The Murray Indulgence – Swan Hill and Mildura

The River Murray is many things to many people. It’s Australia’s longest and most iconic river, a state border, a lifeblood to millions, and of course, a great place for a holiday. The Murray is an inspiring destination for indulgent gourmet travellers. Rolling vineyards, farmers’ markets, riverside picnics, and food and wine trails are key ingredients in the character of the Murray, one of Australia’s great “food bowls”. Whether you’re packing a picnic at a local market, visiting a farm gate or cellar door, or dining riverside in style, there’s a flavour to suit all tastes and budgets along the Murray.

Adelaide Food Central, along with other guests, were invited on a four day culinary tour of the Murray. Organised by Murray Regional Tourism, Mildura Tourism, and Swan Hill Inc. we were fortunate enough to experience some of the highlights that both Mildura and Swan Hill have to offer. With a jam packed itinerary, we visited cafes, restaurants, wineries, visited a salt mine and farmer’s markets, cruised down the Murray in a paddle steamer and saw an amazing light show. We have written about each place we visited, so we will warn you that the article is long.

Day 1

Indulge Apartments Langtree

When you’re travelling interstate, you really want to have the creature comforts that you have back home. In the case of Mildura, Indulge Apartments Langtree are the way to go as they allow you to relax in style. The apartment we stayed in was self contained with microwave, fridge and kettle. The bed is a decent size and you could easily fit four people in the extra large shower. There are televisions in the living and bedroom, and essentially all the amenities you would need during your stay. The apartment is modern and spacious, and most importantly, it’s clean.

Indulge Apartments Langtree is the perfect place to unwind, offering all the modern luxuries one could want in accommodation. At your day’s end, you’ll relish returning to the tranquillity, designer flair and superb facilities of your self-contained apartment, with everything you need at your fingertips!

WHERE: Level 1, 150 Langtree Ave, Mildura, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.indulgeapartments.com.au

 

Sunraysia Cellar Door

Forget all your other liquor stores, when you’re in Mildura, you need to head down to Sunraysia Cellar Door. The business supports 22 Murray Darling wine producers and houses over 250 wines. We met the owner Greg Christians who gave us an entertaining background on the local wines produced in the Murray Darling region. A very knowledgeable man who knows the industry like the back of his hand. We also sampled a selection of local whites and reds, which is what all customers get the opportunity to do prior to purchasing.

While the cellar door is primarily about wine, they do offer other products as well. They have a great selection of olive oils, dried fruit and a large range of gift ideas.

WHERE: 125 Lime Ave, Mildura, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.sunraysiacellardoor.com.au

 

Fossey’s Gin Elixir

If there’s ever a person who is passionate about their gin, it’s Steve Timmis. Steve wanted to create something unique, that involved his family, and celebrated Mildura and Australia’s amazing produce. This is how Fossey’s Gin was born.

We sampled Fossey’s Original G&T, a couple of G&T Tasting Paddles as well as a selection of customer favourites. These all went down very well with some of Fossey’s Cheese Platters which consist of mature picantino, maasdam, lavosh flatbread crackers, quince paste and seasonal fruit.

Steve then gave us a lesson on how Fossey’s gin is made and all the complexities involved. This man knows his gin and is truly passionate about it. For all the gin lovers out there, this is a must visit destination.

WHERE: 110 Eighth St, Mildura, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.fosseysgin.com.au

 

Stefano’s Restaurant

It’s a common fact that people come to Mildura to eat at Stefano’s Restaurant. Owner, Stefano de Pieri migrated to Australia in 1974 and throughout the early years, cooking has always been his passion. He was always impressed with the local produce and wine that he decided to bring the rustic Italian food he grew up to the restaurant. Adelaide Food Central, along with other invited guests, experienced a night of feasting. Feeding everyone what was prepared for the day is what he does and that’s exactly what he did.

We started with the Poached Ox Tongue with home made pickled vegetables and fresh horse radish. Ox tongue might not sound appetising but when prepared correctly can be delicious. The thin slice of tongue was soft and delicate, and very subtle in flavour. The accompanying pickled vegetables and horse radish really gave the dish good depth.

The Erbazzone is a wild herb tart served with proscuitto di parma. The tart was almost like spinach pastry, although the outer surface was a lot thicker. The subtle flavours of the herbs were present in the tart, however, the saltiness of the proscuitto really made the dish.

