Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Day I Learned To Make Cheese - Words To Go Famil - Woodside, Adelaide Hills - April 2014


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.

And...

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



Much like breadmaking, there is a fair bit of patience involved between short bursts of action.

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. 

My sincere thanks to those local South Aussie businesses that made the day possible:
Udder Delights
Bird In Hand
Feast Fine Foods
Millies Bakery
Locavore
Willabrand
Beerenberg
Tasting Australia




What's your favourite cheese? Comment below!



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Review

Monday, 20 October 2014

What's In The Box? - The Vegan Box - October 2014


The Vegan Box. Image: Willunga Wino


Summary:

The Vegan Box is a monthly subscription box with several versions (e.g Beauty Box) with all products being suitable for vegans. It's one of my newer discoveries, and I've been a subscriber for about 6 months.





Unique Feature: 

All products are vegan.

All products are palm oil free.

Local and imported products are included.

Focus on edibles.

Occasionally, The Vegan Box offer part of their profit for certain sales periods to charitable causes.



Packaging: 

The Vegan Box comes in a custom, rectangular shaped cardboard box adorned just with a logo sticker keeping costs down and recyclability (and recycled content) high.

Sample packaging is mostly recyclable, except for some foil bonded plastic packages (for trail bars, or bonded pouches).




Cost: 

$26.95 a month ($29.95 inc shipping)

$76.95 for a 3 month subscription ($28.65 per month inc shipping).

$149.95 for a 6 month subscription ($27.99 per month inc shipping).

Seasonal Beauty Box $49.95 ($52.95 inc shipping).

Shipping an additional $3 a month Australia wide. 




Whats in the Box: 

In the Vegan Box there is a good balance between food, drinks, beauty, and home cleaning products.

Products come in sample, travel and full sizes. 

There are 6-10 products per box. 

All subscribers receive the same products.

An info slip is included which tells you what is included in the box, but not links to buy direct. It does include the product RRP's.

In the September 2014 box, the contents were:

  • Naturalie-Boon Chocolate Square Treats RRP $6.00 (full size)
  • Heavens Pantry $15 Voucher
  • The Healthy Fix Taste Tester RRP $5.00 (full size)
  • Kaffe Organic Clay Soap RRP $3 (full size)
  • Peeld Snacks Cinnamon Crunch RRP $6.95 (full size)
  • Cobs Natural Popcorn Sea Salt RRP $0.60 (full snack size)
  • Nutraorganics Gingerbiotic Bar RRP $4.50 (full size)



Contents of the October 2014 box. Photo: Willunga Wino


Bonuses: 

Instagram a picture of your box using the hashtag included in the product slip for the chance to win the following month's box.

There are also regular competitions via their social media feeds.





Online Shop: 

There is no product online shop. 



Product of the Month:

My favourite product this month was the Healthy Fix Protein Punch and Internal Bliss.

The Internal Bliss tastes like chocolate, and the Protein Punch has a neutral flavour and both make a great addition to smoothies.

This was closely followed by the choc-ginger flavoured GingerBiotics bar, which was delicious and helps to balance your digestive system.





The Gingerbiotics bar. Photo: Willunga Wino






What goodie would you most like to try out of this month's box? Comment below!



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Rating : 5 Glasses 
Price: $$
Menu: 6-10 vegan goodies delivered to your door each month.
Meal Size: Travel, sample and full size treats.
Atmosphere / Ambiance: Natural, healthy, discoveries. 
Standout Dish: Screaming Seeds Cous Cous tasty with the sultanas and some parsley. A great full size product.
Service: Friendly, and quick responses to enquiries.
Online Booking: Orders are exclusively online.

Restaurant Details and Location:
Tel No(+61) 408129597
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00am to 5:00pm EST
Access: Via website, email or phone.




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Quick Sip - Kay Bros Hillside Shiraz 2010 - October 2014


Image: Willunga Wino




Kay Brothers is a very special place. 


The oldest family-owned McLaren Vale winery, Kay Brothers have been crafting fine wines since 1890.

Decorated with photos of the family past, and with enviable views across the vale, the triple threat is finished with knowledgable and engaging cellar door staff. I've also been lucky enough to converse with Japanese tourists while there the last two times I visited.


After a swirl in the glass, the Hillside Shiraz 2010 releases aromas of coffee, and a bit of licorice at the back of my nose.

On the palate it is juicy, full bodied with flavours of plums and lasting coffee grounds, and the balanced tannins are a real highlight.







Kay Bros Hillside Shiraz 2010. Photo: Willunga Wino




We hang on to our remaining bottles for a little longer.



Region: McLaren Vale
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Stelvin
Price: $40 cellar door
Tasted: October 2014
Rating: 4 glasses
Food Match: With a rich meal, like devilled sausages and mash.
Available: At cellar door.
http://www.kaybrothersamerywines.com/



Who are your favourite founding family's of Australian wine? Comment below!



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Sunday, 19 October 2014

What's In The Box? - Vegan Mystery Box - October 2014


Image: Willunga Wino




Summary: 

The Vegan Mystery Box is my most recent goodie box discovery. I've been really impressed with the full sized products, products that allow you to make a whole meal, the number of products and variety. It is the largest box I subscribe to.

Both local and imported products are included, with a focus on edibles. 






October Vegan Mystery Box. Photo: Willunga Wino


Unique Feature: 

All profits made by the sale of the Vegan Mystery Box are donated to an animal rescue group, with the recipient being nominated each month by members on Facebook, and then voted on by subscribers. Very democratic and you know it's for a good cause. Approximately $8-10 from each box sold goes straight to the animal rescue group.


This month, all funds raised went to Animal Angel Sanctuary. 

