With fellow Ballarat Tourism volunteers in 2005, we took an organised Winery day tour of the Pyrenees with Pyrenees Winery Tours.
We visited several wineries, including Blue Pyrenees Estate, St Ignatius and Taltarni, with a delicious lunch at Warrenmang (resort) Winery at nearby Moonambel.
Cost of the tour (including pick up and return in Ballarat) is about $115 per person.
Our guide, Mike, who owns the business, was most knowledgeable and helpful. It's a great way to see the Pyrenees, sample wines at several wineries, and not have to worry about having a designated driver so you can drink!
Taltarni is another well known winery of the Pyrenees, which also has its own restaurant and free tastings (like at Warrenmang but on a smaller scale) It also hosts a number of events held each year.
Tasting room open for visitors daily from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Blue Pyrenees Estate also has a Petanque piste on the grounds and I believe it still hosts some tournaments there.
We didn't eat at the restaurant on this trip, but rather just went in for a look.
It seems to be one of the best places in town to get coffee, since 2 of the other places offering coffee are actually pubs as well....
The interior of the restaurant is very nice, with high ceilings and decorative plaster.
The menu board outside indicates its menu is a combination of mainly French and Italian.
I liked the French-esque menu boards either side of the entry way, so here is Paul having some fun with one of them.
Some of the more unusual gourmet pies on this menu (if you blow it up you will see)
Camel (honey soy sauce)
Venison in black bean sauce
Rabbit Casserole pie
Buffalo in red wine
Crocodile & Vegetable
Salmon, Potato and lemon
Chilli Con Carne
There are about 40 different pies to choose from!
There aren't a lot of shops in Avoca - most are just old buildings, pubs and a couple of cafes. This shop looked interesting from first glance, and I wasn't disappointed.
The shop is now also a cafe as well.
What to buy: Inside, it's full of all types of olive products, olive oils, different kinds of tea, lavender products, homewares, and my favorites, French items from Provence such as name plates for the toilet and bathroom, beautiful Provence designed tablecloths and more. There were also some nice postcard/gift cards of France featuring lavender and Provence.
The shop owner told me that the French wife of a local wine maker used to come in to the shop almost every day while she lived in the area, because she was homesick.
For me, it could almost have made me sick for far and away places.
What to pay: not overly priced - depends on what you want.