Two Fat Blokes Gourmet Tours pretty much says it all really when looking for a tour option in the Hunter Valley. As the saying goes, a great chef always likes to try his quality, and if these guys were so called “fat”, I assume they have also tried the best the Hunter Valley has to offer.
Little did I know I would actually end the tour with my jeans just that little bit tighter, which was hard not to, considering the high level quality and most tastefully delicious meals I have ever had had been consumed on this progressive lunch tour.
The culmination of a dream of two friends who have had a lifelong passion for great food and great wines, Two Fat Blokes Gourmet Tours are the perfect mix of excellent restaurant, meal and wine choice mixed with expert but entertaining touring of Australia’s premier wine region, the beautiful Hunter Valley.
My tour was the ‘Progressive Winemakers Lunch’ which began at 11am that morning with our guide for the day, Fat Bloke 2, or as we called him, Jan. Hoping into the luxury air-conditioned van, I was greeted with a glass of champagne which I sipped on while Jan welcomed the tour and gave the days itinerary.
As we began our culinary journey into the Hunter Valley, Jan began his story of how Two Fat Blokes came about.
After a career in hotel management, specialising in food & beverage, Jan moved to the Hunter Valley in 1998, where he had for the past ten years been publishing the local Dining Out and Cellar doors magazines. In 2010, Jan sold the business and focused on the very tours he operates today, which you can see is a love and he is very passionate about.
Fat Bloke number one we are told, is a retired dentist who made a new life for himself in the vineyards area some 25 years ago and together with his wife Ros operated one of the region’s first boutique hotels. The most entertaining part to his story however, is his nickname, with most locals calling him ‘Sir Lunchalot’. For those not familiar with his nickname, call him Peter however his car has personalised number plates that say: LUNCH, summing up his favourite past time.
Upon completion of this story, we collect another couple that are joining the tour for the day, and head off to our first stop. As the tours operate with small groups of people (maximum 10), it made it a very cosy and intimate tour, and within moments we were well acquainted with the new tour members.
The itinerary for the day included:
Canapes The Verandah Restaurant at Calais Estate Chef/Owner: Matt Dillow – Winemaker: Adrian Sheridan
Entree’s Wandin Valley Bar & Grill at Wandin Valley Estate Chef: Michael Bright – Winemaker: Daniel Binet
Main Course Muse Restaurant at Hungerford Hill Wines Chef/Owner: Troy Rhoades-Brown – Winemaker: Michael Hartcher
Dessert & Tea/Coffee Esca Restaurant at Bimbadgen Estate Chef: Ebonnie Newby – Winemaker: Michael Degaris
The promise of exquisite food and wine matching experience was fulfilled, as the day’s journey got me acquainted to dishes from some of the Hunter Valley’s best restaurants matched by wines made by some of the Hunter Valley’s most talented wine makers.
Overall it was simply some of the best food I have ever tasted, fantastic wine (which mind you came home with me in a few cheeky purchases) but what appealed to me most was the very fun and light-hearted approach to the tour, which made me feel comfortable and relaxed.
More details on Two Fat Blokes Gourmet Tours, including the other tours offered, can be found at www.twofatblokes.com.au.
If you have any dietary requirements, please mention them at the time of booking, mine however was a full glass of wine that never gets empty.