This one also coincides with my birthday and a weekend away into regional North Eastern Victoria. We knocked off a couple of hours early on Friday to beat the Melbourne traffic for the 300km / 3 hour drive up to Stanley. True to form Minda was asleep within 10 minutes of leaving home and remained so until we reached our first destination. In her defence she's been fighting a cold all week so the journey was time she could rest and recover.
Our home for Friday night was the Stanley Pub which did pretty much what it said on the tin - being a pub in Stanley. It was very much a village pub with a number of locals occupying the bar and a couple of attached rooms, of which we took one. Dinner was in the pub and was a positive early experience of local produce with a menu which included local chestnuts, apples, goats cheese and red wine.
We retired to bed with heavy rain beating down on the roof and woke up from a very comfortable bed a number of hours later to the same beating rain. A morning drive from Stanley to Beechworth confirmed the extent of rain with a number of swollen streams and rivers.
We also learnt that Ned Kelly had spent some time in town, including making a number of appearances in the local courthouse.
The end of the tour coincided with the weather coming back in so we needed some cover and headed to the Bridge Road Brewery. A tasting paddle of 10 beers was the perfect accompaniment to some chicken wings and a couple of pizzas. We followed lunch with a visit to the local Pennyweight winery where Minda agreed to drive so I tasted my way through the full wine offering before buying a couple of bottles.
Dinner was the degustation menu at Provenance with was a Japanese influenced 7 course meal with a focus on local produce. A variety of early vegetable focused courses were followed by courses featuring bonito (fish), pig cheek and a fantastic piece of Wagyu beef. All of the course were well accompanied by generally local wines, although a couple of sakes were thrown in there.
Appropriately satisfied we retired back to bed where I spent a couple of enjoyable hours watching England getting further on top on in the Ashes.
The drive back saw another extended nap for Minda; still fighting those cold and flu germs now turning into a chesty cough.
The weekend wrapped up with watching RIchmond secure a well deserved win against Fremantle to maintain their chances of playing in this years final series. Dinner was Milawa white cheese on toast with a tasting of other local cheeses and prosciutto.
All up - even taking into account the almost constant rain - a very enjoyable weekend with an unsurprising focus on good food and drink. Thank you for all the birthday wishes, cards and greetings. My clever goddaughter sent me a card and a few new pictures of what she has been up to this week including stroking a bunny and making her parents smile!