Winter time for me is all about warm hearty foods paired with red wines. The Southern Highlands seem to agree as they are holding their very first pie month – filled with activities, a weekend festival celebrating this Aussie tucker, and have even created a trail to sample the region’s signature pie dishes.
Situated just two hours from Canberra and one and a half hours from Sydney, the Southern Highlands region is easily accessible by car. If you are planning a day trip, we recommend having your trail mapped out as some places close early.
These are the ones we tried on our trip through the southern highlands.
Peppers Craigieburn, Centennial Road, Bowral NSW 2576
Local lamb, Tunnel Mushrooms & Red Wine
The peppery pie is paired with a glass of Tertini Shiraz 2015 and available as part of their bar snacks. It is served with truffle mash, green beans and a delicious and bright tomato relish with micro herbs. The pastry is flakey and tastes like it has been infused with rosemary. The truffle aroma hits your olfactory senses and complements the pie perfectly. Being part of the bar menu means that you can have an informal meal while sitting by the fire.
Southern Highland Wines, Oldbury Road, Sutton Forest NSW 2577
Duck ragú pie with a glass of Pinot
The pie is full of flavour. In addition to duck, the chef uses local mushrooms. I could taste shiitake, inoke, brown swiss and oyster mushrooms. I could also see peas and taste cheese. The pie comes with chips and is served with a glass of pinot (gris or noir).
The view at the winery is marvellous. If you can, sit by the window and admire the luscious green rolling hills.
Robertson Pie Shop, 4400 Illawarra Highway, Robertson NSW 2577
Chicken, leek and camembert
One of the local favourites and best selling pies, it is creamy and light. The cheese does not have an overpowering camembert flavour.
Falls Cafe, 1301 Nowra Road, Fitzroy Falls NSW 2577
Falls Kangaroo pie
The meat is slow cooked in a smokey BBQ sauce with mushrooms and garlic. The pastry is flaky and the kangaroo tender. The pie is served with chips, salad and a ginger beer of your choice.
Gumnut Patisserie Bowral, Grand Arcade, 7 Bong Bong Street, Bowral NSW 2575
Eden – smokey pulled BBQ Beef
The Gumnut Patisserie is a very popular spot with queues often out the door. We opted for a ‘take-away’ Eden pie, with a rich sweet smokey sauce, and finely pulled beef, mixed with corn. Great for lunch on the go.
Your Vintage Occasion Tea Salon, 15 Banyette Street, inside Dirty Janes Emporium, Bowral NSW 2576
Roast beef, stout and parsnip
A pot pie, with tender beef that pulls apart easily. It evokes memories of long winter nights sitting by the fire and drinking mulled wine. The pie is served with a wintery vegetable salad.
In addition to the pie, we couldn’t help but also order the Persian Love Cake; a gluten free and dairy free cake. Despite thinking that there was no way that the creamy filling was dairy free, I was surprised to learn that it was made with tahini.
We didn’t just try savoury pies, we also tucked in some delicious sweet offerings.
Stumps Cafe (within Bradman Museum), St Judes Street, Bowral NSW 2576
Sweet Emily Pie
A sweet apple and fig pie with warm caramel sauce and either cream or ice cream. This – I could have eaten all on my own!
Montrose Berry Farm, Ormond Street, Sutton Forest NSW 2577
Montrose Berry Farm is not new to the world of pies, making tasty treats in mini and large varieties.
Things to note
- The social media hashtags for the festival are #Pietime and #VisitSouthernHighlands
- If you are travelling with companions work out how many pies you can each eat and share them to try them all
- Besides specialists activities, a pie festival will be held on the weekend of June 24-25 at Corbett Gardens, Bendooley Street, Bowral where you can taste the best of pies following their pie competition. Check their website for full details.
- To win a pie lunch with chef Robin Murray and 10 friends, head over to www.pietime.com.au/eatandwin and share your pie experience in 25 words or less
*We were invited by Southern Highland Tourism to visit the region and to experience pie time. We travelled in a private vehicle at our own expense, and were not paid for this post. We ate at Peppers Craigieburn and Southern Highlands Winery as their guests.