Last year I was scrolling through Instagram and came across pictures of a beautiful dinner party.
A long table set with rustic linen and vintage cutlery sat underneath a giant gum tree beside a creek. To the side was a large antique bar hosting various bottles of wine and nearby staff in pressed white shirts poured drinks. Further images showed platters of fresh food ranging from meat, fruit, salads and vegetables.
Looking at the pictures I wished I had been a part of what looked like a unique and delicious lunch. The event was hosted by Settler & Sons on their property at Nowhere Creek, which is North West of Ballarat, a short trip past Lexton. When I saw there would be another event I immediately booked to attend even though it would be a few months in advance. I was glad I did as the event sold out before I could get my sister and some friends to book also.
Before we knew it, the months had passed and it suddenly it was time for the event which I had marked in our calendar and then promptly forgotten about. The week before Kirby from Settler and Sons emailed to confirm all the details including the meeting time to catch the courtesy bus as well as offering a ticket for my sister after she had a late cancellation.
Different to the first event, the dinner was held on the grounds of the old homestead. The bus dropped us at the beautiful front gates where we walked a tree lined driveway along with a few chickens, sheep and dog. After entering another set of white gates we were met on the lawns with cold beverages and canapés before moving to the garden when we sat at the long table. The homestead sits on a hill, which drops away to one side with the vegetable garden below – the source of the local vegetables in our meal. Directly behind us stood tall 100-year-old trees with the Pyrenees Mountains as a backdrop.
Neither the Captain or I tend to drink alcohol (not to mention that I am pregnant) so the wine by SubRosa Wines didn’t play a role in our evening however it was enjoyed by fellow guests who experienced wine tasting and recommendations for each course and a run down about the history of SubRosa Wines. Adam shared about his journey as a wine maker including his work in both Bordeaux and Napa Valley, two places we have been and are very fond of and the journey to creating his own wines now as owner of SubRosa.
Kirby Kaye owner of Settler and Sons sourced all of the produce for the evening meal from her family farm such as their slow cooked pasture lamb. What her farm hadn’t provided she had sourced from other locals, such as the divine roasted peaches she picked from her neighbours trees, which were topped with a crumble of Grounded Pleasures panella and organic vanilla bean. Sophie and Craig from Grounded Pleasures were also in attendance and I was able to openly talk about my obsession with their amazing hot chocolate range (Sophie was also taking official photographs for the event) .
There was plenty of food with a lot of variety which catered for guests who were also vegetarian. Guests were provided with details of the event including where food, drinks, decor and entertainment were sourced.
Before long the evening had finished and we made our way back to the bus and home. We had the most divine night and I cannot wait to attend another event. On reflection, I tried to consider what made the event so memorable. I suppose everyone likes good food and its easy to book in dinner at any restaurant and be served a lovely dish or book a wine tour and travel the region tasting wine and meeting new people. However, the experience with Settler and Sons is unique. You actually get to travel to the farm where the produce is sourced, or meet personally with the wine maker to have him suggest a wine for each course, or talk about his time working around the world. You get to sit in a small group with nothing but the sound of white cockatoos overhead and a singer performing in the background surrounded by ancient trees, mountains and romantic festoon lights rather than the usual restaurant with a grinding coffee machine and busy staff.
I told Kirby she could hold the same event many more times even in the same location and I would still attend, knowing the atmosphere is so unique and the food would change seasonally. If you get the opportunity to attend one of these events, I encourage you to do so. Or maybe not. Knowing bookings are limited to 40 people it will be difficult enough to get a ticket if I add you to my competition! I have heard that Kirby will be offering private event bookings, so this might be the way to go if you have a few friends who are also interested.
Location: Settler & Sons private homestead
Pictures: by me and Finding Femme