TRAVEL: EAST GIPPSLAND WINING AND DINING EDITION
Quality air, water and fertile soils go hand in hand with quality produce and taste, and this is very much the case with Gippsland, Victoria - oh, and let’s not forget the hand and hard work of all the farmers and producers in cultivating this. In fact, the reputation of Gippsland’s produce far extends beyond the region, with products often featuring and highlighted in Melbourne eateries. It was therefore with great pleasure that wining and dining featured prominently in our Gippsland itinerary. Even the most simple dishes were a sheer delight to eat - simply due to the excellent quality of the produce used.
See below for a summary of our eating itinerary during our weekend away in East Gippsland. See this separate blog post on what we got up to during the visit.
FERAL, FORAGE AND FEAST FESTIVAL
Over the course of the last few months, the fresh produce of Gippsland has been celebrated in a series of food festivals. And deservedly so, further cementing Gippsland as one of Victoria’s prime wining and dining destinations. Our visit coincided with the Feral, Forage and Feast festival, which showcased creative and tasty ways to harness Victoria’s growing pest problems and availability of foraged produce - from venison and rabbits to sea urchin and blackberries. Venison pizza, anyone?
THE WOODEN SQUIRREL
142 Main St, Bairnsdale Victoria 3875. +61 3 5152 3198.
Before heading out to The Den of Nargun for our hike on day 1, we sought out some sustenance and caffeination at The Wooden Squirrel, located only a few doors down from where we had dinner the night before. Our breakfast options were light and simple, but enjoyable to eat, again coming down to the ingredients used.
NEW LEAF CAFE
19 Dalmahoy St, Bairnsdale Victoria 3875. +61 3 5150 1132. http://newleafdahlsens.com.au/
Breakfast on our last day was at New Leaf Cafe, located in a glass-walled confine within Bairnsdale’s Mitre 10. It’s an interesting setting to say the least, but you at least get some nice, vibrant and colourful views looking into the garden/potted plant section. We couldn’t go past ordering some freshly baked savoury scones - pumpkin+feta and bacon+egg. In addition to being served with butter, there was also an accompanying spiced chutney that really ramped up the flavour profile.
THE LONG PADDOCK
95 Main Rd, Lindenow Victoria 3865. +61 3 5157 1638. https://www.longpaddock.com.au/
Sans bells and whistles but executed to utter perfection, the stand out amongst an itinerary full of excellent eateries was the country fare at The Long Paddock. We literally spent much of this meal nodding at each other in contentment. Again, head to this blog post to read (and see) more about our experience here.
BADGER AND HARE
20 Tyers St, Stratford Victoria 3862. +61 3 5145 7043.
Breaking up the drive from Gippsland back to Melbourne 40 minutes into the journey, we made a pit stop at Stratford’s Badger and Hare cafe for some coffee and a small bite. Turns out we missed the lunch window but couldn’t say no to their fragrant banana bread, served warmed with some banana chips to heighten the banana presence whilst providing crunch. More details and photos can be found here at this blog post.
LIGHTFOOT & SONS
717 Wy Yung-Calulu Rd, Calulu Victoria 3875. +61 3 5156 9205. https://lightfootwines.com/
We popped by Lightfoot & Sons for a light tipple, tasting our way through a selection of wines before exploring the beautiful grounds. The sights were absolutely stunning, and the perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine (or two, or three) and a plate of charcuterie. See this separate blog post for more details and photos.
144 Main St, Bairnsdale Victoria 3875. +61 3 5152 1544. https://northernground.com.au/
After a long drive and battle with peak hour traffic across a long stretch of the Monash Freeway, it was not rest we were most looking forward to but our dinner at Northern Ground. And Chef Rob Turner's dishes definitely did not disappoint. For more details on what we ate and the photos, check out this separate blog post.
SARDINE EATERY AND BAR
3/69A Esplanade, Paynesville Victoria 3880. +61 3 5156 7135. https://www.sardineeaterybar.com/
One of the best was saved until last (well, our last dinner in Gippsland to be exact) with ex Vue de Monde Chef Mark Briggs at the helm of Sardine Eatery & Bar. We went in with much anticipation and excitement... the real deal delivered, with exciting and bold flavour combinations that left quite the impression. Head to this blog post to find out more.
Disclosure: I dined at Northern Grounds, The Long Paddock and Sardine Eatery & Bar, and attended Feral, Forage and Feast courtesy of East Gippsland Marketing Inc. All opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experiences and observations made during the time of my visit.