Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been intrigued by hedges. I remember my best friend and I playing in her family’s front yard, imagining a magical fantasy land within the front garden’s hedge and always wondered what lay within there. That was the same feeling I had about Coombe in Coldstream after countless times driving past the majestic hedge which surrounds the property and always hoped one day I would experience it for myself.
Last month, my mum and I finally had the pleasure to visit Coombe and discover what lies beyond the beautiful cypress hedge. The property is steeped in history and was once the home of world-famous opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. Now the property has transformed itself into estate grown Coombe Farm Wines and the newly opened garden, restaurant and gallery facility Coombe – The Melba Estate and is still owned and operated by Melba’s descendants, the Vestey family.
We started with a guided tour of the seven acres of stunning gardens blossoming with flowers, ancient trees and terraced lawns. The gardens contain a vegetable garden, beautiful old world trees (including an English oak rumoured to be over 180 year years old) and the oldest swimming pool in Victoria. Guided garden walks are available Wednesday – Saturday at 11am with great dining and tour packages available. Our guide shared the unique history of this site and its significance to not only the Yarra Valley but to Australia. For art buffs, there’s also a gallery on site which pays homage to the life of Dame Nellie Melba and her role in Australian history.
We then enjoyed a lunch feast in the restaurant housed in the restored motor house and historic clock tower overlooking a market-style courtyard and gardens. Chef Neil Cunningham has created a sumptuous menu which showcases the very best of local and seasonal produce matched with their award-winning estate grown wines. All wines are handcrafted in small volumes, from fruit deemed to be the best the vineyard has to offer.
Here’s a sneak peek of what we enjoyed during our visit.
Crudo of king fish with avocado, green apple and chardonnay
Salad of smoked trout, spanner crab, quinoa and cod roe
Roasted barramundi with farro, prawns, parsley and lemon
Roast beef fillet, potato dauphnoise, red wine jus and heirloom carrot
Eton mess with rhubarb , strawberries, vanilla and passionfruit
Peach Melba – peach semifreddo, local raspberry, meringue. Created by Dame Nellie Melba by the ‘father of french cuisine’ Auguste Escoffer in 1892.
COOMBE YARRA VALLEY
673-675 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream VIC 3770
For more information about the experiences available at Coombe Yarra Valley visit coombeyarravalley.com.au