Image by Willunga Wino
Adelaide's amazing Tasting Australia festival announced two firsts in 2014. A shift from being a biannual event to being an annual one from 2016.
Australia's first, fully integrated food blogger program in a food festival, "Words To Go".
I was lucky to be chosen as a delegate, and on day two of Words To Go, was sent on a famil (familiarisation trip or more crudely, a junket).
I was off to learn cheesemaking with Udder Delights at the Bird in Hand winery in the Adelaide Hills.
Onto the minibus! Photo: Willunga Wino
Just 20 minutes from the Adelaide Central Market, we are in the rolling Autumn hills and at the beautiful Bird In Hand winery estate.
Views like a painting. Photo: Willunga Wino
Bird In Hand comprises vineyards, gardens, a cellar door, restaurant, winery and function spaces that regularly host concerts and weddings.
Stunning cellar door. Photo: Willunga Wino
Surrounding the cellar door were artworks, glorious gardens, and plenty of hidden nooks to sit in.
Art, wine, cheese and views = heaven. Photo: Willunga Wino
There is even the perfect spot for a selfie!
Architecture galore. Photo: Willunga Wino
The trend continues inside.
Spacious and bright, it is just made for a hands on cheese making class.
Can they style my house? Photo: Willunga Wino
There is even a bit of nature brought indoors.
Don't forget to look up! Photo: Willunga Wino
Andrew Nugent the viticulturalist and winemaker at Bird in Hand welcomed us and shared some of the history of the winery. Starting with the nugent family, and a focus on sparkling, they now crush 800 tonnes a year and have four cellar doors in Cina. The glorious gardens were designed by Andrew's wife. We were stationed in "The Gallery" - location of the canape/tapas restaurant that ooerates of a weekend.
We were then introduced Sheree and Saul Sullivan, the second generation of family owned and run Udder Delights, were so organised.
The room was set out with all of the cheese making equipment and ingredients we would need.
Sheree gave us a brief history of the company, principles of cheesemaking and then we started the process of making cows milk feta, marinated in olive oil.
Ready for cheese. Photo: Willunga Wino
We heated lovely Fleurieu Milk Company milk, added the starter culture, and enzymes (non-animal rennet) and then poured the lot into a brand new esky to set.
A quick clean up of our materials, then we cut the curd and let the curds rest again.
Who cut the cheese? (Sorry :-) Photo: Willunga Wino
A great time for a break to enjoy some Bird In Hand fizz - their sparkling rose - and a guided tasting through the Udder Delights cheese range.
Treats were also provided by The Locavore restaurant, Beerenberg chutneys, and Willabrand dried fruits.
Lunch included charcuterie from Feast Fine Foods.
My kind of "tea" break. Photo: Willunga Wino
Liz Gunner was on hand to introduce the products and have some lunch with us, exuding passion for her produce, started with the Gunner family's premium Coorong region grown beef and lamb.
Liz introduced thier new smallgoods brand : Newbury and Watson Smallgoods. Products we sampled included Polish Sausage, Air Dried Ham, and Brescaola.
A variety of inventive salads were also on offer and we feasted like champions.
Delicious lunch. Photo: Willunga Wino
There were even sweets, including fat winter strawberries and homemade apple crumble.
Fat winter strawberries, bubbles and cake. Photo: Willunga Wino
To take home, some unique Millie's Bakery cookies. Made with selenium flour - an essential micronutrient for immunity and brain function from Laucke wheat flour where extra selenium has been added to the soil.
Special selenium cookies. Photo: Willunga Wino
One more vigorous stir of the now firmer curds, breaking the big pieces up.
Stirring the curds. Photo: Willunga Wino
While the curds rest, we have time for a little explore of the grounds of Bird in Hand winery.
Views forever in Adelaide Hills. Photo: Willunga Wino
There were a few tiny late bunches to play with hanging on the vine ends.
Autumn beauty. Photo: Willunga Wino
The vines were just starting to turn into a glorious rainbow of autumn colours.
The beauty of autumn. Photo: Willunga Wino
Andrew Nugent's wife didn't forget anything, there was even a series of goldfish ponds to relax by.
Fishy friends. Photo: Willunga Wino
It was time for our last stirring of the curds and prepping of our freshly made fetta.
We lined little cheese baskets with chux then tipped in our curds, squishing them in tightly.
They needed a little rest then, so we had time for a quick tasting in the cellar door.
Resting cheeses. Photo: Willunga Wino
Friendly staff handled the busy cellar door with ease.
The Bird in Hand Arneis 2013 ($28 cellar door) had floral aromas with a nice acidity and gentle fruit sweetness on the palate. It would be great with any spicy food like Thai, and equally delectable with the Udder Delights Heysen Blue cheese.
The Bird in Hand Chardonnay 2012 ($35 cellar door) aged in 60% new French oak has a creamy almondine palate with a lovely dry acid finish.
The Bird in Hand Nero d'Avola 2012 (was $34 cellar door, but now sold out!) aged in 2 year old French oak had a cherry ripe nose, with a dry spice finish and nice acid.
I'll be back to try the Monte!
Cellar door tasting. Photo: Willunga Wino
Sheree and Saul sent us home with some homework to finalise our cheeses.
We needed to turn the cheeses and let them drain overnight before marinating them in a brine solution for half an hour before letting it dry out in the fridge overnight, chopping it into cubes, and marinading it in olive oil.
Ready to cube and marinade! Photo: Willunga Wino
We each took home three blocks of cheese.
I marinated one with Moroccan flavours, one with Japanese Yuzu and Sichuan chilli, and one with lavender and peppercorn.
My cheese happily marinating. Photo: Willunga Wino
There! Easy, peasy, cheesy.
While my cheese tasted a million times better than the supermarket variety, it wasn't a patch on Udder Delights delectable treats.
Bird In Hand
Feast Fine Foods
What's your favourite cheese? Comment below!