Brassey Weddings Masthead

The Ultimate Autumnal Getaway

Ashleigh Went

Last year’s High Country Harvest was easily one of the highlights of our year.

My partner James and I ventured to High Country Victoria for a weekend of food, wine and, well, more food.

When the invite to the opening of the 2018 High Country Harvest arrived in my inbox, I was giddy with excitement. This weekend, we’re returning to again taste our way around the region.

Here are some of last year’s highlights (which are on offer again this year) as well as new experiences we’re looking forward to:

Walk, Bleat and Eat

Cheese is undoubtedly my favourite food on the planet. This fact, combined with the anticipation that comes from the possibility of meeting baby goats, set the bar very high for this particular activity.

This unique farm experience includes a ‘walk and talk’ tour with producers Melissa and Donovan Jacka. Meet their friendly herd of goats, taste the Tolpuddle cheese range and enjoy a grazing platter with a gourmet barbeque lunch, live music and old-fashioned games for the kids.

Happening 6 May at 11am.

Grand Opening Dinner

The Harvest’s Grand Opening Dinner was held inside the historic barn where Brown Brothers’ first wines were made, and is completely transformed for the occasion. Last year, we sat on communal tables set with autumnal touches under the glow of glittering fairy lights, while a live band performed next to a prosecco bar.

Enjoy a five-course menu created by award-winning chefs, which celebrated the High Country’s incredible produce.

Happening 4 May at 6:30.

Image: Jason Robins Photography

Fresh from the Hive & Pan

James and I are both big foodies who love to cook, so the fact that we go to head along to Beechworth Honey for a cooking class made us very happy indeed.

Beechworth Honey’s bee school is a magical place – it has a working beehive and a very impressive kitchen. The class was so much fun – we really enjoyed getting our hands dirty and learning all about the lost art of crumpet making. You’ll also learn to extract honey from fresh honeycomb and taste the extensive range of Beechworth honeys.

Happening 19 May at 10am.

Image: Jason Robins Photography

Creative Campfire Cooking

This was the last stop on our journey last year, and what a finisher it was. We still use some of the recipes we picked up from our campfire cooking class, hosted by the ultra knowledgable and all-round delightful Mandy Jones.

Sitting at a long table nestled amongst the vines, eating our campfire feast and sipping wine is a memory I’ll treasure forever.

Happening 6 May at 11am.

Yoga, Bubbles, Brekkie, Bliss

What could be more blissful than a yoga class among the vines? Adding some High Country food and wine, of course.

Practice your sun saluations while your overlook John Gehrig Wine’s vineyard in Rutherglen. This one-hour ‘Find Balance’ yoga class will awaken your senses – and your appetite!

Reward yourself with a glass of bubbles and a light breakfast of local and regional produce. Bliss!

Happening 5 May, 12 May and 19 May.

All Saints Estate – Harvest Menu

While I’m yet to experience All Saints Estate myself, our Editor Beatrice Smith calls it “one of the best places on earth – literally a castle with a hatted restaurant”.

This lunch at the ‘one hat’ Terrace Restaurant includes a bite-sized taste of All Saints Estate where you will sip, sample savour three delicious canapés expertly matched with three premium All Saints Estate wines.

Beatrice tells me her dinner at Terrace was one of the best meals of her life, and I’m on strict instructions to pick her up a few bottles of their vino – “wine I could quite easily live off” she sighs dreamily.

Happening 12pm to 2pm, Wednesday to Sunday from 4-20 May.

Shirazzle Dazzle the Senses

Have you ever watched the scene in About Time where Tim and Mary fall in love in Dans le Nois, a restaurant where guests dine in pitch-black darkness? This is the High Country Harvest wine equivalent – where you’ll taste Valhalla’s wine blindfolded in the company of winemaker Anton.

Enjoy a glass of sparkling Shiraz on arrival with a wander through the vineyard, before you move into the blindfolded tasting complete with snacks.

Happening 4 May at 6pm.

Cocktail Flight by Autumn Light

On our last visit, nearly every local we spoke to asked if we had visited Reed & Co Distillery. While we didn’t quite make the journey, we’re very much looking forward to their High Country Harvest event, Cocktail Flight by Autumn Light.

Reed & Co are the makers of Remedy Gin, distilled in a ‘Kovodel’ Cooper Pot Still. Alongside Billy Button Wines and Mayford Wines, Remedy Gin forms the basis of “Il Picco, a small-batch, French-inspired aperitif.

Sip while you snack on artisan French cheese, autumn nuts and chin preserves.

Happening 19 May at 3:30pm.

Autumn Harvest Forage

One of the best parts of the High Country Harvest is not just eating the local produce, but discovering where exactly it comes from. In this class, hosted by chef atria Simone, you’ll spend the morning foraging ingredients from the forests, farms, and producers around Bright. Then, you’ll head back to the cooking school where you’ll learn to use your foraged ingredients to create five Italian-inspired dishes. Tickets include refreshments, lunch with wine and recipes to take home.

Happening on select dates from 5 May – 20 May at 10am.

STAY

When it comes to accommodation, there is a plethora of options across the High Country’s villages. Last year we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Milawa’s Lindenwarrah, with its manicured gardens and serene decorative pools set against the backdrop of a stunning vineyard.

This time, we’ll be spending our first night at The Tower at Mount Ophir Estate. The stunningly beautiful French Provincial tower set over three floors and includes a spiral staircase, luxurious bedroom suite and marble bathroom. I’ll no doubt be spending my time lounging on the queen bed, soaking up the 360-degree views of the Murray River Basin and Snowy Mountains.

Next we’ll be checking in to Panoramia Villas, soaking in the private bath tub in the bedroom with views of the Ovens Valley. With all the creature comforts like a fully equipped kitchen, a mini-bar with local beers, wines and cider, and plush king-size beds, we’ll no doubt be well prepared for another day of eating and drinking our way through High Country Victoria.

the essentials

What: High Country Harvest
Where: Locations across Victoria’s High Country, including Beechworth, Benalla, Bright, Glenrowan, Falls Creek, Mansfield, Milawa and the King Valley, Mount Beauty, Rutherglen and Tallangatta.
When: 5 to 21 May
Book: highcountryharvest.com.au

The author and her partner travelled courtesy of Tourism North East.

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Ashleigh Went

HerCanberra ACTIVE Editor Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. As someone who loves champagne and cheese almost as she loves a sweaty workout, she's all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She can usually be found with her nose in a book, planning her next adventure, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue. More about the Author