Bellabondi’s Guide to the Barossa Valley

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80 year old Grenache Vines on the Charles Melton Vineyard where we stayed

I have a real affinity with South Australia, as my hubby is originally a South Australian country boy, and I have only prior to that visited Adelaide with work. But now I could possibly say I am a semi local (joking!) with purchasing a house in the Barossa Valley recently and with so many wine regions close by what is not to love!!

My hubby had planned a long weekend away for my birthday in July and even though our new place wasn’t ready when we visited, I had the most SENSATIONAL time to getting to know the area in more detail after spending 5 days there exploring.

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Some of the gorgeous winter produce harvested from the Rockford Wines property and this is just a side from the lunch!!

We booked for the day of my birthday to go to the Rockford Wines Stone Wall Members Lunch, I think we booked a year ago to get there on my birthday. It is members only and for their guests, and they are open for lunch on Thursday and Friday and now have just started on Saturday as well. Well, it was OUT OF THIS WORLD!! I always knew the wines were exceptional (Basket Press, sparkling Black Shiraz etc.) but they build their entire menu for their lunches based on the produce that is in season from their 6 hectare garden and their fulltime chef works with the winemaker to choose back vintages to match the dishes from the degustation menu. We also had the pleasure of sitting next to Pam, whom is an owner and married to Robert Callaghan who started the winery.

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Snapper ceviche with tomatillo, mandarin and lime Jolly Roger tortilla! Perfection on a plate at the Stone Wall Members Lunch at Rockford Wine
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The Kirche Accommodation at Charles Melton Wines in Krondorf

We stayed up the road at ‘The Kirche’ at the Charles Melton Winery so we were able to roll home after the long lunch. Charles and Virginia looked after us exceptionally well for our entire stay and if you are looking for boutique accommodation in an amazing setting, THIS is your place to stay. They also kindly invited us to their Members Wine tasting which kicked off at 10am on a Sunday blind tasting a lot of their exceptional wines and comparing with some French ones! A fabulous morning and some highlights were, apart from the wines, the people on our table and Mya, the winery’s gorgeous Border Collie, who kept me entertained with her stick collecting under the table.

On Saturday night, we went to FermentAsian, the one hat modern Vietnamese restaurant in Tanunda with a KILLER and encyclopedic wine list.

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Raspberry Souffle at Vinters – NEXT LEVEL!!!!

Sunday lunch, after the Charles Melton blind tasting we went to lunch at Vintners Barossa and had the most exceptional lunch just near the Barossa Farmer’s Market location. Just a lazy long lunch after drinking since 10am at Charlie’s Blind Tasting and then having this stellar line up of food and wine including a bottle of 2012 Nine Popes by Charles Melton it was perfection and so relaxing for my husband and I.

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Beef Tataki, wasabi, kohlrabi and fried garlic paired with a 2012 Nine Popes by Charles Melton Wines at Vintners in the Barossa Valley

WINE TASTING – WE RAN OUT OF TIME BUT THIS IS WHAT WE TARGETED

  • Kalleske
  • Bethany
  • Rockford Wines
  • Charles Melton Winery
  • Seppeltsfield
  • Turkey Flat
  • Yell and Papps

COFFEE

  • Keils Fine Food & Coffee – Tanunda
  • Blond Coffee  – Angaston
  • Soul with Zest – Angaston

BAKERIES

  • Apex Bakery – Tanunda
  • D & M’s Bakery – Angaston

BUTCHER

  • Schulz Butchery, Angaston – killer smoked bacon and fritz. Which has been just taken over by Barossa Fine Food out of Nurioopta.

SHOPPING

  • A Time for Seasons – I bought a fabulous black and white coat there but I can see this will be my go-to in Tanunda for fashion and homewares.
  • Barossa Farmers Market – The Dairyman Butter – won Delicious Magazine’s produce award and Elenis for croissants, bread and next level foccacia
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Some of the beautiful Barossa Valley Produce at our accommodation ‘The Kirche’ for us to cook with.

