Josef Chromy

A couple of weeks ago we took Cooper to Launceston for a service, swapped her for a new BMW 120i courtesy car, picked up our lovely friend Deb and wended our way to  Josef Chromy for lunch. A picturesque 15 minute drive from the city, the winery at Relbia was launched in 2007. The cellar door is set within immaculate gardens where carefully trimmed privets, fountains and flowers mingle with majestic mature trees.

1.Josef Chromy Wines

4.outdoor seating5.weeping elm

A popular venue for weddings, the lakeside pavilion is a perfect spot to exchange vows.

6.lake

The view across the lake to the vineyards beyond can be enjoyed whether eating outdoors

7.outdoor eating

or inside the restaurant.

8.restaurant

We took advantage of the week day Winter Lunch Special, two courses and a glass of wine for $45. The complimentary sourdough bread was delicious, as was the 2018 Pinot Gris.

9.sourdough

The main course for the special this day was the Baked Beef Cheek with cauliflower, rhubarb, shaved cabbage, parmesan, parsley & lemon. Coincidentally, it would have been my choice anyway.

10.baked beef cheek

Michael opted for the Wood-Grilled Lamb Rump with baby lentils, baked Elphin Grove celeriac, spring onion & yoghurt. Not being a fan of celeriac, he requested the gnarled root be omitted. Graciously, chef replaced it with baked parsnip.

11.wood-grilled lamb rump

We all chose dessert instead of entrée as our second course, White Chocolate Bavarois was Chef’s special concoction.

12.white chocolate bavarois

The menu offered Hot Chocolate Mousse with leatherwood honey parfait, honeycomb, nashi pear and nib crumb.

13.hot chocolate mousse

Finishing off with coffee, we watched the activity in the vineyard. With 61 hectares to prune and a vineyard stretching for 2km I was grateful to be merely observing.

14.vineyard

Yarra vines

After the challenge of negotiating Melbourne peak hour gridlock, our tension slipped away as the traffic quelled and the road bisected a quilted landscape of farmland and vineyards. The Yarra Valley is renowned for its abundance of wineries and award winning wines. It seems June is the time of year to shorten opening hours to ‘winter time’ or to close doors and concentrate on maintenance but  De Bortoli didn’t let us down.

1.DeBortoli

The family company spans four generations, established by Vittorio and Giuseppina who migrated from Italy in 1928 to settle in Bilbul, New South Wales.  The Yarra Valley Estate was purchased in 1987, the original plantings of 1971 make it one of the oldest vineyards in the Yarra Valley. The bespoke rustic gates at the entrance to the property open to a tree-lined driveway, the morning sun still low in the sky.

2.bespoke gate3.DeBortoli driveway

The Locale Restaurant upstairs serves authentic Italian dishes made with ingredients grown on the estate.

4.restaurant & cellar door

Too early for lunch, we made our way to the cellar door instead.

5.cellar door

The space was warm and welcoming with interesting presentations of products.

There are a few tasting options, including a specialty gourmet selection combined with a cheese platter

8.cellar door

and private Trophy Room Tastings for those wanting to learn more about De Bortoli Italian wines.

9.Trophy Room10.Trophy Room

We opted for a tasting at the counter, the friendly staff happy to share their knowledge. A bottle of La Boheme, Act 1 Riesling accompanied us on our journey to enjoy later. The view is spectacular, 162 hectares of vines merge with rolling hills and distant ranges.

11.view from cellar door

We retraced our tracks to Yarra Glen for a life sustaining sausage roll at the bakery before continuing on to our next point of call. Zonzo Estate is set on 230 acres with stunning views across the valley.

12.view from Zonzo13.view from Zonzo

The 45 acres of vines were pruned and ready for spring,

14.vines

a comfortable perch for the local aves

15.raven

and the young olive trees were bearing fruit.

