Image by Willunga Wino
Springtime in McLaren Vale is gorgeous.
Cutest little caravan around. Photo: Willunga Wino
That includes it's wineries, restaurants, and natural surrounds.
Little wonder it inspired Alistair and Sally Cranney to develop the much loved Gorgeous Festival.
In this, it's second year, there was an extra evening of Gorgeousness, in the form of the Gorgeous Table shared dinner. The hallmark of Gorgeous, is that no detail is forgotten.
Golf carts collect patrons in the car park and ferry them to the entrance gates, where everyone walks the red carpet.
Red carpet rolled out for guests. Photo: Willunga Wino
Tonight I walked the red carpet as a grateful, invited, media guest.
Love my Leona Edmiston dress! Photo: Willunga Wino
Inside the gates and a beeline is made for the yellow letterboxes, Veuve Cliquot mail is irresistible, especially when it is free-flowing all night.
Veuve mailbox, that postman can knock twice! Photo: Willunga Wino
The Veuve bar itself is a thing of beauty, the ceiling adorned with a branch sculpture, mason jar candles dangling from it.
Stylish pop up bar. Photo: Willunga Wino
Baskets of nibbles, like these spiced lentil parcels, were offered by a staff decked out in yellow Veuve suspenders.
Beautifully golden and crisp, these parcels had a rich spiciness from cumin, coriander and more.
Crunchy parcels of yum. Photo: Willunga Wino
Proceedings were overseen by the Serafino "farmer" nearby.
Keeping a watchful eye. Photo: Willunga Wino
Opera under the stars. Photo: Willunga Wino
As the finale, a toast to attendees and organisers alike!
A toast to the host! Photo: Willunga Wino
With just a few minutes before being allowed into the dining pavilion, there was just enough time for another snack and a top up of Verve. These were spicy mince pies.
Spicy bites. Photo: Willunga Wino
Veuve Cliquot has fresh aromas of citrus blossom, a bright vigorous bead, and on the palate a bread-like earthiness and juicy lemon finish, that leaves you wanting more. Lucky it was an open bar!
More Veuve? Don't mind if I do! Photo: Willunga Wino
David Cockley welcomed us to the land of the Kaurna with a smoking ceremony.
Each guest entered the dining pavillion through the cleansing, and sweet, smoke.
Dave beginning the ceremony. Photo: Willunga Wino
It was worth the wait.
The pavillion was stunningly decorated.
300 friends in gorgeous surrounds. Photo: Willunga Wino
Shared tables were laid out with wine ready-poured (no waiting!) and loaves of chef Stewart Wesson's bread. We tore it in our hands, and shared, truly a breaking of bread.
Recycled, natural, stunning place settings. Photo: Willunga Wino
Serafino's Goose Island Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2014 is fragrant with gooseberry and rose petal. Nice soft mouthfeel finishes with just a little acid at the end.
Serafino's Sem-Sauv Blanc. Photo: Willunga Wino
Places set, we got stuck into the crusty sourdough loaves, dipped in cultured butter and balsamic.
Ready and at the waiting. Photo: Willunga Wino
From the Vale there was:
Karena Armstrong of the Salopian Inn,
Peter Reschke from d’Arry’s Verandah and
Tom Boden of Ellen Street Restaurant at Maxwell Wines.
Representing Adelaide city was;
Paul Baker from the Botanic Gardens restaurant,
Phil Whitmarsh of The Daniel O’Connell and
Stewart Wesson from The Flinders Street Project.
Paxton's 2013 Tempranillo. Photo: Willunga Wino
The first starter, prepared by Paul Baker at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant was barberry braised beef, with carrot & pumpkin purée, pickled veg, and edible flowers.
It was a truly pretty looking dish and by all reports very tender with a great balance from sweet veg puree and crunchy tart pickles.
Barberry braised beef from Botanic Gardens. Photo: Willunga Wino
Ingeniously served in a no-waste coconut that provided additional eating after the filling was devoured.
Tom Bowden's starter. Photo: Willunga Wino
Rounding out the starters was a vegetarian option of Vietnamese cold rolls.
Bright with herbs, they were also hiding chewy, nutty grains.
Delish cold rolls. Photo: Willunga Wino
A perfect soundtrack while taking in nature's show outside - a brilliant pink sunset behind the colourful water tower.
Even the sunset was Gorgeous. Photo: Willunga Wino
Rich blue and apricot filled the sky.
Sculptures, sunset and tents. Photo: Willunga Wino
Adelaide's finest softies. Photo: Willunga Wino
Likewise, to admire the show with new friends.
My fabulous tablemates. Photo: Willunga Wino
Time to return to the pavillion to thank Working Dog Union and see what delights are on offer for mains.
Beautiful decorations. Photo: Willunga Wino
There wasnt long to wait before the vegetarian main of an asian rice pancake with sauteed vegetables and black bean sauce were presented.
This has been one of my all time favourites from Karena Armstrong at The Salopian Inn.
Karena's tangy pancake. Photo: Willunga Wino
Spoilt with fine wines. Photo: Willunga Wino
The main included some unexpected treats from the king of offal, Phil Whitmarsh at The Daniel O'Connell.
Perfectly cooked local Dorper lamb chops were paired with blood rissoles.
Lamb chops with rissoles. Photo: Willunga Wino
Beautiful looking side dishes with the main were these pickled vegetables with chicken heart skewers, served inside coconut shells.
Pickled veg and chicken hearts. Photo: Willunga Wino
During mains, we were treated to the musical stylings of Darren Middleton . There were a few Powderfinger classics but also many original songs which sounded fantastic with the accompanying violinist.
Darren Middleton and violinist. Photo: Willunga Wino
I made friends with this salad, polishing it off single handedly. Adorned with crisp fry-bread and a tangy-creamy avocado dressing it was undeniably morish.
Side salad for the table. Photo: Willunga Wino
Alistair Cranney introduced the chefs, allowing us to give a standing ovation.
Hail to the chefs! Photo: Willunga Wino
Oh but they weren't finished with us just yet!
Individual pots of poached fruit in jelly with pashmak - adult fairy floss - had just the right amount of sweetness.
Grown up jelly. Photo: Willunga Wino
In a final twist, profiteroles, but not as you know them.
These were filled with blue cheese and glazed with a sweet Vegemite caramel. A very modern take on vegemite and cheese sandwiches and a great alternative to a cheese plate.
Vegemite caramel and blue cheese profiteroles. Photo: Willunga Wino
The night was rounded out with the raucous musical stylings of The Timbers who brought nearly all of the guests to their feet and to the dance floor.
Topping off a truly gorgeous night, was a personal farewell from the Gorgeous team as I walked back out along the red carpet, and into the cool, clear night.
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What was your favourite aspect of Gorgeous Festival 2014?