|Gluten free margherita at T'gallant|
The Mornington Peninsula is stretch of coastline just over an hour's drive from Melbourne. Not only beloved of surfies and those with fond childhood beach holiday memories, it also has plenty to interest wine lovers with a penchant for chardonnay and pinot grapes. Increasingly, it's upping the ante on the food stakes too. You'll find lively farmers markets, beach front, brunchy cafes, high end modern cuisine and old fashioned fish 'n chip shops galore. And, when you've just bought a new car, it's the perfect place to go for a cruise through the rolling hills and pine trees, where you'll feel like you're in a Mercedes commercial (minus the Mercedes in my case).
One of my favourite towns is Red Hill, snuggled among the hinterland. There are some lovely cafes, artisan cheese makers and bakeries in the town itself. And on the fringes, some stunning wineries.
|View over the vines at T'gallant|
We took a day trip and arrived just in time for a laid back Sunday lunch at nearby T'Gallant. With live acoustic music, gorgeous views and crunchy thin based pizzas coming at a slick pace from the woodfired oven, it's easy to see why the big communal wooden tables are packed to the rafters. The food is simple but good, and there's plenty of wines by the glass. (Pizza also comes gluten free.) Afterwards, don't miss the free tasting at the cellar door.
|The Australian Spuntino - the big shed at T'gallant|
Ten Minutes By Tractor is one of my all time favourite wineries, and so their cellar door was our next stop. Right next to its upmarket (and highly regarded) restaurant, pay $10 (redeemable on purchase of a bottle) to try the full range of their delicious wines - the Pinot Gris every bit as good as their better known Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.
|Horse riding tour of the wineries - the back yard at Green Olive cafe|
Next, we stopped at Green Olive cafe, farm shop, olive grove and vineyard for a restorative, well made flat white, elbowing the local kids out of the way for a sneaky bounce on the trampoline overlooking the vines. They run coffee making and cooking courses here too, which might be worth checking out.
If it's summer, you'll need a swim. There's a long stretch of coastline to explore. I love Dromana beach with its silky white sand, clear light blue water and fading beach boxes. These are the kind of beaches you dream of in Europe, but they're totally low key - not a Prada beach bag in sight.
Greedy Diva super tip - best to drive home at 3pm or after dinner on a Sunday to avoid the bumper to bumper traffic on the road back to Melbourne. I learned the hard way.