Chef Guy Grossi comes to Zema Estate, Coonawarra

Italian chef Guy Grossi cooked up a storm at Coonawarra’s Zema Estate this week as part of Tasting Australia.
I MC’d the event – a fabulous opportunity.

Guy Grossi

My husband and I were invited to a feast of pasta, quail, venison, orchard fruit and some particularly spicy peppers at the Zema family home. Francesca Zema moved to Coonawarra with her family in the 1950s, and introduced many in the Limestone Coast to Italian hospitality and cuisine. She is a famous local cook – a humble woman, not used to written recipes, merely those she learnt from her mother and by cooking and tasting herself. Guy Grossi relates well; his latest book, Recipes from my Mother’s Kitchen, takes him straight back to his mother’s kitchen table.

Francesca Zema, Gretel Sneath, Guy Grossi

Guy is recognised as the country’s leading authority on Italian cuisine, and has three Melbourne restaurants along with Grossi Trattoria in Bangkok. In his exclusive “pop up” restaurant at Zema Estate, we feasted on ravioli filled with southern rock lobster, ribs, and pears with ricotta ice-cream…with Zema wine, of course!

Ravioli filled with southern rock lobster

Several days prior to this event, I was lucky to be a guest of Rymill Coonawarra at their Harvest Luncheon with Stephanie Alexander. Another wonderful feast, and Stephanie gave a fascinating insight into her career and life. The Rymills are direct descendants of Coonawarra founder, John Riddoch, and their fascinating story will feature in a couple of articles I have in the pipeline…

Photograph by Jo Fincham


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I’m Gretel Sneath, accomplished freelance writer & storyteller. When I'm not on the road, you'll find me on South Australia's Limestone Coast.