Unearthing a magic experience

With a chill moving across the country, now is the time to experience a winter wonder that mirrors an enchanting European tradition, right on your doorstep.

Red Hill Truffles provides an opportunity to step into a world of sights, smells and taste sensations without parallel.

Owner Jenny McAuley is passionate about her venture into farming the knobbly fungus which grows underground, and the only truffle hunt available on the Peninsula.

“The spectacular beauty of the farm, even in winter, combined with unearthing truffles and their intoxicating flavour is something I have come to cherish,” she said.

Jenny’s truffle hunts (maximum of 15 people) are a glimpse into the mysteries of growing and harvesting the marbled fungus, which can smell and taste like chocolate, beetroot and even seafood. 

The remarkable skills of her truffle hunting dog Thomas add another delightful dimension to the experience.

The hunts conclude with a visit to the Pavilion overlooking the truffière (truffle ground), for sumptuous truffle tastings, more stories by the wood fire and the option of buying a truffle or truffle products including salt, honey, butter and even truffle ice cream.

Bookings at: mpexperience.rezdy.com

Bookings for a hunt and five course degustation menu at: trufflemelbourne.com

Hamper yourself at Peninsula Gourmet Emporium by Liz Rogers

The Peninsula Gourmet Emporium in Boundary Rd showcases the best of the Mornington Peninsula’s artisan product. Kym and Ted Smirnoff stock premium lines of artisan food plus an extensive range of gluten free including the award-winning Leaping Goat Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cape Schanck Olive Oil, Buckshot Nougat and Max’s Balsamic Vinegar.

Focussing on local and high quality produce, Peninsula Gourmet Emporium is the home of Hamper Yourself. Clients can choose from a selection of gourmet delights and seductive spa product to create a personalised hamper (including the packaging and design) or alternatively let the team at Hamper Yourself design one. You can also purchase a pre-made hamper ideal for personal gift giving or corporate clients - or purchase product for your own enjoyment. Hamper Yourself’s themed collection includes Gourmet food, Wine, Christmas, Gluten-free, Pamper, Real Estate Settlement and Cookbook selections so there’s something for everybody or the person who has everything!

Peninsula Gourmet Emporium prides itself on offering an extensive tasting selection of delicious produce so you can sample before you purchase. Step inside to taste the latest Dukkahs, tapenades, olives and confectionary or indulge your senses with their range of Romich hand-made soaps and Heart Affair candles, body products from Olieve and Red Hill Lavender Farm.

Open six days a week, Peninsula Gourmet Emporium and Hamper Yourself offer the perfect solution to personal gift giving and corporate gifts.

Spoil yourself or someone you appreciate today at Peninsula Gourmet.

A: 240 Boundary Rd, Dromana
T: 5981 9123
W: hamperyourself.com.au

The only way is up

Rob Mihailescu’s business has gone to the wall – and he couldn’t be happier.

Five years ago the qualified horticulturist and garden designer was thinking of a way to satisfy all the criteria his customers demanded of his designs: quality, beauty, practicality, affordability and low-maintenance.

The answer was Rob’s vertical wall planters.

“I started selling my product through arts and craft markets and garden shows and the public liked it; feedback was positive,” Rob said.  “In order to be able to cater for a wider audience I have launched my website, www.verticalwalls.com.au, so anyone can transform their vertical spaces.”

The vertical wall modules are made in Victoria from powder-coated galvanised steel, so they’re rust-proof and durable enough to handle any weather, as well as being stylish and maintenance-free.  They’re perfect for succulents, geraniums, petunias, strawberries, fresh herbs, air plants and indoor plants, and are ideal for outdoor and indoor areas, corporate and residential courtyards, balconies, hallways, bathrooms, reception areas, shops and restaurants.

“All you need is one screw into your wall surface to be able to display your new wall creation and make a stylish, living and breathing work of art.”

Their services:

·       concept design & consultation

·       customised vertical walls to the client's specifications to utilise the space and light to get the most favourable outcome

·       supply vertical walls for pop up privacy screens to enhance your event

·       supply corporate and private events (weddings, engagement & birthday parties, all festive occasions) with feature table arrangements

·       garden design

·       garden consultations

Vertical Walls displayed at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show in April, where their empty modules were so popular that they sold out on the day!

