Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Guess Where Am I Now?

tim tam balls


No prize for guessing. But I might send you a postcard. :D

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chocolate Company and Smelly Cheese Shop

While in Hunter Valley, we visited what most wine country must have other than wine, the two most essential food since the creation of bread:

Chocolate and Cheese.

hunter valley chocolate factory


smelly cheese shop sign


I like the Smelly Cheese Shop, the name itself attracted me to venture into the shop for a look see.

smelly cheese shop


Wonder why people always have a tendency towards things that smells, the smellier the better. Like durians for asians.

more cheese


cheese fridge


We bought some really kick ass smelly soft blue cheese on the spot (for our dinner), perfect with some sweet dessert wine.

Next to the smelly cheese shop, we ran into a neat chocolate shop that sold the most interesting chocolate.

chocolate shop next to smelly cheese shop


I was almost tempted to buy a suggest balanced diet from shelves.

balanced diet


Good marketing. Hey, the idea sold (at least to me).

Or you prefer something in case of an emergency.

emergency chocolate


Or something sexy?

oral pleasure chocolate


Something sexier perhaps?

rude food
from Chocolate Company


Welcome to the adult food section.

adult food


First we have something in the male department.

penis cereal


Then to make it fair, something from ladies department.

boobs cereal


And I found something that totally defines me.

chocolate kissing cream


Chocolate Kissing Cream!! Now why didn't I think of that?!


And I almost bought this.

chocolate body paint


You know, for fun? *wink*

I love browsing through chocolate shops, they just either drown you in your own chocolate wonderland, or bring you to drool land.

chocolates


pretty chocolate bars


fudge
Fudge anyone?


And these chocolates were just adorable!

penguin and koala bear chocolates
Penguin and Koala!


chocolate golf balls
Golf balls! Haha!


chocolates galore


But my favourite product of all, has to be this.

chocolate survival bag at chocolate factory


The essential necessity every girl should have - your very own Chocolate Survival Bag.

chocolate survival kit content


It consists of Peanut Chocolates, Chocolate Honeycomb, Chocolate Rocks, Choc Nut Bar, Assorted Chocolates and Candies and finally Chocolate Nut Clusters.


My only dilemma?

me and my chocolate survival kit


The bag, or the rest of the shop.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Life in Hunter Valley and Lillians

Hunter Valley is a beautiful vineyard located next to the town of Cessnock. Or should I say Cessnock is located inside Hunter Valley.

And the main spot is called Lovedale.

lovedale map


Locating Lillians took a bit of effort, we came from the south of the map and headed north. It's located in the 5th column 5th row in the map. Can you find it?

lillians


We were pretty excited as we drove up the estate house in the middle of a vast empty land (3-4 acres?).

drive up to lillians


The house from the driveway already looked pretty promising.

Soon we were at the front porch moving our luggage into the house from the car.

entrance


Due to my personal request for a specific dessert wine that I've heard so much about, Bill from Allandale winery (from next door) specially had someone hand-delivered a bottle of Anna Semillon Sauvignon Blanc to our door step just as the evening arrives.

anna semillon sauvignon blanc


my sweet dessert wine


The wine was awarded wine of the year in some competition btw, just to prove my point of how lovely this wine was. :p

wine of the year sauvignon blanc


We chucked the bottle into the fridge to chill and drove out to a nearby boutique restaurant to have our first wine dining.

mojo


Out of excitement, I forgot to bring my camera out. We've chosen Mojo's to have our first dinner in Hunter, a local recommendation.


photo taken from the site.


The dinner cost us almost AUD80 per person, with wine. Not a full three course meal as we're not exactly big eater, but you get the rough idea. Nothing fancy is cheap.

Mojo's was absolutely lovely. I especially adore their cameralised balsamic vinegar they served with their Hunter's own olive oil which you usually dip with home made fresh dinner roll/bread. I even bought the bottle of vinegar and now it's sitting half bottle consumed in my fridge.

