I wasn’t planning on watching Masterchef this year. I really wasn’t. I enjoyed Season One, my old housemate and I were obsessed with Season Two, which inspired me to gastronomic heights and hour upon hour perfecting my macaroon technique, but Season Three didn’t grab me, and I quickly decided not to bother. Then, tonight, channel flicking, and there is Masterchef, raiding the fantastic pantry that is the Mornington Peninsular. That’s it. I’m hooked. Goodbye free time, hello dinnertime tv addiction.
I adore the Mornington Peninsular. If you’re parents are going to pack up and move out of home three days after you do, there are certainly worst places for them to move than the Mornington Peninsular. A visit to Mum and Dad’s is like a visit into the pages of Gourmet Traveller – cafes by the beautiful coast, artisan cheese-makers amongst gorgeous bushland, restaurant with views of stunning vineyards, amazing markets full of produce and crafts. It’s amazing.
So tonight’s episode was sort of a game of “guess where they bought that from” and “oh, I recognise that!” Marvellous fun. Made me hungry though.
And the use of decretive yet edible purple flowers in two of the dishes got me thinking about a fabulous lunch I had down that way about this time last year. The lunch was at my favourite winery, T’Gallant. T’Gallant turn out a lovely assortment of wines, with a particular strength and style with Pinot Grigio and Gri, as well as a very drinkable Pink Moscato that we stock up on for Christmas and lazy summer afternoons. I’m a fan. I also love that even though I only visit about every 6 months, the lady in charge of tastings recognises me, knows my favourites, and gives me an increasing discount as a ‘regular’.
I go to T’Gallant for their wine, but they make lovely food as well. We’ve tried both the casual outdoor Pizza Bar, and the cosy restaurant with table service and a bit more choice. Both have their strengths, and we tend to choose where to go depending on the time of year. The atmosphere is particularly lovely in the early afternoon when a duo croons folksy tunes, but avoid peak times when the Melbourne hordes descend, as while it handles buzzing well, it quickly becomes hectic. We’ve had some delightful pizzas, and a fantastic lemon thyme and potato linguini, but I think the best thing we’ve ever ordered here would definitely be the Pork Belly.