ADELAIDE PITSTOPS – PRE & AFTER FLIGHTS

  • Osteria Oggi – Parmigiana Flan and Pasta are NEXT LEVEL
  • Press Food and Wine – the perfect aperitivo before our flight back home with a Spritz and some snacks.

I’ll be back visiting in December and I can’t wait to get to know the community of the Barossa Valley!

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Pre-flight Aperol Spritz at Press Food and Wine in Adelaide
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The Pacific Club Bondi Beach – New Restaurant Review – Breakfast

The Pacific Logo

Anybody that knows me knows I LOVE a booth and fabulous interior design, so that was enough to draw me in for a recovery breakfast post-City to Surf and see what this new Bistro and Beach Club was like in The Pacific Building. But does it have the goods to back up this beautiful decor, in short the answer is YES!

The Pacific Club opened this weekend but first let me start with the decor, in a word SPECTACULAR! I love a bistro vibe and this is LUXE but casual and comfortable enough to pop in at anytime for a meal or coffee. This restaurant has been designed by Michael McCann, so enough said if you have seen his work at Victor Churchill Butchery or Mr Wong but the decor is very similar to my place here in Bondi – blond wooden floorboards, mosaic tiles, brass metalwork, gorgeous cushions and linens. Luxe with a beach casual vibe seems to be the brief and I am OBSESSED with the fit out. (Check out my current Insta stories to see a video of this gorgeous decor!).

But you know that is not enough for me, it’s got to have the goods to back it up – food, service and beverage wise. Well, I popped in for a coffee and light breakfast and it was EXCELLENT!! I cannot wait to go and try all options from the all day dining menu and I can see that it will become my local regular through the upcoming spring and summer months.

The Pacific Club coffee
Superb coffee for this caffeine addict!

I sat near the kitchen up the back of the restaurant, as I was feeling a bit sore and sorry for myself from doing the run yesterday (and it was chilly this morning, so it was a cosy and warm spot – essential for me!) You can tell the kitchen has a fabulous professional vibe and the equipment, well I wanted to get in there and start cooking!! Headed up by Bret Cameron (ex-Harvest Newrybar) and alumni from Fratelli Paradiso, you know it’s going to be great!. I spotted a wood fire grill that looked custom built in the kitchen and looking at the breakfast menu, there is a leaning towards native and seasonal produce that kicks off in this all day venue from 7am with a fantastic start to the day. With lunch and dinner available, and (hallelujah!) reservations can be made online, so the convenience factor is great if you are time poor like me and you don’t like queuing to get into a restaurant or not getting a table when you want it.

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This quince and apple jam was next level and I inhaled the toast!!

Today I ate the Sourdough with butter, quince and apple jam and you can tell the quality of the produce from a simple meal like this and well, the coffee you know I’m addicted so it had to be good and it was perfect!

The Pacific Club, I will be back for breakfast, lunch and dinner, coffee and cocktails with friends. It’s so important to support local businesses down at the Beach as they can struggle through the winter months if the locals aren’t on board…so my advice to you is pop in for a coffee or cocktails and do some small dishes and you will love it as much as I did on my first visit.

Have a fabulous week!

Bellabondi’s Recipe for the BEST Chocolate Chip Biscuits

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You might remember I was on a baking spree a few weeks back and I thought I would do a quick post with the recipe for you all. The original receipe is from my local magazine “The Beast” from a few years back but I have tweaked it over the years and add whatever I have in the pantry that I need to use up such as various nuts like pistachios, almonds and hazelnuts which seem to breed in my cupboard for some reason!

