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The Redsalt wine dinners are the best value culinary ticket in the Hunter Valley

Diners were generously given top ups throughout the night which made the value of ticket price outstanding.

If you’re into food and wine you’ll know that a decent night out with good food and half decent wine will often put a hefty dent in your hip pocket. For those of you who have champagne taste on a beer budget, we’ve got you… we may have just found the classiest deal in the Hunter!

The Redsalt team at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley is partnering with local winemakers to create banquet menus to pair perfectly with vintages each winery chooses to showcase. We Attended the recent dinner which was a collaboration with Brokenwood Wines.

The tickets were $85 per head for a 4-course meal and we were served at least 6 glasses of wine during the meal and a champagne on arrival. We just don’t think you would be able to buy this meal off any decent menu in the Hunter for less than double the ticket price.

When purchasing your ticket you’re told that “Chef Adam Frey will also open and conclude the event with a discussion on Hunter Valley produce and the inspiration behind each dish”, this doesn’t quite happen as I’m sure it’s impossible for him to be leaving the kitchen during the peak of service. Adam did come out during the dinner and introduce himself and have a quick chat about developing the menu, he is personable enthusiastic and it is a nice addition to the evening. The Brokenwood representative, however, does give an introduction to each wine, He is very knowledgeable and keeps the dinner interesting and entertaining.

The dinner is a group table affair which was made comfortable by a surprisingly friendly bunch of people. The room was beautifully set and the seats are super comfy so you can really settle in, which is lucky if you were sitting on the inside of either table because it was almost impossible to get in an out of our seat once everyone was seated. The two long tables were a bit close together, which also affect service, we’re putting it down to a teething problem, something I’m sure will be remedied for the next dinner. All awkwardness in food and wine delivery was quickly forgiven as the staff were uber friendly and accommodating. The staff at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley haven’t forgotten that working in hospitality requires you to be hospitable.

The meals were beautiful, both aesthetically and in flavour. The amuse bouche of kingfish sashimi was a fantastic start to the dinner and paired with a clean, crisp 2017 Semillon our taste buds were dancing and ready for more.

The veal carpaccio, a signature for Redsalt, was as delicate as expected and pairing it with the more robust flavours of the 2009 Semillon was a good way to compare and contrast the different vintages.

The main course was a stand out with a perfectly cooked tenderloin with wild mushrooms and horseradish cream. This is where the red wine lovers could have some fun as two reds were served with the main course to again compare vintages. Both were fantastic!

The dessert was good but the 2014 Brokenwood Sticky Wicket was AMAZING so much so that it rendered the dessert a little unnecessary. We would have been happy with just a piece of cheese with the beautiful dessert wine that was the perfect finish to the dinner.

Diners were generously given top ups throughout the night which made the value of ticket price outstanding.

Before dessert, there was a secret wine game where we tasted yet another hunter valley red (what a shame). We were all asked to guess region, variety etc and the last woman standing won a very fancy bottle of wine thanks to the guys at Brokenwood. We’re not sure if this happens at every dinner but it should… It was a great way to break up the dinner with some light entertainment and it gave the wine buffs the chance to flex their wine-soaked muscles… And, everyone loves the chance to win a bottle of wine.

These dinners are a great opportunity to get some inside info from experts from different wineries in the region. You’ll often be seated with other wine buffs and if you are as lucky as we were, you’ll get to meet other winemakers from the area and you just might get a private tasting at their cellar door the next time you’re in the area. We took up the offer with The fantastic Lewis Drayton who showed us some amazing wines at Ivanhoe Wines, which we sipped while looking out over the sprawling vines from the deck of his cellar door.

This was a really delicious dinner and the wines were better than we’ve had in a long time. If we could give one minor criticism it would be that we would have loved a bread roll… Not sure when bread with dinner went out of vogue but, let’s bring it back!

We highly recommend attending the next Redsalt wine dinner. You can check out what they have coming up by visiting Crowne’s Facebook page.

Written by Kelly Barlow

Kelly is a long time foodie, she has cooked, written, published and produced all in the name of food. You can find and contact her at @regionalfoodi

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