In a highlight episode for MasterChef Australia series 7, which commenced on Network TEN on May 5th 2015, the number #1 rated cooking show travels out of its Melbourne city home for a challenge in Victoria’s High Country.
Airing on Wednesday, June 10th, the one-off episode features the stunning gourmet pocket of the King Valley.
Home to several generations of Italian families, the King Valley features predominantly Italian winemakers and vineyards specialising in Italian varietals. With abundant local produce such as Milawa Cheese, Myrtleford Butter, Beechworth Honey, nuts, olives, jams and much more, the region was the perfect setting for the MasterChef challenge.
Two Italian winemaking families formed the basis of the storyline.
The passionate Dal Zottos, originally from Veneto, Italy, introduced Prosecco to Australia in 1999 with the first vintage in 2004. Led by Patriarch Otto Dal Zotto, the family property, Dal Zotto Wines’ Cellar Door and Trattoria, produces cool climate high- altitude, finely-textured wines and a menu full of hearty local fare with modern day Italian flavours.
Neighbours in the King Valley are the Pizzinis. Rosa and Roberto Pizzini moved their three children from the Italian Alps to the Victorian Alpine region in 1955. Today son, Fred Pizzini, and his family produce many award-winning varietals of Italian wines including Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, and Pinot Grigio at a stunning vineyard and cellar door where Fred’s wife, Katrina Pizzini, also runs cooking school, ‘A Tavola’.
In the mid-series episode, the 14 MasterChef contestants form two teams and are tasked with creating a three-course Italian feast for 40 members of the two local Italian winemaking families, incorporating the wines into their dishes.
Tourism Victoria’s Chief Executive Officer, Leigh Harry, is delighted to help showcase one of Victoria’s truly authentic culinary experiences.
‘Set to the backdrop of Mount Buffalo and surrounded by Australian bush, the King Valley region is one of Victoria’s hidden gems.’
‘From pedal to produce trails, winery and brewery tours, farmgates and produce factories – the region’s many unique culinary experiences will no doubt benefit from the ‘MasterChef effect’, said Harry.
MasterChef Australia’s respected judges Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston have equal praise for the region, claiming it to be one of the most enjoyable and authentic location shoots in the show’s history.
‘I spend so much time in Country Victoria and one of my favourite places to go is the North East. I always enjoy spending time up there; for the people, the produce, the landscape and of course the wine – and the Italian cooking celebrates all these beautiful things,’ said Matt Preston.
‘The contestants all fell in love with the region and have vowed to return to spend more time exploring Beechworth, Bright, Milawa, Rutherglen and all of the other foodie towns that make up Victoria’s High Country.’