The King Valley’s annual spring wine and food festival, La Dolce Vita, sees many local wineries open their cellar doors to celebrate the change of season. It’s the perfect excuse for a weekend escape, but be warned; you might not want to leave. Though tasting these regional wines, including new releases of prosecco, pinot grigio, sangiovese and barbera, might be the drawcard, we recommend you stay on to indulge in authentic Italian fare. Feast on handmade pasta and gnocchi, pizzas, seafood, and mouth-watering Italian desserts, prepared by nonnas and renowned local chefs.
A must on your two day itinerary is Dal Zotto’s Primavera del Prosecco 2013. The grandfather of prosecco, Otto Dal Zotto, encouraged by his children, introduced the grape to the King Valley in 1999, and released Australia’s first prosecco in 2004.
“Ever since leaving my hometown of Valdobbiadene and settling in the King Valley I dreamed of one day growing prosecco in my new home, just as my father had done in Italy,” Dal Zotto says, adding, “It was one of my proudest moments.”
A three-course degustation menu is offered in the trattoria with matched new release wines (bookings essential), with Otto’s famous pulled pork rolls available from 6pm Saturday (pizzas ‘til 8pm) if you prefer to stay close to the Prosecco Bar where the Pucino Spritz is the cocktail of choice. There are helicopter joy rides, children’s activities and a DJ to get down and groove to after a day of tasting, and coffee by St ALi.
Other recommendations include homemade gnocchi at Pizzini’s - because, as Fred Pizzini states, “Nonna’s gnocchi eats like pillows of cloud”. Alternatively, sit down to lunch with the Politini family and be serenaded by Salvatore “Sam” Politini where your efforts not to sing along to his piano-accordion rendition of That’s Amore will be fruitless. At Brown Brothers enjoy live blues as you meander through the farmer’s market and food stalls, with a masquerade ball on Saturday night if you feel like frocking up.
La Dolce Vita runs on the 16 and 17 of November across King Valley. Festival tasting glasses are $20, available from any participating winery. For full listings, check the website.