A three-hour drive north east of Melbourne, the picturesque King Valley is home to generations of winemaking families, rustic Italian dining experiences, Prosecco Road and now a state-of-the-art wine and food centrepiece named the Chrismont Cellar Door, Restaurant and Larder.
Winner of the coveted National Building Design of the Year Award 2016, Chrismont boasts a sleek design, including floor-to-ceiling glass and a 40-metre balcony with sweeping views of the King Valley and the Black Ranges.
Five years in planning, the multipurpose building hopes to offer a new way for visitors to engage with the region by offering all-day dining, wine tasting, accommodation and a range of event spaces.
Since the first Chrismont vine was planted in 1980, owners Arnie and Jo Pizzini have become known for producing Mediterranean and classic European varietals from their cool-climate vineyards in Cheshunt and Whitfield.
The Restaurant and Larder brings modern dining to the King Valley with an ever-changing menu that blends the seasons with time-honoured family recipes from Italy’s north and south. The Larder is also filled with plenty of Italian goodies to take home.
The winter menu will hero slow-cooked dishes, including a braised beef rib with deep fried polenta, roasted vegetables and gremolata, which can be matched with new release nebbiolo, trempranillo and sagrantino reds from the popular La Zona range.
Just minutes down the road is Politini Wines, a family-owned boutique winery specialising in estate-grown Italian varieties including Grecanico and Nero d’Avola grown widely in Sicily.
Politini also offers a range of Sicilian cooking experiences with Nonna Josie Politini, including the ever-popular salami and salsicce making class enjoyed with an Italian meal and wine.
Under new management is the Pizzini-owned Mountain View Hotel set amongst beautiful gardens in Whitfield, which sees the menu shift to Italy under chef Lachy Cashman. Alongside gastropub classics like Cape Grim T-bone and roasted Milawa chicken will be Italian-style shared entrees and a selection of pasta and risotto dishes.
The wine list has a regional focus, while amongst the local beers on tap will be King River Brewing.