We take a peek behind the cellar doors, into the King Valley winemaking families’ feasts.
“It’s a vibrant, happy environment”
Lidia Politini, Politini Wines
To us, a feast means love and family.
When our family gets together in the King Valley for the weekend, we’re all in the kitchen, putting together the finishing touches of the meal. Occasionally Dad will come into the kitchen and say, ‘Who’d like some Prosecco?’ and we’ll look at each other and say, ‘Why not?’
It’s a vibrant, happy environment.
Favourite feast food: My mum’s homemade pasta. Her fettuccine with zucchini flower is the most delicate pasta I’ve ever tasted.
Favourite wine: A current favourite is our Nero d’Avola: it’s very drinkable.
“Nothing beats simple but fresh food”
Elena Dal Zotto, Dal Zotto Wines
What are our family meals like? Very noisy!
Nothing beats simple but fresh food. I just love going out to my vegetable garden and picking potatoes, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, greens and lots of herbs.
The boys always ask for crumbed steak. I serve it with a nice Peperonata (similar to Ratatouille): it’s really simple with onion, garlic, tomato, lovely grilled peppers and basil and simmer until it’s nice and juicy and thick.
Favourite feast food: Gnocchi—my mum used to make it; it’s my best food memory as a kid.
Favourite wine: Barbera with a lovely stew, a nice polenta and braised silverbeet.
“We’re reclaiming an Italian family tradition”
Sam Miranda, Sam Miranda King Valley
Our annual salami-making weekend started small, and now includes sixty family and friends.
We buy a couple of pigs in, everyone turns up Friday afternoon—and it begins. The next morning we’re making salami and sausages, and it kicks on well into the evening.
It’s an Italian tradition that my family missed—they came out after World War I and assimilated into Aussie culture—so we’re reclaiming that tradition now.
Favourite feast food: You can’t beat grazing on pork crackle and pizza all day while making salami.
Favourite drink: We make limoncello when lemons are in season and that makes an appearance on salami weekend. Things get a bit loose once that starts flowing!
“We catch local trout in the King River”
Ross Brown, Brown Brothers
With a family feast coming up, the girls catch local trout in the King River or the Ovens River. They catch some great fish in those streams coming out of the mountains. We smoke the trout and it makes a great starter.
Riesling and Chardonnay are the wines we have on the table with fish. A Pinot Grigio is wonderful, too: it’s like background music that doesn’t dominate.
Favourite feast food: Our local lamb is as good as it is anywhere in the world.
Favourite wine: I don’t have one wine that I drink religiously; it’s a wine that complements the occasion and the food.
“The more the merrier!”
Linda Newton, La Cantina King Valley
When we’re all together, it’s Dad, the kids, the in-laws and all the grandkids. We share our favourite traditional dishes from when Mum was alive.
The grandkids want to bring their friends to share in the family experience, too. It can be anywhere between twenty and fifty of us enjoying wine, food and good company—and it just keeps growing.
The more the merrier!
Favourite feast food: Lasagne, which is something Mum used to make.
Favourite wine: It changes, but at the moment it’s Sangiovese or, for a heavier wine, the Saperavi.
“It’s an important part of our family culture”
Fred Pizzini, Pizzini Wines
Getting together over a meal is an important part of our family culture.
We use lots of local produce, like a local goat produced by Warren Proft. And it goes without saying that there are always bowls of homemade gnocchi and pasta on the table. It’s pretty damn good.
You can’t go past a soft, round Sangiovese with lunch. In the evening you break out the Nebbiolo, and things get a bit more serious.
Favourite feast food: A big bowl of homemade gnocchi, with duck ragu. That’s for starters …
Favourite wine: It’s more a favourite style: I like a medium-bodied food wine like Sangiovese.
“The food brings back memories of Nonna”
Johnny Cavedon, grape-grower
When we all get together, you could describe it as chaos!
There’s always homemade salami, plenty of Prosecco, and Mum cooks up a fair old feast.
We’re on the same family farm where we grew up with Nonna and Nonno, eating meals similar to what we ate with them. The food brings back lots of memories.
Favourite feast food: It’s hard to go past a big bowl of gnocchi; Nonna got me hooked on it when I was young.
Favourite wine: I can’t choose! A good Sangiovese or Pinot Noir; for whites it’s Riesling and Prosecco.
“We show our love through the food we make”
Giovanna Jones, chef at Chrismont
We’ve always been a food family. Now it’s especially important to keep that Sicilian tradition alive, because we’ve lost both Mum and Dad in the last year.
My brother lives near the ocean, so he’ll bring beautiful oysters, prawns and mussels, and we’ll have eggplant parmigiana and grilled swordfish. It’s lots of special little dishes, all put together.
We show our love through the food we make.
Favourite feast food: Traditional arancini on special occasions. Not the little balls you find everywhere; these are pear-shaped, with Bolognese, egg, peas, butter and cheese.
Favourite wine: Nebbiolo or Pinot Grigio are good all-rounders that go well with our family feasts.