Tokar Estate Winery & Restaurant – Yarra Valley

Have you ever been driving down the Maroondah Hwy through Coldstream on the way to Healesville and seen the Spanish style, beautiful orange roof buildings amongst acres and hills of grape vines and trees?

Well, that place is Tokar Estate Winery. Having been to Healsville several times and eaten at Bella Vedere, I wanted to checkout Tokar Estate Winery solely because of its picturesque views of the valley and skyline.

Obviously this shows that harvest is finished, winter has kicked in, the air crisp and cold but the views still take your breath away. Tokar Estate is not all about the wines, they also have a beautiful family owned restaurant with inside and alfresco dining open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.

The restaurant is run by Leon and Rita Tokar who are very lovely hosts and gave their time to talk to myself and my partner and answered all the questions we threw at them.We arrived for lunch took some beautiful pictures outside and made our way into the restaurant. We built ourselves a little bit of an appetite and didn’t waste any time to order. We learnt that the menu changes every 2 weeks or so depending on some of the produce from the local markets and the vegetables and herbs they grow in the garden.

We also learnt from Leon that there’s no beef farmers in the Yarra Valley so it’s obviously sourced elsewhere but there is a game meat supplier in the area which they source venison and rabbit from (yummm!). Unfortunately they weren’t on the menu that day. To wet our taste pallets we ordered a tasting plate of liver parfait, bruchetta, cheese and other nibblies.

The tasting plate definitely got the ball rolling and my favourite was the liver parfait with crackers and a bit of this pickled radish type side. Also tried some mushroom soup which was creamy and delish.For mains we had a Salmon with potato kipflers dressed in honey mustard sauce and a beef steak served with a layered potato slice and vegetables.To complement our dishes our waiter suggested the Chardonnay for our entrees and Tokar’s signature wine the Tempranillo for our mains. Good choice waiter! The Tempranillo went very well with the steak. Next time we serve up some steak for dinner I’m going get the family to try this out.Now to my favourite course, dessert. My partner and I were keen to get one dessert to share but then our wandering and greedy eyes got us ordering the assiette of desserts (served on one large late) which landed us three very nice and super good tasting desserts.Here we have a dark chocolate ganache tart served with homemade vanilla ice-cream. To get the full enjoyment out of it you had to eat each component combined with the vanilla ice-cream.Above we have the chocolate moose served with a berry side. This was my partners favorite and I couldn’t agree more. The moose and tart it was in cased in was beautiful and together with the berry, it was a match made in heaven.The cheesecake looked amazing and instead of a biscuit base there’s macadamia nuts which go really well with the cheesecake and don’t forget to have it with the vanilla consummate.I waited until the restaurant cleared a little so I could take this wonderful picture of the view from inside the restaurant. If you’re seated near the window or sitting out on the alfresco dining area you can enjoy the beautiful food, fresh air and picturesque scenery of the valley. Perfect for a romantic day or night out and make sure to book on the weekends as they can get quite busy.Tokar Estate Winery and Restaurant has been ticked off on my Yarra Valley to do list and can be put onto my to visit again in spring or summer list. The tasting plate and desserts were the highlights for me and I enjoyed the Tempranilla wine which I will be trying again. Good food, good wine and great scenery makes Tokar Estate a must do on the Yarra Valley list.

A big thank you to Yarra Valley Secrets for organising a table for me at Tokar Estate on a very last minute notice and thank you to Leon and Rita Tokar for their very warm hospitality.

Location: 6 Maddens Lane, Coldstream, VIC 3770
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Phone: (03) 5964 9585

 

Slightly Overcooked Bistro Cheesecake Recipe – But Still Edible

As you can see, I slightly overcooked my first cheesecake 🙁
Well that’s what you get for not watching it while it baked…oooops~!!!

I never knew there were so many cheesecake recipes, I went the easy path and looked up some Cream Cheese Philadelphia Recipes which you can find here

Anyways here’s the recipe and method I used to cook my very first Cheesecake.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups (185g) sweet biscuit crumbs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
90g butter, melted

Filling
3 x 250g PHILADELPHIA Block Cream Cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Tips
The best tips for making cheesecake can be found below (highly recommend watching before baking):

How To: Cheesecake Base
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hftjwieCzWY&feature=player_embedded

How To: Perfect Cheesecake
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUoLfMy-k2c&feature=player_embedded

Method

1. COMBINE the biscuit crumbs, cinnamon and butter in a small bowl.  

I used some Arnotts Marie biscuits and crushed them in a food processor then mixed it together with the cinnamon and butter and added some crushed walnuts too for added flavour and texture.

2. Press the crumb mixture into base of a fully greased and lined 24cm springform pan, chill.


3. BEAT the PHILLY and sugar with an electric mixer until just combined. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth. Gradually add the eggs and beat until just combined.

4. POUR the filling into the prepared base.  5.  Bake in a moderately slow oven 160ºC for 40-45 minutes or until cheesecake is just set. Allow to cool in the oven with the door ajar. Refrigerate overnight.

I recommend lowering the temperature to 150ºC and bake for around 30-40 minutes and most definitely keep watching it!

Here’s my finished product, as mentioned in the title, slightly overcooked but definitely didn’t hinder the taste. Dress it up with some strawberries and blueberries to hide the cracks that may have formed…hehehe…don’t laugh, I’m learning and you may have yourself a pretty nice looking cheesecake if you didn’t manage to burn it (slightly), like me 🙁

Lessons I’ve learnt:

  • Keep an eye on your cake while baking!!!
  • Lower the oven tray closer to the bottom to prevent burning the top and sides
  • Lower my oven temperature because it’s a bit stronger than I think
  • Having a bowl of water at the bottom of the oven while baking creates a moist cooking environment
  • Keep an eye on your cake while baking!!!