Last week my colleagues and I escaped the city for a long leisurely lunch at Plunkett Fowles Winery on the Hume Freeway just north of Seymour. We started with some of their Stone Dwellers Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir and platters from the antipasti and charcuterie menu out in the sunny courtyard, then moved inside for the rest of the meal.

plunkett1 lunch at Plunkett Fowles Winery, Avenel

Bubbles (above) and charcuterie (below) featuring chorizo, sausage, pork and pistachio terrine, ham, beetroot pickle and amazing sweet pickled cherry tomatoes. The antipasti (no photo) included wine braised mushrooms, roasted tomatoes with goats curd and arancini with garlic aioli.

plunkett2 lunch at Plunkett Fowles Winery, Avenel

The main dishes on the menu are impressive. My lamb cutlets (below) with zucchini, mint, broad beans and Persian fetta was sensational.

plunkett3 lunch at Plunkett Fowles Winery, Avenel

Swordfish with white bean puree, olives and confit tomatoes (below).

plunkett4 lunch at Plunkett Fowles Winery, Avenel

Seared eye fillet on roasted kipfler potatoes (below).

plunkett5 lunch at Plunkett Fowles Winery, Avenel

Cured Salmon on potato pancakes with horseradish cream (below).

plunkett6 lunch at Plunkett Fowles Winery, Avenel

Pan fried chicken breast with waldorf salad (below).

plunkett7 lunch at Plunkett Fowles Winery, Avenel

We also loved the desserts, including the vanilla pannacotta with frizzante soaked strawberries (below).

plunkett8 lunch at Plunkett Fowles Winery, Avenel

Apple strudel (below).

plunkett9 lunch at Plunkett Fowles Winery, Avenel

My chocolate fudge pudding was incredibly rich (below) and satisfying.

plunkett10 lunch at Plunkett Fowles Winery, Avenel

Plunkett Fowles recently won the 2010 Great Australian Shiraz Challenge Trophy with its 2008 ‘Ladies who Shoot their Lunch’ Shiraz, and is a Victorian winery worth paying attention to. They have a welcoming cellar door and a good restaurant that is about 90 minutes from Melbourne.

If you’ve done the Yarra Valley or Mornington Peninsula and want to try somewhere different, I’d suggest trying the Strathbogie Ranges area and Plunkett Fowles.

Disclosure: this meal was paid for by my employer.

lunch at Plunkett Fowles Winery, Avenel

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