Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Day Trip to Yarra Valley - Innocent Bystander, Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery, and Yering Station

Can you believe it? I've lived in Melbourne for the past 8.5 years but I've never been to Yarra Valley up until last weekend.

I am embarrassed to admit it considering how close Yarra Valley is to the CBD, but I guess better late than never?

The Boyfriend and I took a short drive down to Yarra Valley and headed straight to Healesville for lunch at the popular Innocent Bystander Restaurant of which I made sure to book a day prior.

We kick started with these beautiful drinks. The Boyfriend had the Moscato & Sipsmith Summer Cocktail ($11) and I, on the other hand, chose the Moscato Granita ($11).

Both the drinks were brilliant! My Moscato Granita was sweet (but not overwhelmingly so) and very refreshing. I also had a sip of The Boyfriend's cocktail and I like how thirst-quenching it was.

To say that I love Innocent Bystander's pink moscato would be an understatement. Even though I've never been to the Yarra Valley, I've had the moscato a few times before and absolutely adore it.

We bought two big bottles home and I can't wait to open them! I may not a big wine drinker, but I do love my moscato and dessert wines. ;)

I've also heard a lot about Innocent Bystander's wood fire pizzas, so The Boyfriend and I decided we'd order one to share.

We opted for the spicy pork sausage, buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano tomato and chilli on organic sourdough base ($24).

It was divine; the base was thin, and the pizza although full of flavour, wasn't too heavy. If you're a big eater, you could easily finish one whole pizza by yourself.

My only complaint would be the lack of buffalo mozzarella. It would have been perfect with just an extra dollop or two of the cheese.

Three slices of pizza later, I was filled up, but The Boyfriend wanted more so we ordered the truffle and parmesan frites to share.

It was fantastic, yes, but I thought $11 was a lot to pay for a bowl of French fries. Plus, I found the fries a tad too salty for my liking.

The Boyfriend on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed it. I guess if you love your fries, then this is a must-order.

To wrap up, we ordered a canelĂ© ($4) to share. It was my first time trying a canelĂ© and I absolutely LOVED it! I really like how soft and custard-like the inside of the pastry is.

Paired with a thick and dark caramelized crust, I now finally understand why others rave about this little gem. It was also The Boyfriend's first try, and I could tell he was very impressed. ;)

Just as we were walking out the door, I spotted their bread stand and could not resist the organic sourdough loaf.

The Boyfriend and I bought a loaf home for dinner, and he claims it to be one of the best. That's a big claim considering how much he loves his sourdough. One day I will learn to make it for him, so he gets a loaf each week. I should get cracking on my starter soon! ;)

All in all, we both had a great experience at Innocent Bystander. Food and drinks were both great, and the wait staff were also very attentive and friendly. We'll definitely be back to try the other items off their menu. I promise it won't be another 8 years before I visit again. ;)


Next stop after lunch was a short 15 minutes drive over to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery. As its name suggest, there were a HUGE variety of chocolate, desserts and ice cream available to have in-store and to take-away.

It was a lot of fun seeing how chocolate was made, and just to see how much one can do with chocolate.

The Boyfriend and I were like kids (we're after all pretty young at heart) as we stood watching bars of chocolates going through their final chocolate coating as they travel along on a long conveyor belt at 8°C before emerging on the other end, all ready to be packaged.

There were also big, gigantic bowls of dark, white and chocolate chocolates to sample. But as I was immersed in all the chocolate, imagining myself in Willy Wonka's world, I've conveniently forgotten to take any other pictures of the chocolaterie.

The Boyfriend and I were still full from lunch, but thought we should at the very least try the ice cream.

We opted for the praline milk chocolate flavour to share and boy, it was one of the biggest scoop of ice cream we've ever been served, but divine, creamy goodness nonetheless.

A group of old ladies about 70-ish in age, were going all "OHHHH MY LORDDDD!!!" at how massive each scoop was. One of them said it at least 10 times and it was very cute of them - bless their little heart.

Before we left, The Boyfriend also bought me some premium hand-crafted truffles to take home. I love how pretty each individual chocolate looks and the packaging is really beautiful too.

I chose (clockwise from top) the macadamia, strawberry, mango, hazelnut, raspberry sweetheart and apple cider. I've yet to try them yet, but I will dig into them tonight. ;)


Before we headed home, we made it a point to stop by Yering Station Winery on our way as I remember seeing how beautiful the winery looks in pictures.

I wanted to do a bit of wine tasting, but there were way too many people in queue, so I didn't get a chance. Although I didn't manage to do any wine tasting, I'm glad we stopped by anyway.

Yering Station is beautiful - the view from the restaurant in particular was stunning. I am hoping to return one day to dine here *wink wink at The Boyfriend* hehehe.

We took a slow stroll around the art gallery, digesting that massive ice cream and taking a couple of pictures along the way before we headed back home.

A big thank you to The Boyfriend for taking me on this short day trip - it was loads of fun! We should get out of town a little more often. ;)

As for you, my fellow readers, I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. And if you haven't already been to Yarra Valley, I urge that you plan a visit soon. Maybe this weekend? The weather's looking pretty good with a top of 26°C. ;)

If you're keen on visiting the Yarra Valley, check out Wine Compass for private tours that can be tailored to suit you. Mention 'TheBakeanista' when you enquire with Wine Compass and if you book, they will buy you a bottle of wine of your choice (up to $40) on the day of your tour. :)

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