16.olives

We were disappointed to find the cellar door locked and deserted

17.Zonzo cellar door

but we had a quick nosey around. The old farm buildings have been cleverly resurrected and are a popular venue for weddings. I’d be happy just to sit with a glass of wine and absorb the wonderful vista.

18.Zonzo Estate

back to Bayviews

Last Friday, we celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. We probably would have both forgotten except that Michael was invited to play at Bayviews Restaurant from 6pm until 8.30pm in the new lounge bar. Of course, I wasn’t going to pass up the chance of dinner at our fave place. Bayviews closed for three weeks last year, re-opening on 8th October with a very different look and the added attraction of live music on Fridays. The revamped lounge area offers plenty of comfortable seating options to enjoy a drink and something delicious from the new bar menu.

1.lounge area

Previously the function room, the casual dining area is perfect to enjoy a meal or snack, with doors opening onto the deck for those warm summer evenings.

6.dining7.sea views

The relaxed ambience of the dining room has been retained but with a more formal feel, as the before and after photos show.

8.dining before reno9.dining after reno10.dining before reno11.dining after reno

The understated artwork in the main dining area is a beautiful depiction of the northern Tasmanian coastline from Low Head to Stanley (thank you, Michael, for pointing that out).

12.artwork

Pre-playing sustenance consisted of a James Squire One Fifty Lashes and bowl of wedges, while I opted for a Ninth Island sparkling. A Josef Chromy Pinot Gris accompanied through the rest of the evening.

The new lounge area with sliding doors to the balcony allowed for enjoyment of the superb entertainment inside

13.michael

while watching the recreation beachside, courtesy of the Burnie Surf Lifesaving Club.

16.iron ocean

The Iron Ocean challenge is a combination of Ironman and Ocean Swim events, giving kids the opportunity to strengthen their confidence in the water. The event involves swimming, running, surf ski paddling and board paddling. I was in awe and exhausted, observing from my comfortable perch.

Once the action was over and some well deserved food ensued, the gulls made their presence known. My attempts to successfully photograph a gull in flight proved challenging,

I opted for a stationary specimen.

26.gull

This was one of the rare occasions where a picturesque sunset failed to evolve.

27.no sunset

When Michael had finished his session, we enjoyed the rest of the wine with a wonderful meal. The new look menu doesn’t disappoint and the unexpected lemon jelly was a perfect palate cleanser.

The meals were, as usual, delectable. Michael chose pan fried blue eye trevalla on housemade fettucine with lemon beurre blanc sauce & roasted cherry tomatoes, from the specials board.

30.blue eye trevalla

I couldn’t resist my favourite slow cooked lamb shoulder with butternut pumpkin gnocchi, salsa verde, sugar snap peas, hung yoghurt & fresh mint.

31.slow cooked lamb

Thank you Bayviews for a wonderful evening, thank you Michael for the best 16 years.

Artentwine

I recently spent a weekend in Launceston with my sister who was here on holiday. Not that we needed an excuse to visit wineries, but the Artentwine sculpture exhibition was added incentive. The biennial competition started in 2014 and features contemporary sculptures by Australian and international artists, displayed at five wineries in the West Tamar. After driving up the East Tamar, we crossed the Batman Bridge and began our adventure at Goaty Hill. The three sculptures on display were set against the backdrop of beautiful vistas and vineyards. The bronze Seated Figure by Jason Farrow caught my eye and was still my favourite at the end of the day. I’m not going to include all the artist statements or this would be a very long post, but I found Jason’s summation quite moving; “Walking under the iconic coke sign of Kings Cross, Sydney, I noticed this guy, sitting there on the steps. Deep in thought, lost in anguish, you couldn’t really tell. Wherever he was, was a long way from here.”