The Sformato with spinach and truffle oil was one of the favourites of the night. Very similar to a cheese souffle, the dish was soft and delicate. Each bite was cheesy with subtle notes of truffle. A very enjoyable dish.

Also a winner was the Handmade Pappardelle with home-made sausage and mushroom. The sheets of pasta were al dente and worked perfectly with the well seasoned sausage and earthy mushrooms. It’s a classic combination of ingredients that has been proven time and time again.

A portion of meat that was popular when Stefano was younger was the lamb neck. Bringing old things back into fashion was the Slow Cooked Braised Lamb Neck with baked fennel, caponata and gremolata. If this was lambs neck, we’d like to have more of it! The meat was tender and succulent, and full of flavour. The savouriness of the meat was complimented by the light and refreshing caponata.

Moving on to dessert, we had the Original Pannacotta with poached quince. This dessert is unlike any pannacotta you’ve tasted as it doesn’t use gelatin. It’s soft, delicate and simply melts in your mouth. Combined with the fruity quince paste, it was a match made in heaven.

The last dessert of the night was the Walnut Tart Cake with whipped cream and organic rose syrup. The tart cake was almost hard and with every bite, you could taste the crunchiness from the walnuts. An amazing way to end the night.

Stefano’s Restaurant is a Mildura institution, with Stefano himself, continuing to be an active member within the community. Make sure you pay this place a visit when you’re in Mildura. It’s well worth the trip.

WHERE: Cellars of the Grand Hotel, Langtree Ave, Mildura, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.stefano.com.au/stefanos-restaurant

 

Day 2

Sunraysia Farmer’s Market

Held on the first and third Saturday of each month along the Murray River is the Sunraysia Farmers Market. The aim of the market is to provide a platform that links good food direct from the regional producers to the community. The whole idea actively promotes and supports community, cultural, economic and environmental well being on numerous levels.

With over 40 stallholders attending every market, there is something for everyone. People can come have breakfast, watch cooking demonstrations or witness the live entertainment by musicians and singers. There are many handmade arts and crafts, and for the family, lots of children’s activities.

WHERE: Jaycee Park, Hugh King Dr, Mildura, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.sunraysiafarmersmarket.com.au

 

Murray River Salt Harvest Site

Sun Salt was first established back in 1983 and began producing salt from underground saline water at Hattah in North West Victoria. With the significant knowledge and experience gained in extracting value-added salts from inland brine, Murray River Salt was formed in 2000. Murray River Salt began producing premium gourmet salt flakes by utilising concentrated brine from the Mourquong Salt Mitigation Basin, located 13 kilometres northwest of Mildura in New South Wales.

The ancient inland concentrated brine found within the Mourquong Mitigation Basin is recognised for its purity and mineral content.  This pristine saline water source has been trapped underground for many years and has not been exposed to the elements until it is pumped up for salt production.  The pure mineralised brine travels through several canals before entering a crystallizer pond.  The brine is evaporated by the sun and crystallizes over the summer months where it is then harvested and transported to Mildura where the salt flakes are packaged in a food grade environment.

Murray River Salt has worked closely with government authorities to access the brine from the Mourquong Salt Mitigation Basin which is part of the Salt Interception Scheme which is a vital scheme that ensures saline water does not enter the precious fresh water resources in the Murray Darling Basin such as the Murray River.

Murray River Salt has been able to tap into a natural resource and convert it into a value added gourmet food product whilst contributing to protecting our environment from the detrimental effects of salinity.  In 2004, the Governor General awarded Sunsalt the National Institute of Engineers Salinity Award.  This award is for companies who have demonstrated successful methods of reducing salinity impacts on the environment.

WHERE: Mourquong, New South Wales

WEBSITES: www.murrayriversalt.com.au and www.discovermildura.com.au

 

Varapodio Estate

Located just 5 minutes from the Mildura CBD, Varapodio Estate is a family owned and operated olive grove. It’s located just over the Murray River, in the hamlet of Buronga and is situated close to the roundabout heading towards Gol Gol.

Varapodio is a small Italian town in the province of Reggio, in southern Calabria. It was the home town of the first generation of the Scopelliti family who migrated to Australia in the late 1940’s. Like the region of Sunraysia, Varapodio was well known for its citrus, grape, olive and vegetable industries.

