The whole of last week it was raining in Sydney and there were thunderstorms left, right, and, well, upwards, but by the time we set off on Saturday morning, the sun had broken through the clouds and we had a nice drive up the coast and inland to the Hunter Valley and the Wyndham winery for our wine and chocolate tasting experience.
The lady leading the tasting started out by positing that people didn't really put wine and chocolate together as a combination - hah! She obviously has not been to our house on a Friday night! Or a Saturday, or Sunday, or ... well, any night, really.
We had different types of chocolate to match with different types of wine. She talked us through the wines and we tried some, and then we went back to try them with the chocolates. It was really interesting - the chocolates did change the wine flavours and vice versa. Finally there was a light port with white chocolate for "dessert". The most surprising thing, though, was what happened to the port if you serve it in a heated glass - it strips away that sweet-sickly flavour you sometimes have with port and just gives you a much nicer tasting drink.
|I may have finished my wine AND chocolates before everybody else. Alright - maybe I will do a detox this week...
Anyway, suffice to say the whole thing is turning into a bit of a pyramid scheme - as we ended up buying a ridiculous amount of wine, which we will now have to buy a bloody wine fridge for - because now we are wine snobs and know about things like cellaring and appropriate storage temperatures - and also because WE LIVE IN FIFTH FLOOR FLAT IN A HOT CLIMATE WITH NOWHERE TO PUT ALL THE DAMN WINE.
On Saturday night we found a lovely restaurant called Shaky Tables at another vineyard nearby (we could have eaten at the vineyard we were staying in, but it looked to be run by Mexican criminals, so we passed...) and had a delicious meal of stuff and things (I feel I have wittered on too long already about foodie experiences, so refer to the pics below for details).
|This is what 15 years' worth of wax looks like. Actually kinda pretty.
|Obligatory food shot - beef carpaccio with quail eggs
|Yummy reconstructed cranachan type thing... Cranachan being a Scottish dessert that usually looks nothing like this.
|What do you mean, more wine? No, no, I am drinking sparkling wine - that means it's all just air bubbles really...
|Just before sunrise
|Smile of joy? Or smile of pain? You decide...
|Jan - leaning out like a maniac with no fear. Me - trying to look calm and collected. Also trying not to die by falling out.
|I wandered lonely as a cloud... and other such poetics
|The morning fog across the valley
|A shadow in the fog - does this count as a selfie?
|I think the man next to me in the balloon started to worry when I began waving at the kangaroos and shouting "hello!"
|Fellow sky travellers.
|Inside the belly of the beast...
|Can you spot Jan enveloped in the balloon? This is slightly bigger to pack up than his skydiving canopy!
|Nom, nom, we were well rewarded.
|Hello, my name is Cate, and I am in love with a piece of furniture.
It took me two and a half days to write this entry, purely because it has taken that long to pick out which photos to use. Jan has taken some really amazing photos of this trip (including many more beautiful views from the air) so if you want to see some more, CLICK HERE and enjoy!