Travel, Food & Wine

Mercedes-Benz appreciating experiences that inspire and delight.

The world is diverse, colourful and flavourful. As a brand we savour innovation, whether it’s on the road, in the air or at the dining table. Innovation is also at the heart of modern cuisine and fine wine – savouring the new, experiencing the unique and letting your sense guide you in unexpected directions. Like travel, those who make their way to their destination by car experience stories on the way that otherwise would have remained hidden. This is how a Mercedes-Benz becomes a kind of home on the way. Along the route, special places inspire drivers. Whether it’s a new model or a classic, a Mercedes-Benz reliably guides its passengers to the remotest places and makes the road trip a wonderful, unforgettable event.

Stories


Five swoon-worthy Victorian winery restaurants

December 2019

Leave Melbourne behind to explore these highly lauded regional cellar doors and eateries. 

Stories


Five swoon-worthy Victorian winery restaurants

December 2019

Leave Melbourne behind to explore these highly lauded regional cellar doors and eateries. 

When it comes to wine, Victoria may well be Australia’s most impressive state. Not only is it home to more than 800 wineries, but also more cellar door restaurants than any other state or territory.

Here are some spectacular examples to add to your bucket list. 

The Dining Room at Port Phillip Estate – Mornington Peninsula

A minimalist masterpiece, the bold architecture of Port Phillip Estate on the Mornington Peninsula bowls over visitors before they’ve even set foot inside.

From the outside, a stark, towering, sweeping wall of rammed earth greets visitors. But pass through the discreet automatic wooden doors and you’re rewarded with views stretching across rippling green hills laden with vines, bordered by a streak of deep blue on the horizon – the Southern Ocean.

Sample Port Phillip’s cool-climate maritime pinot noir at the tasting bench or enjoy a glass on the timber deck. As the principal planting across the winery’s three vineyards, world-class expressions of this varietal are in plentiful supply.

But it’s not just the views and wines that woo visitors: with a menu driven by European influences and guided by a classical French technique, Port Phillip Estate’s Dining Room is a calling card all of its own. Gorge on the views from the floor-to-ceiling windows as you tuck into lunch or dinner – this sleek space provides the ideal contrast to the rugged coastline beyond.

Ezard at Levantine Hill – The Yarra Valley

Within just one year of opening in 2015, Ezard at Levantine Hill already had the critics in raptures, and has since collected numerous accolades.

Enjoy stunning views of the Yarra Valley from Ezard at Levantine Hill Estate. Image: iStock.

Enjoy stunning views of the Yarra Valley from Ezard at Levantine Hill Estate. Image: iStock. 

No expense has been spared at this winery in the heart of the Yarra Valley. The cellar door and two restaurants stand within a grand glass-and-steel structure and its interiors feature an edgy, almost industrial-chic style – think lashings of brass, raw timber and aniline leather throughout. Experience the talents of executive chef Teage Ezard by enjoying a five- or eight-course degustation at Levantine Hill’s signature restaurant, or graze on share plates in wine barrel-shaped timber booths at the more casual All Day Dining space.

Whichever option you choose, the seasonal menu has been designed to harmonise with estate-grown wine, from elegant expressions of the region’s flagship white, chardonnay, to fruit-forward cabernet sauvignon, aromatic pinot noir and complex shiraz.

Patricia’s Table at Brown Brothers – Milawa

Operating since 1889, this storied winery in Victoria’s High Country has become something of an icon. One of Australia’s First Families of Wine – an exclusive, 11-member alliance – Brown Brothers exudes heritage and country hospitality in equal measure, the manicured lawn strewn with beanbags and picnic rugs, and fairy lights strung between the gum trees.

Though numerous varietals line the cellars of this family-owned winery, here one grape rules them all: prosecco. Taste the Brown Brothers’ entire range, from rosé to limited release to vegan-friendly vintage prosecco, at the resident wine bar with a special prosecco brunch. Beyond elegant expressions of sparkling wine, the brunch includes a fine spread of freshly baked pastries, local cheeses, housemade terrines and seasonal fruits.

For appetites piqued by the cool alpine air, try Patricia’s Table: a fine-dining restaurant named in honour of the family’s matriarch, and one of the first winery restaurants in Australia. Here, the menu changes not only according to what’s in season, but also to showcase new wine releases. Devour a three-course menu with matched wines, or opt for the ‘Slow Lunch’, which offers five smaller portions of chef Bodee Price’s favourite dishes from the menu.

Jones Winery & Vineyard – Rutherglen

A compact wine region hidden in the north-eastern corner of Victoria, Rutherglen is home to a crop of sixth- and seventh-generation winemakers who have spent the last 160 years producing Rutherglen muscat, a style of fortified wine that is unique to Australia.

