Flint in the Vines

My friends and I had been wanting to go to Flint in the Vines for a long time, but between lack of planning and untimely renovations we hadn’t gone out there until recently. It was lovely sunny day and it really didn’t take that long to drive out there even with the road works.

I had literally thrown on a(nother) dress after eating waffles and bacon for breakfast and started driving to Murrumbateman, so when my friends suggested to share some entrees and starters I had no particular objection.Starters~

Wood fired Camembert apple compote, red wine reduction, warmed ciabatta ($22.00). This ingredients make for a winning combination, the only downside was that the Camembert was not gooey enough, if it had a tad longer in the oven it would have heavenly. It wouldn’t have really have needed more than a minute or two to become perfection.Entrees~

Lamb roulade carrot and parsnip puree, plum jam, mint verde, truffled sweet potato chips ($17.00). I had let everyone else choose our entrees and starters that we were sharing and concentrated on choosing my own main therefore I wasn’t quite sure what we ordered. When I took a mouthful of this I was so surprised about how much flavour there was. The lamb flavours were robust and complimented by the sweet condiments, if I ordered this again, I would not share.
Butter poached prawns anchovy mousse egg-lasagna sheet, sage butter, baby herbs ($19.00). This looked really small and simple in contrast to the lamb but the flavours were just as pronounced. It was absolutely divine! It was to be expected though, who doesn’t love sage in butter *licks lips*. This looked a lot smaller than the other dish.Four dainty prawns hidden under a blanket of pasta.
Pizza~
Caprese basil pesto, sun-dried tomato, cherry tomato, bocconcini, balsamic glaze, fresh basil ($25.00). I must have been a pain to dine with, like a little child I couldn’t help myself but play with the mini lazy Susan that it came on. My friend liked the pizza base and the pizza itself, but towards the end it tasted like it was really tomato heavy and was starting to become an antipasto plate in her mouth.
Mains~
Confit Duck Maryland braised red cabbage, confit fennel, candied nashi pear, orange and anise jus ($34.00). The duck could have been a tad crispier but it was still really good and paired perfectly with all the sweet fruit and vegetables.
Honey brined pork loin romesco, sauteed cabbage, mushroom and sweet peppers, pesto ($33.00). The brine kept the whole piece of loin really juicy and delicious.
Chargrilled eye fillet potato and leek vichyssoise, sauteed baby winter veg, chilli jam ($35.00). As much as I love beef, I really mainly ordered this for the potato and leek vichyssoise. I didn’t know what it was exactly, I just guessed it was going to be a lovely rich white sauce made like one of my favourite soups! The eye fillet was cooked perfectly, it was juicy all over and it dish itself was stunning as it showed off an array of colour of baby winter vegetables.
 When uploading this photo, I got instantly hungry again. 
Sides~ all sides $9.00

Sautéed Dutch carrots almond cream, shallots, smoked paprika and toasted almond flakes. The carrots were slightly harder than I would have liked but I couldn’t get over how amazing the combination of almond cream, shallots, smoked paprika and toasted almond flakes was! People need to know about this.Roasted pumpkin & spinach salad fetta, toasted walnuts, honey & rosemary vinaigrette. So I might have rolled my eyes when the girls I was dining with suggested a salad to share but this was simplicity at its best. I loved this so much that later on in the week I made my own version at home. The rosemary flavour was subtle but vital to the salad’s amazingness (is that a word, probably not). Dessert~ all desserts were $16.00

Vanilla and nashi pear tapioca pudding stewed rhubarb Persian fairy floss, ginger and lemon biscuit. I was excited to taste this because I love nashi pears but I couldn’t really taste it despite chunks of it throughout the whole pudding. This reminded me of a vanilla rice pudding, not the sweetest dessert also not the easiest to share.
 
Lamington fondant (allow 15 minutes) dark chocolate fondant, raspberry jam, coconut ice cream, toasted coconut. This could have been one rich dessert but I was pleasantly surprised that the middle wasn’t runny lava made up of OTT molten cocoa, it was just moist and bitter enough to enhance the sweetness of the jam. When it was paired with all the coconut aspects, it created a perfect balance of flavours and you could eat the whole dish without feeling sick afterwards.                                                    
The food was absolutely wonderful set in an unpretentious, family friendly atmosphere and the waitresses were friendly, helpful and attentive. I haven’t been wowed by a Canberra restaurant (and surrounds) for a while, but this restaurant unexpectedly surprised me with its food quality. I am very keen to go back out again soon.

