Just south of Melbourne, covering over 700 square kilometres and surrounded by water, is the beautiful Mornington Peninsular. Drive up from the coast of Port Phillip Bay and you’ll find Main Ridge – the higher, cooler, southern portion of the peninsula and a very special place if you like to eat and drink.
After starting our road trip following the coast from Sydney to Melbourne, we were welcomed onto the Mornington Peninsular by Chris and Adam at Ten Minutes by Tractor to spend some time shooting the food story behind the two restaurants. The understated, but refined, posh one has a couple hats and looks out over one of their many vineyards (all of which are a ten minute ride by a tractor), while Petite Tracteur is a lovely French Bistro. The foundations of both restaurants are planted in gentle slopes with great views; they are set firmly in the history of the region mapped out by French explorer Baudin, who went on to document much of the coastline where I grew up.
The people of Ten Minutes by Tractor believe that: “a bottle of wine made from a particular place is representative of the exchange between the people who work it, farm it and care for it and the place itself.”
Chef Adam Sanderson (Fat Duck, Noma et al) showed me his vision of terrior and provenance with a quick beach forage for native ingredients followed by a visit to Mossy Willow Farm. Both a sustainable farm and a retreat, Mossy Willow is run by passionate people where something very good is happening on a very meaningful level (difficult thing to explain, just visit if you can).
The dishes we shot, and enjoyed later that evening, were truly ‘next level’ cooking and it is staggering to see Adam calmly weaving his magic in the smallest of galleys. The restaurant and kitchen are joined at the pass by a large service opening – it is hard to stay seated and not peek inside during dinner.
The unique climate, geography and people of Main Ridge cultivate a trove of cherries, berries, apples, olive groves, vineyards, organic farming and goat farms producing exceptional cheese.
Terrior and Provenance – a couple of beautiful words that get bashed about when discussing food and wine. In the case of Ten Minutes by Tractor, they are cherished and celebrated values that are shared generously with their very lucky punters.