When we visited Bright in Easter last year we collected so many apples. Boxes and boxes of ripe apples, from burgeoning roadside trees along the way to Wandiligong, which we eventually took home, let mellow in my study for a while, and then painstakingly crushed in our blender and apple press to produce a measly eight bottles of cider. But it tastes good: the original fermented sharpness has rounded out to produce a lovely cloudy dry wine with the odour of apples dancing above the glass. "It has the terroir of Wandiligong" said the Baron when we tasted it the other day. "Yes," I replied. "If you go and lick Wandiligong, that's what it will taste like".
We went back to Wandiligong this year, and not just to lick it. We also went on walks over the Ovens River, up and down the hills, to Beechworth and Stanley and to Porepunkah, while I tromped, annoyingly, behind everyone else writing things down in my notepad about things I saw that I might be able to ferment at some point. You can ferment just about anything, of course, but sometimes you really shouldn't: a while ago Vice magazine had a documentary about Korean baby poo wine, for health, naturally (though I can't recall whether it was for the health of the person drinking or the baby). On the walk to Porepunkah, for instance, there were cicada shells, a weird beetle with green splotches on its back, a few too many cyclists barging past us, and something dead and stinking at about the halfway mark: I don't want to ferment any of those.
But we also saw
wild lettuce, yes, there is such a thing and you eat its sap
blackberries, under the bridge, on the trail, off the trail, to the left, to the right, and in all the other places - for an illegal species that shouldn't be anywhere they're certainly doing a good trick at being everywhere
apple, crab apple
Queen Anne's Lace
And that's just on one of the walks that I did. I can smell that beer fermenting right now.... why not try licking the monitor to get a sense of it yourself? Savour the flavour....
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