Wildbrumby, in between Jindabyne and Thredbo is one of my most favourite places in Australia. There are so many reasons why but mostly because it is a destination venue. I am always on a high when in the Snowy Mountains, whether in Summer or Winter, and whenever I am there Wildbrumby is on top of my list of places to visit. Firstly so I can sample and stock up on schnapps, secondly to soak in the air and scenery and thirdly, to feast on some of the best Austrian inspired food in Australia.
The venue for Wildbrumby is located in an alpine oasis just off the aptly named Alpine Way 0n the way to Thredbo. It sits on a large property with large gardens, guest quarters and some very cool outdoor art. The distillery and restaurant itself isn’t huge – it’s a single story modern cottage that houses a still, a shop and the restaurant. I have mostly been there in winter and it is usually freezing outside and very warm indoors. And one thing to note – this place is usually packed! If dining aim for earlier or later in the day – peak lunch time is a wait for tables and for tastings.
The store to buy all your gin, schnapps and knickknacks is to the right as you enter, a small turn to the left will show you the large golden stills and also a small table for you to sample the goods and the rest is seating. In the warmer months there is also outdoor seating but the one thing you will notice, indoor or outdoor, everywhere you look is something beautiful. Beautiful mountains, beautiful ponds and some fantastic distilling items and skiing memorabilia. Quite a few times I have attended when it’s raining and I still love it and if you are fortunate enough to be there before, after or during a snowfall then you are a lucky so and so. I would live here if I could.
I used to drink a shitty cheap schnapps when I was an older teenager. We would buy this overly sweet crap and drink it at the snow – it was so cheap and would give a great sugary buzz. That was basically the only schnapps you could buy in Australia at the time that I knew about – it was butterscotch, apple and maybe a lemon? I can’t remember the brand but when I first tried the schnapps from Wildbrumby I discovered the difference between drinking metho and drinking a 700yr old single malt made by virgin monks who only talk through lute playing. I was blown away and I am a total snob now – I have about four different flavours in the house and I will ONLY ever drink Wildbrumby. It is sublime.
The above pic is the peppermint and it is funny the impressions you get. With the peppermint – looking at it I assumed it would be like drinking Listerine. Incorrect – it is a marvellous refreshing drink that is the next on my list to buy. The Pear William is my hands down favourite and I have had a bottle or two in the cupboards for about 7yrs now, I worship the stuff. My newer next favourite flavour is the Baked Apple, it’s also mum’s favourite. The butterscotch is delightful and while I was worried the Devil’s Tongue would be too spicy (I hate drinking spicy), it is remarkable and well worth a buy. If you are doing a sampling do not say no to any of the flavours because you will taste the unexpected.
THE DISTILLATION PROCESS:
Thredbo Valley Distillery produces a purely Australian schnapps made from Australian fruits, locally grown on the south west slopes of New South Wales.
Fruit is sourced from both their own adjacent raspberry farm, and from local producers in the Tumut, Batlow and Snowy Mountains region. Apples, pears, berries and stone fruit are of the highest quality with rich flavours especially suited to making schnapps. While they specialise in their own raspberries all of the schnapps is mind blowing.
The schnapps and the gin has won numerous awards and they distill in an imported Ulrich Kothe still.
The menu is alpine embracing Austrian fare inspired by the owners’ continental roots. It uses nothing but the best of produce with most locally sourced and they support sustainability in everything they serve.
Of course being a schnapps place mother dearest and I kicked off lunch with a wine each haha. They serve their wine in cute little jugs (as above). They pour the Benz Zee Knees brand of wine which I believe is German. It is based on skiing with the labels appropriately designed. I downed a glass or two of the shiraz and mum had the Chardonnay. You can also buy the wine from the venue to takeaway. It’s a pretty decent drop.
Wildbrumby serve a decent but limited breakfast at the distillery from 10 – 1130am. I would recommend waiting for lunch but if you just MUST get your schnapps before 1130am then you have enough to whet your appetite food wise.
We commenced off our lunching with a divine house made-smoked trout pate. It came with fresh soft white bread, sliced cucumber and caperberries. It was so soft in the tasting and both mum and I fought for it. Smoked trout is both one of our favourite things to eat and the trout that comes from the Snowy Mountains is the best I have ever had. Caperberries are an interesting thing to eat though. They are quite bitter and I found they worked better if I sliced them and added them to the pate on the bread.
Austrian alpine food is hearty and meaty. And the menu reflects it passionately. They serve a goulash, a schnitzel, a ruben, spinach and ricotta dumplings, a trout salad, a few more things and the two we both devoured. I ate the Farmer’s Pfandl – translation is basically “farmer’s pan” – the pan it is served in is known as a pfandl. My farmer’s pfandl consisted of a german sausage, kassler, kipfler potatoes, beans & sauerkraut. It is the most Austrian or German thing I have eaten and no word of a lie….it is one of the best meals I have ever ordered. It did help I was eating here on a rainy day following two full days of skiing. I was famished and my muscles were in death spasms and in need of serious protein.
The spuds, the sauerkraut, the kassler and the sausage were simply divine and paired with some sauerkraut went next level. As if I need another excuse to visit Wildbrumby!
Mum just wanted the kassler, who doesn’t – it’s an incredible piece of meat. Kassler or Kasseler in German cuisine is the name given to a salted (cured) and slightly smoked cut of pork. It can be either hot or cold smoked. Pork necks and loins are the most often used cuts although ribs, shoulders and bellies can also be used. It is often served with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. Mums came with rustic mash, beans and sauerkraut and she LOVED it.
Their desserts are delightful wonders and if you don’t want to do the entire lunch then get a coffee and cake. They have an apple strudel, sticky date puddings, flourless tortes, a bunch of other things and one I need to try….a lemon gugglhupf. Austrian lemon and almond cake.
But of course I went their version of an affogato, the schnappygato – my number one affogato. Toby’s estate coffee, ice-cream and Wildbrumby butterscotch schnapps – perfection.
THERE IS MORE TO DO THAN EATING AND DRINKING?
Who’d have thought there would be more to do? After all your blissful intake go for a walk around. There is some really cool art throughout the grounds. We watched Kangaroos over the back fence, duck’s playing on the water and I got stuck in an oversized seat made from chain link fencing.
From what I have read the place also offers some accommodation and they do host weddings and the like. If it ever becomes legal for same sex weddings and I ever fall in love again then this is where my wedding will be.
I am biased towards Wildbrumby, I worship the place, always have and always will. There is only one schnapps for me and this is it. And I don’t need more excuses to visit but the Austrian food is sublime. If I could live and work there I would be in heaven. If you are in the NSW Snowy Mountains any season of the year this is one of the MUST visit places. Draw straws on who drives and be patient if it’s packed.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 1/1 bonus
PH: (02) 6457 1447
Corner of Wollondibby Rd and the Alpine Way
Jindabyne NSW 2627 Australia
10am – 6pm in winter (kitchen closes 5pm)
10am – 5pm in summer (kitchen closes 4pm)
BAR: Of sorts
TAKEAWAY: Bottles of alcohol but not the food
LOCAL DELIVERY: No
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes
KID FRIENDLY: Yes – not for Schnapps tasting but the gardens and the food definitely
*** THIS MEAL WAS PAID FOR ***