Weekend In Rutherglen
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Last weekend, three close friends and I drove over 3 hours from Melbourne to Rutherglen as a final trip before everyone started working in different places around the world. My best friend had picked the location, and when she informed us we were all "What? Where?". I looked the place up a few days before the trip and learned that it was famous for its wineries. We had no idea what we were going to do there exactly, but we had just planned to chill and relax. To be honest, I was expecting the trip to be relaxing and somewhat boring. I was wrong!
The weather was very kind to us that weekend. We were blessed with sunshine and light breezes most of the time, which definitely played an important part in making our time there very enjoyable. That, and good food. In fact, we only had three activities throughout our trip - eating good food, drinking wine and cycling.
Stop 1: Parker Pies
We arrived just in time for lunch, and we had already set our minds on these pies. We were told that they served 'the best pies ever' so it was definitely on our to-try list. Their menu boasts a large selection of pies and pastries, from regular beef pies to gourmet pastries filled with chicken, lamb, kangaroo and even emu.
Stop 2: All Saints Estate
This estate was recommended by a friendly staff member at the visitor information centre. We spent so much time taking advantage of the beautiful surroundings for photos that we didn't have a lot of time left to explore the entire estate. We did manage to do some wine tasting and this was where I had my first Moscato. I have never really been a fan of wine, but this was heavenly. I loved it so much that I purchased a bottle to take home. We belatedly realised that the estate was also home to Terrace Restaurant, which has received a one chef hat award. As we had already booked dinner elsewhere, we had to give it a miss. We spent some time sharing a cheese platter by the lake. I must say that the cheese platter was a little pricey and not very well put together, which might have been because it was almost closing time.
Stop 3: Tuileries
I had high hopes for this restaraunt because of good reviews I had read, but it turned out to be the least impressive.
Although my entrée was lovely, I did not particularly enjoy my main. For my entrée, I had the snails with red wine risotto which had really nice flavours. It definitely tasted better than it looked (top right picture). For my main, I had the braised rabbit topped with almonds and cheese (middle right picture). Unfortunately, there were plenty of little bones hidden within the dish. As I could hardly tell between the bones and the almonds, I had to eat very carefully for fear of biting on the bones.
The next day, we rented bicycles from the visitor information centre to cycle to wineries while enjoying the scenery. Being the tiniest person in the group, I had quite a bit of trouble getting on and off the bike. (It may be also be worthwhile noting that I had not cycled in approximately 15 years). I fell down and crashed into the gates countless times but it was still a really fun ride. We cycled about 17km in total, mostly on bike trails and occasionally on the main roads. The highlight of the ride was definitely the big snake that took up half the road. My friend who was ahead of me was screaming for me to ride on the other side, but because I couldn't hear her properly I only realised what was going on when the snake was about half a meter away from me!
Stop 4: Wicked Virgin
This was the first stop we made during our bicycle ride. We decided to grab something to eat as we had rushed to get our bicycles without having breakfast. The cafe wasn't fully operational when we arrived, but we were told that we could order simple cakes and drinks.
I had a classic vanilla cheesecake slice with some hot chocolate, and I think it is the best cheesecake I have ever had. Just sweet enough and so, so smooth. The hot chocolate was really bland, but the cake definitely made up for it. Everyone else really enjoyed their cakes too, and we were amazed to find out that they were all homemade by the owner!
Stop 5: Cofield
Freshly equipped with energy, we arrived at Cofield Winery over an hour later. There, we did more wine tasting but unfortunately we couldn't bring any bottles home as we were on our bikes. We sat in the sun and enjoyed a platter and wine at the Pickled Sisters Cafe.
We cycled our way back to town and that marked the end of our trip. We were all exhausted when we arrived back in Melbourne but it was such a good trip filled with good company and good food. I have been recommending Rutherglen to people who are planning road trips in the near future and I would definitely like to visit again.