Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Goats On The Hill - Organic beer, 4-Wheel-Drives, and the most delicious zeppole.

Between morning tea and breakfast, to our 3-course dinner taken care of by Chef Salvatore and his team... Even more food, of course! Megan, Taylan, and Chef Matt truly know how to show their guests a good time!

The way to one's heart is with a sandwich in one hand and bottle of organic ale in the other, you say?

In between touring the farm's expanse, the exchange of information, and the wild 4-wheel-drive riding through the hills, were peaceful moments like this. We nestled ourselves at the crown of one of the hilltops. Overlooking the rolling landscape, one really needs to take a breath of appreciation. 
In the photo above, our happy camp.

In the photo below, our view.


Ready and waiting on ice for our arrival were bottles of organic sparkling wine from Organic One, as well as organic Steam Ale from Mountain Goat Beer. This means no preservatives, no additives, and no foreign chemicals - just the good stuff.
I don't usually drink beer or ale, but I decided to give the Steam Ale a try and I. loved. it. It was light and refreshingly fruity. I found it really easy to drink, and loved the zing! sweetness. Cool logo too!
For lunch, a light sandwic--- Kidding. Two giant platters overflowing with sandwiches. Vegetarian, goat, ham, what have you! It was all there.
We spent lunch getting to know each other and our hosts a little bit better.
And onward we went, full-bellied and content, for more exploration of the hills. The Atar boys were fearless on their own mini quad bikes!
There is so much to learn about the agricultural industry, and the food and beverage industry, amongst other things, that I don't wanna spoil it for you by writing it all down here! 

Megan, Taylan and Chef Matt have a wealth of information and insight that they would love to share with you guys.

(yes, that is a goat skull he's got in his hands!)
We touched our final base at the homestead, just one of the properties at Seven Hills Tallarook available for rent. 

The entire estate is fully self-sufficient. They live off the grid using energy from wind turbines and solar panels - an amazing feat that I hope more and more people begin to appreciate and incorporate!
Inside, in the big, bold, and beautiful kitchen, we were greeted by Chef Salvatore of Scopri and his chefs, Ponsy and Ricky. While our group had been adventure-seeking throughout the hills, they were here preparing even more food for us!
I really enjoyed this opportunity - we got to comfortably chat with the chefs while watching them cook and plate. With the occasional meddling of the snap happy folks (a.k.a. Shiv, Estelle and myself!) up close and personal too!

Moments like these really energise my dream of becoming a chef. It's so exciting!
They prepared canapés of goats cheese and smoked salmon drizzled with olive oil.
And Chef Salvatore was frying up these delights... *cue drool*
These, my sweet readers, were his cheese zeppole.

They reminded me of the loukoumades that I watched my Greek friend Michael cook once before, but with a savoury twist.

They're a very light (despite being deep fried) Italian pastry. A little crunchy and so fairly golden on the outside, but then so surprisingly airy on the inside. With the final seasoning of salt, Shiv and I were absolutely charmed.
While some stayed behind to kick up their heels, eat, and drink some more, Megan took a group of us down to their coop, and vegetable and herb garden.
Eggs as fresh as you can get 'em! Forget the middle man, this is truly a paddock to plate experience. Or in this case, coop to plate!
They grow so much in their vegetable and herb patch, from garlic, to carrots, to cilantro... What a dream!
Back inside, Chef Salvatore still cooking more zeppole. We couldn't get enough!
We stayed like this - happily munching, clinking bottles, chatting - until the chefs announced something exciting...

"Time to cook the risotto!"

Love and farm-fresh pickings,
Seven Hills Tallarook
160 Scotts Road,
Tallarook, VIC 3659
1300 7 HILLS
+61 411 110 107 (International Number)

+61 414 567 910

Italian Food & Wine
191 Nicholson Street,
Carlton, VIC 3053
+61 3 9347 8252

(All photos of me in this post c/o Shiv Nandwani).

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