Daylesford and Macedon Ranges Tourism credit MAP

Map of Daylesford and Macedon Ranges by DMR Tourism

 
Local. Seasonal. Handmade. Artisan. Foraging. Farm to table. There’s never been more focus on what we eat and where it comes from. The spotlight is shining on producers as brightly as ever, with menus regularly listing suppliers and awards specifically celebrating them.

If there’s one person who has championed this philosophy long before it became mainstream it’s Alla Wolf-Tasker of Daylesford’s iconic Lake House. Chef Alla and her artist husband Allan, bought the site in 1979 and spent four years building the restaurant and growing the garden before opening the Lakehouse in 1984.

Inspired by her classical French training, Alla also founded Daylesford Macedon Produce, which connects groups of likeminded local growers, suppliers and producers with cooks, chefs, restaurants and cafes. Decisive Cravings was invited to explore Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges recently as part of the #hondafoodtrail and saw a region celebrating all it has to offer. This Daylesford and Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide includes the highlights from our trip and plenty of reasons to visit the area.

AH x

 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide bulbs and rootsLocal produce from the Kyneton Farmer’s Market

 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide Kyneton Farmers Market landscapeLocal pumpkins galore from the Kyneton Farmer’s Market

 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide Kyneton Farmers Market Flowers 2Flowers from the Kyneton Farmer’s Market

 

Kyneton Farmers Market – St Pauls Park, Piper St, Kyneton

The Kyneton Farmers’ Market, is held on the second Saturday of every month outside a local church on eclectic Piper St. Market stall holders are a mix of local farmers selling potatoes, carrots, flowers and eggs to some of the region’s high profile food stores and producers. It wouldn’t be a country market without the CWAA, who were selling a recipe a month calendar to raise money for the victims of the recent Lancefield bushfire.

 


Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide Kabinett Piper St KynetonThe gorgeous wares at Kabinett, Kyneton

 
Royal George Hotel – 24 Piper St, Kyneton

We headed down Piper St for lunch at the Royal George Hotel, the first venture for former nurse Lucinda Brown and her husband. The passionate brewers’s influence is evident with 17 beers on tap. Food-wise, there’s a focus on flavour rather than fine dining finesse, although the semolina gnocchi stands out for their lightness. From there we meandered along Piper St, checking out local shops including Kabinett and Sabato e Domenica (64 Piper Street, Kyneton) before heading to Duck, Duck, Goose Larder.

 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide  Duck Duck Goose Larder outsideDuck Duck Goose Larder and our wheels for the weekend food adventure courtesy of Honda

 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide Duck Duck Goose Larder orangesSome of the local produce at Duck Duck Goose Larder

 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide. Duck Duck Goose LarderOur coffee break at Duck Duck Goose Larder

 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide Duck Duck Goose Larder productsDelicious Duck Duck Goose Larder Treats

 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide Carlo's from Duck Duck Goose LarderDuck Duck Goose’s homemade monte carlo

 

Duck Duck Goose Larder – 17-21 Piper St, Kyneton

This providore has a great selection of local fruit, vegetables, take home meals, poseys of foraged flowers and a Melbourne-equse graffiti mural. We can’t go past the home made monte carlos with that classic combination of shortbread, raspberry jam and coconut for afternoon tea.

 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide Du FermierHome made preserves from Du Fermier

 

Du Fermier – 42 High St, Trentham

Trentham is a foodie town on the rise and about 20 minutes away from Kyneton. We headed to Du Fermier to stock up on raspberry jam, lemon curd and a salt rub we spotted at the Kyneton Farmers’ Market but had  forgotten to buy. The rustic French-inspired restaurant is run by acclaimed chef and one woman show Annie Smithers. There’s no menu. Annie just cooks whatever is seasonal and in her garden.
 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide Red Beard Bakery Trentham loavesThe loaves at Red Beard Bakery

 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide Red Beard Bakery Trentham exteriorOut the front of Red Beard Bakery

 

Red Beard Bakery – 38A High Street, Trentham

A drop punt away from Du Fermier down a little lane is Red Beard Bakery, a historic bakery with one of the few remaining Scotch ovens. The oven was used continuously between 1891 and 1987 before being turned off for almost two decades. Brothers John and Alan Reid bought the renovated bakery a decade ago and count chef George Calombaris and cook Maggie Beer among fans of their sourdough bread. I love the treacle gingerbread cake, although it doesn’t last long.  Probably a good thing it only comes in one small size.
 

