In our latest Weekly Edition, we’re sharing news on one of the best festivals I’ve ever heard of: a month-long pie celebration. Sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it?
We’re also checking out a couple of drinking spots in Sydney’s Inner West and we’re plied with vodka and asked travel questions in a podcast interview!
We hope you enjoy this Weekly Edition.
Cheers – Jim & Christina xx
I kick things off this week (actually Sunday night) with a catch-up with my mate Pete. We both enjoy Cuban cigars and a drop of wine or two, and considering Christina and I will be away for a fair amount of time soon, this might be the last one with Peter for a while.
I’m smoking possibly one of the finest cigars in the world – a Montecristo No.2 mini (yes, this is half the length of a full No.2). I’ve written a few stories over the years on cigars. Here’s a link to our cigar ‘library’.
As for the wine, this was a generous birthday present from our mate Steph and her family. Thank you, Steph. It went down a treat!
Christina and I are up early this morning to catch a media bus down to the Southern Highlands – an hour and a half south-west of Sydney. We’re lucky to be getting a sneak peek at an upcoming festival that I’m very excited about:
We’ve got a few details here for you, but there’ll be more coming later this week as we show you as much of what’s happening as possible throughout June 2019.
We kick things off with a chat to owner and founder of Heatherbrae’s Pies Russell Cox. We also get to sample some of Heatherbrae’s famous pies too.
Another part of our ‘pie-tinerary’ is a stop at Southern Highlands Winery. This is our lunch spot where we get to try the rabbit pie and Pinot lunch special the winery will be running throughout June.
How good does that pie look?
The winery’s head chef, Marco Salvestrin, talks us through the process he went through of crafting this pie. You can certainly taste the effort that’s gone into it.
The pie’s truly fantastic and goes perfectly with the Southern Highlands’ Pinot Noir, which winemaker and CEO Eddy Rossi talks us through.
Another stop is at Stones Patisserie in Bowral, where we talk to owner and pie master Mark Stone himself about the pies coming out of the ovens here.
Mark won both last year’s Best Pie NSW/ACT and Best Artisan Pie NSW/ACT with his beef cheeks, oxtail, veal and cherry tomato masterpiece. He’s also very proud of his Hero Pie – the Superman – a beef bourguignon marvel.
And he’s gunning for the trophy again this year too I think.
Stones Patisserie is a great option for lunch (or dessert!) and you’ll find Mark’s pies in a number of different venues throughout Pie Time.
Next stop, we’re very lucky to see behind the doors of Fairground Follies – an incredibly rare collection of antique fairground shows from as far back as the pre-clockwork era.
Curator and history buff Craig Robson shows us round the warehouse full of musical artefacts still in full working order. We also have time for a warm fruit pie and a coffee.
Craig is running two tours of Fairground Follies during Pie Time – 1st and 15th June. Tickets are available here, and they include a pie and hot drinks too.
Craig is donating the proceeds from the tickets to Meals on Wheels.
From fascinating mechanical musical machines to military mayhem and a tour of a vineyard. Our next stop is to the beautiful hills of Centennial Vineyards in Bowral.
We’re riding in two of restorer and collector Vinh Tran’s military vehicles. Quite possibly the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, Vinh is doing these tours to raise money for orphans and people still feeling the effects of the Vietnam War.
You can hire Vinh’s military vehicles for all kinds of things though. Check them out.
The tour with Vinh and his very cool M151A2 Mutt take us through the gentle hills and sloping vineyards that give us views of the vines you don’t usually get to see.
May and June are such beautiful months to be down in the Southern Highlands. Not just because of the pies (though that helps!). The autumn colours are in full flow here. It’s certainly something that Sydney misses out on.
Our final stop (and pie) is at the Glass Cafe in Mittagong.
Not only can you get a truly unique pie experience here – we’re talking incredibly delicious slow-cooked alpaca – you can try your hand at painting and enjoy one of the best Pinot Noirs in the area.
For Pie Time this June, Glass Cafe is partnering with Paint Pinot – a local painting workshop where people can have a go at art with a paintbrush in one hand and a glass of something good in the other.
The ‘something good’ in this case is the exquisite Pinot Noir from Artemis Wines – possibly the best Pinot Noir we’ve tasted yet.
You can book your painting, Pie and Pinot experience here for either 4th or 18th June – oh and by the way, instead of using paint, you’ll be using condiments for pies. Think ketchup.
Sometimes I think Christina is part cat. If there’s something for her to climb into, she’ll find it.
Perfect example: at the Glass Cafe – just up the road from the (award-winning) Southern Highland Welcome Centre – we’re too close to the Pie Time mascots for Christina to resist!
Pie Time at the Southern Highlands is going to be an amazing month – make sure you don’t miss it. We’ll be posting a bit more information on things you can do throughout June 2019 later this week.
We’ve been allowed into Gasoline Pony a bit early before the noisy punters arrive. This is a cracking little bar that’s focused on craft beer and spirits, and on making your time here memorable. Worth a visit.
You may be wondering why we’re meeting in a bar for this interview. Well, that’s because it’s not just any old travel interview on any old travel podcast.
This is Travel Writers on Vodka.
Jac started The Travel Ten to spread the word on what it takes to travel. But even better than that, her podcast Travel Writers on Vodka is a place where full-time travel writers get to tell all those stories you don’t usually hear. And the vodka is the fuel to throw on this particular fire.
We shoot vodka, we chat, we shoot more vodka and we try not to get ourselves into trouble!
It’s been a lot of fun shooting the shit and the vodka with Jac. I hope there’s at least something that’s useable from our ramblings. We’ll see.
Watch this space for our turn on Travel Writers on Vodka.
As we’re in the area (and Jac’s heavy pours have inspired us), Christina and I have decided to wander into the depths of Marrickville to check out a couple of the breweries this part of Sydney have become famous for.
First stop: Batch Brewing Co.
I do love the Batch Milk Stout, so when I spot they’ve got a Campos Milk Stout – literally a whole load of coffee thrown into the mix – I’m in heaven. Think this beer might keep me up tonight though!
Next stop, we work our way over to Sauce Brewing Co. These guys have a beautiful brewery, with a huge beer garden out the back.
The beers they have here are excellent too.
As we head back home, we go through Newtown. As we travel down King Street, we spot an old haunt we just can’t go past.
Kuleto’s Cocktail Bar has been here for decades. It’s an absolute institution. It’s also the site of both us having our very first gin martinis – a long time ago.
We carry our drinks through the bar to discover a secret rooftop. After all these years, neither of us have ever been up here before. It’s actually superb!
It’s been a pretty heavy duty week, but a fun one. Now to give our livers a bit of a rest!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Weekly Edition.
Cheers – Jim & Christina xx