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Orchard Indulgence at Pialligo Estate

Kate Neser

I had the pleasure of attending Pialligo Estate’s inaugural Orchard Lunch in February.

I had seen it advertised on HerCanberra as a Valentine Day lunch, and thought it looked lovely. I was not disappointed.

We arrived to be greeted with a glass of sparkling wine and freshly shucked McAsh oysters, then there was a shortish walk through the orchards of olives, peaches and nectarines. We came upon a scene reminiscent of an old style garden party with a string quartet playing, and a long table stretched out between the orchard rows. The setting was perfect, just by the Molonglo River.

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A bit of exploration found a well-stocked bar and a whole lamb and suckling pig being roasted over hot coals. Having found the bar, we didn’t need to use it once, as the wait staff kept our glasses full over the next few hours, serving Canberra beer and sparkling, white and red wines from the estate.

Once all the guests had arrived, we were asked to take our seats and the scrumptious meal began. We were warmly welcomed by the staff, and the chef came out to the table to describe each plate as it was served to the table.

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We started with black mussels, white wine and herbs. I’m not a fan of mussels, so can’t comment on this one, but by the number of empty shells on the plates around me, I assume they were rather tasty.

The next serving was grilled squid and chimichurri. And I have to say, the squid must have been the most tender I have ever tasted. The chef assured us the trick was soaking it in buttermilk prior to grilling.

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Then came burnt carrots, goat’s fetta, rocket and crisp garlic. Now given the number of courses most of us were inclined to not have many of the vegetables to leave room for what looked like more tempting dishes. But one taste convinced us this was fuzzy logic, and the carrots were snapped up. The orange, yellow and purple carrots had been grown in the market garden just down the path from our seats.

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The smokehouse charcuterie board was fantastic, with all the products smoked and cured onsite.

Spit roasted lamb and pork followed, with jacket potatoes, garden salad, estate vegetables and corn on the cob. Again, most of this dish was grown on site and was fabulously fresh.

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To finish we were served trifle, cream, poached estate fruit and meringue. Again, not a dish that I fancied on paper, but one mouthful changed my mind.

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As we left, we were invited to ‘stretch our legs, explore the orchard, harvest the trees’ and were provided with a beautiful hessian bag to take home these goodies plus extras that were included, such as a handmade coffee body scrub.

The friends I attended with and I have already agreed that we will definitely come again as soon as they have another such event.

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In the meantime, you can indulge in Pialligo Estate’s beautiful grounds and learn from their expert staff during their Pialligo Estate Academy series which sees participants cooking, eating, foraging, gardening and drinking (yes, there’s wine) in masterclasses intended to excite, entertain and educate Canberrans. Read more about it here

Images: Supplied

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Kate Neser

Kate Neser is an Executive Coach with the Centre for Public Management, coaching people to find the pathway to fulfil on their full potential in any area of work, whether it be developing their leadership potential, managing people or seeking the elusive work-life balance. As a former senior executive who managed the role working part-time with young kids, she is passionate about challenging some of the beliefs held in workplaces that get in the way of people living the life they dream about. More about the Author

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