This weekend we went down to Victor Harbor. It's something we do quite often, with my family living down there. But have we ever stopped at Alexandrina Cheese Company? No. Have we ever picked strawberries at Mount Compass. No. Have I ever thought of going to Mount Compass for dinner? Heck no.
Mount Compass, for us, is normally only a place to stop for a toilet break or food. I only know of Mount Compass as a tiny, quiet, cold and wet town where we had to play netball at least once per season (when I was growing up). Why would I go there otherwise?
Well, we find out there are a few reasons…
At first, $17 for two adults and two small children to pick a kilo of strawberries seems on the 'bit rich' side. But then we thought about it. We had enormous fun - so it's a cheap outing. We ate lots - we filled our bellies. And we ended up squeezing over a kilo in the container we were given. After eating about a dozen, it still weighted out at 1100gm. Win, win, win.
The strawberries? Well, most were good, some were fantastic, and some were a bit 'pumped with water' flavour. Maybe it's our ability to pick the correct strawberry? Who knows.
Alexandrina Cheese Company is between Victor Harbor and Mount Compass, and every time we go down, we see the big blue sign on the side of the road, 'turn left', but we keep going. Today is a different story. The kids loved the cut out face signs to pose for photos in, the tin galahs scattered around the grass, and picking cheese to taste with toothpicks. It'd be a great spot to go for a few hours over a cheese platter and drinks.
The shop is perched on top of a hill, with a view out over the paddocks and lumpy bald hills. A very rural farm outlook. Ben made comment the customer service wasn't what he expected - not as friendly and country cheerful. Perhaps they were still warming up for the day?
I'm not a cheese 'snob' but I do like a cheese platter. We bought two cheeses (and toyed with the idea of buying more) - with the Vintage Cheddar devoured within the hour after arriving in Victor Harbor. It didn't taste quite as 'vintage' and intense as what we tasted, but the fact that it, err, disappeared so quick, spoke louder. And the curd we purchased - that was great, fried over eggs, the next morning.
3. Brazilian BBQ
YUM! Get there. That is all I need to say. But I will say more.
Who would think they could find perfectly cooked meats, bathed in scrumptious spices and salts, that are beyond our BBQ taste in deliciousness, at a golf course in Mount Compass? I didn't, but was so very hopeful. I lived in Brazil, and I haven't tasted the same quality and experience yet in Australia. A friend I met in Brazil joined us to give it test it out too.
The dinner show includes a performace by the fabulous dancers by La Bomba - an awesome dance studio based in Adelaide. They add the sparkle (or thousand) to an otherwise pretty ordinary atmosphere in terms of decoration and Brazilian experience.
But, don't go for the atmosphere. Or even the dancers. Even though I enjoyed getting up for a butt wiggle, and Ben was not too upset about the distraction of watching the girls shimmy and prance in their sparkling little bikinis and feathers.
The food. That is why you go. The Rodizio experience is all you can eat, waiter delivered meats, to your table. The waiter brings out cut after cut of various meats and slices it off the skewer onto your plate. The meats have been cooked on a brazilian bbq with special coals. On the table is a selection of sides - a black bean dish (feijoada), farofa (yummy sprinkled on meat), rice, tomato salad (vinagrette) and other dishes. Their chips and aioli starter was more than moorish, but the pao de quiejo (small cheese breads) took me back to Brazil.
Lesson learnt this weekend. Be a tourist in my own backyard. There are treasures to be discovered. Some treasures that people come all over the world to experience, yet we drive straight past.