The Cellar Door Cafe was built on the farm in 2009, after operating for a couple of years from a temporary site in their garage. Tasting of their award winning olive oils are available, while olives, salad dressings, olive oil moisturisers and soaps are for sale.

In addition, they stock a wide array of other locally produced products, such as Murray River Salt, Outback Almonds, Jamie’s Fine Dressings, Roy Farm’s Summer Fruit, CosiGrape local dried fruit and Just Go Nuts pistachios, to name a few, as well as an ever increasing range of preserves.

Their Cafe serves a home cooked menu of morning and afternoon teas and light lunches, including vegetarian and gluten free choices. Local seasonal produce is used where ever possible. Their olive oil ice-cream is also available in the cafe served with one of their desserts.

WHERE: Block 60, Sturt Highway, Buronga, New South Wales

WEBSITE: www.varapodioestate.com.au

 

Trentham Estate Winery

Trentham Estate Winery has been operating since 1988, where it has grown from the initial 30 tonne crush to a minimal but state-of-the-art facility handling up to 5,000 tonnes of premium fruit each vintage. It allows the flexibility to perform different winemaking styles, resulting in the diverse and always consistent Trentham Estate wines.

The winemaking philosophy at Trentham Estate has always been to produce high-quality varietal wines at an affordable price, with an emphasis on full fruit flavour and palatability.

Over the years Trentham Estate has produced a good balance of classic wine styles mixed with a number of alternative varieties. Wines are produced true to their natural varietal character, as well as experimentation with grape varieties that are lesser-known yet likely to thrive in the Mediterranean climate Mildura and the Murray Darling wine region are known for.

The awards received by many of these wines attest to the well-considered selection of varietals together with careful winemaking.

Today, Adelaide Food Central, along with other members of the famil sampled some of their exquisite wines together with their mouth watering food. We started with the Trentham Dukkah and Balsamic which is served with extra virgin olive oil and home made foccacia, and then moved on to Trentham’s Antipasto which included their House-made Pate. This was followed by the Baked Goats Cheese Tart and Twice Cooked Pork Belly. The meal was finished with a decadent Tiramisu.

Trentham Estate Winery certainly ticks all the boxes. They offer outstanding drops with delicious food, all in a relaxed, casual environment. With breathtaking views along the Murray River, it’s easy to spend the day grazing. Combine that with friendly and attentive service, and well maintained surrounds, and you certainly have a must visit winery.

WHERE: 6531 Sturt Highway, Trentham Cliffs, New South Wales

WEBSITE: www.trenthamestate.com.au

 

The Black Stump

The Black Stump is set in one of Mildura’s oldest and most iconic venues, The Settlers Club.

Owners, Liam Wood and Jim McDougall became friends at primary school more than 20 years ago. After finishing school, they both moved to Melbourne to pursue careers in hospitality. Liam specialised in bars while Jim became proficient in hospitality. Some years later, they both returned to the region and combined their talents to open The Black Stump. Their aim was to create a new culture in Mildura by redefining the idea of an Australian country pub.

We caught up with Jim over a few cocktails and some Saltbush Crisps with sour cream, while learning more about his background and the intended direction of the pub. Like many chefs, Jim was direct and straight to the point, and that’s something we really liked. It was a shame we didn’t get to try more of the food on offer.

WHERE: 110-114 Eighth St, Mildura, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.theblackstump.com.au

 

Brass Monkey

Brass Monkey restaurant brings a slice of inner city Melbourne’s laneway-style dining to the city of Mildura. Classified as international cuisine, you’ll see influences on their menu from America, Asia and the middle east. Adelaide Food Central, along with other members of the famil, were invited to sample of their new and existing menu.

We started off with the Chorizo and Jack Cheese Croquettes with jalapeno aioli. The croquettes were fried to a light golden brown, and their interior was a smooth, creamy mixture of chorizo and cheese. The jalapeno aioli was subtle at first with a nice kick at the end.

Next was the Cauliflower with zaatar, quinoa, hummus, cashews and curry leaves. The cauliflower was firm but soft, and coated in middle eastern spices. The hummus was smooth and creamy, while the cashews added a nice crunchy texture.

