Tipple & Taste … a memorable evening

Wine and cheese are ageless companions, like aspirin and aches, or June and moon, or good people and noble ventures. [M.K.F.Fisher]

The first and the last pairings in this quote were certainly evident at a recent event in the Valley. For wine and cheese lovers, entering the KV Hall on the evening of 10 November was like stepping into heaven. Crescents of multicoloured sextets and the waft of adventurous promise. The tables had been set out ready for the tasters. Where do I sit? How soon can I dive in?

Those of us in the Kangaroo Valley East Timor Friendship Group (KVET for short) were bowled over by the spirit in which the organisers embraced the idea of a fundraiser to assist the East Timorese. Not only did they contribute their organisational skills to prepare the hall, they enlisted experts who shared their knowledge of the wide range of cheeses and wines throughout the evening and even donated the wine and cheese to maximise KVET’s fundraising efforts. Attendees also had the opportunity to order their favourite wines for future enjoyment (many of us did!), with KV Fine Wines & Craft Ales deciding to donate half their profits from that to our cause. 

Apart from the evening being fun and memorable, it was also very successful as a fundraiser. All funds from the evening and the raffle will go towards supporting the 16 students in our two student houses in Dili. They are tertiary students from poor families in rural parts of Timor-Leste. 

Our sponsorship program for these students is ongoing. Amazingly, from an Australian perspective, AU$1,000 covers the cost of one student’s tertiary fees, food and electricity for one year! A number of Valley residents have indicated that they would like to become sponsors, but there are still some students needing such support. It is events such as Tipple & Taste that help so much to bridge the gap and ensure that we can support all the students.

The bonhomie and goodwill, inescapable in our little local hall that evening, was pure tonic in our presently conflicted world so graphically displayed on our TVs each night. In fact it reminded me of why we initially befriended the East Timorese by starting our KVET group 24 years ago, when their own horrors were also unavoidable television.

Those of us involved in KVET are so grateful to all these people: 

  • Kathy Harrington and Rosie Johnson of Kangaroo Valley Cheesemakers for proposing the event in the first place, and for following through so wonderfully (aided by partners Simon and Glenn)
  • Jeff Dudgeon and Lockie Roach from KV Fine Wines and Craft Ales, which coordinated access to a wine merchant to supply wines matched to the cheeses 
  • Simon Taffs from Oatley Fine Wine Merchants, who organised the donation of the majority of wines for the event, and was our guest presenter speaking about the wines and why they were matched with each cheese
  • John and Linley Brumerskyj from Flavours Shoalhaven in Berry, who provided all the cheeses, biscuits and olives that were used on the night. John also was our speaker for the event, presenting stories about the cheeses being tasted
  •  and, last but not least, Master of Ceremonies Simon Harrington.

Many thanks also to those who donated gifts for door prizes and prizes for the raffle drawn at the end of the night: Suze and Tony Waters, Mark Schwegler, Patrick De Gabriele, Daisy Farnham, David Prescott and Kangaroo Valley Cheesemakers.

Libby Turnock

Founding member of KVET (formerly known as KVRP)