Sunday, 13 November 2011

Escape to the Hunter Valley

I love a good wedding, especially when it involves great mates and a weekend away.

On a recent Friday, after working like a mad woman all morning to get my deliveries out, Mr LP and I packed up the car and set off for the beautiful Hunter Valley.

Sam and Meredith’s wedding would be our second in the Hunter. The first was our own in April 2009 when Sam was a groomsman.

Needless to say, it’s a special part of the world for us and I was pretty excited to be going back for a friend’s wedding...and all the trimmings. Like glamming up for the night and letting my hair down and chattering to friends we haven’t seen in ages and drinking lots of fabulous wine and eating too much cheese.

Here is the dashing Sam and his lovely bride walking towards their reception at The Mill restaurant.


As with most fun weddings, the night passed in a blink and we had concrete heads in the morning. Mr LP also had some unexplained injuries and grass stains on his suit that were possibly related to his dance moves.

But this is a food blog, so enough about the nuptials (although special mention goes to the chocolate pudding dessert which was the subject of much jostling between couples at the “Zorro” table).

While away, the Breakfast Club found a new haunt.

Some people go mad for a big buffet. I am not one of them, so we ditched the hotel and drove instead to Enzo, a funky little sandstone cafe with a beautiful courtyard at Peppers Creek.

My mum, who generously came up with us to babysit our 15-month-old for the wedding, discovered it on a recent trip.


We didn’t have a booking but it was easy enough to get a table outside behind the huge old fountain.

The brekkie menu was short & sweet with Campos coffee, Byron Bay muesli and fresh fruit, house-made banana bread and a few hot options. I like this sort of menu. Too many choices = confusion, indecision and often food envy.


While I went with my staple of poached eggs with smoked salmon (no beans on the menu), Mr LP ordered the Eggs Benedict which came with delicious maple glazed bacon, spinach and creamy hollandaise. Rich, yes, but yummy!


The service was efficient and friendly and a highchair was readily available for our toddler who tucked into the banana bread with gusto and very much appreciated the Pinocchio picture book that Nana’s tea was served on.


Inside the charming house, I found the sweets cabinet.


And original works by Australian artist Kristy Holt for sale.



Mr LP found David Hook wines next door and bought a couple of earthy reds to take home.

Enzo is also open for lunch and it would be a beautiful choice of venue for any function or wedding. www.enzohuntervalley.com.au

These are a few of the other places on our list of essential stops whenever we visit the Hunter.

v  The Hunter Valley Chocolate Company for raspberry bullets. Along with strewn rose petals, we found a bowl of these in our room at Tower Lodge on our wedding night. They are the best! This visit, I also bought some chocolate coated peanut brittle.


v  The Smelly Cheese Shop. I picked up a creamy gorgonzola, red label smoked cheddar, French brie and a mandatory jar of Binnorie Dairy Co labne in rosemary and garlic oil. We had a carpet picnic on Sunday afternoon while the baby slept.


v  Tower Estate. To go with the picnic we picked up a lovely crisp Riesling and a supply of Shiraz for home.

v  Roberts Restaurant. It’s our old favourite and where we held our wedding reception. We didn’t get back there this time, but we will soon. Ditto for Tower Lodge. We just have to convince Nana to extend her generosity for a whole weekend!

Larissa x