June 10, 2013

Hunter Valley, Australia

Old bridge outside Sabor at the Hunter
This weekend to celebrate my birthday and to make the most of the long weekend my husband and I visited the Hunter Valley.

For those who are not familar with the Hunter Valley it is a wine region approx 2 hours north of Sydney. It is the perfect place to spend a weekend away especially in winter when all you want to do is eat, drink and curl up in front of a warm cosy fire.

The Hunter offers a wide range of wineries, restaurants,  accommodation, boutique shops, markets, cheese and chocolate factories. There is also a zoo and a beautiful garden.

Being Crowne Plaza priority members wanting to making the most of our annual membership we stayed at the Crowne Plaza. Located on the main road not too far away from the information centre it is hard to miss. There are hotel rooms for couples/small groups and villas for families/larger groups. If you enjoy golf there is also an 18 hole golf course surrounding the premises.

On our first night we dined at the hotel restaurant Redsalt. The menu highlighted beef however other options such as pasta and fish also appeared. To start we both had the cauliflower soup which was perfect, the portion size wasn't too little nor too large nor was it to creamy.  For main we both ordered steak, I had the  wagyu with a silky smooth potato mash and the most delightful baked roma tomato I have ever had. My husband had the t-bone. We shared a panna cotta which was accompanied with rhubarb, caramel sauce and a chocolate triangle it was delicious and the perfect way to end a lovely meal. Overall we both rated our meals 9/10.

The next day after breakfast at the hotel buffet we headed out. Having been to the Hunter Valley several times before we decided to try visit places we hadn't been to before, we started at the Ironbark Hill winery were we purchased some wine. We than headed to the Smelly Cheese factory  at Tempus Two, where we enjoyed a lunch of cheese and crackers. I also bought some truffle olive oil which I can not wait to use.

Later that afternoon to balance the cheese we went to Sabor at the Hunter which is a desert cafe a little off the beaten track. We arrived around 4pm, it was busy however we managed to find a table. Most of the desserts had sold out so we ordered chocolate thickshakes and scones. Both were good, particularly the thickshake which was nice thick and chocolatey. 

Dinner that night wasn't exciting, we didn't want to leave the warm hotel so we had some light snacks at the bar which was fine given the amount of cheese and crackers we had consumed earlier that day.

To end our trip we spent this morning on the golf course before heading home to Sydney.

Overall it was a nice weekend away, the Crowne Plaza is nice however is pricy. Next time we will be sure to venture out to other restaurants and will visit Sabor at the Hunter a little earlier so that we can enjoy some chocolate treats.