Country Food with Taste
BY JASON BATES
Pokolbin is an amazing place to visit, with the various wineries, restaurants and of course the Hunter Valley Gardens. And at the entrance to the gardens is the Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village.
The village offers aqua golf, putt putt golf, Pokolbin pharmacy, Garden chapel, picnic and barbecue areas as well as a playground, and various shopping locations including the Hunter Valley Christmas Store, Hunter Valley Toy Chest and the British Lolly Shop, not to mention several restaurants, cafes and a whole lot more.
One of these cafes is the award-winning café and retail outlet Taste of the Country. Open seven days, this delightful café is easily recognised by the big cow Matilda out the front. Matilda is a popular attraction for visitors to the café who often find themselves getting a selfie with her before heading inside the old-fashioned style country kitchen.
Inside you can’t help but be amazed as you look around the café and see all the gift ware on the walls, from tea towels and clocks to the novelty signs and windchimes. As well as their home-made preserves. All preserves you find served on your plate at the Taste of the Country, can be brought in the cafe to take home.
The next thing you will notice about this charming café is the great service, provided by the lovely owner Louise and her friendly and helpful staff.
You then have the option to dine inside, where you can read all the amusing signs and look at the different items for sale. Or you can dine outside on the terrace where you can enjoy stunning views of the shopping village and the beautiful Hunter Valley Gardens and views of the Brokenback Range. You even have the option for takeaway, with their popular frozen take home meals available to purchase in the cafe.
Added bonuses to dining on the terrace are that on the weekend you can listen to music being played in the rotunda. In summer there is a light mist sprinkler system to cool diners on hot days and another bonus is the local wildlife, as native birds often come for a visit to say hello and perch along the railings.
As for the food, they serve hearty country size meals, with an all-day breakfast, lunch, morning tea and afternoon tea menu. The café is fully licensed and has a range of beers and local wines available with meals. And they even cater to Coeliac customers. Taste of the Country stands by their motto, “Food Like No Udder”.
Looking at their menu and deciding which delicious meal to have, can be the trickiest part, but we decided to go for the menu item that Taste of the Country is famous for, the Country Ploughman’s Platter for two,
The Ploughman’s Platter is a selection of ham and corned beef, three gourmet cheeses, salad, homemade antipasto and preserves, served with chunky bread and is a scrumptious spread for two people to enjoy.
A perfect side to this, as was recommended to us is the Wiggly, Piggly, Curly Tail Fries, very crunchy, and very flavoursome.
We’ve been to the Taste of the Country a few times before and every time we have the Pink Sparkling Grapefruit and the Home-Made Fruit Punch, as they are absolutely both delicious and refreshing drinks, that I strongly recommend.
And for a little bit of dessert don’t forget to try Nana’s Famous Scones with strawberry jam and Chantilly cream. And/or their Real Hot chocolate available in milk or dark chocolate.
So, if you’re looking for a fun day out, come to Pokolbin and visit the Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village and grab an amazing country style meal at the Taste of the Country and say hello to Matilda.