Daylesford and Macedon Ranges Peppers ResortA peek at our accommodation for the #HondaFoodTrail weekend at Peppers, Hepburn Springs

 

The Cosmpolitan Hotel – 21 High St, Trentham

At this stage we had been eating on and off for a solid five or six hours but powered on for dinner at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, a pub with the mantra `eat, drink, love local’. The Cosmo’s menu has some little sharing starters, wood fired pizzas, a few modern-ish mains and pub classics like chicken parmigiana. We saw people ordering pizzas take away so figured they must be popular and settled on a pizza (local Istra chorizo, caramelised onion, asiago, basil and lemon), a slow-cooked Moroccan lamb dish and a pumpkin salad. The pizza had a lovely crispy thin base, while the fragrant lamb sat on top of cous cous peppered with pomegranate seeds and topped with coriander. I’m a major sweet tooth and rarely pass on ordering dessert but we decided to call it a night and head to our accomodation at Peppers in Hepburn Springs.

 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide Wombat Hill House outside close upWombat Hill House Cafe’

 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide Wombat Hill Cafe birds eye viewOur delicious meal at Wombat Hill House Cafe’

 

Wombat Hill House – Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens (entry off Central Spring Road), Daylesford

We start the next day at Wombat Hill House, the Wolf-Tasker’s cafe in Daylesford’s Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens. The garden’s original 1940s garden caretaker’s cottage has been transformed into an indoor outdoor space with a kitchen garden. Alla and Allan’s daughter Larissa greets us and tells us how her Russian grandmother took her to the gardens as a child and told her fairytales. The fairytale theme lives on with Allan’s woodsfolk mural on the walls of the cottage and a winged wombat as a mascot. Although she’s not in the kitchen, Alla’s influence on the food is evident with many dishes built around one or two local ingredients and everything beautifully presented.  My other half raves about the avocado special of smashed avocado on seeded sourdough toast served with black rice and blood orange and the option of an egg. It was on of those rare healthy-ish dishes that genuinely tasted delicious. Being a major sweet tooth, I couldn’t go past a piece of the banana bread, which was also a special. There’s also a decadent pastry cabinet filled with miniature lemon meringue pies, brownies, cookies and other treats. I tell myself the little lemon meringue pie is for later but it is gone by the time we reach our next stop, Cliffy’s Emporium.
 
Cliffy’s Emporium – 30 Raglan St, Daylesford

We’ve visited this eclectic food store with its shelves groaning with provisions before so I don’t feel bad passing on the CWA-style cakes on offer. While the region is known for its local produce,  it’s worth noting Cliffy’s has a big focus on organic offerings.

 

Daylesford & Macedon Ranges Food Mini Guide Sault macaron and tea
 
Sault – 2349 Ballan-Daylesford Rd, Sailors Falls

Our final stop for the weekend was Sault. I only know it as a wedding venue as some friends got married there a few years ago and the photographs taken in the lavender fields were stunning. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I read the modern Australian menu and took in the surroundings. Spanish-born chef Santiago Nine-Fernandez’s tapas is divided into four categories – to start, from the paddock, from the sea and from the garden – and there were also some larger, more substantial dishes.  I can’t go past a good croquette and the manchego and sundried tomato offering was smooth and silky. Tomato powder sprinkled on top was a modern twist and added some extra intensity. The braised lamb mini tacos also packed a punch but I stopped at one as I had my eye on a chocolate and liquorice dessert. Liquorice is one of my favourite flavours but doesn’t make an appearance on many menus so I always feel compelled to order any dessert featuring it. In fact, I think the last liquorice dessert I had was when we visited the Lake House down the road a few years ago. This dessert arrived plated as a Zen garden but our waiter, Michael, tells us everything is edible except the rake. I love the combination of Kennedy & Wilson chocolate mousse topped with a fine praline and served with liquorice ice cream. Well and truly fed, watered and relaxed, we drove back to Melbourne.

We spend most of the time talking about the weekend, our favourite dishes, what we were going to make with the Du Fermier lemon curd, places to visit next time, dishes we’d like to eat again and, before we know it, we’ve already planned our next trip to the region.

Note: Decisive Cravings was invited to visit the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges as a guest of Honda and the region.

 

 

You’ll also like:

Foodie Stuff: Springvale Gourmet Food Guide

Foodie Stuff: Dandenong Gourmet Food Guide

Travel: Mornington Peninsula Food Mini Guide