‘Mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto’.

Italian words that will be lived out with gusto at the Di Lusso estate, not far from Mudgee’s city centre. You might hear an Aussie translate that saying as: ‘Eat good tucker, be a larrikin, luvya’s lots’.

Put more simply the ‘Eat well, laugh often, and love much’ saying sums up an Italian way of life - and the Di Lusso estate would add another item to that expression: good wine. The eighteen-year-old winery has been showcasing Italian fare with their fancy, regional dinner celebration for over a decade.

These popular dinners were put on at intervals throughout the year, where folks could enjoy a seven-course Italian dinner, with a cocktail on arrival, and Di Lusso and Italian wines on the offing throughout the evening. These plans were curbed when the pandemic hit last year, but not long after their business took off with the mitigation of lockdown in NSW. Australia’s international borders remained closed, so what else for grounded locals to do but explore their own backyard, as many Aussies did - causing an uptick in domestic tourism numbers.

Winery owner Robert Fairall said they probably had one thousand people coming through per weekend. “They've been massive numbers from May last year when we opened up again after the first lockdown, through until the recent lockdown in Sydney,” he said. “Now we are down to 100 on a Saturday, and 50 on a Sunday.”

Robert said the big numbers are largely from the Sydney area currently under lockdown, so he had no choice but to cancel last month’s planned dinner. “It is possible to keep plugging it to Mudgee people, and to Newcastle and Canberra, but in terms of volume of traffic, 80 per cent of what happens in Mudgee comes from Sydney, or the Blue Mountains.”

Now Robert hoped to push the cancelled July dinner forward to later in the year.

The tentative plans are a dinner celebrating the Northeast regions of Italy, and another one in November focusing on a different region of the country. At any of these dinners, expect something along the lines of a soup, pasta, a fish dish, main course, a cheese course, a dessert, and more. These will be accompanied with the suitable wines with each course, and wine drawn from a particular Italian region up for celebration that month. There are even buses that can take you to and from the venue from the centre of Mudgee.

So when the current situation eases, and you want a decent immersion into Italian food, wine and culture, check out the Di Lusso estate in Mudgee. Please be aware of updates on their dinners, via their website or call them on: 6373 3125.

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