Pork belly is ever so popular and more than likely you’ll find it on the menu at most places you’ll go. Here it’s the Pork Belly with chilli caramel, Vietnamese pickles, herbs, shallots, sesame, peanuts and nahm jim. The pork belly was juicy and succulent with crispy, crackling skin. Pork belly can often be a bit fatty, but it’s alright when the meat is piping hot. The chilli caramel applied on the pork gave it a nice sweetness, and it was a most desirable dish.

Last but not least was dessert in the form of Frozen Lime Yoghurt with crack crumble, lime zest, coconut snow and meringue. This dessert is unbelievably delicious and reminds me of a cheesecake. The frozen yoghurt is smooth and creamy, and is well balanced by the crack crumble. The dish is slightly tart but refreshing, and was the perfect way to end the night.

For those that are looking for something hipster in the heart of Mildura, you need to check out Brass Monkey. With a modern and international cuisine, there is surely something for everyone on the menu.

WHERE: 32 Carter Lane, Mildura, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.brassmonkeyrestaurant.com.au

 

Day 3

Blk Mlk Specialty Coffee

Hipster coffee places aren’t necessarily restricted to cities, they also have make their presence felt in rural towns. A great example of this is Blk Mlk Specialty Coffee which is a play on how you can have your coffee, either black (blk) or with milk (mlk).

As Mildura’s first specialty coffee shop, they work exclusively with 5 Senses Coffee Roasters and use a state of the art coffee machine. The coffee is so good the locals flock to this store to get their fix.

The morning of our last day in Mildura saw us visit this hipster coffee shop and we were more than impressed. We started with the beautiful House Made Granola. Sitting in the centre of the dish was a coconut panna cotta. It had great wobble, and the texture was thick, smooth and delicate. The seasonal fruits and house made gels added sweetness while the oats and nuts provided a nice crunchy texture.

Next were the signature Donut Waffles which were served with all the sweet stuff. The waffles were freshly made, and their texture was light and fluffy. Strawberries and berries were present to add sweetness, and ice cream and maple syrup were thrown in to keep it that way.

The owners and staff were the best, and you’d never meet a friendlier group of people. More importantly, the food was great, and if you’re looking for something light and delicious during the day, this is your “go to” place. They also do gourmet sandwiches and smoothies, and as mentioned earlier, amazing coffee!

WHERE: 51 Deakin Ave, Mildura, Victoria

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/blk.mlk.specialty.coffee

 

Andrew Peace Wines

The mighty Murray River has long been a lifeline feeding a diverse range of farming and agribusiness pursuits across the southern Australian states of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.

Andrew Peace Wines is situated at Piangil, on the banks of this majestic river and our range of value for money wines for export and domestic markets display all of the bold, rich characteristics of our riverbank home.

A quarter of a century on from planting its first block, Andrew Peace Wines remains a proud family business and one of the largest family owned wineries in Australia. What started as a weekend escape transformed into a family passion.

Through much toil of three Peace generations the ‘country retreat’ vineyard produced its first vintage in 1995 and a commercial winery was born. Every vintage since has accompanied another chapter of family life – celebrations, milestones and happy memories.

Andrew Peace remains the Winemaker today and invites you to enjoy the fruits of the family toil with the same joy they have had in creating it.

WHERE: 4077 Murray Valley Highway, Piangil, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.apwines.com

 

Spoons Riverside

Spoons Riverside, is the only restaurant and function venue uniquely located directly on an anabranch of Australia’s magnificent Murray River.

Positioned between the award winning Pioneer Settlement and the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery, Spoons Riverside offers diners the opportunity to enjoy local, seasonal produce from the surrounding Murray-Mallee region, cooked and presented in a modern Australian style.

On the decking, under the magnificent River Red Gums, diners and function guests are able to enjoy the distinctly Australian appeal of the setting while relaxing to the gentle tempo of the passing river water.

Adelaide Food Central, and other members of the famil, were invited to sit down for lunch along the Murray River. We started off with the Mallee Tasting Platter which is made up of a Ouyen Mallee lamb terrine, kangaroo chipolatas, Spoons pickled pear, and Manangatang rabbit forcemeat pate. A delicious assortment of goodies that is perfect for an afternoon graze.

