Funny how I only ever come back to this blog when I’m on holiday (not really; it’s pretty inevitable, actually).
So, yes! I’m on holiday. Rohan and I are up in the Hunter Valley for three nights. This is our state’s premier wine region, and needless to say, we’re looking forward to doing some tasting. Also some eating. And… you know, things.
This is the only holiday we’re likely to get this year, so I made the decision to make it a good one (plus, it’s our ten year anniversary this year, so… excuses!): we’re staying in an exclusive, high-class villa, and while it was definitely not cheap, I’m pretty convinced it was worth it. We have a spa outside, a fireplace, a full kitchen (with herbs, spices, olive oils and all of that kind of useful stuff provided!), and daily breakfast supplies (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, bread, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, muffins, juice, etc, etc, etc) provided. Also a bed made out of an old wine barrel. And a beautiful bath tub. And a walk-in shower. And… you get the point.
Actually, one of the best things about the place we’re staying in is the seclusion; this property has only three villas, and all of them are out of sight from each other. I could skinny dip in the spa outside, and no one would ever know.
It’s nice to get away. We’ve only been out of Sydney for a few hours, now, but I’m already feeling much more relaxed… even if the first thing I did after checking in was log on to my computer to fix something for work. This place has everything; there’s something incredibly relaxing about that, even if it means we’ll end up doing some of the cooking ourselves.
We shopped in Cessnock before heading out here (we’re in Pokolbin), but after checking in (and fixing work issues), we headed out to explore a little, and hit some key locales: the distillery, and the cheese shop.
The distillery! The Hunter Distillery has only been in business for about two years, so they’re still small and new, but oh man, they do some incredible stuff. Their tasting is $5, but you don’t pay if you buy something (and believe me, you’ll buy something). We started with the gin, and… well. I don’t drink gin. I don’t like it. And yet… I liked this. I liked the vodka, too, and I don’t drink vodka straight. Then we moved on to the flavoured vodkas, and they were even better.
The whole point of the Hunter Distillery is that they’re organic; they don’t use fake flavourings. The coffee vodka we tasted is blended with real espresso; the fruit vodkas and liquors use real fruit essences. And you can taste it: they all taste incredibly real.
Less than two hours in the Hunter, and yes, we’d already spent a lot of money. Worth it, though.
Our other stop for the afternoon was the Smelly Cheese Factory. In fact, the wine tour we’re going on tomorrow includes a stop (and a tasting) at this marvel of cheesey goodness, but Rohan and I are used to a certain… look. Rohan is making pizza for dinner, and you can’t have pizza without goats cheese, and if you’re in a region that makes cheese, you can’t just buy that from the supermarket. Obviously.
So we bought cheese.
But I promise we just headed back to our home away from home after that. I swear it. No wine tasting; that can wait until tomorrow.
We did have to stop to let a fleet of kangaroos (we’ve decided that that is the collective noun; Wikipedia may disagree, but whatever) pass. There’s something special about watching that; kangaroos are beautiful in motion.
Back home, I spent a lovely hour in the spa (with a glass of sparking wine, naturally, not to mention my book), while Rohan started cooking; I’m paying, so he’s cooking. It’s an excellent trade-off.
Really, the only thing we’re missing, now, is Netflix… and yes, we’ve only had Netflix for two weeks, but yes, we’ve gotten used to having it. So much yes.