The Yarra Valley, a peaceful hours drive east of Melbourne in Victoria Australia, is the ultimate getaway for those wanting to indulge in amazing food and wine in the picturesque countryside.
The area is renowned for its quality produce- most specifically for its famous wine- and it’s convenient distance from the city make it a perfect retreat for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
As a passionate wine lover I was keen to explore the area. One chilly Sunday afternoon I set out with a friend for a mystery drive in the region, with no particular plans. We could not go past the Yarra Valley Dairy when we saw the sign. Cheese has always been a favourite food of mine, and the combination of locally produced wine and wonderful cheese was too good to pass up.
The cafe is a charming renovated barn which has been converted into a store selling the best of local produce (oils, jams, preservers, breads, etc) whilst having a sit down area for a meal.
The barn has three key areas- the produce store, the cheese area and the wine store. The wine store has a delightful array of local wineries represented in its stock. Majority of these wine makers don’t have their own cellar door, so you will find an wonderful selection of boutique wine that you are unlikely to find elsewhere. When I visited there were winemakers there doing tastings of their selection. The pinot noir I tried was truly excellent.
The cheese counter is similar to the wine, in that you are encouraged to do a cheese tasting before deciding on a purchase. My friend and I tried five of their cheeses, including Hot Cow (Fresh cows milk curd
with fresh parsley, garlic, chilli and chives), and a Bulls Eye ( matured semi-hard cows milk). All the selections were delicious.
We then happily sat down for a shared cheese board which featured four of the cheeses made at the dairy. Our selection included- soft goats chevre, the Hot Cow, a marinated Persian fetta and a Black Savourine (Semi-mature, ashed white mould goats milk cheese thats has a subtle yet destinctive blue cheese taste). This came accompanied with a selection of breads and crackers, as well as a beetroot relish. Now as as cheese fan I also ordered a serve of quince paste which went exceptionally well with the goats chevre. We enjoyed a bottle of local pinot noir to accompany the cheese.
The stores menu also features an impressive list of additional dishes to order with your cheese- including regionally made charcuterie, olives and spiced figs. However I was there simply for the cheese, but regret not leaving room to enjoy the desert bar which had an incredible selection of home-styled baked goods- like lemon tart.
The dairy is a great way to spend an afternoon- devouring beautiful produce, in a warm cosy environment looking out over spectacular views of local farms. It’s a must do for any visitor to the area!