Next was the Pulled Pork Banh Mi with apple slaw and fries. The only thing Asian inspired about this dish was the name, but that didn’t matter because it went down a treat. The pulled pork was juicy and succulent, with just the right amount of sweetness. The apple slaw was light and refreshing, and added a nice crunchy texture to the dish.

Last but not least was Aunty Val’s Buttermilk Pancakes. Coming in a serve of three, the pancakes were light and fluffy. The natural sweetness of the berries and raspberries were complimented by the scoop of ice cream and maple syrup. It looked good, tasted great and was the perfect way to end the meal.

At the heart of one of Australia’s premier food growing and increasingly popular holiday destination regions, Spoons Riverside provides a memorable dining experience, whether it is for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

WHERE: 125 Monash Dr, Swan Hill, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.spoonsriverside.com.au

 

PS Pyap

No visit to Swan Hill would be complete without a cruise aboard the PS Pyap as it winds its way along the mighty Murray River. The hour-long cruise departs from the wharf at the Pioneer Settlement and travels up river past the historic Murray Downs Homestead.

The paddlesteamer was built in Mannum, South Australia back in 1896, and is an impressive 3o metres long and 4.8m wide. With a very shallow draft, the vessel has the ability to float in less than a metre of water.

In the early days PS Pyap was used as a floating general store. It travelled the lower Murray River, stopping at small towns and farm stations along the way. Inside, there is a serving counter, a store section and a separate drapery at the rear of her lower deck. The crew used to sleep on the upper deck.

The PS Pyap travelled 500 kilometres each week selling goods to settlers at over 60 settlements and landing places along the river.

Kick back and listen as the captain narrates the riverboat history, the influence this form of transport had on early settlement along the river and details about the natural environment. It’s a must do activity when in Swan Hill.

WHERE: 1 Monash Dr, Swan Hill, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.visitswanhill.com.au/see-and-do/history-and-heritage/ps-pyap

 

Lady Augusta

Accommodation for the Swan Hill leg of our journey saw us stay at the Lady Augusta. The hotel is named after a paddle steamer that was used for commercial trade along the Murray River back in 1853. The town is known for their pioneer settlement and the name ideal for the location.

The hotel room is quaint and self contained with microwave, fridge and kettle. The room can accommodate three people with a double and single bed. The bathroom is smaller than our last accommodation but is modern and does its job. There is a television on the wall of the living/bedroom area, and it pretty much has everything you would need during your stay. The space is fairly clean which is what you’d expect from any place of living.

Rated number one on Trip Advisor, the hotel complex is centrally located in Swan Hill; a short walk from the main shops, the Murray River and the historic Pioneer Settlement, the Comfort Inn Lady Augusta Motel is the ideal motel in Swan Hill for leisure and business travellers to recharge their batteries while visiting the Mallee.

WHERE: 375 Campbell St, Swan Hill, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.ladyaugusta.com.au

 

Heartbeat of the Murray Laser Light Show

The Heartbeat of the Murray is a 360-degree multimedia light show unlike anything seen in Australia. Set on the banks of the Little Murray River, it has recently won the International Laser Design Association’s award for multimedia shows.

Using water, light, laser, sound and special effects to tell the story of the Murray, you’ll be transported back 30 million years, before travelling forward through time to the Murray River as we know it today.

The state-of-the-art show is the first of its kind in the world to use a natural river environment and setting as the background.

The Heartbeat of the Murray laser light show has been made possible thanks to funding from the Federal and State governments, and Swan Hill Rural City Council. It’s amazing! Go see it!

WHERE: Horseshoe Bend, 125 Monash Dr, Swan Hill, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.spoonsriverside.com.au

 

Java Spice

If the article in The Age Good Food Guide was anything to go by, Java Spice Restaurant was going to be a great dining experience before we had even set foot in the establishment. Listed at one of the top five Thai restaurants in Victoria, we already knew we were in for a good night.

From the moment you walk into the restaurant, you feel like you’re in a South East Asian tropical paradise. Just about everything you see was handcrafted in Java and re-erected by local Swan Hill builders. The timber used is predominantly teak and bangkerai hardwoods. Then you have a number of traditional structures like the limasan, the joglo, and the gazebo, all commonly found within the Asian region.

