A lucky invitation to the Mudgee Food and Wine Festival at Balmoral Beach gave me the perfect excuse last weekend to leave the hordes of the Eastern Suburbs behind and head to the north shore to indulge in one of my favourite pastimes: sampling delicious food and wine!
This was the 25th year of Sydney’s much loved pop wine destination and they celebrated by putting on the biggest and best event yet. The beautifully warm sunshine ensured a huge turnout relaxing in the tranquil beachside setting, listening to the musical entertainment and getting stuck in to the best of the Mudgee region’s produce.
“With even more local providers coming on board in 2015 including Baker Williams Distillery, Mudgee Honey Haven and Murrungundy Pistachios, this event [gave] festival-goers a unique opportunity to sample Mudgee’s finest, whilst learning firsthand about our world-class food and wine directly from the actual producers,” said Mike O’Malley of the Mudgee Grape Growers Association.
Sydney Social was lucky enough to take part in special guided tastings of some of the wares on offer. It was all, genuinely, delicious but my highlights included the surprisingly light and dry Gewürztraminer from Huntington Estate Wines, the Riesling from Robert Stein Vineyard and an incredible range of flavoured honeys (the lavender was amazing) from Honey Australia. The stars of the tasting for me, however, were the liqueurs from Baker Williams Distillery: the lemon myrtle and café liqueurs and butterscotch schnapps were all very rich but perfectly balanced in the sweetness – yum!
Sadly most of these gorgeous goodies are only available directly from the producers but if you missed out on this event, worry not! It actually serves as a precursor to the region’s gastronomic event of the year, the Mudgee Food & Wine Festival (12 September – 5 October 2015) so why not spoil yourself go and visit the real thing?
“With Mudgee now only a 50 minute flight from Sydney, there’s never been a better time to visit.” said Cara George, CEO Mudgee Region Tourism. Alternatively take it at a gentler pace with a 3.5 hour drive from Sydney giving you the opportunity to explore the region’s rolling hills, country towns, historic buildings and thriving café scene with boutique markets and galleries. And with more than 35 family-run cellar doors to discover, Mudgee goes straight to the top of my list of desirable weekend-break destinations.
For more information on the Mudgee region, please visit www.visitmudgeeregion.com.au