More than two dozen local farmers and producers, and almost 40 Melbourne based chefs, came together recently at the inaugural Mornington Peninsula Shared Tables Food & Wine Educational Tour. Held over three days and two nights, the chefs had a jam-packed itinerary as they explored the region and some of the fabulous fresh produce it has to offer.
To make this event happen, the Shires Economic Development team worked with local farmers and food producers to showcase fresh seasonal food and beverages under the Mornington Peninsula Produce brand. Mornington Peninsula Produce (MPP) is a brand for truly locally grown produce. It has a strong story for consumers and chefs who want to know about the origin of their food: where it’s grown, who grows it, when it is in season and how far it has travelled.
On their culinary journey around the region, the chefs experienced the delicious flavours of fresh Mornington Peninsula Produce at a series of impressive lunches, dinners, icecream, cider and wine tastings at great local restaurants. Produce showcased included that of Red Hill Truffles, Hawkes Produce, Mushroom Forestry, Yolky Dokey Eggs, Flinders Black Garlic, Harts Farm, Peninsula Fresh Seafood, Red Hill Brewery, Yumbah Sea Farms, Elgee Park Wines, Torello Farm, and Peninsula Avocados.
The fresh produce was showcased alongside supplementary gourmet goodies from Boatshed Cheese, Luvlee Gourmet Ice Cream, The Vegan Dairy, and Red Gum BBQ and additional drinks from Two Bays Brewery, Original Spirit Co and Bass & Flinders Distillery.
On arrival in region, the group appreciated a wine tasting at Mornington Peninsula Produce member Red Hill Estate, followed by lunch at 400 Gradi (Mornington) hosted by Owner Johnny Di Francesco and Chef De Cuisine Pierre Khodja. Lunch was (of course) served with some of the previously tasted award-winning wines from Red Hill Estate, and over lunch the group learned about local truffles with a presentation from Red Hill Truffles. Then it was back on the bus to visit the unique Vegan Dairy in Dromana for sampling of vegan cheeses/butter and crémes. After checking in at the stylish Flinders Hotel located in the relaxed seaside town of Flinders, it was just a short stroll to dine at Moke Dining - presented by Owner / Head Chef Michael Cole.
Day two commenced on site at the Flinders Hotel with a mini Trade Show presented with the assistance of the Mornington Peninsula Shire. Showcasing an array of the Mornington Peninsula providores, it was a chance to sample products, meet the people growing and making the product, and gain an understanding of the provenance.
Next was a visit to the nearby Mornington Peninsula Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery to watch the Chocolatiers and Pastry Chefs at work and discover hundreds of handcrafted chocolates; from signature truffles to traditional favourites.
A short coach trip took the group to enjoy lunch and the spectacular panoramic views of Port Phillip Bay at the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club, presented by Executive Chef Bernard McCarthy. Followed by an afternoon visit the boutique winery Nazaaray Estate Winery for a tasting before heading back to the Flinders Hotel for dinner presented by Co-Executive Chefs and partners Stephanie Price and Fred Keene.
On the final day there was a visit to two picturesque Mornington Peninsula Produce members; Harts Farm - to sample their range of naturally fermented traditional apple ciders & high-quality extra virgin olive oils & cider vinegar - followed by a tour and tasting of a select range of award-winning wines at Elgee Park. The final lunch was hosted by Executive Chef Zac Poulier at the acclaimed Stillwater at Crittenden Estate, a modern vineyard restaurant that prides itself on showcasing the best of seasonal produce.
The chefs finished their tour in the truly beautiful setting of Stillwater's dining room - with its panoramic windows capturing shimmering lakes, roaming ducks and lazily swaying willows. They returned home eager to put their newfound knowledge of our unique local produce and products on their menus and beverage lists in the near future.
The event was a collaboration between Gerard Doherty of Shared Tables, and the Mornington Peninsula Shire, who made the introductions to the local producers and assisted in bringing the trade show together.
Search all Mornington Peninsula Produce here
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