Highland Valley Forage

Sat 2 Nov 2019

Our Forage tells the story, through food and wine, of how our regions are connected by tapping into the culinary skills of three local gastronomic favourites.

 The Highlands was once the sea floor and the area is characterised by native scrub dry sclerophyll forests and dry red mineral rich soils of Canyonleigh in the north west and the rolling green hills bordered by sandstone escarpment walls with micro-climate rainforests in the south east. From the village of Robertson, the escarpment drops into one of the country’s most scenic valleys, the Shoalhaven community of Kangaroo Valley, with just 35 kms until the rugged coastline of Shoalhaven Heads. The coast then stretches north through seaside towns and surfing beaches to Wollongong and to the south to the pristine, white sandy coves of Jervis Bay and the famous Booderee National Park.

Experience the best of this region in a leisurely long degustation food and wine trail through blooming spring wildflowers in Morton National Park.

Wollongong local, Chef Mark Olive

Mark Olive, known as ‘The Black Olive’ has been a chef for over 40 years and is Australia’s most celebrated and renowned Indigenous chefs.  What makes Mark’s food so special is his ability to bring bush tucker (indigenous ingredients) into everyday cooking, incorporating ancient flavours into delicious dishes suited to Australian modern cuisine.

As a Bundjalung man, Mark’s family originated from the Northern Rivers region in NSW however he was born in Wollongong. His charismatic style and creative approach to food enabled him to create his own television series ‘The Outback Cafe’ and establish a local catering company.  He is currently seen on SBS “A Chef’s Line”, “On Country Kitchen”, “Good Cooks” and numerous guest roles around the world. Mark brings a fresh authentic and local perspective through his food to our Forage story.

Kangaroo Valley Culinary Partner

Hampden Deli Owner Nick Gardner

We are honoured Nick and Stevie have joined us to be part of this collaborative degustation menu. Nick started his apprenticeship at the one hat restaurant in Nelson Bay called Zest and awards have been following him ever since. With experience working at restaurants as globally renowned as Quay in Sydney, Bouchon in US in Sweden, Nick is at the top of his game.  After returning from the overseas venture, Nick helped setup the new Silos Restaurant in the role as the Head Chef and then went on to be Head Chef at Eschalot Restaurant again an establishment awarded a converted SMH Chefs Hat. He is now a Kangaroo Valley local running his own restaurant called Hampden Deli, Dining and School and for anyone who knows his food, you know we are in for some really special degustation dishes.

Southern Highland Partner Birch

Birch Team 

As one of the culinary highlights of the Southern Highlands, Birch offers a dining experience stamped with innovation and packed full of personality. The team, including owners Glenn and Renee Wallace and chefs Ben Bamford and Daryl Laver, are very excited to bringing the Birch experience to our Forage.

Locally grown produce takes centre stage in every dish Birch creates. Also known for their seasonal signature degustation, award winning wine list and pairing experiences delivered by a polished and personable crew who relish the opportunity to share their fare, the Forage will provide an opportunity to deliver these aspects of Birch in a new and exciting format. The Birch team will ensure the degustation courses they create and pairings that will accompany them, will set the Highlands tone for this event.

8 Course or 10 Course Degustation 

Our Forage is a degustation meal enjoyed as you leisurely stroll along on a flat, beginners walk and take in the natural beauty of Morton National Park and the spring wildflowers in bloom. Offering 8 courses (4km) at $175 pp or 10 courses (9.5km) for $195 pp on your walk, you eat at each food station strategically placed along the track. The menu and matching wine tasting  is a collaboration from our three culinary partners offering the best produce of their region. You will be walking with a local, who can offer their own insights and stories about our incredible area.

To give some perspective 4km on this well tread flat walk will take about 1.5 hours at a leisurely pace, so with stops along the way, plan to be out for about 2.5 hours. The longer walk, which we highly recommend, will take 3 hours usually so allow 4 hours to enjoy the food stations at a nice pace.

We have arranged parking at the Kangaroo Valley Showground and we will bus you to and from the Forage venue at specific times, which you choose when booking. You can experience this unique event on Saturday so make a weekend of it and stay in the village of Kangaroo Valley or nearby.