Wimmera & Grampians Food and Wine
They go together so well, it's hard to have a chat about one without the other, especially so in the hearts of chefs as well as vinters.
Chef's like Guna, an internationally trained chef, who creates all the tasty house-made dishes with a focus on quality fresh produce and simple fare at Rhoo, a local favourite in Horsham.
As the operators for the in-house restaurant at Stawell's National Hotel, the community response was enthusiastically shared when Leesha and Gunaseelan (Guna) opened their new restaurant in Pynsent Street.
Today the team at Rooh Horsham create house-made dishes with a focus on quality fresh produce and simple fare.
And did you know about the nation that drinks the most coffee, or what country it was where a single watermelon once sold for $6100?
Deadly ~ In Japan, a puffer fish dinner can paralyse and asphyxiate diners when not prepared correctly.
Brainy ~ The brain mushroom, which is popular throughout Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and the Great Lakes region of North America will do you in if eaten raw.
Ripped it ~ In Namibia, the adult giant bullfrog is considered a delicious delicacy-but young giant bullfrogs, eaten before they reach maturity, carry a toxin that can cause kidney failure.
Exclusive fruit ~ On separate occasions, fruit growers in Japan have auctioned off a single 17-pound Densuke watermelon for 650,000 yen (approximately $6100), a bunch of Ruby Roman grapes for $6400, and a pair of Yubari King Melons for a whopping $23,500.
Not France ~ Made from donkey milk at a single location in Serbia, Pule is the most expensive cheese in the world by a significant margin. The cheese is so incredibly rare and its creation so labor intensive, its creators believe it's so worth it at $576 per pound.
Caffeine fix ~ People in the Netherlands take their daily cup of coffee seriously: At 2.414 cups per day per capita, they're the number one coffee consumers in the world. Finland and Sweden are the second biggest coffee fanatics, at 1.848 and 1.357 cups per day.
Along with some great food ideas, there is also a quirky story on, of all things, table manners.
You know when your mum used to say "Don't speak with your mouth full!" and "Elbows off the table!", you will be delighted to know there are eight more.
Number ten is dear to our hearts as it says ~
"Bring your best self to the meal and take part in the dinner conversation."
~ and isn't that what dining is all about?
A great meal, a tipple or two, and a lively conversation in a warm circle of friends. Life doesn't get much better.
Great Western ~ A unique Australian drop
Australians love their sparkling shiraz. Although the festive season has been and gone, there is always a good reason to crack open a bottle of this delightful bubbly - mainly because it is such a great crowd-pleaser.
And this style of sparkling wine is particularly relevant in Great Western, where they have been pioneering the method since the 1890s. This has placed this spectacular expression of sparkling wine on the international map.
First produced in Victoria over a century ago, this style unites the very best of the old and new world. Using the stunning and unparalleled shiraz grape to make this bubbly only enhances the brilliant effervescence of sparkling wine.
Sparkling shiraz is not quite as unusual as it may first appear. Most sparkling wines use a portion of red grapes - either pinot noir or pinot meunier or both. In Italy, sparkling red wine goes by the name Lambrusco, although it's a different style to what is produced in this region.
Sparkling shiraz is now produced in quite a few Australian wine regions. There are the iconic producers who have made the style famous and others are starting to experiment with the style. It's a particular favourite for wineries in the Grampians, like Seppelt.
The process for making sparkling shiraz is similar to any other sparkling wine. There are a few ways to produce sparkling wine but the pre-eminent process is called méthode traditionelle. The defining feature of this method is that fermentation occurs in each individual bottle. This method is the most expensive and time-consuming way to create a sparkling wine, however, it also yields the best results in terms of quality and complexity.
A well-made sparkling shiraz brings together the very best elements of shiraz and sparkling wine. It has all the flavours of a great shiraz - rich red berry fruits and spice - brightened and lifted by the effervescence of a sparkling wine.
Sparkling Shiraz should be served cold - the same way you would serve a sparkling white wine or Champagne and is fantastic for food pairing. Try it with rich and full flavoured dishes, such as glazed ham, roast lamb, pudding and dark chocolate. It is also an excellent match for harder to pair foods, like Peking duck or teriyaki salmon or a great wedge of vintage cheddar.
Ararat has attractions a-plenty
The Ararat wine district is located in the Grampians wine region surrounding the townships of Ararat, Moyston, Mafeking, Maroona and Willaura. The charming rural service centre and tourist town of Ararat is an historic gold-mining town surrounded by rich pastoral, fruit and wine grape growing districts between Beaufort and Stawell.
Nestled towards the eastern side of the breathtaking Grampians, the town of Ararat is a quaint countryside location perfect for a day trip or a fun-filled weekend getaway. Renowned for its rich farmland and abundant grape-growing regions, Ararat welcomes visitors to indulge in a peaceful setting near the gorgeous Grampians mountain range.
There are a number of historical buildings dating from the late 1800's, as well as the Langi Morgala Museum and the Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre. West of Ararat, on the road heading west towards Moyston, are several wineries and scenic spots for wonderful views of the Grampians.
Ararat is a wonderful base to stay and explore the natural attractions and activities of this wonderful area. Attractions, events and activities include: Mount Buangor State Park, Langi Ghiran State Park with its rugged granite formations and Jailhouse Rock Festival.
Visit the nearby Mount Cole Forest Range. Located in the middle of the Grampians and the Pyrenees, Ararat offers a wonderful range of outdoor opportunities for visitors to its township.
Apart from the many activities at the hill ranges, you can enjoy an array of wine tours and trails within the town. Visitors can taste some authentic wine and buy few of your favourites to take home with you as a reminder of your time in western Victoria.
Try some locally made dishes at the street-side eateries during your visit to Ararat.