My second last or penultimate (a word I rarely get to use!) chapter of the prize from Bank of Melbourne and Melbourne Food and Wine Festival arrived before I knew it. Only a few days prior to the weekend in February, I was reminded it was only a few days away so quickly booked a hire car and off we went.
We had made it down the street before the directions argument started. What usually would take about 45-60 mins for a typical Melburnian to get to the Yarra Valley, took us 2 hours. We ended up going ANY road that was NOT a bypass, thanks to Siri and a combo of two guys who are stubborn and don’t drive too often these days. The trip featured many of Melbourne’s suburbs we had never heard of, along with many many colourful traffic lights. So that was a plus side.
Skip ahead (no one likes hearing about draining direction arguments) we entered the Yarra Valley (famous as a wine region) and we drove into Chateau Yering,This was to be our home and dinner destination for the night. It was an old mansion from the 1800’s:
Entering into the “lobby” as such, were several smiling faces, who welcomed us. Though it was quick to discover there was a small reservation mix up (which made Cal walk down the hall, who knows where…) but we quickly worked out a solution and were led up to our room for the evening. See the top right wing of the picture above, that’s where we stayed.
And what could I say, walking through the sitting room, dining room and halls of this place. It was staggering how beautiful it was. From spending hours in traffic, to this. The room that we had, was the furthest place you could get from the lobby, and we entered into something out of a book. You know those books where it is titled “Best Hotels Around the World that are Featured in Period Films”? Yeah that type of book.
It is hard to explain exactly what it was like, but to discover we had private large verandahs that looks off into the distance to hills and farm land, made me grin, just grin. I am also a sucker for a personal spa and there was one of them too, in the marble bathroom. I like specifying it was “marble” cause, non-marble bathrooms are not “marble” bathrooms. Walking out onto the balcony, watching cows feeding and the warm country air filling my lungs. I couldn’t be more thankful.
We went for a stroll and admired how beautiful the grounds were, which also included a very old building that was the cellar door and still is. I then attempted to take a photo of the gardens with us both in it, this did not seem to be up to Cal’s liking so he took over and here is the result:
I still criticized it as there is a man in the background. He said if I hadn’t taken so long taking the photo, the man wouldn’t be in it. I lost an argument again 😉
BACK to the Chateau for dinner at Eleonore’s Restaurant, and I will say this has been one of the best of them all. Set in a beautiful old dining room/mini ballroom by the looks of it:
Three courses, matching wines and I simply had a massive grin on my face. Menu is here, I had Organic Zucchini Flowers for Entree. Yum. Which then led to the first time eating Venison, for main meal, and it was incredible. Tender and the combo of flavours with the chocolate sauce was so unique.
AND of course the best til last, which has ended up being the best dessert I have had in my life, Pear Tart
with white chocolate cremeux, lychee, mint fizz, pear cider sorbet. I made sure our server told the kitchen they had made two fellas very happy. I tried to take photos but they do not do the dishes justice, just imagine “delicious” and you got it.
The next morning, I woke early and discovered hot air balloons landing in the paddock next to the room. I was blown away at how incredible the view was as the sun rose and the distant roar of the gas lights from the balloons filled the air. I snapped a few shots, before room service arrived with a yum breakfast in bed and a packing of our bags back to a hopefully quicker trip home to Melbourne.