1.Seated Figure

Jason Farrow, ‘Seated Figure’

2.My Other Half

Nicole Allen, ‘My Other Half’

3.CAUTION. This Is Not a Life Saving Device

Christopher Trotter, ‘CAUTION: This is not a life saving device’

Armed with two bottles of 2016 Goaty Hill Riesling, we moved on to Iron Pot Bay Vineyard. We only saw four of the five sculptures as they were positioned in rooms where people were eating and a little difficult to view. Simon Pankhurst’s, The Battle Between Needs and Wants, had been displayed upside down, not the best angle.

4.Wintery Mood

Peter Steller, ‘Wintery Mood’

7.The Night Hunter

Mela Cooke, ‘The Night Hunter’

The man in blue, poised in the garden, sported an outfit knitted with baling twine. My sister and I had been at Deloraine Craft Fair the previous weekend where we had seen numerous knitters eagerly creating something with the blue baling twine. It seems artist, Grietje van Randen, has enlisted volunteers to help complete a double life size Blue Farmer to be sited on a local farm to raise awareness of those living with depression and as a reminder for us all to be Looking Out For Each Other.

We added a bottle of 2016 Pinot Grigio to our collection and drove the short distance to neighbouring Holm Oak Vineyard where a further eight sculptures awaited. The setting was magnificent, unfortunately Smultronstalle and Impression VI were presented back to front, a little disappointing for the artist I would imagine.

18.Smultronstalle

Christie Lange, ‘Smultronstalle’

20.Impression VI

Paul Murphy, ‘Impression VI’

11.Monument of Indifference

Gene McLaren, ‘Monument of Indifference’

14.Water Light

Lisa de Boer, ‘Water Light’

15.Fisherman & Fisherwoman

Sallie Portnoy, ‘Fisherman & Fisherwoman’

19.Perpetual Growth

Vlase Nikoleski, ‘Perpetual Growth’

21.Tall Poppy

Peter Rozario, ‘Tall Poppy’

The competition was won by Wayne Hudson for Pledged which will become a one and a half metre diameter sculpture for the public. A light will be positioned below the ring and shine through the centre, I think it will be quite spectacular.

12.Pledged

Wayne Hudson, ‘Pledged’

A bottle of Duffy 2018 Rosé accompanied us to the next location, Moores Hill Estate. Some of the twelve sculptures were difficult to photograph against the background of corrugated iron and I was disappointed to see Fate had been damaged – the boat should be suspended within the frame but the supporting wires had broken.

23.Fate

Jamie Dobbs, ‘Fate’

Ask and thou shalt receive by Al Roberts was my close second favourite, the man’s face had so much character. It is no wonder it won the People’s Choice award. The artist’s statement is worth sharing here; “ I wanted a turtle dove as an artistic reference for a potential sculpture. I spoke to a friend of mine that is a hunter and she agreed to acquire one for me on her next hunt. Shortly after our conversation my friend arrived home, and by strange twist of fate, she immediately heard a thud behind her on the glass door. She looked down on the ground outside to see a small turtle dove twitch and take its last breath. Feeling guilty, even though the bird died of natural causes, and unsure what to do now my ‘wish’ had been granted, I decided that I needed to make the most out of its life by immortalizing it as part of my sculpture. As with many things in nature and life, we have been given exactly what we need, but still have no idea how to make to the most of it.”

22.Evidence of Passing

David Doyle, ‘Evidence of passing’

25.Changing Tracks

Mary vandenBroek, ‘Changing Tracks’

24.Kanamaluka

Catherine Phillips, ‘Kanamaluka’

29.Illusion

Ben Fasham, ‘Illusion’

30.Continuous

Ben Beams, ‘Continuous’

31.Star Finder

Di West, ‘Star Finder’

32.Nudibranchor

Dan Kershaw & Sara Ferrington, ‘Nudibranchor’

33.Bait

Lynette Griffiths, ‘Bait’

35.curious dream of an architect

Fatih Semiz, ‘curious dream of an architect’

37.Twitter Birds

Cheryl Sims, ‘Twitter Birds’

The views from Moores Hill were breathtaking, as was the 2016 Chardonnay and 2017 Riesling that I just couldn’t leave behind.