Like all good restaurants, Java Spice use only the freshest ingredients to ensure that customers get the best tasting food possible. There is no MSG used in any of the dishes, and the kitchen staff are more than happy to cater for the gluten intolerant. Adelaide Food Central, along with other members of the famil, were invited to dinner at the popular restaurant.

With too many dishes to mention, we’ll highlight some of our favourites that we had. For entree, our favourite was the Balinese Sate Kambing. Essentially they’re barbecued goat meat that has been basted in Balinese spices. The meat was juicy and succulent, and very well seasoned. Perfect on their own and even better with the Balinese sweet soy sauce.

Our favourite main was the Beef Rendang. We never remembered having Beef Rendang this good. The generously sized portions of beef were tender and succulent, and the meat simply fell apart. The flavours were spot on and we loved how we experienced a bit of heat after every bite.

The pick of the desserts was the Grilled Mango Cheeks. Covered in lime juice and palm sugar, the mango cheeks are grilled to a light golden brown. A fruit that is naturally sweet all of a sudden takes on a slightly different flavour profile when grilled. The delicious smooth and creamy vanilla ice cream compliments the natural sweetness of the fruit.

So much attention to detail as gone into Java Spice. The owners, Trish and Pete have travelled extensively through South East Asia, and the warmth and hospitality that they have been accustomed to has transpired into great service at the restaurant. The food here is simply amazing, and customers that come here are really getting an authentic experience.

WHERE: 17 Beveridge St, Swan Hill, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.javaspice.com.au

 

Day 4

Boo’s Place Cafe and Provedore

With people being more health conscious these days, there’s a demand for healthier options when you dine out. Boo’s Place Cafe and Provedore caters for a growing audience of people who care about their health. Run by passionate owner and local chef, Rebecca Hart, the kitchen team only uses the freshest local seasonal produce, and the mileage of the food is minimal. On our final day in the Murray region, we came here for breakfast to see what the place was all about.

We started with the Mediterranean Omelette with chorizo, spinach, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes and parmesan. Served in a cute little frying pan, we couldn’t wait to dig into this dish, and neither did the hungry magpie that was flying around. The omelette was light and fluffy, and covered the base of the pan. The pieces of chorizo had a lovely smokey flavour, while the mushrooms brought earthiness to the dish. The generous amount of rocket was fresh and crisp, and the crumbly feta added a burst of saltiness with each bite. Absolutely delicious and a perfect way to start off proceedings.

Next was the Waffles with Maple Bacon and Fried Eggs. Lovers of Belgian waffles will be mesmerised by this dish. The waffles are freshly made and generous in size. What makes them authentic are the pearl sugars which gives them a chewy texture. The bacon and eggs are standard for any breakfast, but a great combination with the waffles.

Last but not least were the Buttermilk Pancakes with bananas, walnuts and butterscotch sauce. Coming in a serve of two, the pancakes were thick, light and fluffy. The bananas were caramelised and mashed up, and its sweetness was complimented by the butterscotch sauce. The presence of walnuts was the crunchy component to the dish.

What more can we say? The food is uses the best local ingredients and is delicious! The cafe was packed at the time of our visit which indicates locals have caught on. Voted number one on Trip Advisor, the team at Boo’s is certainly doing something right.

WHERE: 12 McCrae St, Swan Hill, Victoria

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/boosplacecafeandprovedore

 

Robinvale Estate

Robinvale Estate Olive Oil was born out of Kim Natale’s passion to create delicious foods with the aim of making every meal a delectable journey. Growing up in the grove with her three younger brothers among the olive trees whilst her mother Glenda would pick olives by hand, she developed an appreciation of food in its purest form. With her father Ralph nurturing the trees and his Italian influence in the kitchen she would often bend the rules on traditional recipes having the confidence to experiment until she achieved her desired taste. In 2001 the purchase of an olive oil extrusion plant was made ensuring the olives are picked and harvested at their optimum time.

The family owned and operated grove occupies 220 acres of olives just south of Robinvale. Dressings are made by hand onsite at the factory. In 2008 the first 2 dressings were developed sourcing the freshest local products and to this day continue to win accolades nationally. The range has expanded and continues to grow. To create unique flavoursome dressings fresh fruits are pressed with olives making Agrumato Oil, uncommon in many dressings found on supermarket shelves.

