Guest Review! The Moving Feast at Murrumbateman

14 Oct

I wasn’t able to get along to the Taste It Food and Wine Festival’s Moving Feast a few weekends ago – fortunately, good friends Emma and Craig were able to, and even did a bit of guest reporting while they were at it! Thanks very much E & C for providing such an awesome review!

Check out E & C’s photo montage here!

Another wintery day sabotaged the Floriade plans of many Canberrans over the Labour Day long weekend.  Thank goodness then that eating and drinking aplenty was on offer at the Murrumbateman Moving Feast. Thirteen wineries lazily sprawled in and around Murrumbateman took part, providing mains and/or desserts coupled with a glass of wine for the weary traveller.

The Moving Feast is part of Canberra’s Taste It Food and Wine Festival.  The festival runs for the entire month of October and offers over 30 events to tempt the tastebuds of locals and visitors…

We started our feast at Long Rail Gully, choosing their char-grilled fillet of beef as our main of choice.  The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed, assisted greatly by the polite and helpful child labour that were our wait staff. They were also anything but stingy with the enormous glass of wine that was provided to accompany my meal.  Easily 2 standard drinks were poured into my glass, and I anticipated encountering many a slathered soul if this was to be the trend for the afternoon. Fortunately my designated driver was given free soft drink, so I was absolved of any guilt that I may have felt as they were adequately serviced. The lovely green rolling countryside hypnotised many, with attendees mulling over the advantages of quitting their day jobs in favour of a new career as a winemaker or hobby farmer.

Our next destination was Gallagher Wines, however we soon discovered that the map provided on the back of the brochure was neither to scale nor necessarily accurate.  We drove for some time along the appropriately named Dog Trap Road trying to work out, in the words of the infamous Lara Bingle, ‘where the bloody hell are you?’ After a slightly heated exchange, we turned back to the main road and fortunately arrived at our destination some 20 minutes later.

My driver had been looking forward to the alluringly-named Hot Dark Chocolate Lava Cake on offer, and after the delay in arriving at our destination, I also opted for this delicacy.  Neither of us elected to drink the wine that was on offer though, drawing a frown from our host and clearly demonstrating that the prospect of selling a few bottles was the money making element of this activity. The service was super fast, and the cake was chocolatey and gooey, but the setting was not as lovely as our prior stop, and the weather turned quite blustery, so we were quickly back on the road toward my preferred dessert destination.

Upon arrival at McKellar Ridge Wines, we were quickly seated at a table indoors amongst the casks of wine with a couple who had escaped their children for the afternoon.  They mentioned that the wine at Granitevale Estate had been excellent, and they had parted with some of their hard earned for a few bottles.  Their main serving of Beef Bourguignon Pie looked delicious, and despite already having had mains and dessert, my stomach was rumbling appreciatively at the aroma that wafted over.  My Wild Strawberry Mousse Cake was nice, but not quite the luscious serve of strawberries and creaminess that I had imagined. Quite possibly the hot dark chocolate lava cake already sitting comfortably in my stomach detracted a little from the experience. The 2011 Rosé matched with the dessert didn’t really grab either myself or my partner in crime, so it was a shared task to polish off the more conservative helping that had been poured.

Our last stop for the day was Country Guesthouse Schonegg, where chocolatier Robyn Rowe was providing information and, more importantly, samples of her workmanship for people to try. Evelyn, the hostess at Schonegg, immediately made us feel at home with her bubbly welcome, and their hot chocolate was tall, rich and delicious. Punters were given the opportunity to make their own chocolates, essentially dipping a marshmallow in an enormous container of melted chocolate and then being tested in their discipline to allow the chocolate to set long enough before dunking it in nuts or sprinkles. My driver was a little hasty, and ended up with the chocolate and hundreds and thousands oozing in all directions.

Although the meals served over the course of the day were only entree sized, we both felt that the value for money was very good given the complimentary glass of wine at each venue and the novelty of getting to take the glass home with you. Effectively it cost $30 each for a 2 course lunch and 2 glasses of wine. The lazy Sunday drive out to Murrumbateman and the rolling green hills invoked images of some quaint English village which made for a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon.  The only regret was not having had more time and a bigger stomach to have tried some of the other food that was on offer … oh and that the map provided on the website was more accurate.

Attendees: E&C

Cost: $30 each

Rating: Worthwhile

Want more? http://www.murrumbateman.org.au/moving_feast/ or http://www.outincanberra.com.au/taste-it-festival

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