Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Our big road trip part 2 (Millawa)

So this is the aim of our stopover at Wangaratta - to attend the BB gourmet food and wine festival. This was our first visit to the festival but our friends were old hands at this. After a quick trip to KMart for some sunscreen, we met up with M, S and C at the Brown Brothers' Estate where they had already scoped out the place and bagged a nice table in the shade to share with us. It was close to being equidistant from the playground, the market hall (where the food was), the cellar door (where wine tasting was being conducted) and the music. As we entered the estate we were offered a glass of sparkling white. It was delicious. I can't recall what it is called now, but I know we brought a bottle home!

After hassling me for a whole morning with, "Where is Caelan?" and "what time will we see Caelan?" and "Can we go see Caelan now?", Alex was happy to be reunited with his friend.

The boys enjoyed each other's company and I realised that there was no way I was game to come to another of these events if there was no other child with whom Alex could play. The boys kept one another entertained , even if they did have the occasional tiff.

At one point, S's iphone was brought out and the boys were kept amused by the light sabre app. If you haven't realised by now, Alex is a bit of a Star wars nut. He loves everything Star Wars-y. A few weeks ago, he was apparently Luke Skywalker and I was Pricess Leah. hmm.. something odd, incestuous and wrong there, my child!

We adults were busy eating, drinking and being merry. The food was good. When I first saw the plates, I thought they would not be enough but they were enough. they weren't huge meals by anyone's standards. No, not even large. Every "main" was more of an entree sized dish and it came with a glass of wine. the menu included the suggested wine pairings but you could ask for a glass of any wine you wanted. We tried the Durif, which we liked so much we ended up with 4 bottles of it. We also enjoyed the Cienna. A lovely drop for a warm summer - like the one that we're heading into right now.

We forgot to take photos of the main dishes, which were very good indeed. I had the lamb neck, which was really much better than it sounds. Chris had the steak sandwich (well, that's what I called it, but the description on the menu was fancier than that) - and it was very good too. We did whip out the camera for a few shots of the dessert.

This is Chris's. I think it was a panacotta of some sort.

This is what I had. It was a prune and chocolate flan with rum and raisin icecream. I thought the flan was heavier than what it should have been. I think of flans as being light but the cake was quite dense and heavy. It was delicious, nonetheless. the rum and raising icecream was nice, but I think it could have done with a sprinkling more raisins and a dash of rum.

There was plenty of entertainment for the children. there was Trixie the clown whom the kids thought was fantastic. She did not freak me out as much as clowns normally do. She was quite nice. A funny sort of clown. No, I don't think they are ALL funny. Some are rather scary looking! The children also got their faces painted. C was a tiger and Alex was a pirate. He was a rather dirty looking pirate too.

Who's that knitting? Why, me of course! It was a relaxing day for me. I had my knitting and a glass of wine and the company of friends. Could not have asked for more. I had started a toe-up sock for Alex in the car and I was aiming to have it done by the time we got back to Sydney. You'll have to keep reading if you want to find out whether I achieved my goal. That wasn't the only knitting I had on the go. I was also knitting a shawl, but I can't show pictures of it as the owner of the shawl wants it to be a surprise. It's a commission job so I do as I am asked, especially when she's asked so nicely.

I think we adults could have stayed all day but by mid-afternoon the boys were getting cranky. Yes, the little boys, not the big boys. The big boys were happy to be entertained by wine and music and I am sure they could have stayed all day. So we left around mid-afternoon and headed towards the Millawa cheese factory. Oh my, the cheese. I'd go back just for the cheese. They had a lot of goat's milk cheese which were not too "goat-y". I loved it all. the 3-year aged cheddar was delicious, as was the King River Gold and Millawa Gold (a washed rind sort of soft cheese - a little smelly but the good sort of smelly). What I loved the most was the Tomme. I had not had it before. I saw the little wheels (wheels? mounds? whatever..) of Tomme uncut and the mould was rather frightening to look at. However, taste a sliver of it and you'll know you're in cheese heaven. Another not-too-goaty goat's milk cheese. It is a hard cheese, almost like a parmesan. Very nice and flavourful. Mm.. I could do with a slice now, but unfortunately it would not have survived the ride to Melbourne, around Melbourne and back to Sydney, so we had to forgo it.

We had a little snack at the cafe next to the cheese factory and then it was back to the motel for some rest and dinner. Alec fell asleep on the way back and I had to carry him from the car to the apartment. In the course of doing so, I lost one of his shoes (a croc-style shoe). Oops. After a frantic search around the car and on the path back to the apartment, I gave up. Alex woke up from his slumber a very cranky child but after dinner he was right as rain again, and (most unfortunately for us) raring to go! We stayed up for a little bit watching the (free) DVDs which we could borrow from the front desk of the motel.

Did I mention where we stayed? It was the Parkview Motor Inn at Wangaratta. The folks running it were lovely and ever so helpful. they even found Alex's missing shoe the next day! We had a 1 bedroom apartment which was nice and spacious. There was plenty of room for the kids to sit on the floor and colour in or have a little dance. All in all, for what it cost, I think it was pretty good.

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It sounds like a fantastic family trip!
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