Our chefs, Luca Bocchi and Manuel Ferro, work as a team to create incredible northern Italian food – the food they know and love.  They came to Melbourne to learn about the food culture and quickly became enamoured with the Yarra Valley. At Sweetwater Cafe they’ve returned to their cooking roots effortlessly blending the Yarra Valley and Italian approaches to food. The busier they get in the kitchen the louder and faster they speak in Italian!

Their food is influenced by traditional dishes of the Lombardy region especially in the winter months where there is an emphasis on slow cooked braises and richly flavoured risottos and polentas. In the summer, they embrace the local and season produce and create authentic Italian dishes that bring out the best in the ingredients. One of my favourite summer dishes is a tagliatelle with a fresh basil pesto, potatoes and beans. We grow our own micro herbs and these bring additional freshness to the dish.

The menu is a blackboard-style menu, which means we are constantly evolving it to showcase the ‘just-picked’ produce of the day or week.

Our philosophy at Chateau Yering is for fresh, local food, which is in abundance in the Yarra Valley, but it’s also more than that. We’ve a high regard for food that is accessible, that people can truly understand and love. In a sense, it’s a ‘less is more’ philosophy where the food gets to speak for itself. Rather than a complicated ’40 elements’ on a plate, we take the approach that harmony can be achieved with just a few ingredients that all shine. It’s easier to understand and it’s enjoyable on the palette.

We will feature different menus on each of the four weekends of the Ciao Yarra Valley Ciao Festival and will be matching each course with a selection of Italian varietal wines from our friends at Soumah Wines. More info here.

Sue O’Brien, General Manager, Chateau Yering Historic House Hotel