Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Day Out at the Blue Mountains - 24 August 2013

Last Saturday, my wife and I decided to take a daytrip to the Blue Mountains after we had booked lunch at Lochiel House in Kurrajong Heights. Believe it or not, in my 20+ years in Sydney, I have not once been to the Blue Mountains or seen the Three Sisters. I know this is rather poor, seeing as Blue Mountains is only juts an hour away by car. I don’t know how I have neglected this beautiful area for so long!

Castle Hill Farmers and Fine Food Market
Honey and port cured bacon and egg roll ($6.50)
We decided to take a detour before taking the Great Western towards the Blue Mountains and headed for the Castle Hill Farmers and Fine Food Market as my wife has a fondness for open air markets. These markets are open on the second and forth Saturdays of each month. I did have a great time wandering around and browsing all the different stalls and seeing all the fresh produce.  I also grabbed breakfast too. I had this honey and port cured bacon and egg roll. This was easily the most popular breakfast item in the market and I had to line up for at least 10 minutes to get this. There was a lot of crispy bacon here. That’s my greasy fry-up fix taken care of!  

Address: Castle Hill Showground, enter via Carrington Road

The location is a bit weird, feels more like an industrial area
Next stop was Zokoko Chocolates at the foot of the mountains. Zokoko Chocolates is a place that I have wanted to check out for a long time but haven’t had a chance until now. The chocolates at Zokoko have won many awards and quite a few restaurants use Zokoko chocolates in their desserts. I recall that Justin North, formerly at Becasse, was big fan of Zokoko and used their chocolates.
Chocolate milkshake (and someone's game of Candy Crush)

Hot chocolate
We decided to order a hot chocolate and a chocolate milkshake.  Both were very good but our favourite was easily the chocolate milkshake. The chocolate syrup that they use in this milkshake is seriously awesome! We ordered the little kids size and it was anything but that. It felt like the never ending glass of chocolate milkshake, but who are we to complain when it tasted so delicious!
Alto Beni 68% Cacao

We also bought a block of chocolate and a honey chocolate bear for the road. The chocolate block was Alto Beni 68% (85g). Weighing in at a premium price tag of $10, this certainly does not come cheap. But it is this price for a reason. Judging by the number of gold stamps and awards this has won, it is a pretty awesome block of dark chocolate with a complex flavour profile (the packaging says that it has a delicate citrus and honey profile, although I couldn’t detect it). The beans used in this chocolate are grown in the Alto Beni region of Bolivia.

Chocolates on display. Yum! I want them all!
Honey chocolate bear ($3.50)
The honey chocolate bear ($3.50) was amazing and stole my heart! It was almost too cute to eat, but once I bit into it, I was blown away. There was a really nice gooey caramel in the centre.   

With our cravings for chocolate satisfied, we were off to lunch at Lochiel House in Kurrajong Heights.

Address: 3/84-90 Old Bathurst Rd, Emu Heights

Zokoko on Urbanspoon

Lochiel House

Lochiel House is situated off the main tourist track, so it was a nice, peaceful drive. Lochiel House is located in a beautiful spot and the food is great too so it is definitely worth driving out for. To see my write up for Lochiel House, click on the following link:    

Address: 1259 Bells Line Of Rd, Kurrajong Heights

Pie in the Sky

Whilst we were driving along Bells Line of Road, for some reason despite being quite full from lunch, we decided to stop at Pie in the Sky around Bilpin, which is famous for their apples. I think we were drawn by their big sign that said they make homemade pies. And of course all the pies on display looked tempting and were calling out to us.

Apple and rhubarb pie
We couldn’t resist any further and got the apple and rhubarb pie ($4.50). The top was wonderfully buttery and flaky. The apple and rhubarb filling was great too. But because we were so full, that’s all we could eat, so we didn’t have any of the pie base.           

Address: 1858 Bells Line Of Rd, Kurrajong Heights

Pie in the Sky on Urbanspoon

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

Our next stop was the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Mount Tomah. It was an absolutely glorious day today and perfect for getting closer to nature. Plus it is FREE. As it was approaching early spring, the gardens were starting to look quite beautiful as all kinds of flowers were starting to bloom. The daffodils were particularly stunning and it was like a yellow carpet had started to cover the garden. This was a fantastic way to spend an hour leisurely strolling around to burn off the kilojoules from lunch!

Address: Bells Line of Road via Bilpin, Mount Tomah

Three Sisters

Obligatory shot with the Three Sisters
And of course no trip to the Blue Mountains is complete without making a stop at the Three Sisters in Katoomba. After fighting with the other scores of tourists for the best vantage point of the Three Sisters, I got my picture with the famous rock formation, so my trip to the Mountains was complete.

We had an awesome day in the Blue Mountains and I can’t believe it took us this long to make the trip. Guess this shows that a couple of Asians are willing to drive anywhere for a bargain (as we had a Travel Zoo voucher for lunch at Lochiel House)!   

Address: 23-31 Echo Point Rd, Katoomba NSW