Thursday, February 26, 2009
Road Trip Victoria: Sunny Ridge Farms
One of the many stops along the Brighton drive. You could see the city in the distance.
Pr had a friend visiting from Edinburgh, Scotland, so we decided on a semi-spontaneous trip down to the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. Final destination: Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farms.
We drove down St Kilda road and along the scenic Brighton bayside drive, stopping on the way for pictures. What I really wanted to take were those brightly coloured boathouse shacks that adorned the beach ($50000 - 60000 for a shack, I've been told!) but unfortunately they were just too far away for my non-telescopic-so-I-can't-take-pictures-of-the-moon camera phone to handle. Ah well, we'll save it for another trip, then!
It was a lovely day for a drive, with the most pleasant of company, and the overhead sun finally braving itself to peek through the morning rainclouds. It took us a bit over an hour to reach our destination, and our first stop was a restaurant for lunch.
La Petanque is the area's best kept secret, a quaint little restaurant which one would easily have missed if they weren't looking for it. They had a beautiful little garden of roses outside, forming a guard-of-honour as you approached the homely wooden structure that is the restaurant.
La Petanque, with its welcoming wooden exterior and wonderful entrees: Duck something's-which-name-is-too-fancy-for-me-to-pronounce, scallop something's-which-name-is-too-fancy-for-me-to-pronounce, and soupe du jour (soup of the day) - a cold soup, which-name-is-too-fancy-for-me-to-pronounce
The first thing we got served were just simple bread rolls, some olives in balsamic vinegar and a plate of olive oil. We were so hungry that the warm bread rolls were more than welcome into our tummies, and we were hungry for more! The entrees were pretty good - we each had some thing which was way too cultured for my tummy, but it was a lesson readily learnt!
(Top left, clockwise) The roast duck breast, the Nicoise salad, the amazing strawberry minestrone soup, and the heavenly honey glazed pork belly.
And then on to the mains - two of them ordered the roast duck breast (that, I can pronounce), I had the Nicoise (pronounced nee sua, apparently. Pretentious French people, spelling one thing and then saying another!) salad which was some yummy tuna sitting on top of a (wow) salad.
The winner of the day in terms of main dishes had to be the honey glazed pork belly. It was like siew yok, but more like the Audrey-Hepburn-in-Breakfast-at-Tiffany's siew yok, if you know what I mean. I am ashamed to say that I have never tasted pork cooked so well in all my twentysomething years (what?! I'm not telling you my age!) as a Chinese person.
Only one of us had desserts, as we were going to Sunny Ridge afterwards anyways. It was a strawberry minestrone (pronounced mini stroni, apparently. Pretentious Italian people, spelling one thing and then saying another!) soup thing, and oh, my, goodness, it was beautiful. It was like drinking the Champagne of Slurpees.
After walking out of La Petanque dazed from the experience, we somehow stumbled into Sunny Ridge nearby, finally.
(Background) Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farms (Inset, top) Scones with strawberry jam (Inset, bottom) Chocolate dipping sauce with, you guessed it, strawberries and icing sugar.
Sunny Ridge is famed for its strawberries, and is open to customers for only a busy three-to-four-month period when the strawberries are in season. Here you can buy all sorts of strawberry produce - strawberry liqueur, strawberry jams, strawberry dipping sauce, strawberry chutneys, strawberry ice creams - rumours are they're planning to build a condominium made entirely out of strawberries.
You can also sit down in their wonderful cafe and have an assortment of desserts. Pu settled on the fresh strawberries with chocolate dipping sauce.
I, sick of the sight of all things strawberry, settled on some scones (pronounced scons, apparently. Pretentious English people, spelling one thing in their own language and then saying another!) with strawberry jam (er...). It was good strawberry jam, in my defence! And the cream that came with it was right out of Enid Blyton story books!
You know that depressing silence you have on the way back from trips? Yeah, we had a bit of that, but interrupted the solemnity to visit Linton's wonderful home and garden shop, for all your home and gardening needs: -
Oh so pretty... the Linton Garden and Homes shop. Notice the little sculptures made of bronze below: echidnas, herons and friendly spitting iguanas.
Pr actually ended up buying a Venus flytrap. It was quite cute, actually. Cute and deadly. Reminds me of a lot of my sister.
All in all, a pretty fun, fulfilling day of sightseeing and gastronomical delights, and recommended to all those who want to do something a little different here in Victoria.