Sunday, 31 July 2011

Lerida Estate Vineyard and Cellar Door, Lake George

Lerida Estate Vineyard, Lake George, NSW
Lerida Estate (pronounced Le-ruh-duh) is located on the banks of Lake George and the vineyard which hugs the hills looks picture perfect, even with the vines barren and bare for winter. The distinctive Glenn Marcutt designed building which houses the Lerida Estate cellar door and cafe is hard to miss and adds a touch of flair to the whole operation.

Lerida Estate Cellar Door
Wine tasting, Lerida Estate, Lake George

A crackling fire made the cellar door experience a that bit more pleasant on the cold, wintry day I visited on. Lerida Estate has a few wines which have gained attention of the good kind with many gold medals and some wines cracking the Australian top-100 wines list. Lerida Estate offers several varieties of cool-climate wine with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Merlot and Voignier all planted and harvested on-site.

Lerida Estate, Lake George, NSW

Lerida Estate offers tours and tastings and both were conducted in a relaxed way with information being offered on a level that was useful but not so technical as to be boring. There were suggestions on which flavours and aromas each wine offered and also an sheet which outlined suggestions for food pairings which I found to be quite useful.

If you visit on the weekend, Cafe Lerida dishes up hearty food which can be paired with wines either by the glass or bottle. The cafe offers both breakfasts and lunches and the menu also has suggestions for pairing your wine to get the most out of the experience. For a full menu, click here.
Beef and red wine pie, Cafe Lerida

During the month of August, Lerida Estate is also hosting events for the Fireside Festival including truffles on the menu and wine master classes.

Lerida Estate's Cellar Door is open 10am - 5pm seven days a week with the exception of Good Friday and Christmas Day. Cafe Lerida is open Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. Lerida is an easy drive from Canberra and is located just off the Federal Highway in Lake George, New South Wales.

Useful links:

Lerida Estate

Fireside Festival

2012 Weereewa Lake George Festival 

Monday, 25 July 2011

Winter is Citrus Season!

Navel oranges

I was lucky enough to inherit two very happy citrus trees when I made the tree-change to Cootamundra. They sit happily unnoticed throughout most of the year but at the moment they are just BURSTING with fresh juicy fruit - the navel orange tree in particular is having a massive year although the lemon is taking a bit easier this time around.

I have said it before but will say it again - if you have the chance to grow some of your own fruit or vegetables, do it! The taste will truly blow you away and you can sleep easy knowing that no harmful pesticides have worked their way into your fruit.

Navel oranges

I don't cook much but my husband is a bit of a whiz in the kitchen and I have included a pic of the lemon meringue pie he made using our lemons - if you have any other good recipes using citrus, why not add a comment sharing them with me?
Lemon Meringue Pie

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Harden's House of Honey, Murrumburrah, NSW

Harden's Houe of Honey
Harden's House of Honey is full of everything sweet and yellow. Honey, not surprisingly, is the star of the show. Creamed honey, macadamia honey, honey on the comb, honey comb, honey popcorn, honey lollies, honey name it, it is here! But Harden's House of Honey doesn't stop at the stuff you can eat - there are also beeswax candles and furniture polish, honey body products, bee toys, bee books, bee costumes, bee get the picture.

Wild bees, Cootamundra
While some of the stuff is a little bit kitschy, it would definately appeal to the kids and there are also some really beautiful products on offer. Of course there is the honey itself which is locally produced - there are so many types and it comes in tubs, bottles and jars. Harden's House of Honey provides samples of each type so you can try before you buy to make sure you pick the honey that you love. There are also hampers containing beeswax candles, honey and other goodies which are presented really well and reasonably priced.

Harden's House of Honey

Local Harden Honey at Harden's House of Honey

Harden's House of Honey
Harden's House of Honey is located in the old Post Office building and there is some history on the building as well as some information on the life cycle of bees, honey production and the like throughout the store. There are hives, frames, extractors and the like on display which add to the experience.

As well as this, Harden's House of Honey doubles as a cafe. It serves Art of Espresso coffee which is roasted in nearby Young, NSW as well as sandwiches, biscuits and devonshire tea. The sandwiches are around the $5 mark with a devonshire tea setting you back $6.50 and $3.50 for a coffee.

Harden's Houe of Honey cafe
If you are visiting Harden-Murrumburrah, Harden's House of Honey is a great little place to stop in and pick up some delicious local produce as a memento of your stay. Harden's House of Honey is located on the Burley Griffin Way (Albury Street) in Murrumburrah, New South Wales.

A friendly welcome at Harden's House of Honey!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Destination: YOUNG, NSW

The Big Cherries, Young, NSW

Not all towns can boast that they have a set of Big Cherries. Young in New South Wales can lay this claim to fame and they are hard to miss! The Big Cherries were relocated a few years ago and now mark the spot where the Young Visitors Centre is located within the old Young Railway Station. The Big Cherries give visitors a not-so-subtle hint that Young is all about cherries – there is even an annual festival held each December celebrating the fruit. (The 2011 Cherry Festival will be held from the second to the fourth of December.)  As you head into Young, cherry orchards dot the undulating hills and there are roadside stalls where you can pick up a box of fruit at a reasonable price throughout the cherry season (starting around November each year). Young is a fairly quiet little town but the cherry season sees the population get a boost from the tenacious cherry pickers who swarm on the town and set up tent cities which swelter through the hot dry Young summers.

