Monday, January 14, 2013

Melbourne Weekend

Saturday Night - Sue decided that because I would be missing all of Sunday, we would enjoy a nice meal, just the two of us. A special occasion - no,  but a special wine. It was a Brunello from Montalcino, a Tuscan wine from an area of Italy we stayed at in 2006. Brunello is one Tuscany's premium wines and here in Australia they come at a premium price hence the reason for it to be complemented with a special dinner.

We started out with a twice cooked goats cheese and leek souffle. One each of course.
There is an interesting food blog called Not Quite Nigella and the recipe was from there. Overcooked the sauce, but it still tasted good. Oh, did I say overcooked? Surely I must have meant caramelized. Ha ha. Hides a multitude of sins, that one!

I had two, note 2...not 3 or 4 or heaven help me 5, special pieces of steak in the freezer. They were pieces of fillet from grass fed Angus cattle. Cooked to medium rare, they were melt in the mouth. The obligatory duck fat potatoes, garlicky spinach underneath and a cheats red wine sauce. Noice.
The Brunello from Montalcino: Note the print on the wall.
It's of a little village in Tuscany. We stayed in Monticchiello which is in the middle between Montalcino and Montepulciano. 
Sunday at Buninyong.
Buninyong has been the venue of the Australian Cycling Road Racing Championships and I decided this year to join friends to watch the race. Before the race, we enthusiasts were entered for a 100 km "Grand Fondo" ride which took in some of the actual course.
The winner of the Championship gets to wear the green and gold National jersey for the next 12 months and so the jersey will be seen on the shoulders of Luke Durbridge, a 21 year old who rides for the Australian International team of Orica Greenedge.

Buninyong is only a small town of 3000 plus people and is about 10 kms from the city of Ballarat. Although a pastoral settlement from the late 1830s, gold was first discovered in the immediate area in 1850 which started the great gold rush in Victoria. How did it get its name - Wikipedia tells us;

The name originates from an Aboriginal word also recorded as 'Buninyouang', said to mean 'man lying on his back with his knees raised', which is in reference to the shape of Mount Buninyong. European settlers named it Bunnenyong and the name later simplified to its current form.

After we arrived back from our 100 kms ride to Buninyong the race had already started but we decided on lunch at the local hotel of which there is only one these days - back in the gold rush days it is said the were over forty hotels and grog shanties. It must have been a very wild town back in those days. The town has a lot of charm with some very historic architecture and some grand homes hidden behind the hedges and gates that we walked past. The town was all decked out for this annual occasion. Cafes and shops were open for business with the town's population swelling to double.

Buninyong put on its best party dress for the occasion.
Its very much a garden city and although we didn't see it, Buninyong is said to have one of the best presented Botanic gardens in the state.
The only hotel left in Buninyong - during the Gold Rush there were over 40.
This house had a distinct French garden atmosphere about it.

With close to 200 riders, the race was won by a lone breakaway.
21 year old Luke Durbridge will wear the national jersey in European competition  for the next 12 months.

Don't weekends go quickly when there's lots to do? Sometimes those "nothing to do this weekends" are restful and stress relieving and others can be really exciting because they are full of things to do and you go back to work for a rest.
This Melbourne Weekend had elements of both and thats a very good balance. Which was your weekend?


  1. What did you have for dessert? (I'm a big fan of dessert.)

    During the 1980's I spent seven summer holidays in Tuscany. We always camped near Siena and visited all of the places you menioned. They were magical and memorable holidays.

    We spent our weekend shopping and eating. Nick needed a new suit for work and it's a tradition that we treat ourselves to lunch in town as neither of us enjoys shopping these days. Your weekend sounds like much more fun !!

  2. I saw food in my sidebar and thought ah! Sue's been cooking up a storm in the kitchen .... sounds delish .... Must check out that website "Not quite Nigella"

  3. Replies
    1. Walt,
      With the tennis (Aussie Open) just about to start today, it will be a long two weeks and plent of time to catch up.
      Do you get coverage there?

  4. Ah Jean, I'm not a big fan of dessert and didn't make any. We did have a nice cheese with some mustardy preserved apricots though. And as its Mitch's birthday today I am making a chocolate swirl cheesecake tart as a birthday cake today.
    Dianne, that blog is definitely worth a look. She's a Sydney girl.
    Walt, I only watch the tennis in desperation when nothing else is on!!


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