Last Sunday, we embarked on a road trip with intent to experience Pie Time Southern Highlands. The mission was to savour as many pies as we could. So, we took our well planned itinerary and empty bellies on a food adventure through picturesque towns, colourful gardens and gorgeous landscapes.
Having recently won the NSW/ACT Best Pie Award for the 2018 seafood category, it was only natural that our first stop would be at Heatherbrae’s Bakery. The journey from Canberra took about one hour and 30 minutes, long enough to alight from our vehicle with eager tummies.
Our orders, the Jillaroo and Chicken Curry pies!
Made from chopped beef, bacon rashers, onion and cheese then baked and garnished with parmesan cheese, the Jillaroo had flaky pastry on the outside and deep caramelised filling on the inside was lip-smacking delicious. We then tried the next pie which had the scrumptious flavours of chopped chicken simmered in curry sauce with potatoes, carrots, capsicums and leeks and it was deliriously enjoyable. We could have had more, but we needed to keep room for the next experience on our itinerary.
Cuttaway Hill Winery
Two minutes up Sallys Corner Road we arrived at Cuttaway Hill Winery— a family owned winery continuing the traditions of cool climate grape growing and winemaking in the Southern Highlands. Pinot was on the menu as they go so well with pies but we also learnt about pairing them with other types of food.
The Laurence Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir was voluptuous. Made in a traditional method champenoise style and matured on lees in single bottles, the toasty buttery tone of this sparkling wine is a perfect accompaniment for natural pacific oysters. Good to know!
But what went well with our pies? It was the Merlot—ripe plum and spice aromas complimented the soft berry fruit and mature oak character. It was very pretty to look at too.
While the Southern Highlands are known for its pinot and pie pairings, beer shines brightly at Eden Brewery—a small, hand crafted, independent brewery with cellar door, creating a wide range of fresh and unique beers.
The drive to Eden Brewery took about roughly about 25 minutes and we knew exactly what to try. We had The Gumnut Patisserie pulled pork pie infused with Eden Brewery’s Phoenix D Kottbusser beer which is made with honey, oats, molasses wheat, barley and hops. Once we savoured the lip-smacking pies, a beer tasting paddle made up of five types of dark and light ale was next. This would be a perfect stop for those who prefer beer over wine.
To get to our next stop, The Cook’s Cooking School, we had an option to board a cute red Kombi or a restored military vehicle, a Land Rover 101 to be exact. The Land Rover was primarily designed to tow a field gun with a ton of ammunition and other equipment in the rear load space but instead it carried ten very hungry pie lovers. The open top vehicle tour had the wind in our faces and the curious and amused looks of passer-by’s as we soaked in the views on our joy ride.
The Cook’s Cooking School
Five minutes in and it was time to disembark our cool military ride and get involved in some serious pie making with Anna Phillips of The Cook’s Cooking School. We learnt how to make the flakiest apple pie without too much stress—it was lovely having a hands-on approach instead of just watching a chef show you how to make it. Oh and then we got to eat the pie as well!
With so much pie in our bellies, you’d wonder how we’d taste more pie but worry not, spacing the journey or strategically indulging is key… you see it is all about planning.
The last stop of our Pie Time journey was a quick visit to the Tractorless Vineyard to learn about their wine making process and to yield to a pie and wine degustation. The must try is the crisp Aleatico Moscato, a vibrant pink coloured wine with lifted muscat aromas including turkish delight with hints of rose water and gentle spicy notes.
Did you know that Aleatico is a rarely planted red wine variety traditionally found in Elba, Apulia, Lazio, and southern Tuscany in Italy and for nearly a hundred years in Australia? It was also one of Napoleon’s favourite wines during his exile on the island of Elba. There’s some interesting wine history for you!
Completely satis-pied, we set for home.
Set out on your Pie Time journey this June
Celebrating all things pie from 1 to 30 June, the Southern Highlands is home to award winning pie makers and known for their wineries and breweries that dot the region. Plan your Pie time Southern Highlands journey today.
Travel and Beyond were guests of Destination Southern Highlands. All opinions are our own.