The essence of Rutherglen can be felt at the historic Jones Winery, run by siblings Mandy and Arthur (fifth-generation winemaker and vigneron, respectively). Dating back to the 1860s, the cellar door retains its original bark-lined ceiling, and handmade brick walls.

Head chef Briony Bradford takes a nose-to-tail approach at Jones’ restaurant and has a flair for French cookery, dishing up golden squares of crisp pork belly with ribbons of radicchio, velvet-smooth parcels of pan-fried gnocchi, and a bitter-sweet chocolate torte, best served with a glass of rich and complex Rutherglen muscat.

Muse at Mitchelton – Nagambie

The dishes at Michelton Winery’s Muse are inspired by Nagambie Lakes district produce. Image: Michelton.

The dishes at Michelton Winery’s Muse are inspired by Nagambie Lakes district produce. Image: Michelton. 

Come summer or winter, rain or shine, there are few more idyllic places to dine in the Goulburn Valley than at Mitchelton Winery’s Muse. Mitchelton’s wines serve as inspiration for this restaurant’s chefs. When the weather cools, grab a seat beside the open fireplace of the modernist restaurant with its white walls and brick floors, and feast on a hearty navarin of lamb and a glass of cool, spiced Australian shiraz.

On a warm day, relax outside on the patio under a trellis laced with grape vines, and look out over the sleepy, eucalyptus-lined Goulburn River as you pick at a platter of cured meats and Victorian cheeses. The restaurant – enclosed within more than 110 hectares of vineyards and native bushland – stays true to its country roots, showcasing hyper-local produce and living by an ethos of local, seasonal and ethical food.

Words Chloe Cann.

*Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd at all times promotes the responsible service and consumption of alcohol.

Stories


The lure of Lake Como

December 2019

Find out why this opulent resort region is such a favourite among the rich and famous.  

Stories


The lure of Lake Como

December 2019

Find out why this opulent resort region is such a favourite among the rich and famous.  

The sails are puckering in the wind as our boat slips into the middle of Lake Como. It’s hard to imagine anything more glamorous than relaxing on deck with a prosecco in hand as we drift past the beautiful Italian villages of Tremezzo, Varenna and Bellagio.

Take one of the public ferries to explore local villages such as Varenna. Image: iStock.

Take one of the public ferries to explore local villages such as Varenna. Image: iStock.

The charming Carlo Tettamanzi is at the helm, pointing out the famous villas. The lake is an upside-down Y, starting at Como city and stretching north towards the Alps. The weather is unusually warm for autumn and this is his last day before he closes Bellagio Sailing for winter.

“It’s a romantic place to sail – I’ve had several people propose marriage and some renew their marriage vows,” he says.

Exploring the area by road is slow, so it’s a good idea to hop on one of the battellos (public ferries) that link the villages. Best of all, take the slow, scenic boat from Como to Bellagio.

Star attraction

Lake Como has attracted visitors for centuries but, more recently, George and Amal Clooney have made it one of the chicest places to stay.

Carlo drops us off at a little pier at Pescallo, a pretty village with winding, picturesque streets. We follow a paved lane up the hill, a discreet back way to Bellagio. Despite the tourists, there are some good bargains: scarves at Saraceno, shawls at Bellagioseta and ties at Masciadri.

We plan to hire a water taxi but the prices are crazy (€140 instead of €40) so we catch the battello to Tremezzo.

Aperitivo anyone?

For sheer glamour, you can’t beat an aperitivo (an oh-so-Italian ritual of pre-dinner drink with generous snacks) on the terrace of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo – actor Greta Garbo’s “sunny, happy place”. The belle epoque hotel’s colourful décor, floating pool on the lake, “lido beach”, spa and neat balconies make it a fairytale place to stay.
 

The terrace of Grand Hotel Tremezzo sits right on the edge of Lake Como, making it a favourite among the Hollywood elite. Image: Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

The terrace of Grand Hotel Tremezzo sits right on the edge of Lake Como, making it a favourite among
the Hollywood elite. Image: Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

Most visitors start off in Como city, a stylish, buzzing place that’s often overlooked. Marco Polo brought the silk trade here and it’s still the centre of the Italian industry. You might want to drop into the Silk Museum, or the gothic Duomo, which dates back to 1396, or Teatro Sociale for an opera. Every summer Miniartextil, a show of the world’s best textile artists, is held here.

Off the tourist track, we lunch at the beautiful Figli dei Fiori, a restaurant in a florist, known for its beautiful seasonal dishes. The owner has just opened Osteria, a night-time restaurant, across the road.

Crafty buys


Shopping in Como is excellent and I can’t resist picking up a stylish top from Moresi while my friend buys a local hand-crafted bag from the new Nosetta store.

The lake is noted for its famous villas (after all, this is where Clooney and Richard Branson like to hide away). Villa Balbianello is open to the public and has been used as a movie location for Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Casino Royale

Visit the famous terraced gardens at Villa Balbianello. Image: iStock.

