Riverina, NSW: Best places to eat - winemaker Julie Mortlock's picks

THE EXPERT: JULIE MORTLOCK

As senior fortified and red winemaker at De Bortoli Wines, Bilbul Estate, near Griffith in the Riverina, Julie Mortlock is the custodian of Noble One, one of the world's most awarded dessert wines. See debortoli.com.au

BRUNCH

With its home-grown organic produce and unique flavours, you can't go past O'Donnell's Cafe. Situated below the Centre Point Apartments in Griffith, it's a great spot to enjoy their delicious eggs benedict and orange juice, made from the cafe owners' home-grown organic oranges. Friendly service, great atmosphere and also a tasty lunch menu, especially their fresh salads. (No website; Ulong Street Griffith)

SNACK

A visit to Griffith is not complete without tasting some salami. Each year in August, Griffith producers compete for the title of best sausage at the Fest del Salsicce, the salami festival. Our cellar door manager recommends local salami experts, Condemo Smallgoods, as the place to pick up the best salami in town as they produce sensational Southern and Northern Italian styles – mild, hot, extra hot, black olive and cacciatore. (No website: Mitchell Lane, Griffith)

LUNCH

Housed in the old Rural Bank, Zecca Handmade Italian is a stunning restaurant run by a young and dynamic local team that are all about getting back to the true roots of regional Italian food. Each day they prepare fresh house-made pasta, and use locally grown fruit, vegetables, olive oil and wines across their offering.

The pasta of the day constantly changes and each dish is a true taste of the Riverina and introduces you to the traditional Italian food and culture of our region. See zeccagriffith.com.au

TASTING

At Bilbul, our De Bortoli Cellar Door, the Riverina's Italian heritage shines through. It is where the De Bortoli Wines story began just over 90 years ago and is home to the world-renowned and award-winning dessert wine, De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon, of which I am the proud custodian. At the cellar door, make sure you ask to taste one of my favourites, our Black Noble, which is unique to De Bortoli in that it is the world's only fortified wine made from botrytis grapes. It is delicious with sticky date pudding or poured over ice-cream.

DINNER

An impressive restaurant, made from all reclaimed and recycled local materials, Limone is another local establishment that celebrates regional Riverina produce. A go-to favourite is the Murray Cod with local nasturtium, fermented chili and broth and for dessert the Junee Licorice semifreddo, with blood plum. Chef and owner Luke sources most of the produce from the family farm and has a local wine and beverage list that showcases the best of the Riverina. See limone.com.au

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