Wednesday December 7th, 2016: Ms. Maddie’s Big 3-0
Well today was extra special as it was my girl Maddie’s 30th birthday. Don’t you forget that it happens here first before the states so technically you could celebrate it two days (you all know I’ll be loving that come next September)! We all got up early for this exciting day. Jamie made us breakfast consisting of pancakes and fresh fruit. It was really nice. He planned this whole day. I told him he’ll be training any man I date as he seems to plan the coolest stuff and today was no exception. We hit the road early as there was lots to get done and not a ton of time to do it. Why is life like this? I vote for a couple extra hours a day…
Mornington Peninsula has a ton of wineries and places to stop so I was really looking forward to our day trip. On the way, we saw some sand sculptures being made and it instantly got me pumped to see the beach. We stopped at Mount Martha for a few beach pics. If I could have had my mouth open without fear of flies ceasing that moment, I would have the entire time we were there. The water is unreal. I could have sat there all day listening to the waves roll in. It was beautiful. The beach was lined with these brightly painted beach houses. It was quite picturesque, looking like a damn postcard.
We didn’t linger for long as we had wine to taste and cheese and crackers to eat!
Now I’ve been in Australia for less than a week and I haven’t seen any Kangaroos or Koalas. I’m not saying this is a load of shit but this is a load of shit. Social media has been lying as to how common both of these animals are around these parts. We are in a more metropolitan area but still, show me the animals!
Unfortunately today, I got half of my wish. I finally saw a Roo. Except this Roo was dead on the side of the road. I guess they are similar to deer here and are frequently on the wrong side of a car accident. Poor little (but kind of big) guy. That sight definitely put a damper to the start of my day but thankfully wine and good food would be there to pick me up later.
First stop of the day was Heronswood, which looks like the Secret Garden come to life. So many plants, flowers, and gardens. We paid to get into the Diggers Club and then sat down for some afternoon tea and scones. The scones were freshly baked and were accompanied by cream and strawberry jam. I can’t say I’ve ever eaten this combo before because literally the only scone I’ve ever had probably came from Panera. This was the real deal. The cream on its own was weird but paired with the jam on that beautifully warm biscuit made my tastebuds jump in excitement. I even tried cream in my earl grey tea….shits getting crazy over here. I can’t emphasize enough how thankful I am that I was raised to try new things. Those of you who stick to a 10 ingredient food list, I just want to shake your face like Billy Madison did to that chubby little boy and yell at you, “There are so many deliciously crazy foods to stuff your face with, why would you limit yourself?”
Anyway, I would for real go back to this place just to have some tea and fresh scones again. YUM. After we stuffed ourselves, we walked around the beautiful garden. I see pretty things, I take pictures. I see Jamie and Maddie being all cute and married, I discreetly take pictures. I also have them pose when I see a good background. Thankfully they don’t mind. Am I weird? Probably. But it doesn’t help some people told me I take pretty pictures.
And don’t get me started on the love these two lovebirds have for one another. If I’ve talked about them before in person, you know how choked up I get when I speak of their wedding. They give me ridiculous hope. And in the immortal words of myself and my Auntie Dara, “I love love.” The engagement like photos don’t need to stop just because you are finally married!
On our way to our first Cider Tasting (Maddie’s choice because it’s her day, duh), we stopped to admire the ridiculous coastline. I think it was at this exact moment I realized I’m in a different part of the world experiencing what some people may only ever see on a postcard. #blessed
Mock Red Hill Cider was open and ready for our patronage. Who doesn’t love a good apple or pear cider? That shit is delicious. These hit the spot as it was a rather warm car ride. Some might think a few of them were too sweet but isn’t that the whole fucking point of a cider? They are made for people like my dad, who don’t really like the taste of beer but want to fit in with the rest of us, by holding a bottle that looks like beer but tastes so much better. Shout out to my pops rocking every damn cider all of us kids bought for him once he professed his love for this “beer” as he calls it. Love you Dad!
Next up, Montalto Winery. Now THIS was a winery. Lines of grapes over heaping hills. What gave this winery its own flair were the art structures in a field in front of the vineyard and behind the restaurant. This place was gorgeous and trendy. We decided to just have some Margherita Pizza and a glass of wine here. Maddie tried Rose and I opted for Sauvignon Blanc, Jamie preferred an ale. We took some photos and then headed to Paringa Estate. This winery also had a fun vineyard but they had roaming ducks. So cute.
I forgot to mention that the tastings here are freaking cheap as hell. Like $5 and then you can redeem them for merchandise or product. Cannot get over how amazing of a deal that is.
At Paringa, I think we tried 9 different wines consisting of Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Get in my belly. I found the scenery to be more pleasant than most of the wine but I still tried them all, don’t you worry about that. By this point, I’m feeling the warmth of the vino. It was time to dine again. Luckily, Jamie had the Main Ridge Dairy Farm next on the agenda. This goat farm is adorable and we arrived just in time to have a tasting and then scoot out of there. We chose a platter in order to taste a bunch of cheeses. As an avid cheese lover, it’s really hard to disappoint me so this was an easy sell. And frankly a win, the arrangement of the cheeseboard alone got me pumped. The pictures we took were Instagram worthy no doubt. We all devoured that cheese, it never had a chance.
Now we are nearing towards 5pm at this point which is when the majority close for the day (this was a Wednesday) but we had to stop at one more winery.
Ten Minutes by Tractor was empty but they were happy to accommodate us for a tasting. Again we tried an array of wines. This was probably my favorite stop because the Sommelier here was so descriptive and spot on.* We all could smell and taste every damn thing she described. It was an amazing experience. We were so delighted at the experience, that we bought a bottle for ourselves and a bottle of Chardonnay for Anat.
* I realize this is their freaking job but I know I’m not the only person that goes to wine tastings just to get a good start on their buzz and doesn’t give a shit about the smell or taste.
That evening we went to a wonderful dinner downtown at Taxi Kitchen, a super trendy Asian inspired restaurant. It had an awesome view of the city at night and the food did not disappoint. We tried to keep the party and day alive by going out for a drink downtown but the first rooftop bar we went to wasn’t even open. Luckily, the amazing Christmas show and Holiday areas all over kept us awake and excited at what else we would run into. We found a rooftop bar and had a beer. Smoking on rooftop bars is allowed here and I am not a fan. We left after one drink and ended what was definitely the best day in Australia thus far.
Happy 30th Birthday to Madeline. I love you to the moon and back. And thank you Jamie, for letting me join you both for an amazingly planned day and along for this year long ride!