Produce to Platter: Yarra Valley and The Dandenongs

A little while ago, I was fortunate enough to enjoy Jonette George and Daniele Wilton’s Flavours of Melbourne and Produce to Platter: Mornington Peninsula. Both were beautifully compiled and have now been followed up by the equally impressive Produce to Platter: Yarra Valley and The Dandenongs (Smudge Publishing).

I practically leapt at the chance to review this guide, mainly due to the fact that I LOVE this region! The Yarra Valley and The Dandenongs will always hold a special significance for me, it’s where Matt and I spent our honeymoon fourteen years ago, this week.

Matt and I have returned to the region many times since, the most recent visit being only a fortnight ago. This guide only works to make me want to visit again and again, they’ve include so much to tempt me.

“Drive along the highways and bi-ways of the Yarra Valley to discover a unique cosmos of regional vignerons, wine-makers and chefs making use of the bounty of local produce supplied from farm gates, small shop-fronts, artisan craftsmen and boutique enterprises.

Full-colour photography showcases this food and wine region to its stunning best – and stories about the vineyards, restaurants and producers take you behind the scenes to discover the secrets of the locals.”

It’s a visitors guide to one Victoria’s finest wine regions, as well as offering plenty of ‘take-home’ treats, recipes from some of the region’s most inspired chefs. There’s Parmesan gnocchi with zucchini flowers from De Bortolli’s chef Heath Dumesny, followed up by Duck confit with spinach pancakes from Margaret Van Der Meulen from Seville Estate. To finish, something sweet from Jam Lady Jam with Richard Hauptmann’s Brioche Loaf.

As well as beautiful photography and descriptions of places I remember fondly, such as De Bortoli, St Huberts and The Yarra Valley Grand Hotel, Produce to Platter: Yarra Valley and The Dandenongs includes many wineries, restaurants and farms I’ve not yet visited. Inspired, my next visit will be sure to include stops at Oakridge Wines, Yarra Valley Gourmet Foods and Sticks Yarra Valley.

“Set on a bucolic 90 acres at the base of the Christmas Hills, the winery [Sticks Yarra Valley] provides guests with a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere to enjoy their visit as well as a memorable view of the Yarra Valley.”

This stunning book will not only serve as a travel guide (in paperback, it’d easily fit in your luggage to accompany you on your journey) it is also a gorgeous book to have sitting on your coffee table or in any kitchen. Its wonderful photography (by Charlie Brown) has captured the spirit of the valley and the hills in its lush green Spring months and its brown and orange autumnal glory.

I can tell you now, my copy is going to get well used, and I’m sure that yours would too.

You can check out more about Produce to Platter: Yarra Valley and The Dandenongs at Smudge Publishing.

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