Greetings gorgeous people, and welcome to another delectable edition of Friday Feast. This week we go a-tippling through one of Australia’s most loved wine regions with a rural romance author who certainly knows – and loves – her stuff.
But first, the hell that is currently Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. The winter of my golfing discontent continues, with no sign of spring. To make matters worse, I have developed a phobia for the 15th, a nasty hole with a dam right in front of the tee that has become a death trap for any ball I hit. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were a large water hazard, but in the context of things it’s a mere puddle. A puddle that, to my ongoing humiliation, I can’t seem to cross. I’m starting to wonder if I just wouldn’t be better skipping the hole all together. Given the balls it’s costing me, it’d certainly be a cheaper option!
I’m delighted to welcome Cheryl Adnams for her debut Friday Feast appearance. Cheryl’s a fellow South Australian who, after having lived and worked in the US and Canada, and for a tour company in Europe, now calls Adelaide home. As all good folk do, she has a deep love for South Australia’s McLaren Vale wine region and is the perfect setting for her Muller’s Field rural romance series.
The first book in the series is Bet On It. Take a look!
BET ON IT
Her job is gone and her boyfriend has moved interstate. Gabby is in need of a change of scenery, and the Muller’s Field winery in McLaren Vale might just be the right place. The three Muller brothers who run the winery are dangerously good-looking and Gabby senses they are just as much trouble.
Seth Muller isn’t sure it’s a good idea to make a bet with his brothers on who can seduce Gabby first. But Gabby is too gorgeous and too wonderful to give up without a fight. But what happens when he begins to fall harder than he’s ever done before? Will a silly brotherly bet ruin their chance for love?
Deep sigh. A rural romance set in a vineyard. Hard to pass that up and you most certainly don’t have to. In fact, Bet On It could be yours with just a few clickety-clicks and while you’re there why not grab book two in the Muller’s Field series, Chasing the Flames. Try those most excellent folk at Booktopia. You can also buy from Amazon.au, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.
Without further ado – because I know you’re hanging out for a slurp of McLaren Vale deliciousness – here’s Cheryl.
Plotting the Platter (or as I like to call it – ‘Dinner’)
Thanks for having me over to Friday Feasts Cathryn. I love seeing all the gourmet delights our wonderful Aussie authors share. What a great combo of food and fiction.
Firstly, I would like to say I can cook and I used to love baking as a kid but I live alone so that is just too dangerous on my waistline these days.
What I have become an expert at recently though is cheese platters. Not difficult, I hear you say. But I have learned there is actually an art to pairing the right cheese, crackers, fruits and wine to give you the taste explosion that causes audible ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’.
My Muller’s Field series of books ‘Bet On It’, ‘Chasing the Flames’ and hopefully the soon to be released final installment ‘Handpicked’, are based around a fictional winery in McLaren Vale. The winery is run by three gorgeous brothers and their widower father. Who doesn’t love a sexy wine baron, right? But the three brothers face some obstacles on their way to finding love including tenacious ex-boyfriends, scheming ex-wives, lycra-clad cyclists and deadly bushfires and many other surprises along the way. Intrigued? I hope so.
So in the name of research I dragged myself kicking and screaming (as if) down to McLaren Vale to study all things wine and food in the region so that my hunky wine barons sounded like they actually knew what they were talking about.
A mere 45 minutes from my house, nestled between the sea and the hills, are around 80 cellar doors and a multitude of restaurants and foodie experiences. Naturally I have had to try as many as possible – again, all in the name of research.
So here are a few of my favourite cellar doors and food experiences in McLaren Vale, many of which are mentioned in the Muller’s Field books. And I have provided a list of options to make a cheese platter that is bound to impress at your next dinner party.
Favourite cellar doors in no particular order:
Much of my research was done here where I joined the harvest for a day in 2014. I handpicked and foot-stomped Grenache grapes and then a year later returned to bottle and label that wine. The Grenache is drinkable immediately and gorgeous. I can also recommend the Roussane and the GSM.
There is not one wine on the Primo Estate list that I do not love. You can choose from a wide variety of blends made from grapes grown in Italy or you can try the exclusive range of Joseph wines handcrafted in small quantities. Picking a favourite wine at Primo would be like choosing a favourite child, but the La Biondina Colombard is a fresh white for summer and the Merlesco Merlot is unusually served cool. Love the Primo Secco prosecco as well.
I have been a fan of Kangarilla Road wines for years. Again the variety of wines is extensive with all those fabulous names like Primitivo, Terzetto, Montepulciano and my personal favourite the Zinfandel.
For food experiences in the McLaren Vale region you are spoilt for choice. There are still many places on my bucket list but I just keep returning to the following:
Atop Sellicks Hill the hotel has a 180 degree view of sea and vines. The food is sourced locally and is inexpensive. Still the best salt and pepper squid I have ever tasted. If you visit you MUST take a look down in the underground wine cellar. Functions can also be held there. Sitting out on the front lawns of the hotel watching the sunset over the water is a summer must.
2/. Blessed Cheese
The name says it all. Pick up your specially prepared baskets of cheeses, olives, dips, smoked meats and chocolate. Then take a Progressive Picnic following the provided cellar door maps, matching the food to the wine tasting.
There are so many other foodie experiences to choose from. The Star of Greece on the clifftops at Port Willunga, the Willunga Sunday markets, the Fruchoc Shop in the Main Street of McLaren Vale, to name a few.
Now for the platter:
Adelaide Hills Triple cream brie (because if you are going to be bad, be bad x 3)
Quince Paste or Cabernet Paste
Almond Bread brings out the sweetness in the cheese
Nectarine or apple or both adds the health factor but piled on top of the cheese and almond bread makes it a meal in itself
Add a few grapes or dried cranberries and almonds to the side for garnish or eating
Drink with a crisp white wine like a Primo Estate La Biondina Colombard or the Yangarra Estate Roussane or Viogner or go red with the Kangarilla Road Cabernet Sauvignon or Sangiovese.
Photographs credit to Belinda Stevens.
Okay readers in the Comments section below, why don’t you share your favourite food and wine pairing. Eg: Port and dark chocolate or bruschetta and Sauvignon Blanc.
Wonderful, Cheryl! I thoroughly enjoyed that and if it weren’t so early in the morning I’d crack a McLaren Vale shiraz and toast your foodie travelogue excellence. Alas, that shall have to wait until later this evening, but it shall be done!
So, foodie lovelies, what’s your favourite food and wine pairing? Personally, I get terribly excited over a glass or two of dry Provencale-style rosé and goat’s cheese. And most evenings will find us sharing half a square of good quality chocolate with a glass of something red.
What about you? Perhaps a treacly tokay with a luscious dessert is more your go, or an elegant riesling paired with a delicate white fish fillet. Perhaps you don’t drink wine but love nothing more than a cup of tea and a scone. Whatever your tipple, we’d love to hear your favourite pairing.