That night we got home and took the bottle of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc out and went backyard to spend the rest of our night chatting in the cold winter drizzles.

candle light at night


Nothing beats a lovelier evening. Everything was perfect. If only Kif and I were single back then, damn it. *Potong steam* (kidding :p)

glass of wine at night


We went to bed separately as the night drew in. But not before placing the frozen croissants on the tray in the kitchen for the next day.

frozen croissants


Morning came...

morning lounge


I took the chance to use the beautiful jacuzzi in my bathroom. Ho ho ho...

morning after shower


It got cold so I borrowed a jumper from Kif and pulled it over myself. Brrr....

Morning in Lillians was perfect. The fresh air, the cold quiet lounge, unwashed wine glass on the table. It's something I wouldn't mind waking up to every morning for the rest of my life. We even spotted a few wallabies hopping around the fences out of the kitchen window.

wallabies in the morning


Things got more "homey" when we went to check out our croissants on the table.

raised croissants


It's raised to perfection.

So we stuck the two loaves into the oven and proceeded with our morning hang abouts.

hot oven baked croissants


There, our perfect croissants, with butter, for breakfast.

comparisons
Before and after


After changing, we drove out to explore the rest of Hunter Valley.

Okay, one thing beautiful about living in Lillians or in a vineyard, is that you wake up to a scenery like this every morning.

Hunter Valley


Makes you wanna skip a few steps everywhere you go.

jumping around


We visited some chocolate shops (will blog about this more, he he he).

chocolate shop next to smelly cheese shop


Some cheese shop.

more cheese


Some wineries.

me and kiff and huge ass shiraz


There was one winery that has everything to do with pigs.

piggies welcome sign


metal pig


sucking pig on wine bottle


You know the owner is obsessed with pigs when you find the name of the bottle of wine named after this.

suckling pig shiraz


Wanted to walk around the Hunter's garden when it started raining. So only got to see the map at the entrance of the garden.

hunter valley village map


So instead we went back to Allandale and met up with Bill for lunch at Leaves and Fishes.

lunch leaves and fishes


bill and kif at lunch
Bill and Kif talking about the wine industry in Malaysia


Baked salmon and fish & chips here were excellent.

salmon on a bed of mash potatoes


fish and chip


Service was wonderful, so was the humor of the place.

stressed is desserts

"Stressed is Desserts spelt backwards" Haha! I never knew that!


Making this my new fav phrase, I decided to live up to the phrase.

merlot wine chocolate


Wine chocolate! What better choices of dessert in a wine country!

We proceeded to visit more wineries after lunch. And get drunk while at it. Make sure your driver was either a very responsible driver, or pretty darn good drinker.

Having visited more cheese shop and wineries, we ended up making our own candlelight dinner at Lillians.

me at dinner


Perfected with bread, vinegar and olive oil, salads, and steaks as main.

beef salad
Salad and beef from supermarket in Cessnock.


As a bottle of sparkling sweet rose from a nearby winery.

sparking rose dessert wine


Dinner, as I may put it, was superb. Prepared by yours truly. :p

blue cheese and beef
Sirloin and blue cheese


We ended the night by playing Oreo Checkers and Kif eating up all my checkers.

kif eating oreos


On our final morning, we packed our bags and went next door to pay a visit to Allandale Winery. :D

allandale winery in hunter valley


allandale winery


Met up with Bill, manager of Allandale,

me and bill


chatted for a bit and had him gave us a tour around his distillation.

posing in allandale winery distillation


Bad move, Bill, bad move.

digging for wine


Next thing you know half of your distillation will go missing overnight, especially that distillation tin with Sweet Semillon Sauvignon Blanc listed on it.

semillon sauvignon blanc in the making


We learnt a lot about wine making that day.

Facts like French oak is a favorable choice for aging red wine or Chardonnay, it's one of the most expensive oaks too,

barrels


or the fact that you have to change a new oak barrel every five year or so because the wine would have soaked away a thick later of the oak.

soaked oak


or the fact that if you like free wine as I do, make friends with the wine connoisseur of the winery.

wine connoisseur


By the end of the tour, you'd end up with more than a dozen glasses of wine down your liver.

allandale wines


We then returned to the house and moved our bags into the car to prepare our trip north into Newcastle.

Before we leave, we flipped through the guest book and left a comment, or two.

guest book


If you're ever had the chance to stay in Lillians, look for my signature. :)

my comments in guest book


Till then, we'll miss you Lillians.

goodbye to lillians


Thank you for the most amazing experience.