Venue: Flint in the Vines
Address: 34 Isabel Drive Murrumbateman NSW 2582
Phone: (02) 6227 5144 *
* Please note this phone line is answered between Wednesday and Sunday.
Business Hours:
Lunch – Thursday to Sunday
Dinner – Wednesday to Saturday
Entertainment book card: Yes! Don’t forget to use it
2% Surcharge for Amex
10% Surcharge Sundays
15% Surcharge Public Holidays

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Mount Majura vineyards #humanbrochure

I must admit I was a little nervous to make my way to Mount Majura Vineyards with all the construction work around the area and I sighed when I saw a long stream of headlights facing in my direction as I was trying to turn right, but someone was nice enough to slow down so I could make my turn (thank you kind local!).  

I didn’t even know that Mount Majura Vineyard existed (this human brochure experience has really opened up my eyes to our local produce and wine) but one of my foodie 101 local humans who is a wine enthusiast said to enjoy the night as it is an amazing winery. Apparently she isn’t the only one to think so as the James Halliday’s Wine Companion have given the winery a 5-star rating.20140702-221637-80197430.jpgFergus McGhie the promotions and marketing manager for Mount Majura Vineyard, is explaining how Canberra and the surrounds has ideal conditions in to grow Shiraz and Riesling as they love the big temperature fluctuations that we experience. He also tells us that the winery consists of four full-time wine fanatics who love experimenting with combinations of grapes to produce amazing wines which regularly win awards.20140702-221638-80198969.jpgWow, I know a few people who would raid this place if given the chance.20140702-221640-80200627.jpgWe were greeted with some Silurian 2010 to start and a table of delicious local produce. We all helped ourselves to some bread and truffled butter as the wine was flowing.20140702-221711-80231677.jpgI love the super cute jars that the butter came in. If there weren’t so many witnesses/people to share with, I would have tried to sneak one in my bag!20140702-221713-80233226.jpgBeautiful thick truffled butter from next door (I need better neighbours!) and fresh bread from A.baker who stock Mount Majura wines. I couldn’t help but put a thick lather of butter on my slice of bread. It was soooo good.20140702-221716-80236381.jpgIt looked like everyone was enjoying their glass of bubbles.20140702-221714-80234819.jpgThe speckled butter reminded me of my black glitter nail polish.20140702-221741-80261707.jpgWhile we were all enjoying the truffled butter, we were introduced to local woman and grower of the French Black truffles in Canberra: Sherry McArdle-English. She tells us about her and her husband’s story going from city dwellers with careers to buying a farm with little to no idea and turning it into a very successful livelihood.

She recalls the time when she went to Fyshwick markets to enquire about this delicacy that she knew little about, she was met with the response that only Europeans know how to grow truffles. Well, spite is a very powerful motivator and she spent 2pm til 3am that day researching all she could about truffles. After a day trip to Tasmania, 80 tonnes per hectare of mined lime and a lot of determination later, she along with her husband started to collect truffles 2.5 years after planting their first trees, which meant that they had the youngest tree producing truffles in the Southern Hemisphere. Fast forward to the present and now the French Black Truffles of Canberra has generated an interest at an international level as well as becoming the largest producer in NSW, one of the biggest producers in Australia, supplying top restaurants in Canberra including Podfood and the Boat house and also becoming the sole producer to supply truffles at the Fyshwick markets.

Who knew all this was happening right in Canberra?!20140702-221743-80263331.jpgAll the local humans sit down to feast on truffled brie and a variety of wine while getting a chance to talk with the local producers.20140702-221745-80265952.jpgI love the place mat that they had given us which very informative. A very simple yet handy thing to have!  They had an older Chardonnay (2006) to compliment the truffled brie as well as a 2012 Pinot Noir.20140702-222101-80461603.jpgA close of up the beautiful colours of Mount Majura Wines.20140702-222105-80465782.jpgTheir very popular T.S.G was also passed around to be sampled.20140702-222008-80408045.jpgAs well as their Touriga (2013).20140702-222009-80409506.jpgI love personalised glassware.20140702-222006-80406581.jpgCheesy porn. I had to balance between not getting too excited in the presence of such a delicacy, taking lots of photos and not drooling on the place mat while taking said photosIt is a truffle infused Small Cow Farm brie.20140702-222102-80462866.jpgYou can see how creamy and soft the brie is which forms a squishy cushion around the delicately shaved truffle.20140702-222104-80464305.jpgI might not appreciate wine but I know lots of wine connoisseurs who would love a bottle and I would love for them to try Canberra’s best. How cute is their wine box (which has a convenient handle that you can’t see in this picture)?! 2011 Shiraz ($32.00), 2013 T.S.G ($32.00) and 2013 Molli ($27.00).20140702-222005-80405097.jpgEveryone that tried Molli couldn’t help but buy a bottle (or 6) and with a limited run I had to grab a bottle for someone who I knew would appreciate it very much. I think it is a super cute name for a wine!20140702-221642-80202039.jpgMount Majura Vineyards don’t sell individually sell the truffled brie as it doesn’t have a long shelf life and you can’t gauge how many you would sell during a weekend but Fergus explained that you can get a taste of this delicious cheese with a matching wine on Sundays. See details below.

