After returning to Melbourne, my hosts, Aydin and Ben, took me on a day trip to the Mornington Peninsula.
Formerly, parts of the Mornington Peninsula were owned by the Australian military. One portion of the peninsula is completely undeveloped and owned by a company. I imagine it will become highly desirable real estate once the company is ready to sell. The Mornington Peninsula is also where Harold Holt, a prime minister of Australia in the late 1960s, disappeared after a nighttime swim. They never found his body.
The Mornington Peninsula is an easy day trip from Melbourne, accessible best by car. Lavish seaside and hillside houses and country roads traversed by Ferraris and Lamborghinis testify to the peninsula’s status as the Hamptons of Melbourne, a weekend playground for Melbourne’s elite. However, you need not own your own gold mine to enjoy the rich gustatory treasures available there.
Our first stop on the Mornington Peninsula was the Red Hill Market, which takes place on the first of every month through most of the year. Vendors sell fruits, vegetables, jellies, candies and handicrafts. Because it was the Melbourne Cup weekend, the market was especially bustling that day. I was told that Hugh Jackman and other Australian celebrities sometimes attend the market, but there were no celebrity sighting for us that day unfortunately. Kylie Minogue never responded to my tweet, inviting her to join us.
Not too far away from the Red Hill Market, we stopped for some wine at Foxeys Hangout, a cozy little winery nestled in the hills. We sat outside on a patio overlooking the hillside vineyard. I had a glass of some excellent sparkling rose with the perfect lilt of springtime sweetness. Unfortunately, Foxeys doesn’t sell its wine in stores. You can only buy it there at the winery.
After enjoying the wine, we ventured to Red Hill Cheese where we shared a sampling of cow, goat, sheep cheeses. After taste testing, you can buy a larger portion of one or more cheeses to make the perfect companion for your wine. Some of these were quite delicious, but others were a bit too powerful.
Our last stop on the Mornington Peninsula was in the town of Flinders to indulge in some delectable treats from Mornington Peninsula Chocolates. In addition to being irresistibly tasty, the chocolates there are visual candy, works of art in their own right.