Melburnians can't visit the High Country right now, but the region has cooked up some pretty cool online classes to provide a taste while we're all in iso. The region has launched High Country at Home, with numerous online classes and interactive online experiences, as well as a marketplace, to buy some High Country treats like locally made wine and honey.
The online classes include things like Tom Kha Gai in The Big House, where chef Sally Lynch will teach you how to make the popular Thai coconut-lemongrass soup, from the kitchen of the Old Beechworth Gaol. She says the jail, which once held the Kelly Gang, isn't even that haunted. "In reality some days the kitchen just goes freezing cold all of a sudden. I can be out the front gate in 30 seconds when that happens!” Lynch runs the class via Zoom, showing pupils how to make the zingy hot-sour-creamy-sweet soup and telling tales of the jail's most famous residents along the way. Students get a box with almost all ingredients delivered to their doorstep (all you need to buy is chicken or other protein, and sugar) before the class begins, and it runs Fridays at 5pm and Saturday at 11.30am.
Or you could learn the art of judging coffee and wine, with Raquel Jones from Weathercraft Wine and Ben Ryder of Blynzz Coffee Roasters offering Zoom classes in how to appreciate (or appreciate better) these two staples of our lives. You'll get a box with coffee delivered to your door, then hop online and learn how to say something beyond "mmm, fruit" or "nice and dry" at your next cellar door tasting.
There's also a class in appreciating something else close to our hearts: gin. The gin appreciation class box comes with a 500ml bottle of gin, 5 x 50ml bottles of gin, citrus and a botanicals box. Then Dirk Bester, owner and distiller at Glenbosch Estate, will teach you what botanicals go with what, what to look for when you're tasting gin, and how to get the most out of the gins you have.
There are all kinds of classes available, including gnocchi making (a class I've done IRL, and it is absolutely fantastic), how to make home remedies using herbs and natural ingredients, and the perfect way to make risotto. All classes include boxes of goodies delivered to your house, plus an interactive Zoom class. Sounds like a pretty cool way to visit the High Country until real road trips are back on the cards.
If you just want the goods without learning anything (other than how delicious the High Country is, which is a great thing to learn), you can buy all kinds of products on the High Country at Home website.