First stop on the long drive from the Blue Mountains to Mudgee – High Valley Wine & Cheese Co. According to their website, High Valley has been producing wine for the last 18 years and gourmet cheeses for the last decade. To be honest, the website looked pretty swish and the grazing plates on offer for lunch kind of grabbed me instantly. So naturally, I had to try it on my travels.
Located at the beginning of Mudgee wine country, just beyond the main town centre, the first impressions of High Valley are promising. Pulling up on a short gravel drive, parking is ample, although overflow can happen pretty quickly across the front and back lawns because it’s that popular.
Before we entered the (I’m gonna call it a barn) we were stopped by a yard full of animals. But not real animals, sculptural ones. The animals out the front were part of ‘Mudgee Zoo’, an initiative of Mudgee Underground. Now, someone will need to fill me in with more specific details, but Mudgee Underground seems to be the work of the cool kids of Mudgee showcasing the latest in Mudgee art and performance. I think we will get along very well Mudgee…..
After taking happy snaps with the animals, we sauntered inside the barn for some food. The space is a food store meets takeaway goodies meets wine/cheese tasting area. So you can stop for lunch or a swig and nibble, or even a private wine and cheese tasting experience. We arrived a bit later in the day, around 2.00pm, and were invited to sit where we liked. Seating is split up between the indoor barn area and a large al fresco area on the back lawns. The al fresco dining area is lovely. A lot of their tables cater for big groups with some scatterings of smaller tables. After the long drive, we chose a table outside in the sunshine under one of their large shaded umbrellas.
After having a thorough scan of the menu before our arrival, the stand out for me was the local antipasto grazing plate (shared amongst 2) described as including “two of our fabulous cheeses and a grand selection of house specialties.” Mm mm mmmm. The menu itself is very impressive and seems to capture a lot of local Mudgee delicacies. In addition to other cheese plates which showcase their wonderfully handmade cheeses, their menu is a lovely sampling of fresh local specialities including tarts, pies, salads and scones echoing their “philosophy of handmade throughout”. Breakfast, available on weekends and public holidays, is served until 11.00am, and consists of some traditional pickings such as muesli, bacon and eggs, and eggs benedict.
The wine list strictly showcases the High Valley wine range whilst the beer list includes some traditional favourites and local specialties. Their wines cover a good cross-section including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rose, Gewurztraminer, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Muscat, and are available as either a glass or bottle. Coffee and tea are reasonably priced and provided by Toby’s Estate.
Big Bear was after some kinda beer but had to settle on a latte instead as a back-up. Providing a warning up front always manages customer expectations is a good way to lessen the let down when something on the menu might not be available that particular day. More of a white drinker myself, I tried their Chardonnay. The drinks came out promptly. It’s their local, home grown wine, all positives here from me! And Big Bear said the coffee was nice too.
Along with the drinks and share platter, we were asked by our waitress if we wanted some additional bread, which we agreed to. We were also allowed to select our own cheeses! With a bit of assistance we chose High Valley’s pesto feta (from the selection of pesto, olive, chili or tomato) and had a wedge of their…I think it was brie (from a selection of their award winning Caerphilly (cheddar), brie, rouge, stefan blue or colly blue) – great hospitality and knowledge of the range!
And what a platter it was! Ok so my tastebuds aren’t skilled enough to tell you exactly what every component was but I’ll give it a crack!
- Pumpkin and feta dip
- Pickled vegetables
- Fresh garden salad
- Pate with gherkins
- Terrine wrapped in bacon with beetroot relish
We also ordered extra bread on the side, but to be honest, that extra bread could have been a component of the dish itself because most elements did require some soft, spongy, crunchy bread to pile the deliciousness onto.
Once you’ve finished up dining you can check out the range of local goodies in the food store. Local artwork, canvas bags, clothing, cards, bags, tea towels, crockery, and of course more wine and cheese to take home with you.
Regional, seasonal, cheesy and winey. What is truly expected in wine country.
Breakfast and Lunch (breakfast on weekends only)
137 Cassilis Rd, Mudgee, NSW, 2850
(02) 6372 1011
Mon-Fri: 10.00am – 5.00pm
Sat-Sun: 8.30am – 5.00pm (breakfast available 8.30am – 11.00am on weekends and public holidays)