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Chocchipbiscuitsingredients

INGREDIENTS

125g butter, softened

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 cups plain flour, sifted

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup dessicated coconut

185g choc chips – milk/dark/white

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METHOD:

  • Heat oven to 190 degrees celcius and line baking trays with baking paper.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla with electric beaters. Add in the eggs, beating well after each one.
  • Using a spatula, fold in the sifted flour, baking powder, coconut and chocolate. You can always use more choc chips if you like your biscuits extra decadent, or try a combination of milk and white choc chips.
  • Roll balls of dough with your hands and place on trays, ensuring there is room for them to spread out. Flatten slightly with the back of a fork.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Cool on a wire rack.
  • Makes 2-3 batches
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Who loves cookie dough as much as me?
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The finished product – YUM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy lovelies!!!

 

 

Bellabondi’s Guide to Bordeaux – Europe Series

Bordeaux Marie Antoinette building

My Europe series continues with my current obsession for all things French with an outline of my short stay in Bordeaux. Well, I can’t wait to get back there as I barely scratched the surface and tasted all the wines on offer!!!

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I chose Bordeaux as I was planning to stay in San Sebastian in Spain and it is a short jump to Bordeaux from there, so I drove up with my hubby after Barcelona as this wine region was calling our name.

We stayed at Les Sources de Caudalie which was an amazing hotel and we stayed in their location just away from the main building which is called Chateau de Thil. It seemed the whole of McLaren was staying there with all their drive cars. Unfortunately, due to this we were unable to get into their Michelin star restaurant and other restaurants and bars as I wasn’t organised and booked ahead, oh well, c’est la vie! But we were OK with that as there were so many other places I wanted to try in town so it gave us the incentive to tackle everything that Bordeaux central had on offer.

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The indoor pool at Les Sources de Caudalie
The first night we went to Belle Campagne, a slow food restaurant specialising in local produce which was an amazing introduction to the region. The tartare de poisson (fish tartare) and the house gnocchi with fennel were fantastic entrees. Then to top it off, we had this amazing milk fed veal for 2 which was huge and we couldn’t look at dessert even though I am addicted to french style desserts.

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Tartare de poisson entree from Belle Campagne
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Veal for two at Belle Campagne
Breakfast at Chateau de Thil was out of this WORLD with my favourite thing ever – croissants…it was hard to stop at 2 each morning!!

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Give me all of the CROISSANTS!!

 

 

 

We then headed out to explore the streets of Bordeaux and see the Bordeaux Cathedral and get an Italian style espresso (Black List cafe) and then it was off to a long lunch in town at Garopapilles.

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Amuse-bouche at Garopapilles Restaurant
This was perfection, a local restaurant full of Bordeaux locals and no menu you just decide how many courses you feel like and depending on what is in season, the chef builds the menu around that. This was stupendous and they have a bottle shop out the front so after lunch we were able to pick up a bottle to take back to our chateau (ha!) and the lovely staff also recommended a fromagerie (Tout un Fromage) close by to pick up some snacks for an aperitif later that evening as we knew we couldn’t manage dinner as well, after so many beautiful courses.

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Seared tuna masterpiece from Garopapilles
Early evening after the beautiful lunch at Garopapilles, we organised a tour of the winery that is adjacent to Les Sources de Caudile which was so interesting with some highlights outside of the wine being that they have their own cooper (barrel maker) onsite and the fantastic sculptures throughout the vineyards including their centrepiece of a rabbit by English sculptor Barry Flanagan. Also, we got a exclusive look at their private cellar which was AMAZEBALLS! We went back to our room in the Chateau and had fromage and a white wine from Chateau Haut Lafitte with some red vino that we bought with us and watched the sun go down over the beautiful gardens of Chateau de Thil. A perfect day really!!

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#chateaulife at Chateau de Thil
Let me know what your French obsessions are in the comments lovelies. Merci beaucoup!!

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Cherry and meringue dessert from Garopapilles – SO GOOD!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garopapilles Fish main with mushrooms asparagus4 with wine & hands

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STAY:

  • Les Sources de Caudalie
  • Chateau de Thil

EAT:

  • Garopapilles
  • Belle Campagne
  • Black List Cafe
  • Tout un Fromage

DRINK:

  • Wine tasting at Chateau Haut Lafitte
  • Le Wine Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bellabondi’s Guide to Lisbon – Europe Series

Bellabondi Qantas Business Lounge Shot

I recently returned from a fabulous trip to Europe refreshed and ready to face reality (not!).