All products are vegan.

Local and imported products are included.

Focus on edibles.




Packaging: 

The Vegan Mystery Box comes in a large, flat square shaped recycled cardboard box. It is the biggest subscription box I receive. It is made from recycled material and is recyclable.

Sample product packaging is mostly recyclable, except for some foil bonded plastic packages (for trail bars, or bonded pouches).



Cost: 

$40 shipping included (except for NT, remote WA and FNQ, which is an additional $14).



Whats in the Box: 

In the Vegan Mystery Box there is an emphasis on food and drinks, with some beauty and home. 

A good mix of sweet, savoury, full meals, snacks, sweets and meal starters are included.

Products come in sample, travel and full sizes. 

There are 10-14 products per box. 

All subscribers receive the same products.

An A4 single sided black & white info sheet is included which tells you what is included in the box, and a welcome note. It doesn't include the product RRP's.

In the September 2014 box, the contents were:


  • Nice and Natural Nut Bar (full size)
  • Constant Craving Chocolate Truffles x2 (I got coffee & jaffa)
  • Vitasoy Oat Milk - Brown Sugar and Cinnamon (full size poppa)
  • HealthWarrior Chia Bar (full size)
  • Lucerna Soy Tea Light Candles (full size)
  • Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque (full size)
  • Go Picnic Ready to Eat Snack Box (full size)
  • Kirkland Signature Roasted Seaweed (full size)
  • Out of Africa Shea Butter Lip Balm (full size)
  • Larabar Fruit and Nut Bar (full size)
  • Eskal Noble Choice Dark Choc Almond Block (full size)





Contents of the October 2014 Box. Photo: Willunga Wino


Favourite Product:

My favourite product of the month was the Coffee flavoured Constant Craving chocolate truffle, it was so rich and smooth. There was a pretty decorative squiggle of chocolate on the top, the filling was nicely coffee flavoured.





My delicious chocolate. Photo: Willunga Wino


Bonuses: 

The $8-10 support for an animal charity per box is fantastic.

This is the biggest box in size and number of products that I recieve.

Full meals and meal bases are included.

There are also regular competitions via their social media feeds.




Online Shop: 

Boxes are ordered online via the Facebook page. Occasionally there are "special" boxes offered on a first in best dressed basis via the Facebook page as well. 

There is no online shop to buy full sized products from the box. 




Note - There will be no box for November, and none over the summer months. I'll miss you Vegan Mystery Box - have a great summer break!





Which goodie from the Vegan Mystery Box for October would you have liked to try? Comment below!







Rating : 5 Glasses 
Price: $$
Menu: Sweet & savoury products.
Meal Size: Sample, travel and full sized products.
Atmosphere / Ambiance: Generous, variety, charitable. 
Standout Dish: Kirkland Organic Black Bean Soup.
Service: Friendly and prompt.
Online Booking: Order via the Facebook Page.

Restaurant Details and Location:



None


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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Quick Sip - Jimmy Watson 2014 Winning S.C Pannell Syrah 2013


Image: Willunga Wino


Thursday October 16th the announcement rang out that the Jimmy Watson trophy was to return to McLaren Vale after seven years. 

Steve Pannell has followed a dream to this amazing conclusion, his S.C Pannell's Adelaide Hills Syrah 2013 was awarded as being the best young red wine (from the previous two vintages - 2012 and 2013) in the country. 


Stephen Pannell and his wife Fiona Lindquist founded S.C Pannell in 2004, following on from Steve's stint as Chief Red Wine Maker at Hardy's. During which time - by the way -  Steve took home the 1996 Jimmy Watson for the Eileen Hardy 1995 Shiraz, and McLaren Vale's top award of being crowned Bushing King in 2011 for his 2010 S.C. Pannell Tempranillo Touriga.

In November 2012,Steve purchased his first vineyard,  3.6 ha of shiraz,  first planted in 1891,in the Blewitt Springs area of McLaren Vale.

The purchase of the cellar door & vineyard at the former tapestry site earlier in 2014 added another 8 ha of vineyards (mostly soon-to-be-grafted-away chardonnay).

This is every young and aspiring winemaker's dream - to earn your stripes at a winery before branching out on your own to great success. Certainly Stephen and Fiona's story is an inspiration to many in McLaren Vale & beyond (including yours truly!).

So it was that last Thursday, the day after the 2014 Jimmy Watson announcement, that Mr Wino bounced the ute up the sand track to Olivers Rd to pay a visit and secure 3 precious bottles.




S.C Pannell Syrah 2013. Photo: Willunga Wino




The fruit was sourced from the cool climate region of the Adelaide Hills, but from the wamer end of the region, Echunga, near McLaren Vale.

This has resulted in the interesting and perfect balance displayed between the two styles:
- cool climate: delicate red fruit and fine tannins
- warm climate: big body, dark fruit, spice, broad palate.


Pretty aromas fill the bowl of my Handmade Vintage B Plumm glass. Blackberry, dark brambles, sweet dark chocolate and high quality vanilla. The barest hint of heat in the back of my nose.

The aromas follow through into my mouth. On the palate it is savoury. Tip of tongue juiciness dries into grippy back palate. 

It is a really lovely wine. 

We will be keeping the other two for a few years before tasting again, to see how it evolves.



Region: Echunga, Adelaide Hills
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Stelvin
Price: $30 cellar door
Tasted: October 2014
Rating: 5 glasses
Food Match: Savour by itself, or enjoy with ploughmans, platters, or light non-tomato pastas.
Available: At cellar door if you are quick.
https://www.pannell.com.au


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What do you think of this year's Jimmy Watson winning wine?

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