38.Moores Hill Vineyard39.Moores Hill Vineyard

Our final venue for the day was Tamar Ridge Cellar Door, in an enviable position with magnificent panoramas of the Tamar River.

40.Tamar Ridge Vineyard

Ten sculptures were on display throughout the extensive premises, although we only found eight. We didn’t partake of tastings here, I will have to return on my next trip to Launceston.

41.Changing Landscape

Keith Smith, ‘Changing Landscape’

43.Finding the Lost

Anita Denholm, ‘Finding the Lost’

44.Brigid of the West

Robert Boldkald, ‘Brigid of the West’

45.Estuary

Rob Ikin, ‘Estuary’

47.Discourse

Craig Ashton, ‘Discourse’

50.Formation

Ben Beams, ‘Formation’

51.Panspermia

Christina Palacios, ‘Panspermia’

52.Above and Below

Barry Smith, ‘Above and Below’

For more insight into the sculptures, the artist statements can be found in the catalogue.

Artentwine 2018 Catalogue

culinary capers

We had an inkling, when we were planning our trip, that after a day in Rome seeing the sights and battling the throngs we would be ready to escape to the countryside. Consequently, we signed up for a cooking class and did just that. There were only four participants, the others were a lovely young couple from Melbourne, Ash and Mel. We were picked up at 8.30am by multi-talented driver and sous-chef, Roy, and enjoyed a very comfortable 45 minute ride to the medieval village of Mazzano Romano. There, we met our chef, Elisa, who guided us through the process of purchasing our ingredients. Firstly, to the macelleria where vegetarian Mel opted to wait outside.

Next was the green grocers, bursting with colourful, fresh produce.

The last stop was for cheeses and smallgoods, so much choice in one small shop.

12.shop

Sharing the load, we made our way along narrow cobbled streets, climbing higher into the village.

16.Mazzano Romano17.Mazzano Romano

Arriving at the apartment, built around 1300 AD, we wandered around in awe at the beautiful interior and breathtaking views.

29.neighbours

The kitchen awaited us, ready to create our culinary masterpieces

and the essential ingredient was poured.

34.pre-cooking

Michael’s first attempt at tossing salt in a pan was somewhat overzealous but with a little more tuition, he soon mastered the art.

We were shown some handy tips when it came to preparing vegetables, including an easy way to prevent eyes from streaming when chopping onions. Take a mouthful of water and hold it in your mouth while cutting the onion – no tears. I have it on good authority that it also works with a mouthful of beer! Michael was assigned the task of making the dark chocolate lava cake, I’m not sure how Elisa knew he would embrace the challenge with such gusto.

Meanwhile, Elisa shared her grandmother’s recipe for pizza dough using flour and sparkling water. Served with three different toppings – potato & rosemary, red onion and tomatoes with mozzarella – they were deliciously crisp.

Elisa had a great sense of humour and Michael didn’t mind being the fall guy. Presented with a pot of cooked tomatoes, he was asked to separate the skins and seeds and was much relieved to discover Elisa had a handy gizmo to do the job.

We learned how to make three kinds of pasta,

shaping the gnocchi on garganelli boards required a certain technique.

Rolling the pasta through the machine was more than a one person job.

We quickly produced enough pasta to cook

53.ravioli, fettucine & gnocchi

and Elisa impressed us with her presentation of the ricotta & spinach ravioli,

fettucine with tomato based sauce

57.fettucine

and gnocchi with pesto sauce.

58.gnocchi

We had prepared a salad to accompany the veal saltimbocca, savouring all courses with the obligatory bottle of vino.

We had just enough room for the exquisite chocolate lava cake, prepared with enthusiasm and cooked to perfection.

The time had come to wend our way to the car for a much quieter trip back to Rome. I hadn’t noticed this gorgeous little pink house on the way in, I wonder how many centuries it has guarded the village.

63.pink house