When an email popped up from Slow Food Mildura informing me that tickets for Festa della Vendemmia - Feast of the Grape Harvest were once again on sale I scrambled to book immediately. Arrangements for children, accommodation, travel and dining companions would eventually fall into place, I hoped.
This would be our second dinner at the Garreffa family vineyard. The 2013 event featured on my blog here, apologies in advance if this post feels like deja vu.
As we found our seats on the long tables alongside old and new friends we felt the enormous table grapes literally bumping our heads, a reminder that we were dining in a very unique location.
Together with locally made wine and beer the menu included cured meats made from free-range pigs, traditionally made antipasti, pillowy rabbit ravioli, slow roasted lamb and a dense cake featuring local carrots accompanied by an intriguing eggplant sauce.
To end our evening we helped ourselves to a massive wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano surrounded by muscatels. The happy crowd were drawn to the smell of coffee as tiny cups of affogato with Frangelico semi-freddo were assembled in front of our eyes. Heading into the darkness to board our bus I realised my handbag and camera were covered in a shower of icing sugar from the hand-made crostoli. Such is life.
Thank you to Slow Food Mildura and the Garreffa family for this truly beautiful event. To be surrounded by people who are passionate about growing, making and sharing real food has once again filled my mind with thoughts, ideas and possibilities. Long may this tradition continue.