T: 0400 740 140
W: www.verticalwalls.com.au
F: @TheCuttingHedgeVerticalWallSucculents
INTSA: @succulents_vertical_planters

Olive oil a la Peninsula! By Andrea Kellett

If you had the choice of buying olive oil grown and pressed on the Mornington Peninsula or olive oil made elsewhere, which would you choose?

If you love where you live, chances are you’d answer the first. And, if you make these types of conscious buying decisions and aren’t yet aware of the local Mornington Peninsula Produce (MPP) brand, then listen up.

The MPP brand was launched last year and it’s changing the way we identify locally grown food. Basically, if it’s grown, bred or raised entirely on the Peninsula, you can instantly identify it via the MPP Certified Trade Mark. Think Peninsula fruit, vegetables, wine, meat, dairy, seafood, eggs, cider and olives.

Mornington Peninsula Magazine spoke with the owners of two Peninsula olive groves who have signed up to the MPP brand and have earned the right to use the MPP Certified Trade Mark. We spoke with Penny Hart from Hart’s Farm in Shoreham and Sui Tham from Cape Schanck Olive Estate.

Hart’s Farm was one of the first businesses to apply for MPP accreditation. Owner Penny explains: “We thought it was a great idea,” she said. “People who buy a product with that logo, they know there’s very clear certification that it’s from the Peninsula.”

Sui said she was happy for her award winning estate to be associated with a brand that promotes produce made entirely on the Peninsula. “I’m very happy to use the MPP brand,” she said. “We grow and press all our olive oil here, it’s 100 per cent from the Mornington Peninsula.”

Hart’s Farm and Cape Schanck Olive Estate are two of a growing number of Mornington Peninsula olive groves already, or soon to be, bearing the MPP Certified Trade Mark.

Find out more about all our MPP Certified local producers at mpproduce.com.au and enjoy the confidence of knowing where your food actually comes from.

Hawkes Farm Gate – now this is fresh!

Hawkes Farm Gate operates on a working vegetable farm in Boneo. Their own produce – potatoes, baby carrots and spring onions - come straight from the paddock to the farm shop, and they also sell the produce of many local growers, including Sunny Ridge strawberries, Mock Red Hill sparkling juices, Main Ridge Dairy cheese, Pure Peninsula honey and a host of other delicious fruit and vegetables from the Peninsula and beyond.

The Hawkes family have been farming here for more than 40 years, and want you to have the freshest fruit and veg you can get.

They are open seven days a week and you can also find them at the Boneo market on the third Saturday of each month.

Like them on Instagram and Facebook to see what they’re getting up to at the farm!

W: hawkesvegetables.com.au

T’Gallant – Mushrooms In May Food + Wine Extravaganza

T'Gallant is the sailor's abbreviation for topgallant, the top sail of square-rigger sailing ships. It connotes the peak, the best, the epitome. T'Gallant's winemaking philosophy is the same.

T'Gallant's Cellar Door, tasting and educational area is sited in the original apple cool store.  It is a rustic, ambient area for visitors to enjoy. 

T'Gallant's diverse range of premium wines and imaginative packaging to match is showcased on their wall of wine. Visitors can taste Australia's benchmark Pinot Grigio + Pinot Gris.  Pinot Grigio is the Italian name for the French variety Pinot Gris.  The Italian tendency to pick the grapes earlier produces a racy, savoury style while the French typically wait for riper flavours to develop, leading to a fuller, richer palate.

Thus, T’Gallant has become Australia’s leader in this cool climate grape variety.  The move was considered bold at the time, nonetheless today Pinot Gris/Grigio is one of Australia’s most popular varietals.  T’Gallant has continued a tradition of producing innovative and food-friendly Australian wines with lively personalities ever since. 

T’Gallant will continue to deliver.  Their annual events are not to be missed, some refreshingly new, or others tried and true.  Mushrooms In May Tour is a must.  Narrated by guest chefs.  Be enlightened on the mysteries and mystique of the fungi kingdom, whilst swirling a glass or two with their savvy cellar door crew. 