Visit the famous terraced gardens at Villa Balbianello. Image: iStock.

For cutting-edge cuisine, book into one-Michelin-starred restaurant Materia in Cernobbio – chef Davide Caranchini made it onto Forbes’ ‘30 under 30’ list of up-and-coming entrepreneurs in 2018.

Autumn adds a brush of colour to the lake and it’s a great time to visit as it’s not too busy and accommodation is reasonable.

Words Mary O’Brien.

*Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd at all times promotes the responsible service and consumption of alcohol.

Stories


Discover Geelong’s thriving new food scene

December 2019

Once the home of the iconic Ford factory, Geelong is carving out a new name for itself in the food and wine industry. Writer Georgia Lejeune paid a visit to Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula to discover the wineries and eateries putting Geelong back on the map.

Stories


Discover Geelong’s thriving new food scene

December 2019

Once the home of the iconic Ford factory, Geelong is carving out a new name for itself in the food and wine industry. Writer Georgia Lejeune paid a visit to Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula to discover the wineries and eateries putting Geelong back on the map.

Geelong Cellar Door

Jon Helmer, a born-and-bred local and the owner of Geelong Cellar Door, has seen the change in food and beverage offerings in the area over the past two years.

Drop in for a stellar glass of wine at Geelong Cellar Door with owner Jon Helmer. Image: Supplied.

Drop in for a stellar glass of wine at Geelong Cellar Door with owner Jon Helmer. Image: Supplied.  

Dedicated to showcasing the best of the region, his European-style wine bar has a wall of shelves featuring only wine made in Geelong. On sunny days, sip on a cool glass of McGlashans 2018 Sparkling from the Bellarine Peninsula, while sitting out the front under a shady sun umbrella – or walk through to the private courtyard at the back.

During winter, enjoy a glass of Domaine D’Esterre ‘G.G’ Gamay 2018 from Moorabool Valley, paired with a charcuterie platter and a spot near the fire, to help while away the hours in bliss. Platters range in price from $25 to $50 (depending on the size) and can include a selection of cheeses, meats, quince paste, dried fruits and lavash bread.

Provenance Wines

Formerly the Fyansford Paper Mill, this perfectly-situated winery has an outlook – framed by large glass windows – over the tumbling waters of the Barwon River.

Owner and winemaker Scott Ireland, who opened the winery in 2018, took the space from abandoned paper mill to sleek cellar door with polished concrete floors, high ceilings, a full kitchen and visible barrel room.

Stay local and try wines from Geelong such as the 2018 Geelong Shiraz or the 2015 Geelong Chardonnay, or stray slightly further afield for the 2015 Henty Chardonnay.

The recently renovated kitchen is the latest feather in Ireland’s cap. Start with the hearty house-made bread with smoked butter, pistachio dukkah and olive oil, before taking your pick from the mouthwatering starters and mains curated by chef Will Manning.

Archive Wine Bar

Don’t be fooled by the size of this small wine bar in the Geelong suburb of Belmont. The wine list is as long and detailed as the space is wide. The cosy vibe means you can chat one-on-one with owner and wine connoisseur Graham Sutherland as he syphons wines using a Coravin syphon gun. This syphon gun is the secret behind the lengthy wine list. Bottles can be opened without being de-corked – meaning less wastage and the freedom to have multiple wines on the go at once. Try local and international wines alongside a tasting plate of local cheeses, meat, olives and bread.

Bistro Plume

On the corner of a quiet street in Belmont sits this delightful French bistro run by husband-and-wife duo Nathan and Kate Veach. The interior is warm and inviting and the décor has a distinct pared back, French chic vibe to it.

The menu is unsurprisingly French (through and through) thanks to Kate and Nathan’s regular trips to Europe. Try the grilled bugs with garlic and parsley butter for starters and the twice-baked cheese souffle with creamy leeks, baby spinach and speck for a truly French experience.

The Continental

It may be one of the newest additions to the Geelong food scene, but this art deco Italian bistro has local ties that run deep. Owner Chris Taranto opened his first restaurant, Sempre Caffe e Paninoteca, in Geelong’s CBD in 1995, and has been cutting his teeth at venues in Melbourne since then.

Enjoy snack-size dishes like Port Phillip Bay scallops with butter sauce and caviar from The Continental.

Enjoy snack-size dishes like Port Phillip Bay scallops with butter sauce and caviar from The Continental.

Settle into a quiet corner of this tiny bistro and the white-coated servers will treat you to a collection of (mostly) Italian and French wines. Order from the a la carte menu during the week, or treat yourself to a long lunch with a set menu available on Sundays. You’ll find it difficult not to fill up on the warm house-made focaccia and olive oil, but it’s worth saving room for what's to come.

Words Georgia Lejeune. She travelled as a guest of Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine.

*Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd at all times promotes the responsible service and consumption of alcohol.