My welcome to the Eat Canberra team involved an amazing day out at the Pialligo Estate Orchard Lunch. I know what you’re thinking – not your average old coffee chasing internship! Well yes I was awfully lucky to get invited as it was a Canberra foodie’s dream.
Pialligo Estate is a very special Canberra venue – it is a winery, a smokehouse, a restaurant, a glasshouse and an orchard. This was Pialligo Estate’s first Orchard Lunch, and it was a truly enchanting experience.
Upon arriving at the orchard, we were greeted by two lovely staff treating us with all the sparkling wine and oysters our hearts desired. The amazing long table was a little further into the orchard, where we found the stunning setting amongst the trees – it was almost like a fairytale.
Our four-course lunch started off with mussels, rustic breads to dip in Pialligo Estate’s olive oil and generous top ups of wine. The mussels were cooked to perfection and the flavours were fresh and zesty.
We were then treated to an incredible grilled squid dish with chimichurri that was to die for. The squid was so tender and the chimichurri was packed full of flavour. Also served was my favourite meal of the day; Pialligo’s burnt carrots and goat’s fetta – I never thought carrots could taste so good and I couldn’t get enough of it!
A selection of smokehouse meats were brought out, all prepared in the Estate’s own smokehouse. The third course was spit roasted lamb, spit roasted pork, jacket potatoes, market salad and Estate grown vegetables. The chef had handpicked the pigs from a local farm.
The staff were very accommodating to my pescetarian dietary requirements and brought out this absolute beauty of a crispy skin salmon fillet especially for me. It was so delightful, it almost made up for missing out on those gorgeous looking smoked meats.
Our dessert was a work of art, and it still tasted much better than it looked. The trifle was filled with cooked and fresh peaches from the orchard, the layers of cream, meringue and freshly made macarons that provided the perfect balance of sweet and refreshing.
With each course that was brought out, the chef introduced the meal and explain where the ingredients came from and what inspired him to create it. He explained how the ingredients are locally sourced and seasonal, as Pialligo Estate promotes a philosophy of sustainability. This was a lovely addition, and it really connected you more with the food, the chef and the farm.
Afterwards, we walked around the orchard and were told we could pick all of the fruits we could fill our gorgeous hessian bags with!
One of the best parts of the whole experience was the company. At first, some people may be apprehensive to be seated next to, and across from strangers, but a good conversation with new people can be such a refreshing and rewarding experience. We had great conversations and made friends with some cheeky people that day (you know who you are).
Overall, The Pialligo Estate Orchard Lunch was a fantastic day of good company, hearty food and a picturesque setting.
I would highly recommend the Pialligo Estate’s Orchard Lunch to anybody looking for a weekend treat, a different experience or to celebrate a special occasion.