Independant Foodie reviews from Melbourne

The Echuca tomato festival that was, or wasn’t, part of the Melbourne Food and Wine festival. March 21, 2010

Filed under: Places to Visit,Shopping!,Travel — foodiefile @ 7:52 pm

I get excited by the prospect of a country drive on the prospect of food, wine and a little shopping. We packed the car early so we could drive via SPC at Shepparton so we left about 7am, and took the drive up.

We arrived at Echuca for the tomato festival at about midday – Its starting time. We arrived to be a little disappointed.

The Melbourne food and wine festival website touted the event to be:

“If you’ve heard about Spain’s tomato festival you’ll have an idea of what’s planned a fun celebration of one of Australia’s largest tomato growing regions, including sugo making, the great tomato bash and a tomato target celebrity challenge. Plus an extraordinary variety of cuisine, including pork sausages handmade locally, and regional wines that will confirm what a great winegrowing region we have here on the Murray.”

Now my idea of the term “Extraordinary variety of cuisine” would need to include more than two dishes – they were a sausage or Gnocchi Napolitana. La Tomatina in Spain is a free for all and a celebration of tomato and food. Echuca’s festival consisted of 3 stands and a busker. The 3 stands included some chefs hanging out with their mates making sugo, a food stand with the afore mentioned, and three wineries selling glasses of wine for $5. The busker was ok.


Suffice to say, we spent about 5 minutes at the festival and decided to make a move somewhere more foodie.

After a drive through some antique shops, we arrived in Heathcote.

We found a little slice of foodie heaven in Heathcote with Cellar and Store. We were warmly greeted by the wonderful staff and perused some amazing foodie items that just tempted me to part with my cash… These delicacies included Spanish olive oil torta’s – the sweet ones are wonderful on their own or with chocolate mousse, the savoury ones are amazing with cheese. There was a good range of olive oils and amazing locally made cheese boards.

The wine store stocks some of the best local wines – the finest range of Heathcote shiraz I have found, including some wines I have not heard of. Prices vary from reasonable to expensive – but usually with wine you get what you pay for. There are always tastings available of a selection of stocked wines and the lovely lady who looked after us (I think her name was Rachael) really knew what she was talking about even though she pleaded that she didn’t know much!!

We sat in the lovely alfresco area out the back surrounded by some lovely drought friendly plants and enjoyed a coffee and meringue. These were the finest meringue’s I have ever had – they were soft and gooey and perfectly ugly! And they take orders over the internet too!! So if you are looking for that perfect Heathcote wine – check them out!!!



I will be back in a second to this lovely store of foodie heaven when I next pass!!!

There are, of course, different standards of wine store in Heathcote as well for you to get your Heathcote Shiraz fix – the bank is a great stop for a quaffer, and they even had 2004 Shiraz for only $10 a bottle when we visited (I had to buy a case, and am drinking some as we write!)

Cellar and Store
105 High St. Heathcote Vic 3523
Tel  03 5433 2204
Open 7 days per week 10 – 5.30

The Bank Cellar Door
129 High St. Heathcote Vic 3523
Tel 03 5433 2662
Open 7 days per week 10 – 5.00


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