If you do visit Young in the summer, several orchards offer you the option to pick your own cherries – if you try this, be prepared to sweat a bit! You could take the opportunity to practice your cherry pit-spitting for the Cherry Festival competition while you pick your bounty. Other stone fruits including plums and peaches should also be ripe for the taking throughout summer and there are strawberries and apples available seasonally too.

Roadside cherry stall, Young, NSW
In addition to the cherries, Young fights out the ‘Tidy Towns’ competition with gusto each year. The town has seen some successful projects and the most obvious example is the facelift which the Young Town Hall was given. This project didn’t take out a tidy towns honour but the Town Hall which dominates the streetscape is all the better for it. For the architecture buffs, there are some beautiful buildings scattered around Young dating back to the 1800s. There are plaques outlining the history of many of these historic buildings throughout the town so put your walking shoes on and see what you can discover! There is also a museum on Campbell Street and right opposite this, you can see the place where the Riot Act was read during the gold rush.

The new-look Young Town Hall

Historic Young Court House
Site of the reading of the Riot Act, Young, NSW
Another must do if you are in the Young region is try some wine from the Hilltops region. The Hilltops region wineries produce cool-climate wines including Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz. The Young Visitor Centre now has a cellar door offering many of the local Hilltops wines as well as other produce from the area. In addition the Young Visitor Centre has souvenirs and also houses the Burrangong Art Gallery featuring paintings and photographs from local artists.

Young Visitor Centre

Cellar door - Young Visitor Centre 
Young is located on the south west slopes of New South Wales and has caravan parks, motels and a variety of shops and restaurants as well as some B&B and farm stay options a little further out of town. Seasonal temperatures are extreme so rug up in winter and pack light in summer.

Next time you find yourself craving cherries, cherry pie, cherry wine, cherry liquor, Big Cherries or even a spot of gold panning, why not make the trip to Young – you might be pleasantly surprised!

Young Visitor Centre

Useful Links:

Friday, 1 July 2011

Which Craft & Coffee Cottage, Murrumburrah-Harden

Which Craft and Coffee Cottage, Murrumburrah-Harden

The Style: Which Craft and Coffee Cottage is set inside a house which was built in 1902 and as you open the front door, it feels like you are popping in to visit an old friend. The dining room at Which Craft and Coffee Cottage is quaint and cosy - it is like the quintessential country kitchen from story books with a beautiful embossed ceiling, timber floors, tapestry wall hangings and a pantry bursting at the seams! In this case, the pantry is jam packed with local goodies for sale including jam, chutney, oils, dried fruits and cakes all at reasonable prices.

Dining room, Which Craft and Coffee Cottage, Murrumburrah-Harden

Local produce, Which Craft and Coffee Cottage, Murrumburrah-Harden
Local produce - Which Craft and Coffee Cottage, Murrumburrah-Harden
The entire house is open to be explored and there are arts and crafts of every imaginable style on display. All are for sale and if you are looking for a gift, there is plenty to choose from. There is a room full of baby wear, a room of goodies for the kids as well as several rooms with jewellery, clothing, wall hangings, cards and everything in between.

Devonshire Tea - Which Craft and Coffee Cottage, Murrumburrah-Harden

Devonshire tea - Which Craft and Coffee Cottage, Murrumburrah-Harden
Scones - Which Craft and Coffee Cottage, Murrumburrah-Harden

The taste: There is nothing nicer on a cold winter morning than Devonshire tea and the version dished up at Which Craft and Coffee Cottage certainly didn't disappoint. The scones were light and fluffy and the helpings of jam and cream were generous. Other items on the menu include quiche, sandwiches and cake.

Local craft - Which Craft and Coffee Cottage, Murrumburrah-Harden

Dining room wall hanging - Which Craft and Coffee Cottage, Murrumburrah-Harden
The crowd: Which Craft and Coffee Cottage caters largely to visitors. If you are passing through, Which Craft also acts as a tourist information centre and the volunteers who work there are very welcoming and happy to share their local knowledge.

Local craft - Which Craft and Coffee Cottage, Murrumburrah-Harden

The cost: The cost of a Devonshire tea was $8 and included two scones, condiments and a pot of tea. Menu items were all very reasonably priced.

The Location: Which Craft and Coffee Cottage is located at 19 Vernon Street, Murrumburrah (on the corner of Albury Street which is the main street through town). The twin-towns of Murrumburrah and Harden are located on the south west slopes of New South Wales about four hours drive from Sydney or  one hour and forty five minutes from Canberra.

Which Craft and Coffee Cottage

Which Craft and Coffee Cottage