We were fortunate enough to sample many of the olives oils on offer and were pleased by the large range available and the quality of the product. Kim also has another business called Liv & Luv Gourmet Foods which is well known for their Granoata cereals. When mixed with yoghurt and fruit, you have a very healthy and delicious breakfast option. Kim, Glenda and Ralph can be found at local farmers markets near Mildura on most weekends. Farmers markets allow consumers to taste the delicious range of products before they purchase.

WHERE: 2270 Tol Tol Rd, Robinvale, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.robinvaleestate.com.au

 

Robinvale Wines

Robinvale Wines is a family run and owned Certified Organic and Bio-Dynamic winery and vineyard. They were one of the first Australian wineries to be fully accredited with the Bio-Dynamic Research Institute of Australia.

Mr. & Mrs. George Caracatsanoudis established Robinvale Organic Wines in 1976. Today sons Steve, Bill and their families continue to produce quality Wines and Non-Alcoholic beverages. The Caracatsanoudis family operate the modern winery along with thirty hectares of Bio-Dynamic vineyards at Robinvale, 470 km North-West of Melbourne on the Murray River.

The Winery is fully equipped including bottling facilities and cellar door sales. Designed to resemble a Greek temple, they built the winery from ancient Mt. Gambian lime stone that helps to maintain a cool temperate cellar. The winery is also listed among the district’s tourist attractions.

Robinvale Organic Wines make a variety of wines including Table, Sparkling and Fortified, Organic, Bio-Dynamic and Preservative Free Wines. Robinvale Organic Wines also produce a range of Vegan/Vegetarian friendly Wines to cater for the health and environmentally conscious person. Their Non-Alcoholic beverages come in Still and Sparkling and are made from Bio-Dynamically grown grapes. As such, they do not contain chemicals. Bio-Dynamically grown fruit usually taste better than fruit grown with the “assistance” of insecticides, herbicides, artificial fertilisers and other chemicals and is definitely better for your body and the environment.

Consistently producing good wine and picking up prizes is every vignerons aim. To do both of these using organic methods throughout is an enormous achievement by Robinvale Organic Wines and prove Organic Wine production has come of age.

WHERE: 243 Sea Lake Rd, Robinvale, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.organicwines.com.au

 

Loft 13

At Loft 13, it’s all about respecting the food. According to their philosophy, if you respect the food, treat it and prepare it well, then it’s going to nourish your body the way it was intended. This is exactly what they do at Loft 13, and we were there on our last leg of the Murray region journey to find out.

Loft 13 have a delicious burger menu with 7 types to choose from. We were feeling masculine and went for the Man Burger. The burger has pretty much everything you could think of and is of a decent height. The beef patty was juicy and succulent, and the cheese was nicely melted over the meat. The bacon was smokey and crisp, and the egg yolk was still runny when we cut into the burger. The lettuce was fresh and crisp, and there was good sweetness coming from the beetroot, grilled pineapple and caramelised onion. A very satisfying burger.

At Loft 13, there is also a selection of raw, vegan, gluten free and sugar free desserts to choose from. Like everything else, it’s all made fresh and in house. Our favourite was the salted caramel popcorn chocolate brownie. The outside was firm and chewy, while the middle was soft and silky smooth. The dessert was decadent enough but only made even better with the thick caramel sauce.

From all the deliciousness that we had, it was evident that the food was shown a lot of respect. This place is definitely worth checking out if you’re in the Robinvale area.

WHERE: 13 Perrin St, Robinvale, Victoria

WEBSITE: www.loft13.com.au

 

Who would have thought that there was so much to see and do in the Murray region? Prior to this trip, we knew very little about Mildura and Swan Hill, two of the locations we focussed on during the famil. While the towns are small, we were overwhelmed by the friendliness of the locals and the sense of pride within the community. We loved learning about the history of the area and were envious with the fresh produce that was available. The Murray region is an important Australian food bowl, but it’s just not that. There are so many activities that will keep people of ages and interests occupied.

Adelaide Food Central would like to thank Murray Regional Tourism, Mildura Tourism, Swan Hill Inc. and all the businesses involved in our culinary tour of the Murray. We’d also like to thank Cox Marketing for reaching out to us and making the trip possible.

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Categories: Familiarisation

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