Eat and drink your way around the Hunter Valley in style with our tasty, treat-packed foodie itinerary.
It may be Australia’s oldest winemaking region, but there’s so much more to the Hunter Valley than affairs of the grape. From dawn to dusk, there are pastries to peruse, chocolates to choose, hatted restaurants to happen upon, cocktails to consume and, of course, barrels of wine to wet your whistle.
Outstanding food and drink in all their forms are showcased here, with producers, baristas, chefs, restaurateurs, winemakers and bartenders celebrating the bounty of beautiful produce at their fingertips. Go beyond the region’s wine specialties – chardonnay, Sémillon, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon – and try something new with our full-day Hunter Valley foodie itinerary.
Breakfast: Fawk Foods Kitchen & Bakery
Not content with owning one restaurant (the spectacular EXP. in Pokolbin Village Estate), chef Frank Fawkner has blessed locals and visitors with Fawk Foods Kitchen & Bakery, a casual all-day café plating up dishes to make your morning. Choose between the sourdough corn fritters with avocado and tomato relish, or what could be the best plate of bacon and eggs you’ve ever had, with triple-smoked bacon, chipotle-glazed free-range eggs, roasted tomato, potato hash and sourdough. If you’re after a sweet start to the day, don’t miss the bakery cabinet, overflowing with croissants, tarts and doughnuts – the perfect pairing for your flat white or macchiato.
- Where to find it: 2188 Broke Road, Pokolbin
- Distance from next stop: 1.3km
Mid-morning sweet treat: Hunter Valley Chocolate Company
There’s not far to go between breakfast and your next stop – it’s just a three-minute drive, from Fawk Foods to the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company factory and showroom. Here, chocolatier Peter and his team prepare a huge range of artisan chocolate, using the finest Belgian coverture chocolate and Australian dried fruits and nuts. Nibble on blocks, bars and bark infused with orange, raspberry, mint or coffee flavours, or sample their range of fudge – at any one time, there can be up to 20 options on offer.
- Where to find it: Shop 5 Hunter Valley Gardens, Broke Road, Pokolbin
- Distance from next stop: 4.2km
Pre-lunch wine tasting: Usher Tinkler Wines
Start your immersion into the wine world of the Hunter Valley with a visit to one of the ’newer’ wineries: Usher Tinkler Wines. The eponymous Usher, who shares a name with his dairy-farming grandfather and cattle-rearing father, is a third-generation local who has built on his forefathers’ passion for the land through his chosen craft: winemaking. The cellar door is housed in the original Pokolbin Church, offering a chance to taste your way through the unique range of drops, including The Chicken (Sémillon and chardonnay blend), alongside a heaving plate of salumi.
- Where to find it: 97 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin
- Distance from next stop: 1.3km
Lunch: Hunters Quarter
Find a perch on Hunters Quarter’s terrace, overlooking the vineyards of Cockfighters Ghost vineyard, to sample the culinary genius of Brian Duncan. With a CV that boasts the likes of London’s Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester (three Michelin stars) and Fera at Claridge’s (one Michelin star), and Sydney’s Establishment Hotel, he’s more than qualified to be transforming first-class local ingredients into dishes like spanner crab and prawn dumplings and slow-cooked Wagyu tri-tip with broccolini, eschalot and smoked garlic confit.
- Where to find it: 576 De Beyers Road, Pokolbin
- Distance from next stop: 5.6km
Find out more about what to do in Hunter Valley with our dedicated guide
Afternoon pick-me-up: Cafe Enzo
The enchanting courtyard of Cafe Enzo, set in the Tuscan-inspired Peppers Creek Village, is the perfect place for a spot of coffee and cake. The menu reads as a list of local producers, highlighting the bevy of ingredients available in the region. Depending on the season, you might find a lemon tart with housemade strawberry jam and King Island cream, or banana and walnut bread served with honey.
- Where to find it: 1946 Broke Road, Pokolbin
- Distance from next stop: 2.3km
Pre-dinner wine tasting: Brokenwood Wines
Brokenwood may not be the oldest winery on the block, but it’s lost no time in creating a contemporary wine experience that caters for every level of oenophile at its huge cellar door. Pull up a chair in a wine pod to taste your way through seven varietal and single-vineyard drops under the guidance of staff or work your way through the self-guided wine and food flight. True wine enthusiasts will love the Journey Wine Tasting Experience, complete with a guided food and wine flight, behind-the-scenes tour and pre-release wine tasting straight from the barrel.
- Where to find it: 401-427 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin
- Distance from next stop: 3.7km
Dinner: Muse Restaurant
With two hats to its name, Muse Restaurant is a destination in itself, drawing visitors from all over the state to sample Troy Rhoades-Brown’s interpretation of contemporary Australian cuisine. Housed in the iconic Hungerford Hill Winery, it showcases seasonal and local produce across a French-influenced menu, with dishes like Little Hill Farm chicken with Jerusalem artichoke, cured pork neck, pippies and verjuice butter. The elegant dining room, friendly yet professional service and extensive wine offering –thanks to its hosts – complete the package.
- Where to find it: 2450 Broke Road, Pokolbin
- Distance from next stop: 3.4km
Post-dinner drinks: Goldfish Bar & Restaurant
The Hunter Valley isn’t just about wine – cocktails are just as revered, and there’s nowhere better than Goldfish. The multi-award-winning cocktail bar features a list of signature concoctions from the bartenders, as well as a collection of classics, such as old fashioneds, negronis and whiskey sours. Settle in for a night of live music, countryside views from Goldfish’s deck and a tipple or two – it’s the perfect way to end a gourmet day in the Hunter Valley.
- Where to find it: 2144 Broke Road, Pokolbin
Need a place to stay? Browse our collection of Hunter Valley escapes