Now I am not going to name drop but we do have "connections" with Train Trak in the beautiful Yarra Valley. So a bunch of us, said connection included, decided to go on a road trip (well not quite as we set off from Bulleen) for lunch at Zonzo.
If you have never been to the Yarra Valley, make amends very soon. It is a beautiful spot and not that far out of the city with so much to enjoy. I can thoroughly recommend the Train Trak winery, not just for Zonzo, but also for their exquisite wines. Our picks if you can get them - Pinot Noir 2004, Cab Sav 2004, Shiraz 2006 and their champagne equivalent, which I think is a little hard to track down.
We decided to opt for a few starters, followed by 4 pizzas to share. As we had a vego in tow, we needed to ensure an even split. D's recommendation was for the chilli and garlic prawns, which were citrusy and fresh and with just a hint of spice (and not enough to M - surprise surprise).
Gamberi piccanti - chilli and garlic tiger prawns
DV chose the artichoke hearts which were crumbed and drizzled with Vincotto. This was a definite highlight!! And if you're there and its on the menu, get it!!
Carciofi Fritti - crumbed artichoke hearts drizzled with vincotto
I asked for the Aarrancini balls to cover off the vegetarian component, and these tasted exactly what they should have, crunchy on the outside, and smooth creamy risotto filling on the inside.
For the pizzas, we went with the Pizza alla Luisella, which had porcini mushroom as its predominant ingredient For the people who had it (I wasn't included) it was by far the best pizza of the day.
Pizza alla luisella - Pomodoro, buffalo mozzarella, funghi porcini and basil
The other vegetarian offering was the Four Cheese pizza, the four cheeses being pomodoro, mozarella, gorgonzola and mascarpone. The Mascarpone provided a beautiful sweetness that cut the richness of the other cheeses. I didn't find the gorgonzola particularly significant in flavour, although M reckons it was very much to the fore, and wonderfully so.
Pizza ai quattro formaggi - Pomodoro, mozzarella, gorgonzola, mascarpone and shaved parmesan
For the meatwhores among us, we had the Pizza con carciofi which had prosciutto and artichoke hearts. The prosciutto was not overpowering which allowed all the other flavours to blend in nicely. A pretty good pizza all round.
Pizza con carciofi - Pomodoro, mozzarella, gorgonzola, rocquette, prosciutto crudo and artichoke hearts
And just to conform to the recent trend of having a Bianche based pizza (and also because its delicious!), we had the Bianca con Speck, which was my favourite of the day (and also my pick). Although, I would have liked my speck a little stronger.
Bianca con speck - X.V olive oil base, mozzarella, gorgonzola, rocquette, speck and shaved parmesan
I should mention that Zonzo's pizza bases are thin ... just the way I like it.
Having gutsed on savoury, we took some time to enjoy the view, then it was back in for dessert.
M had the panna cotta which was orange infused with a hint of cointreau and it was delicious.
Panna cotta - Orange infused panna cotta served with a cointreau and orange syrup
I had the calzone filled with ricotta, chocolate and hazelnuts served with a bit of ice cream. This was heaven!!
Calzone alla Ricotta
The chocolate filling was spot on and just oozed out of the pastry when I cut into it. I had a sip of M's Machiatto to wash some of the richness down. Good cup of coffee!!
To round off the day we had a tour of the old homestead, where I made a special little friend.
Then it was back to the city lights and sausage with homemade lemon pickles and olive infused chilli at J & CC's ... we have the life!