Where do you get a good coffee hit up in the Hunter Valley? After leafing through the many magazines, one name that kept popping up for a caffeine hit was Contango Espresso.
Off we went for a morning drive to the picturesque Pepper Estate, which is the home of Peppers Convent, Pepper Tree Wines and Contango Cafe.
Almost every winery we stepped foot in was very pretty, and I recall remarking at most of the venues that it would be perfect for a wedding, this was definitely one of my favourites, especially with the bright red and orange autumn leaves scattered about.
The cafe is really just a casual hole in the wall type of place that mainly offers coffees, a small selection of sweets, and packaged beans to take away. It's very quiet on a Sunday morning, and we have to go looking for a staff member as no one was manning the counter.
The coffee, made with locally roasted beans, is very smooth. It's also extremely relaxing sitting in the sun, enjoying a lazy Sunday in the beautiful surroundings.
Contango is open 7 days, 9:30am to 3:30pm.
Next stop was the Sacred Tree Markets, which are on every third Sunday of the month. The Sacred Tree Markets are a mixture of handmade, artisan, food, produce and alternative stallholders.
The food stalls included some home baked sweet stalls; freshly made churros, and the typical breakfast bacon and egg type places. This one place offering delicious looking indian food, smoothies and bliss balls caught our eye. This vegetarian curry and dahl with rice was just the perfect winter warmer.
I couldn't resist this cute lemon and meringue in a pot. I thought it was quite clever that it came with the spoon! Unfortunately, it didn't quite taste as good as it looked. The textures in the various layers were too same-same.
After sitting down and enjoying the entertainment whilst we ate, we had a wander around the other stalls, and was very impressed! Very much enjoyed these markets, and wish that this were in Sydney!
Next stop was lunch. One cafe name that kept popping up was Cafe Enzo - literally every single local person that we asked for food recommendations would mention this cafe, so we knew we would have to go and check it out.
I'm glad we got in for an early lunch, as the cafe was pretty much full and we grabbed one of the last seats available, before they started turning away walk-ins.
Cute old coffee tin used as a cutlery holder
After having too much wine the previous day, all I wanted was a refreshing ginger beer. We had an outside table in the sunshine which was perfection.
Stuffed zucchini flowers
Inside these deep fried babies were Binnorie feta, preserved lemon, spanish relish and roast garlic aioli.
Side note: you cannot go to the Hunter without doing the cheese tasting at Binnorie Dairy! All amazingThe labne was my favourite)
Crispy new potatoes
Served sprinkled with parmesan and with sour cream on the side; bloody awesome.
A very generous serving of marinated feta, caper berries, semi-dried tomato, artichoke, onion jam and chargrilled ciabatta bread.
A little jar of jellybeans come with your bill!
With some great food, spacious seating and cute decor, I can definitely see why Cafe Enzo is so popular with the locals.