, Cootamundra Racecourse

Monday, 11 April 2011

Uneke Lounge, Wagga Wagga

Uneke Lounge, Wagga Wagga
The Style: Uneke Lounge in Wagga is a trendy little eatery in Wagga Wagga, NSW attached to a gift and home wares shop which goes by the same ‘Uneke’ brand. Uneke's exposed brick walls, leather couches and fireplace create an inviting atmosphere and the wall hangings add some vintage glam. The seating at Uneke Café  includes long tables and clustered couches which invite mingling between people, however, when I was there for breakfast, most offered a quick smile before burying their noses into the complimentary magazines and newspapers.

The taste: the menu offers up standard café fare including burgers, steak sandwiches and wraps. The bircher muesli which I ordered from the breakfast menu was a standout – it was presented beautifully and fortunately, there was not a hint of the gluggy blandness which some mueslis offer up. On the lunch menu, the lamb salad was extremely tasty although not very pretty to look at. The burgers get the nod of approval too.

Bircher Muesli, Uneke Lounge, Wagga Wagga

For the sweet tooths, the cake cabinet here is so enticing and I couldn’t resist picking up a cupcake to go. Pretty as a picture!

Cupcake, Uneke Lounge

The service: Service here is professional and friendly. The orders are taken fast but I did have to wait almost thirty minutes for my breakfast. The café didn’t look that busy at the time so I was not expecting the delay – lucky the flavour made it worth the wait!

Uneke Lounge, Wagga Wagga

The price: Prices here are on par with other cafes in the country. Lunch for two with drinks comes in around the $50 mark. To see full menus, click here.

The location: Uneke Café is located at 140 Fitzmaurice St in Wagga Wagga, NSW. Mon-Wed 8:30 - 5:30. Thur - Sat 8:30 - 10:00pm. Breakfast on Sunday.

Uneke Lounge on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Capital Region Farmer's Market, Canberra

Beetroot - Capital Region Farmer's Market, Canberra

The Capital Region Farmer's Market is run by the Rotary Club of Hall. It is held on Saturdays from 8am - 11am at EPIC in Canberra. I had heard big things about this market but the sheer quantity of food on offer still took me by suprise. The market was jam-packed with shoppers and there really was something for everyone including fruit, veg, honey, wine, meat, bread, trees, herbs and even chickens!

Mushrooms, Capital Region Farmers Market, Canberra

The prices at the market are reasonable with costs similar to that in supermarkets. The difference is in the taste - fresh, flavourful, fabulous!! If you are near Canberra on a Saturday morning, I recommend popping in for a browse but be warned - you wont leave empty handed!

Potatoes - Capital Region Farmer's Market, Canberra