But seriously, I wanted to do some blog posts (which are long overdue) covering my travels. I regularly get asked for recommendations from family and friends on where to eat, stay, overseas and back here in Australia. I have decided to do a series for my lovely followers on some favourite spots and will do this on a regular basis for all of you looking for recommendations for travel, restaurant, and drinking tips.

Lisbon Tram

Well, Lisbon blew my mind on all levels! I had so much fun and I cannot wait to go back again. It was my first time in Portugal so I thought I would hit Lisbon first up and stayed for 3 nights which was a perfect introduction to this gorgeous country.

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A Cevicheria – the BEST!!

 

 

I did something here that I NEVER do on holidays, I went to the same restaurant twice!! I found this restaurant in the Louis Vuitton City Guide initially and it was on the same street of the hotel we stayed at (Memmo Principe Real) so after a drive in from Spain we did the touristy thing and went to dinner early on the first night. I had heard there can be a bit of a wait as they don’t take reservations and I WAS HUNGRY!!

A Cevicheria Salmon Ceviche
Salmon Ceviche by Chef Kiko at A Cevicheria
A Cevicheria by Chef Kiko (a chef that owns a few restaurants) was beyond words. I was first introduced to ceviche on a trip to Mexico many years ago and have become addicted over the years. I also have the bonus of having a really good friend who’s Peruvian and along with trips to different parts of South America have come to appreciate this dish.

A Cevicheria Octopus dish Lisbon
BBQ Octopus Causa with black mashed potato, padron pepper and pork rind by A Cevicheria

 

 

 

I went there for dinner and then lunch the next day, the produce, staff and the pisco sours were superb and we were looked after like we were locals. It just so happens that the Maitre’d there lived in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney for a few years and met his wife here (who is also from Portugal) and have returned to have their family wedding back home. Also a special shout out to one the wait staff (sorry I don’t have her name), who looked like the Portugese version of Ruby Rose, she alongside all of the staff looked after us and were so professional. I just wished I picked up Chef Kiko’s cookbook. Oh well, another reason to return to Portugal and this fabulous restaurant.

Coffee helps me survive every morning and I make it my priority in every city to find the fab coffee. I found two excellent coffee/breakfast cafes – Fabrica Coffee Roasters (2 locations) and Hello Kristof.

Fabrica roast their own coffee and had fab croissants and amazing Portuguese tarts. Also take home coffee beans (essential) and some great merchandise for gifts. Hello Kristof is a great place to hang out, do some work and have some fab coffee and food. They even had avocado on toast and their pastries were fantastic.

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The famous “Tangerina” by Chef Jose Avillez of Belcanto
I had to do a Michelin restaurant whilst in Europe, so we decided to hit up Belcanto by Jose Avillez for lunch. This was an experience, it is 2 Michelin star but relaxed and the produce was amazing with some typical Portuguese dishes and ingredients re-worked into works of art. The number of chefs they have to service the number of seats in the restaurant is beyond and you can see the effort they put into the dishes. Jose Avillez has an assortment of restaurants (six in total) and they would be worth checking out based on this experience. We popped into Bairro do Avillez, which is a market (merceria), tavern (taberna) and a seafood restaurant out back in a beautiful open atrium in a casual setting.

Belcanto Pork Belly Dish
Another fabulous dish at lunch at Belcanto
Some other fab places to visit:

  • Tapisco for lunch or dinner for a combination of Spanish tapas and Portuguese Petiscos.
  • The Time Out Market – got to try some dishes from Seame and renown Portuguese chef, Marlene Viera and take in their fantastic produce market.
  • Roof top bars – As Lisbon has fantastic panoramic views this is a must. Silk Bar, Park Bar and the The Colonial at Memmo Principe Real (hotel where I stayed at)
  • By the Wine – amazing wine bar

Belcanto Prawn Dish
Amazing prawns with rosemary ash at Belcanto
It was a short stay in this beautiful city and I cannot wait to go back and discover more!  Let me know your favourite spots in Portugal and what part of Europe you might want my next travel series to feature.

