When it comes to quality produce, the Mornington Peninsula really has it all. With cheese shops, award-winning cellar doors and artisanal producers around every corner, the region has blossomed into one of Victoria’s leading food destinations. And the best news? It’s only an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s CBD.
On the weekend, I was lucky enough to be invited to a garden party for Wine Food Farmgate to celebrate the bounty of spring produce from the Mornington Peninsula. A picnic luncheon was held at Gardens House in Melbourne to give fellow foodies a taste of the best seasonal delights from the Wine Food Farmgate trail, which reveals the Peninsula’s most delicious secrets. By following the trail, you can eat, forage, sip, shop, learn and tour the very best of the region.
This was my first visit to the gorgeous Gardens House, “a garden within a garden” in Melbourne’s very own botanic gardens. The historic two storey Georgian style property is as pretty as a fairytale, surrounded by perfectly manicured lawns and gardens full of blossoming flowers. And springtime is the perfect time to visit with flowers in full bloom. The sun gods miraculously turned a miserable rainy Saturday morning into a perfect sunny afternoon. As the weather turned, umbrellas and jackets were traded with sun parasols, sunscreen and picnic rugs.
Guests were treated to a ‘Spiced Seaside’ gin cocktail upon arrival – a delicious concoction of gin from the Bass and Flinders Distillery, lime juice, fresh mint, star anise and cucumber.
The Peninsula Punch was another crowd favourite – a fruity mix of cherry cordial, lemonade, pineapple, cloudy apple juice, mint, lemon and lime.
A grazing station was laden with delicious farm gate delights from Woolumbi Farm, Harts Farm, Red Hill Cheese, Main Ridge Dairy, Peninsula Organics, and Red Hill Bakery. Dairy lovers quivered with joy at one sight of the wonderful cheese platter which was chock full of soft and hard cheeses and a rather delectable cashmere spreadable curd.
An antipasto table was handsomely dressed with a great range of handcrafted salami and olives from Green Olive in Red Hill, while a heirloom carrot salad shone with colour and freshness from the seasonal harvest.
On the barbeque there was a succulent array of gourmet goodies like sausages, steak sandwiches and mini beef burgers stuffed with spinach, onion, relish and a hint of aioli.
Seafood fans were eager to find out Peninsula Seafood’s daily catch. And the whole baked snapper from Port Phillip Bay didn’t disappoint. White wine marinated mussels were beautifully cooked with just a hint of tomato and parsley.
For a sweet tooth like me, the dessert was a particular highlight not to be missed. To say the chocolate mousse was oversized was a bit of an understatement. Any platter big enough to be lifted by two grown men has got to be good, right?! Topped with crunchy chocolate soil and fresh strawberries from the Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, the super creamy chocolate mousse was a textural delight.
Equally good were the pots full of Cloudy apple juice jelly topped with poached Red Hill cherries and chunks of honeycomb brittle.
And what garden party is complete without our very own garden fairy? The Human Chameleon was great entertainment, flitting in and out of the garden and offering guests handcrafted chocolates and truffles from Mornington Peninsula chocolates
Q strategies thank you for putting on a garden party like no other. I can’t wait to continue my long-term love affair with the Mornington Peninsula over summer
I was invited to this event as a guest of Q Strategies and Wine Food Farmgate.