Truffle infused weekends at Mount Majura Vineyard 21st June to mid August, Saturday and Sunday only, 10am – 5pm

Truffle season has begun and we’re excited to include truffles at the cellar door as part of our winter tasting experience. We infuse Small Cow Farm Petit Vache, a deliciously rich and creamy brie style cheese, with truffles from our neighbour Sherry at French Black Truffles of Canberra. To accompany this we’re pouring a flight of three 80ml glasses of wine matched to the truffled brie. This winter Frank has specially taken out vintage stock from the museum cellar to match with the brie! The tasting will be served individually and will cost $30 per person.
Bookings on (02) 6262 3070 or info@mountmajura.com.au

 

Venue: Mount Majura Vineyards

Address: RMB 314 Majura Road, Majura, ACT 2609

Phone:  (02) 6262 3070

Website: http://www.mountmajura.com.au/

Opening hoursThursday to Monday from 10am to 5pm

Prices: this experience was paid for buy VisitCanberra as part of the 101 local humans campaign for the human brochure, with the bottles of wines bought by myself.

 

Venue: The French Black truffles of Canberra

Address: Ruffles Estate, 23 Mt Majura Road, Maujra ACT 2609

Phone: 0419 950 207

Websitehttp://canberratruffles.com.au/

Clonakilla: A day of Food and Wine #humanbrochure

When we turned into Clonakilla winery which was just a short bus trip away from Four Winds vineyard, foodies who knew their wine got really excited. To be honest, I had never heard of Clonakilla but nor do I indulge in the art of wine tasting. I was out of my element as there was only wine tasting at this venue because who else wants more food straight away after lunch except for me apparently but I did ask several people what they thought of the wine.

These vines get progressively older as you look from left to right of the vineyard, some of their fruit also comes from down the road.20140612-230726-83246704.jpgWho is ready for some wine tasting?20140612-230729-83249605.jpgSampling and note taking, we humans are good are multitasking!20140612-230731-83251022.jpgThere were multiple tastings and it turns out that everyone liked something different but their reds were particularly sort after. We (and by ‘we’ I mean the other humans) started with white wines like Viognier and Chardonnay and progressed through to the rich reds like Pinot Noir and the highly anticipated Shiraz Viognier. I was contemplating buying a bottle for my friend who loves good red and endorses buying locally but after guesstimations with fellow humans that the bottle I was looking at could be $100+, I was just going to settle for just telling her about coming out here and buying the wine (sorry Tanya!).

A close up of the beautiful colour of the wine, sorry I forget which one this was.20140612-230734-83254079.jpgThe brand is rich in history with the family’s roots extending from Ireland being translated through their wine label art work and even the name ‘Clonakilla’ means Meadow of the Church in Gaelic. It all started when John Kirk moved out to Australia after accepting a job in scientific research at CSIRO Plant Industry and planted vines in 1971. Later on in 1985, he was the first in the country to plant Viognier after some encouragement from his son. Since then the business has been kept mainly in the family having all the brothers sitting on the board with Tim Kirk as CEO and chief winemaker who has won Winemaker of the Year in 2013.20140612-230735-83255398.jpgWho knew this very successful vineyard was just on our front door step! Clonakilla are in the process of expanding their cellar door and hope it will be completed in a years time. 20140612-230724-83244061.jpgVenue: Clonakilla

Address: 3 Crisps Lane, Murrumbateman, NSW 2582

Phone: (02) 6227 5877

Prices: this experience was paid for buy VisitCanberra as part of the 101 local humans campaign for the human brochure.

