Get a Taste of the High Country With These 6 Food and Wine Experiences

Posted by Stephanie Mikkelsen on Thursday, May 10, 2018

Encompassing King Valley, Beechworth and Bright, the High Country has more in its gastronomic arsenal than just acclaimed restaurants and great wineries.

A getaway to the High Country comes with opportunities to immerse yourself in the region's food and wine scene, be it taking a cooking class from a local culinary legend or learning how to blend your own wine varietal. To give you a taste of what the High Country has to offer we have found seven of the most enticing food and wine experiences from around the area. Think of it as an amuse-bouche to prepare your appetites for your next High Country escape. Plus those thirsty to discover more about High Country as one of Victoria's top grape-growing destinations can also check out Halliday's High Country wine guide – brimming with cellar door picks, events and history about the different sub-regions.

Put on an Apron with Simone's of Bright Cooking School

Simone’s of Bright was a High Country dining juggernaut. And despite the restaurant’s doors having closed, Simone’s cooking school continues to carry on its culinary legacy. All classes are led by Patrizia Simone, the lauded chef who ran her eponymous restaurant’s kitchen, and take place in the custom-built school. Umbrian-born Patrizia focuses the classes on Italian cuisine, with particular emphasis on exceptional ingredients and authentic flavours. No matter if you’re a novice in the kitchen or a self-proclaimed masterchef, every cook will leave class having learned something new. The four hour-long classes start with coffee and biscotti, are limited to eight people and include demonstrations, lunch with wine, and takeaway recipes. Bespoke courses can be arranged.

Cost: Price varies
Contact for upcoming dates
Bookings are essential

Follow the King Valley Prosecco Road

The King Valley occupies a pocket of High Country and has been dubbed the region’s own slice of Italy. Along with the influx of post-war Italian migrants that settled in the area, the King Valley’s moniker also comes from its prosecco-producing prowess. Otto Dal Zotto – yes, as in the Dal Zotto estate – was the first to plant prosecco vines in the King Valley, with four other winemakers (Chrismont, Brown Brothers, Sam Miranda, Pizzini) quickly following. Together, these five names make up the stops along King Valley Prosecco Road. Those working their way through all five vineyards can tee up their tasting at Chrismont with light bites or lunch at the estate’s restaurant and larder – expect from lamb cutlets with butter and thyme, stuffed rainbow trout, mammoth antipasti platters, mixed berry cheesecake. You might tuck into pizza in between rounds of bocce at Dal Zotto, or sign up for another hands-on High Country class at Pizzini's A tavola! Cooking School.

Beautiful Accommodation High Country Food Experiences Bright Brewery

Image: Chrismont Winery, Prosecco Road. Josie Withers; Visit Victoria

The Wine Blending Experience at Brown Brothers

Got the taste for more King Valley wine? Head to Brown Brothers for one of their Wine Blending Experience sessions. In this hour-long class, budding winemakers have the chance to create their own unique blend using Brown Brothers’ varietals, including shiraz, merlot and cabernet. Those looking for inspiration for their blend prior to the class can make a pitstop at the iconic estate’s cellar door to taste vintages from the wider Brown Brothers range. All blenders leave with a bottle of their creation – the ultimate unique souvenir.

Cost: $60 per person
Happens every day at 3.30pm
Bookings are recommended

Be a Brewer For A Day at Bright Brewery

Love hops more than grapes? Step into the shoes of a local brewer at Bright Brewery. The Brewer For A Day experience sees beer-lovers shadow one of the brewery’s team in making a batch of the award-winning MountainCrafted beer. This is no small-scale production and brewers will be involved as a commercial-size batch of beer is made, watching on as grain is milled and up until the cool wort is inoculated with yeast and left to ferment. The Brewery supplies morning tea, lunch, and a tasting of all beers on tap at the end of the day. Plus you receive free six-pack of your brew once it is ready to be bottled and packaged.

Cost: $360 per person
Check Bright Brewery for upcoming dates
Bookings are a must

Beautiful Accommodation High Country Food Experiences Bright Brewery

Image: Bright Brewery. Josie Withers; Visit Victoria

Pick Your Own at Beechworth Berries

Fill buckets with sweet strawberries at Beechworth Berries. An outing to this family-run farm is as fun as it is appetising. In a stroke of genius, the farm’s strawberry vines were planted at picking height, meaning there is no need to crouch or bend over as you scour for ruby red fruit. Buckets are supplied and the farm team will show visitors the best patches for picking. Please note that picking minimums are enforced (500g for adults and 250g for children). Those that are happy to leave the picking to others can still drop by the farm to buy punnets of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Add in a couple of jars of the homemade jam for good measure or as gifts for family and friends.

Cost: $13 per kg
Pick-your-own available during season, or check Beechworth Berries’ Facebook for additional dates.
No bookings required

Pick, Pickle, Wine and Dine with Mt Buffalo Olives

Take your antipasti platter game to the next level by serving self-picked and pickled olives from Mt Buffalo Olives. As part of the High Country Harvest, Mt Buffalo Olives is giving visitors the chance to book a place on an all-day foodie experience that, naturally, centres on the olive. Foodies meet at the Mt Buffalo Olives farm gate for tea and coffee and a morning snack. The day includes a tour of the olive grove, time to harvest the olives and then a hands-on lesson (plus tips) on how to pickle these beauties yourself. It is then onto a tasting and a two-course lunch, with matched wines of course, at Feathertop Winery.

Cost: $165 General Admission, $155 Feathertop Summit Cru Members
Happening Sunday 20 May 2018
Bookings essential

Gather Chestnuts at Wandiful Produce

While you may be an old hand at picking your own berries, have you ever tried to pick your own chestnuts? Learn how at Wandiful Produce, a beautiful patch near Wandiligong. Visitors can scour the family-operated grove for just-fallen chestnuts and the team at Wandiful Produce will peel the nuts for you so you can pop them in the freezer to devour throughout the year. The Farm Shed Café is open during the chestnut season and you can also buy freshly milled chestnut flour, chestnut crème and hazelnuts in shell.

Collect-your-own chestnuts is available during the limited season, usually between March and mid-May. The Farm Shed Café is also only open during this time. 
Check Wandiful Produce's website or Facebook for season updates. 

Beautiful Accommodation High Country Food Experiences Bright Brewery

Image: Wandiful Produce - Bright. Emily Godfrey; Visit Victoria

Hero Image: Wandiful Produce - Bright. Emily Godfrey; Visit Victoria

When you're ready to head to the hills, find your luxury High Country accommodation from our collection of boutique houses, cottages and villas.