I love the Hunter Valley. Every year the boy and I escape for the weekend to get our cheese and wine fix and bring a trunk full of deliciousness back to Sydney! So one bright and early morning we head off from Sydney for the 2 hour drive to the Hunter and check in at the Crown Plaza Hunter Valley.
It was a tad chilly that morning but oh man how inviting does that pool look!
The breakfast buffet ($38pp) at Redsalt is pretty damn impressive, there’s the egg station where you can customise your omelettes, the pancake machine station (where I always end up googling how much it would cost to have one of these babies at home), the hot food station with bacon, sausages and hash browns, the coffee and juice station, and of course there’s fruits, cheese, cereals, breads and fresh pastries.
I’m a fan of chardonnays and so a visit to Scarborough (179 Gillards Road, Pokolbin) is always a winner, especially the free cheese platter!
Cafe Enzo (Broke Rd & Ekerts Rd, Pokolbin) has the fricken best scones I’ve ever had. The scones are ginormous, with a nice light crust, buttery crumb and are just oh so fluffeh.
We sign up for the Lovedale Bus Tour ($55pp) which runs every Saturday, starting at 12.30pm at the Lovedale Bar with a tasty platter of pulled pork sliders, prawns, fish and chips and of course a refreshing glass of your choice from the taps. We head to the Lovedale brewery for a tour of the beer making facilities and get a walkthrough of the bottling and canning process.
And then hopping on the bright yellow double decker bus to hit a couple of wineries in the area- Tamburlaine Organic Wines and Cockfighters Ghost Wines welcome our group and with some very nice discounts 😛
For the months of May and June, some of Lovedale’s best chefs and winemakers are joining forces for the Lovedale Pie and Wine pairing. We were in need of sustenance before heading out for a big day of wine tasting so went downstairs to the Lovedale Bar & Restaurant for the beef shin pie with mashed potatoes and green beans and paired with a Lovedale Brewery Lager. The pie was pretty damn tasty tho with incredibly flaky pastry and tender meat, tho purists will say it’s more of a pot pie than a proper pie lol /stares at Noods.
One of my absolute Must Dos in the Hunter Valley is visiting all the cheese stores! First stop is Binnorie Dairy (Tuscany Wine Estate, Hermitage Rd & Mistletoe Lane, Pokolbin), which is a must visit if only just to get their flagship cheese, the international Gold Medal Winner marinated fetta.
And then onto Hunter Valley Cheese Factory (447 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin, next door to McGuigan’s Winery) where I can never resist the neon green waxed cheddar or their grape vine ash brie.
Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop (2144 Broke Rd, Pokolbin) has 2 locations, the main one is at the Roche Estate Complex (2144 Broke Road, Pokolbin) but for some reason we prefer heading to the Pokolbin Village location (Shop 3, 2188 Broke Road, Pokolbin). It’s less frenetic at this store and the staff are super lovely and there’s cheese tastings which always pleases my soul.
My favourite restaurant is EXP (1596 Broke Rd, Pokolbin) who use fresh, local produce from the Hunter region. The food is always incredibly presented and so very delicious and the matching wines from Oakvale winery is always great.
ChocolateSuze stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Hunter Valley as a guest.