TAKE A GOURMET TRIP TO VIC­TO­RIA’S KING VAL­LEY, WHERE THE FOOD IS RUS­TIC, THE WINES MEM­O­RABLE AND THE COM­PANY – MAINLY SE­COND- GEN­ER­A­TION AUSTRALIANS WITH ITAL­IAN BLOOD STILL BUZZING THROUGH THEIR VEINS – VERY CHARM­ING

NZ Life & Leisure - - Destination/ Victoria - WORDS AND PHOTOGR APHS

ARNALDO PIZZINI NEVER for­got his first din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in Aus­tralia. It was 1953 and ac­cord­ing to fam­ily leg­end he’d not long stepped off the ship that brought him and his broth­ers to Melbourne from their home­land in the north of Italy. The Pizzi­nis were part of a post-war wave of mi­gra­tion that brought some 200,000 Ital­ians to Aus­tralia in search of a bet­ter life. Arnaldo, a som­me­lier, de­cided to cel­e­brate his ar­rival with a meal at a down­town restau­rant but he spoke no English so he or­dered the only thing he rec­og­nized on the menu and was dis­mayed to re­ceive a plate of spaghetti on toast. “He knew then there was no fu­ture for him as a som­me­lier,” says his son Arnie.

In­stead Arnaldo joined his com­pa­tri­ots in the to­bacco fields of north­east Vic­to­ria, never imag­in­ing his new home would one day be­come Aus­tralia’s lead­ing “Ital­ian” wine re­gion or that his own fam­ily would play a large part in de­vel­op­ing its vi­brant food and wine cul­ture.

Open any cel­lar door in the King Val­ley and there’s a sim­i­lar story to tell – migrant tales of hard work, sac­ri­fice and suc­cess told with irony and af­fec­tion by the next gen­er­a­tion of Pizzi­nis, Dal Zot­tos, Corsi­nis, Poli­ti­nis, et al. The spaghetti story was re­counted over lunch at Chris­mont, the win­ery restau­rant owned by Arnie and his Si­cil­ian wife Jo. Lo­cated in the up­per reaches of the King Val­ley, Chris­mont is the most re­cent cel­lar-door ad­di­tion to a wine trail that draws car­loads of week­enders from Melbourne, Can­berra and fur­ther afield.

The build­ing’s sleek glass frontage hov­ers over the vine­yard like a mi­rage, lur­ing trav­el­ers to what I ex­pected would be an equally mod­ernist lunch. But no, the Chris­mont menu is rus­tic chic. We shared dishes of home-pick­led olives, deep-fried boc­concini, sar­dine polpetti

ANNA TAIT- J A M I E SON

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.