Four Winds Vineyard: A day of Food and Wine #humanbrochure

The next stop during our day of food and wine tour was at the Four Winds Vineyard, I was truly lost after I had my head down instagramming and looked up and saw nothing but green lush grass and picturesque scenery. I know this is technically in NSW and not Canberra but I figure it’s like what Australia does when a New Zealander becomes really famous, they are close enough so we claim them as our own.20140610-222433-80673254.jpgWe were greeted by Bill Crowe the winemaker and his sister-in-law and business manager of the vineyard, Sarah Collingwood. We were told that this was a family run business consisting of only six people, it was founded by the parents Suzanne and Graeme Lunney and both their daughters and their husbands got involved with the winery too.

We start piling into Four Winds vineyard’s cellar door.20140610-222427-80667611.jpg

20140610-222431-80671710.jpgWe then took a stroll through the vineyard, past the free roaming chickens to where they house their stainless steel vats. We all half joked that would wouldn’t mind one of these vats in our homes, but I’m pretty sure some of us heavily considered rolling one back to the bus. We all took a sample of their Riesling which was yet to be filtered and scheduled to be bottled next week but we before all started sipping away, Bill taught us all how to properly taste wine in several steps.

Wine has a lot of volatile aroma compounds and to capture all this, you have to stick your nose in the glass and smell the wine. After this, you swirl the wine in the glass to create a thin coating around the inside of the glass and then smell it again, the scent was completely different and I was really astounded. I thought pompous people just swirled it to look fancy, who knew that there was an actual logic to it. Following all the smelling, you’re supposed to sip some wine and hold it in your mouth, that was the fourth step while the fifth step was to suck in some air at the same time as the wine passes through your mouth but even Bill admits that it is a bit OTT and hates it when people do it.

Just strolling through the vineyard, life is hard.

20140610-222421-80661874.jpgThe old school contraption they use for ‘pressing’.20140610-222654-80814690.jpgFour Winds vineyard uses stainless steel vats for their fermentation process.20140610-222650-80810380.jpgI didn’t say ‘when’.20140610-222651-80811835.jpgShowing off their Riesling paired with my nails.20140610-222656-80816515.jpgFollowing our lesson in wine tasting, our senses were then really put to the test when we went through a ‘blind sniff test’ where we had to pair different scents in numbered bottles to familiar foods and flowers. I didn’t do too badly but I didn’t get around to smelling all the bottles before we started marking. The different kind of berries definitely confused my nose.

Ready, set, sniff! 20140610-222656-80816125.jpgThe local humans putting their nose to the test.20140610-222657-80817810.jpgAfter Emelia took the prize for having the best sense of smell (full marks!), we all headed back down to the winery where we found Graeme cooking up wood fired pizzas with a variety of toppings: BBQ chicken; potato and gorgonzola;  and salami and black olive. I was trying to create a facade that I can’t eat a whole pizza to myself with ease by I only take two of the three flavours of pizza and a bit of salad. The pizza bases that are made on the premises was so good and really brought out the flavours of the toppings, they were simple but yet so tasty. They brought out so many pizzas and I had to go for seconds! The pizzas were also served with a side of two salads and all the ingredients were really fresh and delicious. Our non gluten vegetarian friend was taken care of with her very own gluten-free pizza base with potato and gorgonzola. The toppings weren’t too ‘busy’ so the natural flavours of the ingredients had to stand alone without a heavy cheese blanket to hide under.20140610-222659-80819136.jpg20140610-222758-80878083.jpgFirst plate!20140610-222759-80879417.jpgOnly on the third stop and some of our fellow humans started to run out of battery, desperate times calls for desperate measures.20140610-222755-80875262.jpgFour Winds vineyard’s cellar door is ready for your tasting.20140610-222756-80876786.jpgI found their cellar door simple and stunning (just like their food!). The building was made from as much recycled products as possible, which I am a very big fan of. The red bricks were recycled, their gorgeous lights are upcycled wine barrels, their unique windows are old wine bottles and part of the building was made with old picking bins and a shipping container.20140610-222423-80663277.jpg

20140610-222434-80674604.jpgI love their funky windows.20140610-222424-80664828.jpgI thought these cards on each table were adorable!20140610-222900-80940654.jpg

Bottles of wine were purchased amongst the happy and full food and wine group and we jumped back on the bus after thanking the Four Winds vineyards for their hospitality.

Venue: Four Winds Vineyard

Address: 9 Patemans Lane Murrumbateman NSW 2582

Phone: 0432 060 903

Prices: this experience was paid for buy VisitCanberra as part of the 101 local humans campaign for the human brochure.