One of the best things about attending a wedding is that you can jump in the car and take a roadtrip to a new place you’ve never explored. I’ve been travelling to the Mornington Peninsula for many years now and it’s one of my favourite destinations in my home state of Victoria. The reason why I love the area so much is because it’s close to great beaches, on the doorstep of some delicious local produce and it’s easy to drive here for a sneaky weekend getaway. One part of Mornington Peninsula I haven’t explored as extensively as neighbouring towns is Red Hill.
Red Hill is located in the hinterland of Mornington Peninsula and easily accessible by car. The area is famous for its wineries and the lower temperatures here are perfect for growing cool climate grapes such as pinot noir. What is also special about driving through this part of Mornington Peninsula is that there are gorgeous roads meandering through coastal bush.
One of Red Hill’s most popular wineries is Red Hill Estate. This winery has been growing and producing wines here for 25 years and if it’s not the wine that brings people here it’s the windswept panoramic views of Western Port Bay that are effortlessly experienced within only footsteps from the carpark. It’s captivating to see the restless waves rolling in from the distance while emerald rows of vines soak up the late afternoon sun. Grey clouds barrel in to give this part of the Mornington Peninsula a secluded feel to its surrounds. It’s a special part of Mornington Peninsula for lovely couples, like good friends of mine, to declare their love for one another and promise themselves to one another for eternity.
Red Hill Estate’s adjoining dining room, Max’s Restaurant, is just as a cosy spot for celebrating such nuptials. The room is encased by floor to ceiling windows that take advantage of Red Hill Estate’s engaging seascapes. As the rain starts to pelt down outside, the fun, excitement and happiness in the room precipitates a warmer atmosphere; the perfect vibe for enjoying the wedding reception dinner.
The wedding reception dinner can be just as anticipated as the wedding itself, and I’m always curious as to what I’ll be eating because I’m a guest with dietary requirements. The vegan wedding food here at Max’s is exceptional. The entrée chosen for tonight’s reception feast is a light snow pea and sautéed shiitake mushroom dish, coated in a broad bean and pea puree and lemony dressing.
Once the speeches are said and toasts made to the adored couple, mains are served with just as much fanfare. The dish is vegetable cannelloni stuffed with a nutty mushroom filling, sitting atop a rich, tomatoey sauce, then topped by crispy sweet potato slices and garnished with a generous handful of rocket leaves. What transpires is one of the best vegan wedding meals I’ve had the luxury to enjoy. And what capped it off was a bottle of smooth and citrus Mornington Peninsula pale ale, specially stocked at Max’s from Mornington Peninsula Brewery that’s found only a few metres up the road.
Have you attended a wedding at an unexplored destination? What local surprises did you encounter along the way? Share your secret wedding destinations and local tips.