Pauline’s Blog

//Yarra Valley
Chocolate Tasting
13 08, 2012

Taste of Healesville tour

Three hours of tasting chocolate, bikkies, pasta, cider, cheese and wine in Victoria’s Yarra Valley?  Yes please!

Since I’ve been running the Yarra Valley gourmet weekends, clients have been telling me that they’d love a morning or afternoon dedicated solely to tasting all the delicious goodies produced and sold in Healesville.  So eventually I just had to give in and give them what they wanted!

And so, A Taste of Healesville has been born and we now have dates scheduled for Saturdays in the coming months and we can of course run tours on demand (if you have a minimum of eight in a group). 

So check out the itinerary and let me know when you want to come and indulge your senses on a three hour sipping and sampling, trying and tasting tour of the Yarra Valley’s most picturesque gourmet foodie town – Healesville.  

Booking enquiries: Contact Pauline today on 03 5968 3963 or at

yarra valley food tours
30 06, 2012

Why I love running our gourmet food and wine weekends in the Yarra Valley…

I love the vibe you get within a small group of people over the course of a weekend, and on our recent Yarra Valley gourmet weekend we had such an interesting mix of people.  We all, of course, had a unifying love of food and wine, giving us common ground from the outset and the group gelled within a day as people quickly got to know one another.  We were blessed with the weather too – but then the Yarra Valley is an amazing place to be – in all seasons.  The scenery is so dramatic, the sky so expressive.  Our accommodation at Susan’s in the Valley is especially lovely to return to, after a busy day of tastings, sampling and cookery classes.  

We pack so much into our itinerary yet it just seems to effortlessly unfurl, and we’ve plenty of time at each venue, meeting the valley’s artisan producers and enjoying that exclusive opportunity to go into their kitchens to try their jams, nibble on cheeses, watch chocolate being made and sample wine straight from the barrel.

Even if our guests on the tour have visited some of these iconic wineries before, they have never been invited into the barrel room for a private tasting with the sommelier.  Nor have they stood in Lisa O’Connor’s kitchen at Jam Lady Jam as she passes you some of her damson jam to try, while answering questions as to what brought her to the valley, what dishes she uses her jams in and how many vats of fruit she cooks up at the height of jam making.  It is the personal aspect of our gourmet tour of the Yarra Valley that sets us apart and what our guests love and thank us for.  As we were leaving Lisa’s kitchen, and saying our good-bye’s, one of our guests pointed out, “this is like visiting friends.”  We then boarded the mini bus, clutching our jam purchases and we were off to Bella Vedere for our cooking class with Gary Cooper.  

13 06, 2012

Top Yarra Valley Wineries for Summer

I always find myself looking forward to summer, whilst winter is enveloping me here in the Yarra Valley!!   There is so much to look forward to; the balmy evenings where it’s light til late, BBQs with friends, healthy crisp fresh salads with ingredients straight from the garden, a glass of chilled Yarra Valley Rose with friends out on the deck at a winery.

And it got me thinking of my favourite Yarra Valley wineries in summer and I realised it is hard to pick them because they all have their own character and reasons to be picked!

Many open late as part of the Twilight Cellar Doors – I hope they run this again this summer.  Here goes:

Mandala Wines has this lovely lawned area (pictured) to sit out on and enjoy the views of the vines and the hills from Dixons Creek, 

Punt Road and Dominique Portet win if you want a game of petanque on the lawn,

Tarrawarra Estate gets my vote if you want to sit on a lawn with a magnificent view.  De Bortoli takes gold if you want a nice informal al fresco area for spreading out a blanket, with one of their delicious platters.

Oakridge competes with Tarrawarra on views, and has a gorgeous deck area for sitting out on. 

– At Whispering Hills you are almost sitting in the vines with your glass of Barbera, and Sutherland Estate wins the prize for the greatest elevation (approx. 200 metres).

Pimpernel Winery has the prettiest cats and Medhurst Wines the funniest dogs, all of whom enjoy the attention from us visitors on a lovely warm summer’s night.


But they are just a few of my picks…where’s your favourite winery to head to in the Yarra Valley in summer?