 

 

 

 

STAY:

EAT:

DRINK:

  • Silk Club – R. da Misericordia 14, Edificio Espaco Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal – http://www.silk-club.com
  • Park Bar – Calcada do Combro 58, Lisbon, Portugal
  • The Colonial at Memmo Principe Real, Rua D. Pedro V, 56J, Lisbon, Portugal – http://www.memmohotels.com
  • By the Wine – Rua das Flores 41, Lisbon, Portugal – http://www.jmf.pt

 

 

 

 

Street Art on Bondi Beach Promenade

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One of my favourite things about Bondi Beach, while I am down there exercising, is the everchanging art along the wall of the Promenade. promenade-art15

This initiative by Waverley Council dates back to the 1960s with artworks on the Bondi Wall.  Artists are chosen for cultural diversity and murals are then turned over every six months approximately.promenade-art2

 

 

The murals keep in tune with Bondi’s urban chic vibe and contributes to our unique and vibrant sense of community.

Here’s some examples of the latest offerings. Also, Waverley Council maintains the memorial murals such as “The Girl with a Frangipani in her hair” which memorialises local Chloe Byron killed in the 2002 Bali Bombings and the Anzac Commemorative mural which memorialises the local Bondi diggers killed in the First World War.promenade-art9

 

 

 

 

 

What is your favourite mural or street art along the promenade?promenade-art8

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Andiamo – Opening of Society Di Catania at Potts Point

society-pizza-openign-andiamoIt would be fair to say that I love most things Italian, and especially traditional woodfired pizza from the Southern regions of Italy. I had the pleasure of being invited to the opening of Society Di Catania, the new pizzeria and bar in Potts Point last December by the lovely Vittoria, one of the owners.

I have been eating their yummy pizzas for some time now as they are also based in Bondi, and they are a regular delivery meal to my home as they are the BEST delivered pizzas in Bondi Beach. Continue reading

Leftover Ham from Christmas? Here’s a recipe idea – Bellabondi’s Zucchini Slice

This is a perfect, easy and quick recipe to make over the Holidays that is good for afternoon tea, a snack or a light dinner. Also you can substitute the vegetables with anything you may have laying around the kitchen that you need to use up.

zucchini-slice

Ingredients

5 eggs

1 cup self raising flour, sifted

375g zucchini, grated

1 large onion, finely chopped

200g leftover Christmas Ham or bacon, chopped

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/4 cup vegetable oil Continue reading

Bellabondi’s Cafe Guide – Backstreets of Bondi Edition

 

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Now a lot of you lovely people will know from my social media posts that I love coffee and have an addiction that I regularly acknowledge. My home coffee supply is lovingly made by my Bondi Barista (hubby) on this fab Italian Isomac machine we bought from Di Bartoli Coffee in Bondi Junction and we haven’t looked back.

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Di Bartoli Isomac coffee machine and grinder. Love the Italians!!

But addicts need their fix between appointments, meetings and in the early morning to get through life so here are my faves off the beaten path in Bondi Beach where the coffee is strong and the vibe is fantastic (in no particular order): Continue reading

November Dining – Night vibes at The Nine Sydney

the-nine-sydney-dinner1I was recently invited to a pop-up dinner at The Nine Sydney with 121BC and Giorgio da Mario wines. I have been frequenting this chilled establishment for sometime now for lunch, coffee and cocktails, but this was my first opportunity to try it out at night.

Food was by 121BC an amazing enoteca in Surry Hills, and organic natural wines were provided by Giorgio de Maria’s Fun Wines for the night. The Nine had everything I love and enjoy, with a little bit of Italy for the night in Bondi Beach. Continue reading