Thursday, April 22, 2010

another lovely day in australia

That night, Tori Moreton and David Arbon, owners of The Producers, invited us to their interactive winery. "Wear old clothes!" they said. Thanks God we did. We had fun "punching down," a fancy way of saying breaking up the cap of crushed grapes and pushing them back down into the wine so that the cap stays moist during fermentation. Craig and Keith tried their hand crushing Shiraz grapes using the basket press while Jean, Lynn and I tested the sugar levels on the new harvest. Later we sat down for a delicious dinner.

"Will we see a kangaroo this week?" somebody asked as though that alone would justify the cost of the trip. "We could," I said, "they come out at dawn and dusk looking for water!" For the rest of the meal as the sun was setting, everyone's eyes were glued to the windows. We finished with a delicious fresh fig and frangipane tart but no kangaroo to be seen, or so we thought.

As we were driving home late at night, the bus driver suddenly swerved and jerked on the brakes. Everyone was thrown forward a few inches. We missed a kangaroo by inches. The only thing we saw was his tail as he hopped back into the woods. For the rest of the ride, everyone's eyes were peeled.

A good night's sleep and a delicious breakfast at The Retreat is all we needed to be ready for day #2! Off again for a wine and olive oil tasting at Primo Estate. Nothing like getting right back into the swing of a little vino. The first taste was a dark, opulent Sparkling Red, a great way to start the day. Joseph Grilli, along with a family friend, Daniel Zuzolo, tag team making the wine. Daniel hardly looks old enough to drink wine , let alone make it. Parker says his wines are innovative, singular and flavorful. I say they are clean and complex.
I didn't see anybody use the spit bucket at the tasting. I guess Corey swallowed. See below! We know who will be sleeping on the bus ride to our next destination,- lunch.

Whenever I'm in South Australia and get within 50 kilometers of Star of Greece, I never miss the opportunity to eat at this bohemian seaside "shack" overlooking the turquoise waters of the Gulf of St. Vincent.

We saw fish and chips go to another table and they looked and smelled so good, we all ordered them. A little walk on the beach after perhaps? Maybe another nap on the bus?

Get ready because tonight we're eating at Fino Restaurant, named Restaurant of the Year in the 2009 Adelaide Food Awards.

Have you ever met a front-of-house person in a restaurant and felt like you've known that person your whole life? That's Sharon Romeo and she begins the friendship as you walk in the door. I love this girl. She makes everyone feel special and that's a gift.

Chef David Swain doesn't do too badly himself. He pays homage to the seasons with freshly picked, flavorsome and true to the original state vegetables and fruits. He makes you think you've eaten this vegetable or fruit for the very first time. Take Chez Panisse, Zuni and Delfina, roll them into one bundle and you have Fino. Platter after family-style platter of aromatic food come from the kitchen. I can still taste the Woodside goat curd with fava beans, peas and preserved lemon drizzled with Diana Novello First Pressed Olive Oil. Set in the little village of Willunga, way out in the bush, we all toasted, looking into each others eyes and promised we'd be back one day.

"Bye Sharon!" "Bye David!" we said.

"No," they said, "we'll see you tomorrow!"

"Tomorrow???" we all said.

If goat curd is unavailable, substitute soft fresh goat cheese.

10 ounces drained Woodside goat's curd
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 preserved lemon, cut into very thin strips
1 cup fresh blanched broad beans (fava beans)
1 cup fresh shelled English peas

Heat oven to 350 F. Place the cheese, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper in an ovenproof earthenware dish. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. In a frying pan, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the shallots and cook until soft, 7 minutes. Remove the shallots from the pan and add the lemon slices.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a bowl. Add the broad beans (favas) and peas and simmer 30 seconds. Add to the shallots and preserved lemon and stir together.

To serve, dollop cheese, distributing evenly between four plates. Spoon the beans, peas and lemon mixture over cheese and serve immediately.

Serves 4

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