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Where to eat in the Hilltops

Grove Estate Wines, YoungCREDIT: Destination NSW

The Hilltops is a wine region to watch; it’s home to Grove Estate and other vineyards.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Where to eat in
the Hilltops

Grove Estate Wines, Young CREDIT: Destination NSW

The Hilltops is a wine region to watch; it’s home to Grove Estate and other vineyards.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

The appealing Hilltops region in southwestern New South Wales includes the handsome country towns of YoungJugiongHarden and Boorowa. It’s renowned for its cherries (and cherry pies), cool-climate wines, quirky events and beautiful countryside. Spend quality time in these towns and you’ll discover great cellar doors, quality restaurants, local produce, excellent cafés and more.  

Explore cellar doors and distilleries 

The first grapes in the Hilltops area were planted during the gold rush, in the 1860s, but it’s only recently that this district started gaining recognition. Wine critic James Halliday has described the Hilltops precinct as one of the “most significant emerging cool-climate wine regions in Australia”.  

Start your visit by taste-testing signature Hilltops varietals (such as shiraz, semillon and chardonnay) at Chalker’s Crossing in Young. Its French-born winemaker Celine Rousseau has been tending to the grapes since the vineyard’s first vintage in 2000.  

Then head to the Hilltops Region Wine Cellar, hosted at the Young Visitor Information Centre. Step inside the historic Young Railway Station building and you’ll notice the largest selection of Hilltops wines in one convenient spot. Look out for special-event tastings and you can pick up some cherry wines, too. 

For hand-crafted Australian spirits and other alcoholic beverages made with local ingredients, visit Bluestill Distillery in Young. Located on the site of a former jam factory, this venue produces cherry gin, butterscotch liqueur, honey bourbon and more. It also sells local condiments and hosts a gallery that exhibits local talent – so wander through.  

Next you might like to visit Grove Estate, a 10-minute drive outside Young, where you can sample up to 15 wines while enjoying gourmet platters and the vineyard’s views. The winery was recently ranked the best large cellar door in the region by Gourmet Traveller Wine.  

Or discover the nebbiolo and shiraz range Trandari Wines has cultivated in the historic town of Murringo, a 20-minute drive from Young. The vineyard hosts weekend tastings at its cellar door across the road, at the Taubman and Webb Trading Post.  

Grove Estate Wines, Young CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sun setting over the scenic grounds of Grove Estate Wines, Young.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Grove Estate Wines, Young CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sun setting over the scenic grounds of Grove Estate Wines, Young.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Wilders Bakery, Young CREDIT: Destination NSW

Street view of Wilders Bakery in Young.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Wilders Bakery, Young CREDIT: Destination NSW

Street view of Wilders Bakery in Young.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Graze at local cafés and restaurants 

Young boasts a plethora of great cafes serving top-quality coffee, like Art of Espresso. This coffee shop has won countless awards for its well-roasted beans, but it’s also a well-loved venue. Its stage has hosted many top musicians, such as Tim Rogers, Adalita and Deborah Conway.  

S&AJ is another brilliant coffee stop: the cafe roasts its own blend on site, and only uses free-range meat and local market produce on its menu. Expect Moroccan chicken with black rice tabouleh, braised pork belly with garlic sautéed beans, and Oreo and Nutella waffles with salted walnut crumble. 

Wilders Bakery is a much-loved institution: it’s been open since 1950 and the signature attraction is its award-winning cherry pie. But there are other pastries worth savouring (rainbow-coloured meringue anyone?) as well as brunch items, such as bacon and eggs on Turkish bread and sweet potato stacks.

When in Booroowa, don’t miss the monthly local Makers & Growers Community Market at the Old Court House grounds. Grab a sausage sandwich and browse the stalls for hyper-local food products.  

For more gourmet souvenirs, drop into Long Track Pantry, a country food store and cafe in Jugiong. It sells hand-made blood orange and gin marmalade, pear and ginger chutney and other enticing condiments. You’ll also want to visit its Lickety Splits gelato bar, and grab a cone filled with its pavlova flavour. Keep an eye out on the cooking classes program, too.  

If you’re in the Yass area, look out for Clementine Bakery’s small-batch pastries. Pick up spinach, ricotta and Parmesan rolls, strawberry cream and raspberry choux buns and a loaf of olive, buckwheat and orange sourdough.  

Located in a beautifully restored former tavern from 1852 in Jugiong, The Sir George is an excellent stop for coffee, cake or lunch in the restaurant. There’s also a boutique bar serving cold beers and an artisan bakery producing slow-fermented loaves of bread. You’ll want to make room for the sourdough doughnuts. After a longer stay? Choose from the luxurious rooms in the restored Stone Stables, or enjoy the modern, eco-friendly touch within one of the venue’s Black Barns.

Experience the region’s unique events 

Given Young’s cherry-growing reputation, it’s no surprise that the town celebrates the stone fruit with its yearly National Cherry Festival. It’s held every December, with key events including a cherry pie-eating contest, cherry pip spit competition, street parade and more. Bring your appetite for the big breakfast at the start of the day. 

If you don’t make it to the festival, you can always pick your own cherries at Ballinaclash Fruit and Wine’s orchard when the fruit is in season (that’s November to December). While you’re there, grab some goodies from the farm gate, such as cherry pies, ice blocks, jam and ice-cream, or check out the wines available from its cellar door.  

Another date to save in your diary: the Long Lazy Lunch held under flowering cherry blossoms in Young. It’s scheduled for September, when the trees are in bloom. Another good reason to sit down in an orchard setting, accompanied by long tables filled with food, wine and cherry juice? This event is partly a fundraiser for the National Cherry Festival held later in the year. 

Ballinaclash Food and Wine, Young CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a day of cherry picking at Ballinaclash Food and Wine, Young

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Ballinaclash Food and Wine, Young CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a day of cherry picking at Ballinaclash Food and Wine, Young

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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