Where to start? Good question! And a difficult one to answer. We could post about Melbourne, which is a beautiful city, or about kangaroos, of which we saw plenty. There are stories to share on the Kookaburra (the bird that makes you smile), on cigars, and on food. Let’s just start at the beginning, and then focus on food!
We (Ceasar and me) flew on Melbourne via Abu Dhabi. The trip took us around 24 hours, so you can imagine we were tired, when we finally arrived. Vic Testolin, Master Distiller of the Olivigna Distillery, picked us up, from the airport, drove us to his beautiful Victorian house, and threw us a few beers. Shinga (from Thailand) was refreshing, VB (from Australia) was hoppy and very nice. That’s the good thing about visiting Australia and meeting people like Vic and John (more on John later): they know about hospitallity. Vic was Foster’s Beer’s Master Brewer and John has an estate with one of the best restaurants I had the fortune of frequenting for lunch and dinner.
Next day, we drove to the Olivigna Estate, where we met John (the owner) and the rest of his team. We checked out the distillery hall, uncrated the iStill One, placed the boiler on its spot, and started assembly. Luckily, very soon it was time for lunch. And that’s an experience you don’t want to miss out on, when visiting Olivigna. In fact, I should say “when visiting Melbourne”. Because if you do, you’d be a fool not to drive up to the restaurant John and Anna (John’s wife) have. Italian food. But not your regular pizza or spaghetti. No, regional specialties. I think I must have gained two kilo’s just during our stay in Australia, and the lunches and dinners John and Anna threw us are the main reason for that.
In fact, here’s a picture of John, me, Ceasar, and Vic, having lunch at the Olivigna Piazza. Outside. Temperature was around 26 degrees Celsius. Not bad, right?
(Craft made Olivigna beer, chicken, salad, fries, and good company)
So that was pretty much our first day in Australia. We assembled the iStill One. We had lunch. John told me he’d show me the kangaroos next day. I didn’t believe him. And Vic drove us to downtown Melbourne for another beer and some sight seeing.
Next day, the gas guys were in. They fitted the chimney, hooked up the gas, and installed the water system. Pretty darn good job. More pictures on that in another post. I especially like the way the water system was layed out.
Now, back to the food part of this trip! Olivigna wouldn’t be Olivigna, if John and Anna wouldn’t h ave thrown us another great lunch surprize. Traditionally made Italian pizza. Baked in a stone pizza oven that’s heated by wood fire. Here’s a picture:
In the evening we visited a brew pub and had dinner at the top floor. “Naked before Satan”, the place is called. A great collection of both beers and pin-ups! Here’s a picture I made for Ceasar especially. He loves deserts, but missed out on “Naked before Satan”. Jet lag got the better of him. No problem, Mr. C, I took care of the deserts for you!
On our third day we did a run with the iStill One. We made Olivigna’s first brandy and trained Vic and Drew on how to use the iStill One at the same time. I think we had another great lunch, but can’t really remember. I do know that the dinner we had at the Olivigna Restaurant was amazing! Great wines, fabulous courses! Here’s a picture of us having dinner:
(From left to right: John, Vic, Drew, Ceasar, and me)
Do you want to hear our adventures in downtown Melbourne? Or see the first Australian iStill One in action? Keep following the iStill Blog! I will post more stories in about two weeks from now. First, it is of to Montreal, Canada, and Louiville, Kentucky.