A: 1385 Mornington Flinders Rd, Main Ridge
W: www.tgallant.com.au
T: 5931 1300

Are you eating Peninsula-grown apples?

“Why wouldn’t you be involved in an organisation that promotes Mornington Peninsula produce?”

Seven Oaks Farmhouse Cider image.jpeg

Lisa Cresswell, from Seven Oaks Farmhouse Cider in Merricks North, sums up why she has signed her family-run orchard up to Mornington Peninsula Produce (MPP) and, in doing so, her farm fresh apples and apple cider are now backed by MPP’s ‘Peninsula To Plate’ guarantee.

The MPP brand was launched last year and it’s changing the way we identify locally grown food. Basically, if it’s grown, bred or raised entirely on the Peninsula, you can instantly identify it via the MPP Certified Trade Mark.

It’s for those of us who want to know about the origin of our food - where it’s grown, who grows it, when it’s in season, how far it has travelled and more. In turn, the trade mark is strengthening the Mornington Peninsula’s identity as a quality, fresh and innovative food economy.

Seven Oaks Farmhouse Cider is one of a growing number of Mornington Peninsula orchards already, or soon to be, bearing the MPP Certified Trade Mark. The list so far includes Kelowna Orchard in Tuerong; Mock Orchards in Red Hill; Seven Oaks Farmhouse Cider; Edwards & Sons in Red Hill; and Harts Farm Shoreham.

The Mornington Peninsula has long been a premier apple growing region (and apples are in season right now), with our rich soil supporting generational farms and established orchards. A new wave of cider is a success story for these farms and it’s changing business models.

Seven Oaks Farmhouse Cider grows 49 varietals of apples on its 140-acre orchard. The fourth generation family owned business has also been producing apple cider for the last 10 years. Find out more about all our MPP Certified local producers at mpproduce.com.au and enjoy the confidence of knowing where your food actually comes from.

Health blast from the past

For the past 12 years, Andre Kogut has been producing one of the nation’s best fermented foods at Blue Bay Cheese in Mornington.

Kefir is an amazing source of probiotics, and while it is only in the past few years that the world has caught up with the benefits of this fermented milk, Andre has been aware of its health-giving properties for years.  His grandmother taught him how to make it in the Ukrainian countryside he grew up in; she drank it every day and lived to 89.  “She was a fit woman right until the very end,” he said.

It is white like milk but thick like a soup. It has the pleasant scent of fresh yoghurt and a clean tangy taste, and it doesn’t sit heavily in the stomach like milk.

Andrea has adapted the traditional manufacturing techniques for modern equipment and standards.  He begins with organic milk, slowly heating it to 65C to kill potential pathogens while retaining the fat structure and enzymes.  He then adds a mix of 12 strains of beneficial live cultures that consume the lactose in the milk and turn it into lactic acid, which gives the kefir its clean taste.

Andre says his Blue Bay Kefir improves cholesterol metabolism, promotes a healthier immune system and helps manage gastroenteritis. It has also been associated with improvements in people suffering from diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies and autoimmune disorders.  It’s a perfect replacement for cultured buttermilk in recipes; it’s wonderful in smoothies, makes superb salad dressings and is delicious poured over barbecued lamb. 

“It’s the healthiest way of having dairy in your diet for all the nutrients, almost zero lactose plus the probiotics that will keep your gut healthy,” Andre says. “It has been keeping my family healthy and happy for scores of generations, and now we’re continuing the tradition in Australia.”

A: 6 Latham St, Mornington
T: 5976 4999
W: bluebaycheese.com.au

Steelscape - Art in Steel

Meet Joe Taranto -  Artist

Growing up on the Mornington Peninsula, Joe first developed his love for steel whilst tinkering in the family steel fabrication business from the early age of 12.

Joe’s passion for steel has grown over the years and developed into the beautiful work he creates today. He has spent thousands of hours learning his craft and perfecting it to a fine art. Everything he does is unique and created with love and dedication.

Joe is passionate about using only 100% Australian made Corten Steel, unlike the cheaper product from China. Corten Steel is made of a combination of steel, nickel and copper and is perfect for sculpture and metal art as it doesn’t corrode like mild steel normally would. The end result displays a gorgeous rust patina that is unique to each piece.

