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In celebration of the Hampton Food and Arts Festival, Ravensbourne Mountain Retreat, in partnership with in situ accommodation Ravensbourne Escape, hosted its very first Twilight Dinner at its onsite restaurant, Tuskana’s.

The aim of the evening was to celebrate locally sourced produce from the Toowoomba Region, while also showcasing Ravensbourne’s unique, natural beauty. The evening featured a 5-course degustation dinner prepared by guest Chef Andrew (Drew) Simpson of the Queensland College of Wine Tourism and Tuskana’s chef, Eddie McGregor. Each course was expertly paired with Banca Ridge wines courtesy of sommelier Peter Orr.

As a result, guests came from both inside and outside the Toowoomba region to attend this truly unique event. Many guests even booked onsite accommodation with Ravensbourne Escape, in chalets only a short walk from the restaurant, so they could spend more time exploring all that Ravensbourne has to offer.

Firstly, drinks and a medley of savoury starters were served on the balcony overlooking rugged mountain ranges. Picture this. Fairy lights strung along the balcony balustrade, twinkling in the low light. A backdrop of rolling mountains and setting clouds. Finally, a fading pastel horizon in pink, blue and yellow. Guests were welcomed to a glass of Banca Ridge viognier and a spectacular view. Perched on the eastern escarpment of the Great Dividing Range and surrounded by Ravensbourne National Park, the verdant beauty of this place is overwhelming.

After balcony-side canapés, guests were seated inside the restaurant, decked out with classic country-chic décor. Sommelier Peter Orr acted as MC for the evening. He provided hearty laughs and specialist knowledge about wine vintages and varieties. Prior to each meal chef Drew Simpson walked us through his culinary methods and highlighted the local produce which inspired each of his dishes. Due to the rich volcanic soil and abundant annual rainfall, the Toowoomba region is home to some of Australia’s most productive farmland. The region is a well-established agricultural haven, which sustains a range of crops.

The atmosphere was warm and elated as people perused the menus, boasting the culinary delights still to come. First of all, was twice-cooked pork belly, served with jasmine rice, aromatic plum sauce, fried rice noodles and roasted peanuts, in addition to Banca Ridge chardonnay. After ample tableside chatter and generous top-ups of wine, the second course arrived. A red wine infused eye fillet served with potato terrine, baby broccolini and roasted truss tomatoes, in addition to with Banca Ridge petit verdot. All the while, our smiles grew with our waistbands.

Finally, after some trivia from Peter, we were treated to dessert. A raspberry panna cotta served with local blueberry compote, honey anglaise and toasted pistachio nuts, in addition to Banca Ridge sweet semillion. After a last word from Peter and Drew, the final course was served; homemade quince paste, blue cheese, and fresh toasted sourdough, in addition to Banca Ridge dolce. At the conclusion of the evening we were given the opportunity to purchase a variety of Banca Ridge wines.

What next?

The success of the evening was palpable and as a result, guests raved about the delicious food, welcoming atmosphere and raw beauty of the Ravensbourne area. Due to the evening’s success, Ravensbourne Mountain Retreat is proud to announce that the Twilight Dinner will become an ongoing annual event. Furthermore, Ravensbourne Mountain Retreat, in partnership with Ravensbourne Escape, will launch a monthly event calendar. This calendar will celebrate and explore local produce of the Toowoomba Region.