Monday 22 October 2007

The road less travelled...

After leaving the luscious Leonie at Tasting Station, Furry and toottled off up Boneo Road, planning to head for Red Hill. All of a sudden we saw the sign on the left.. I am a great fan of dodgy home-made signs. The can oft lead one to great and fabulous, artisanal wineries and olive groves and cafes and nosh ups that the Wankerazzi would eschew (which is a GOOD thing, BTW), So we slammed on the brakes and followed out noses. The bitchumen soon gave out and we drove, and drove.... and drove... and drove.... and drove some more.

Eventually we found another rustic, hand made sign, turned down a dirt path and saw this:

Rustic and interesting, but NOT somewhere I want to eat.

Our fears were allayed as we came across La Campagna Winery and Olive Grove.

Their L'Osteria is open from 10am to 5pm Weekends, but they don't actually serve anything but cake and coffee before 12ish. The do, however sell the most amazing rustic artisanal bread I have EVER eaten!!!

and there is always a platter of olives to snack on.

We got talking to Ted, the owner, who happily shared hints and tips on how to get the most out of our oven.

I ordered a Pellegrino to wash the dust away.

And after much discussion and merriment (I think Ted thought I was quite mad, snapping away with my camera!), we asked for a tasting platter.

It came with a selection of olives (I thought the black were sweeter and deeper that the green. Furry thought the opposite.. how convenient!!), a wood fired oven artichoke and onion pizza (good but not great, the base wasn't quite cooked to my preferred level of crispiness, some focaccia for dipping into the olive oil (heavenly!!! like liquid, oleaginous sunshine!) and possibly the most astonishing thing I have ever put into my mouth, Ted's mushroom bruschetta. The mushrooms had been gently sauteed in OO and I could taste dill, maybe some sage, some Italian parsley and black pepper and a touch of chilli. What lifted this dish to the sublime was the bread. A thick door-stop of his freshly oven baked loaf, smeared with a little OO and possibly popped in the oven for a second or two to crisp!!!

Hold yourself back from screen licking.... here it comes:

Furry is used to me moaning in ecstasy (in restaurants, if no where else!!!), but I did get a few odd looks from other diners.

To pair, our really wonderful waitress (who staunchly did not kill the jackass mother who had bought her snot nosed son to a freaking italian restaurant and then proceeded to quizz the waitress on what options were available with no milk/cheese/tomatoes/oil.. It's a freaking ITALIAN RESTO, lady... go hug a freaking tree and eat some bloody mung beans!!) suggested their 2005 Vino Bianco, a semillion/vermentino blend.

I thought this was a little too subtle for the flavours of the oil and the mushies, but Furry doth swooned over it.

We greedily ordered the lamb, roasted in the wood fired oven with feta and spinach.

It was moist and fragrant, the feta was subtle and it was a marvelous, paired with their 2004 Tuscan Red, a mostly sangiovese/merlot/trebianno blend.

We shared the flourless almond Tuscan Lemon cake. (good, but not great, but not much was going to WOW me after the bruschetta)

grabbed a loaf of bread and some olives and pottered, replete, back to Melbourne.

Rock on with your Molly Meldrum selves and do yourself a flavour. If for nothing else, the mushroom bruschetta. Beyond Heavenly!!


stickyfingers said...

I'll have what he's having! ooooeeer I've come over all weak at the knees.

purple goddess said...

told you you shoulda come down.

stickyfingers said...

Aaaah tis hard to be torn between commitments but I had the pleasure of seeing my Godson's face smeared with Kolpetty pancakes, dripping with coconut and jaggery...mmm...jag-ger-ee.

grocer said...

what a weekend you had!!!

Toni said...

Mmm that sounds good.

But, Tuscan flourless lemon cake? So not Tuscan! (I'm such an Italian and especially Tuscan food whore now)