Located in the centre of Ballarat in a 140-year-old former produce store is one of the best places to sample wine and local produce from Western Victoria. I knew we were in for a real treat when we were invited to experience the Mitchell Harris Alpine Dinner, advertised as a selection of the finest Mitchell Harris wines matched to a hearty European style Winter Feast. We were certainly not disappointed. The dinner is part of the Ballarat Winter Festival.
The bar had been transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with ski’s, blankets and the scent of mulled wine heavy in the air. Ballarat provided the authentic cold you would expect in any European City in Winter creating the ideal atmosphere. We especially enjoyed the lighting of the space and the open kitchen allowed us to see the chefs at work.
It was an unusual start to the evening as we started with a fortified sauvignon blanc paired with gorgonzola croquettes. Both were delicious, the croquettes were crisp on the outside and warm on the inside. Our next course was a creamy mushroom and tarragon soup, served with a sparkling wine and a rose, not quite a match made in heaven but the wines were lovely. Chicken liver parfait and ham hock terrine followed which was matched with two lovely shiraz vintages. The 2007 really shone through here. For mains we were served a locally made white sausage served with Brussel sprouts and prune and chestnut roulade. It was well matched with two cabernet blends, both nice.
Dessert was the final course of the evening, a black forest tiramisu served with Gluhwein. The Gluhwein would have been nice just on its own. Service was prompt, friendly and professional. The atmosphere felt festive and nothing was too much trouble for the staff. We look forward to returning to try some of the regular menu items in the future.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Mitchell Harris Wines.
Image credit: Mitchell Harris Wines.