I dragged The Angmoh out to the Yarra Valley one Saturday morning for a day trip. I had an ulterior motive of course and you’d think it involves plenty of vineyard-hopping and wine-glugging. Not quite.
Since The Angmoh was going to do all the driving, I let him sleep in that morning and finally kicked him out of bed at 0915. Our first stop, coffee.
The Maling Room is located in an old post office and despite the worn façade and old-fashioned interior, the coffee is anything but. The house-blend Symmetry beans are one of its favourites due to its deep dark tones that carry a strong punch, perfect for sleepy mornings. I had a single origin Kenya Karimikui AA which carried apricot and fruit notes. With the intentions of having lunch in the valley, we decided to have something light. The fruit toast, possibly Noisette’s, is delightful as expected while the orange cake was a bit of a letdown. It was tooth-achingly sweet and hard from prolonged refrigeration.
Having broken our fast, we headed into the valley towards The Angmoh’s requested destination, Yering Farm. His sole purpose of stopping here was to load up on apple juice. The juice is made on-site and this elixir is sweet with mild tang, crisp and a perfect thirst-quencher. We’ve previously made away with 12 litres and these are appropriately sealed and keep really well.
We then headed towards Giant Steps for a spot of lunch. No, it’s not a steep mountain to climb. Rather it’s a collection of wines from single vineyards of the Yarra Valley. It houses a famous restaurant which makes a popular stopover. We took a gamble and rocked up without a reservation, and although there was a sign at the front stating that they were fully booked until 2.30pm (we were there at 1.30), we managed to get a comfy couch to recline in. Yay! This also meant we had to balance our plates on our laps, but hey, that’s no biggie. I indulged in a delicious easy-drinking pink moscato, delighting at how the colour matched my leggings.
I’ve heard many a good thing about the pizzas at Giant Steps, so we split one carby pie amongst us two and also shared a dish of braised beef cheeks. The pizza was well-made with a thin base topped with quality ingredients. The generous use of San Marzano tomatoes aka the god of all tomatoes was well-appreciated but that made the pizza slightly wet, causing the toppings to slide off as soon as a slice was picked up.
The beef cheeks were excellent. Lovingly slow-cooked into a tender unctuous mess and hit up with the rich syrupy marinade from the Pedro Ximenez, it made one plate-lickingly good dish. The cauliflower croquettes provided a textural constrast with their crunchy exteriors, giving a twist from the common creamy puree.
Though I evaded temptation for a greater good, Giant Steps has one heck of an alluring bread and sweets shelf. The Portuguese egg tarts and rich chocolate tarts looked devine but I did need to save some tummy space and calories for what was to come next. We capped off lunch with a stroll through the main shopping street of Healesville, where this wall-art caught my eye.
Our final stop was the very reason for our day-trip into the Yarra Valley. The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie was hosting a hot chocolate festival over the month of August. Approximately 8-10 new hot chocolate flavours were made available each weekend. I missed out on earlier flavours such as Turkish Rose or Gingerbread but managed to try the Aztec Chilli hot chocolate while The Angmoh went for the Jaffa. These came as tall serves of warm frothed milk, speckled with the chosen flavour and a shot of molten chocolate to be stirred in. A miniature whisk is even provided to smooth it all out.
We couldn’t depart the chocolaterie without purchasing some chocolate. I was like a kid in a candy store… wait, I really was in a candy store! Anyway, I made do with chocolate chips for baking, some native-flavoured chocolate bars and a huge stash of choc-coated liquorice for The Angmoh.
Our drive out to the Yarra Valley was a delicious and fruitful one. We swayed off the typical wine-laden itinerary and still had a delightful time.
The Maling Room
206 Canterbury Road
+61 3 9836 988
St Huberts Road
+61 3 9739 0461
Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander
336 Maroondah Highway
+61 3 5962 6111
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery
35 Old Healesville Road
+61 3 9730 2777