A Weekend of Riding, Foraging and Feasting in the Country

A group of riders on a road full of orange and red leaves in Autumn

Blazing Autumn trees, quiet roads and produce in abundance.  Could there be a better place in late Autumn than Beechworth? This was our choice for our first video shoot.

We set out at day break on Saturday morning to the first location, all decked out in our new winter gear.  It was thick with mist and fog, the rain was threatening and the temperature was a very fresh 7 degrees.

However, this didn’t dampen our excitement for the day ahead: after all, it was a new kit day for all of us.

The first part of the shoot was all smiles and jokes, however as we rode off into the rain towards our next location, the smiles turned to gritted teeth. This rain could get uncomfortable. We hadn’t rolled far but knew it was time for a coffee break and a pie from the famous Beechworth Bakery to warm up.

Our shoot covered different locations in and around Beechworth and Stanley, a historic area settled in the 1850’s gold rush period.  Today it’s well known for its honey, as well as being a fruit growing area, producing apples, stone fruits, berries, walnuts and chestnuts.

Steady rain persisted throughout the day, with a few heavy downpours thrown in for good measure.  It was shaping up to be great conditions for additional testing of the new gear. It passed the test with flying colours: water beaded and dripped off the outside, leaving us cosy and dry on the inside. Perfect.

Riding the Mount Stanley road in the rain was a highlight.  A scenic road which meanders its way into rolling hills, orchards and plantations with red, warm orange and yellow trees blazing with colour, through quiet, open state forest and then onto a nice descent and a fairly steep climb on the return. It was spectacular.

All day we’d been talking about our ‘fowls and foraged’ dinner which would involve looking for mushrooms and chestnuts.

Just as we had wrapped up the shoot and were heading back to the house, we hit the jackpot around the Alpine Orchards.  “Chestnuts!” came the shout from Kath.  Yep, there were chestnuts galore; all over the ground, sitting under their warm, golden canopy.

We all dived in, filling our musettes with heaps of chestnuts. Dinner was looking good.

We headed home to Casa Abierta for hot showers, a late lunch and to warm ourselves around the open fire.

We had a little bit of prep to do for dinner and it was the perfect time to test Ash’s new beer, the Pale Ale from 36 South Brewing co, his latest venture. Tasty, full of flavour and easy to drink. Looking forward to having more of that real soon.
We were well hydrated and with our energy replenished, a few of us went back out into the cold to get amongst the pine trees and mushrooms.  It was only a short stroll from home and there they were – Pines, Slippery Jacks and a couple of the bad red and white ones (don’t touch these ones).

Collecting a couple of kilos of fresh mushrooms, we had the final ingredient for dinner.

The preparation and cooking was a team effort, with everyone helping from the chestnut roasting and peeling, chicken smoking over the open fire, mushroom sautéeing and of course, beer and wine testing.  We did however leave Chris the enviable task of de-boning the chickens himself.

A couple of hours later, dinner was ready.  Our very own Sagra.  In Italy, a sagra is a local festival, often dedicated to a specific food in season.

Smoked fowls with a roasted chestnut and mushroom stuffing, was accompanied by perfectly roasted pumpkin and carrot, and broccholi dressed in olive oil and lemon juice. We were definitely celebrating local foods, in season.

To a great weekend of riding, food and friends.
Another great adventure.

PS. The video is coming soon…stay tuned

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