EAT YOUR WAY THROUGH BERRY IN NSW, AUSTRALIA PART #2
A stunning hinterland town in New South Wales, Berry has a serious foodie following that is making waves amongst locals and visitors. A quaint town surrounded by lush rolling hills, I recently drove down from Sydney to embark on my first foodie tour with Foodscape Tours. The first half of the tour saw us meet the locals who have set up shop in the heart of Berry – see more here. For the second half of the tour, we left the township of Berry behind and drove into the hinterland to meet the local growers responsible for putting Berry on the map as an emerging food and wine destination.
Terara Riverside Gardens Next on the tour we met up with Jo and Neil, the king and queen of citrus growing in the region. I am an aficionado of citrus so I was really excited to see what was ahead of me. Upon arriving a Terara Riverside Gardens, it was immediately apparent that Jo and Neil are serious growers with a serious passion. We were lucky to enjoy the end of season citrus from their riverside nursery and orchards. There really is nothing like hand picking oranges and limes fresh from the tree and eating them straight away. With the juices falling down my hands, I couldn’t help but think that Jo and Neil have it made. Entrepreneurial by nature, their unique property is situated on the banks of the Shoalhaven River and not letting this stunning view go to waste, Jo and Neil have recently built a barn which is available to book for weddings.
The Butterfactory Café & Restaurant After four incredibly mouth watering foodie stops, our stomachs were grumbling. After jumping in the mini-van and driving for about 15 minutes, we arrived at The Butterfactory Café & Restaurant. Part of the Butterfactory had been set up for a wedding with colourful bunting parading in the wind in the lush garden. With vast views of the idyllic dairy country, it’s no wonder that this is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. A wonderful old 19th century structure offering modern Australian cuisine, the Butterfactory places an emphasis on its menu serving fresh local produce. The paddock to plate factor is certainly minimal! The menu is changed seasonally and showcases Shoalhaven regional wines. Lunch is included in the tour, and alongside homemade bread, salads and a glass of regional wine, I chose the Crisp Skin Pork Belly served with Apple Puree, Seared Scallops, Steamed Greends and Braising Liquor. A visit to the Butterfactory is a must if you’re visiting the South Coast region.
Smadimi Estate What’s a cheeky Greek man doing living in the heart of Berry? Growing just about anything you can think of from mulberries to figs to almonds to peaches – Michael Stathos also has a vineyard. Anything you say he can’t grow, he will accept that as a challenge and will give it a ‘grow’, I mean go! Located 3km east of Nowra, Michael is a passionate ‘backyard grower’ and enjoys growing all sorts of produce, ranging from everyday to the exotic and experimental. An absolute character, I stuck with Michael when it came to hand picking, and lets face it mostly eating, the mulberries on his estate. He knew the tricks to get the juiciest, ripest mulberries whilst regaling some fascinating stores of his Greek heritage. If anything, it’s worth visiting Smadimi Estate just to meet Michael – he is a local gem.
Two Figs Winery It seemed only fitting to finish up the daylong tour by putting our feet up and enjoying a wine tasting at Two Figs Winery. Providing the perfect end to our day, Two Figs, as it is affectionately known, sits proudly at the top of one of Mount Coolangatta’s foothills overlooking the Shoalhaven River. Offering a breathtaking view of the region, Two Figs produces wines including cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, chambourcin and verdelho. I was lucky to speak to the owner winemaker Shayne Bricker whose award-winning wines are available for tasting and cellar door sales amongst the picturesque barrels of his working winery. He certainly is living the dream.