The Peninsula Picnic is the Mornington Peninsula’s newest and biggest food, wine and music day out (see the line-up here). If you haven’t purchased a ticket yet, and you have a penchant for anything that belongs in a picnic basket, get to it.
There’ll be local cheeses from Main Ridge Dairy, cherries from Red Hill Cherry Farm, The Pennon Hill Pinot Grigio from Montalto and an abundance of seasonal Mornington produce on display and ready to be devoured.
But whether you’re packing your own picnic or you’re going to sit back and let some of the region’s best local chefs do it for you, we’ve got the low-down on what kind of picnic goodies to expect.
“[This] food needs to be easy to eat and full of flavour, because all of your senses are stimulated when dining out of doors,” says Barry Davis of Montalto.
Davis has been offering private, catered picnics across the sites of Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove for many years now. Some would even say he’s a picnic professional. For the festival, Davis will be showing off Montalto Olive Oil and Verjuice, as well as vegetables from the garden and apples from the orchard.
Get your hands on a rillette of duck, Montalto kitchen-garden vegetable pickle and crusty bread, which he suggests should be paired with a pinot noir.
Just down the road is Max’s Red Hill Estate, the Peninsula’s first winery restaurant, established 20 years ago. So Max Paganoni will be reinventing some classic picnic favourites with his own twist.
“Our Scotch egg is a traditional picnic dish that’s gaining favour again. My version features my dukkah spices and local, free-range eggs.”
For many of the chefs, the Peninsula Picnic is just another great reason to support and showcase the region’s suppliers and local producers.
“I’ll be serving a delicious pulled-lamb roll with pickled Red Hill apples and crispy local organic kale, set off by a dressing made with Main Ridge Dairy cashmere,” says Paganoni.
Daniel Whelan from The Long Table will also be sourcing pork and lamb from the region’s Woolumbi Farm in Tyabb and using the goat’s milk from Main Ridge Dairy as the basis of his featured yoghurt flatbreads.
For Whelan, the perfect picnic hamper involves, “good bread, good cheese and good wine, and not necessarily in that order.”
A must-try from The Long Table team is the yoghurt flatbread with the spice-roasted cauliflower, pomegranate, capers, Main Ridge Dairy goat’s curd and coriander.
Or for something on the sweeter side, chef Janine Herrald from Terre will bring her Terre Chocolate and Red Hill Cherry Ripe Trifle. The layered dessert involves Red Hill Morello cherries poached in red wine and spices, chocolate brownie, custard and toasted coconut jelly. “It’s so decadent and utterly delicious,” says Herrald.
So, all you really have to organise is how you’re going to get home – there’s always the helicopter.
The Peninsula Picnic is on March 29 at Mornington Racecourse.