Joe’s ever evolving artwork also uses other materials such as perspex, stainless steel, wood and even custom blown glass. Some of his work includes property and decorative signage, letterboxes, 3D letters and numbers, gates and fence panels, firepits, industrial furniture, decorative planter pots and all kinds of metal art. The beautiful artwork is designed to last the test of time and every piece is only limited by your imagination.

Steelscape is proud to be exhibiting at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show from March 29 to April 2. Come along and meet Joe and see for yourself some of the wonderful pieces of art he makes.

Labour Day Long Weekend = Strawberry Fun!

Get your strawberry picking fingers into gear this Labour Day long weekend because Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm in Main Ridge is open all weekend, including the March 13 Labour Day public holiday.

This is an affordable day out for the whole family and it’s outdoors! Get in while you still can for fabulous ‘U-Pick’ fun (The U-Pick Season runs from November-April) then head to the Dessert Café for strawberry temptations featuring fresh Sunny Ridge strawberries, farm-made strawberry ice cream and sorbet, whipped cream and strawberry syrup.

The cafe and retail are open daily, November – April, 9-5pm (U-Pick closes at 4.30pm).

A: 244 Shands Rd, Main Ridge
T: 5989 4500
W: sunnyridge.com.au

Made with love by Liz Rogers

Domenica Carbone began making dolls’ clothes out the back of her parents’ fruit shop when she was just five years old. Her mum was a dressmaker, and the young ‘fashion designer’ would piece together fabrics and stitch them up on an old Singer machine to create outfits while her parents were working.

Fast forward to today and Domenica is still sewing and designing. Her online children’s clothing label Pure Love Designs offers unique, high-end kids apparel that is 100% Australian made from only the best quality fabrics.

Pure Love Designs stocks upmarket children’s casual clothing ranging from size 2 to 16. Log on to www.purelovedesigns.com.au to find divine limited edition dresses crafted in 100% cotton, suede stretch, satin and more, plus smart shirts and perfectly cut pants that look great while being completely wearable and kid friendly. Colour, texture and style are what set this label apart from other children’s wear lines. Domenica also makes sure all seasons are continually covered so you can find something suitable for summer even though it’s winter or vice versa.

Check out the Pure Love Designs FB page to view the full range and to jot down Domenica’s market dates so you can get along to see them in the flesh. She’s a regular at the Mornington Race Course (March 12) and Red Hill markets. This fresh, classic and funky children’s label will have your kids looking and feeling great while giving them the freedom to express their individuality.

With love.

M: 0401 449 016
FB: @purelovedesigns

Time for a fresh start

Apart from making New Year’s resolutions, what traditions do you observe at the end of one year and the beginning of another?

Andrea Leitao, from Sublime Wellbeing, says although many customs appear superstitious in nature, for centuries cultures around the world have performed rituals along a common theme – the new year is a time of rebirth.  

“The lead-up is for setting things straight, wiping the slate clean and acknowledging the year that has been,” Andrea said. 

“The new year offers a fresh start.  By ending the old year with respect and beginning the new one with purpose, we establish our intentions for the year ahead.”  

Need help with your resolutions?  Visit the Wellbeing Markets for a Happy New Year in 2017.


T: 0409 428 294
FB: www.facebook.com/wellbeingmarkets/

Summer strawberry picking!

Grab the children, ditch the screens and head outdoors to one of the Mornington Peninsula’s most popular family destinations this summer - Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm.

It’s school holidays and it’s berry season, so what better way to spend a day than picking your own strawberries and enjoying farm-made ice-cream and sorbet at Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm’s Dessert Café?

It’s affordable, outdoors and you can also buy raspberries, blueberries and blackberries at the farm gate. The U-Pick Season runs until April. After you’ve filled your punnets, head to the Dessert Café for strawberry temptations featuring fresh Sunny Ridge strawberries. The cafe and retail are open 9-5pm.


A: 244 Shands Rd, Main Ridge

T: 5989 4500

W: sunnyridge.com.au

FB /sunnyridgestrawberryfar