A Dining Experience Foraged in the Victorian High Country01 Jun 2017
Victorian Forager Katrina Ginnivan went along to the 'Food For Thought' event back in May at a Yackandandah café, (South of Wodonga, Victoria), called Saint Monday, for some truly local and sustainable delights.
Here is her recount of the night.
Lauren and Chris, owners of Saint Monday have dedicated years to creating this sustainable haven, and doesn't it show? A lifetime’s dream, truly reflecting their values.
“Food For Thought grew from a concept known as “culture-shed”. As 'water-shed' means a geographic basin that collects water, a “culture-shed” means an area that is nourished by all it cultivates - produce, culture and people.” - Lauren.
A mocktail or wine accompanied the four-course meal of colourful and hearty vegan and vegetarian dishes.
It was like a dinner with close friends, I felt so at home. We all shared something in common, the enjoyment of a delicious menu of lovingly prepared and ethically sourced produce.
I shared a table with the humble Sarah Pilgrim, who has had the enormous task of organising all of the events for the High-Country Harvest Festival across North-East Victoria. The series showcases high-country colours, community, culture, and the high country's strong relationship to the land.
A handmade lemon rosemary mocktail at the ready, it's time for us to eat.
We enjoyed the option of two different main courses:
Option I: The beautifully plated vegan baby butternut pumpkins, farmed locally and adorned with divine flavours. This dish celebrates food by presenting it in a subtle and sophisticated light.
Option II: This was dumplings made of a sourdough base - incredible! Heavenly! It was served with handpicked mushrooms, chestnuts, vegan cheese, and a divine sorrel sauce to soak everything. The handmade vegan cheese (a growing favourite of mine) melts in your mouth, and is a taste worthy of any culinary forum! And what was the magic ingredient the dumplings encased? Rhubarb! Its sweet character perfectly balanced the savoury chestnut, cheese, mushrooms and sauce.
Pine-mushroom dumplings in a sorrel sauce, with carrots, wilted turnips, rhubarb and carrot greens.
By now Lauren and Chris’s guests were awed by the love and detail that had gone into the food. They take care in explaining the origin of each ingredient - something often missing from dining experiences these days.
Then came dessert! We had two options. There was the Coconut Cream Tart adorned with amaranth and grapes sourced from the family farm. Or we could choose a cheesecake style “Monte Blanc Square” made of whey curds, fresh from the cheese in the main course, and detailed with Gundowring Ice-cream and caramel shards encrusted with pomegranate. Whichever sweet treat they chose, everyone's tastebuds were delighted.
Monte Blanc squares
Chris and Lauren are truly passionate about what they do. The joy in their faces is clear as happy guests listen intently to the stories behind ingredients and the meal design. And just when we thought the meal was over, there was more! A spiced-apple tea drink, along with a glorious warm hug - closure to a memory of an evening that will last forever.
All images: Saint Monday Café.
Katrina Ginnivan - Foraging Relationships
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