The produce of Gippsland
Video brought to you by Visit Victoria.
Unspoilt beaches, lakes and mountains, waterside villages and green rolling hills - for those seeking the path a little less beaten, Gippsland has it all. And the local produce is pretty spectacular too. From closest in distance to further away, here are eight great reasons to get thee to Gippsland.
1. Feast on whole beasts at Hogget Kitchen, Warragul
'Let Trev cook for you' suggests the menu. And for a good value $70, Trevor can rustle up a selection of Gippsland's finest produce for you and your friends to graze on at Hogget Kitchen as you gaze out over the stunning Strzelecki Ranges. The focus here is on local and seasonal produce, with a focus on ethically farmed beef and pork, with a nose to tail approach as they pickle, bottle, smoke, brine (and wine) everything themselves - including wine from their very own vineyards.
6 Farrington Close, Warragul, hogget.com.au
Gippsland's Hogget Kitchen. Photo: Simon Schluter
2. Fish for your supper at The Alpine Trout Farm, Noojee
Is there anything more satisfying than catching and then barbecuing your own dinner? Since 1975 trout has been the order of the day at the Alpine Trout Farm, where even the most amateur anglers are pretty much guaranteed to hook something tasty. Catch your trout and barbecue it in the beautiful surroundings, or take it home to cook yourself. And if fishing's not your thing but fish really is, you can buy it fresh or smoked - along with salmon - from the shop on site. Rod, bait, net and bucket are free.
115 Mt Baw Baw Tourist Road, Piedmont alpinetroutfarm.com.au
3. Sample gin and craft beer at Loch distillery
You don't have to venture deep into Gippsland to appreciate its charms. Drive just 90 minutes out of Melbourne and discover the charming village of Loch. The former old bank building is now a humming gin,vodka and whisky distillery, brewery and cellar door with a grassy front garden that is a wonderful place to wile away a sunny afternoon accompanied by at flight of something highly refreshing.
44 Victoria Road, Loch www.lochbrewery.com.au
The Borough Dept. Store in Korumburra. Photo: Jenna Russo
4. Browse the Department store with a difference
What was once a department store is now the Borough Dept Store - a fabulous South Gippsland food hub that houses a cake store, cafe, pantry and wine cellar all under the one sprawling roof. Feast on cakes and baked goods using local milk and eggs, seasonal brunch using Gippsland veg, and local truffles, and stock up on organic Lo-Fi Wines. If you can, BYO containers and cups - this is a dedicated low-waste operation, and it's altogether lovely.
63-67 Commercial Street, Korumburra, theboroughdeptstore.com.au
5. Dine at Gippsland's only hatted restaurant, Sardine
Gippsland's only hatted restaurant is the holiday town hangout of your dreams. Sardine is unpretentious and friendly, perfectly positioned on the waterfront with indoor and outdoor seating, and features smart, seasonal cooking as good as you'll find anywhere - city or country. Paynesville may be a five-hour drive from Melbourne, but that just adds to the appeal. As does the so-fresh-it's-almost twitching seafood plucked straight from the sea, like the sardines it's named after. Ex Vue de Monde chef Mark Briggs may let the produce do much of the talking, but his cooking chops are evident in every delicious dish which comes out of the kitchen. The $75 chef's selection menu is great value.
Shop 3, 65-69a Esplanade, Paynesville, 03 5156 7135, sardineeaterybar.com
Sardine eatery in Paynesville Photo: Jessica Shapiro
6. Country cooking at its best at The Long Paddock
The Long Paddock is a country cafe like not many others. Says Richard Cornish on goodfood.com.au of gun husband and wife team Anton Eisenmenger and Tanya Bertino's cooking: "Their food is not just ordinary cafe food. It is exquisite food. The food you wished was served in your local bistro every day." It has put sleepy Lindenow on the must-visit map, and is an essential pitstop on any drive to East Gippsland. But this is more than just pitstop food, think buttery, tarts heaving with roasted veg, golden pies and other comforting cakes, bakes and dishes of your dreams, done beautifully.
95 Main Rd, Lindenow, longpaddock.com.au
7. Lakeside sips and seafood at the Metung Hotel
Metung may be a big old drive from Melbourne, but that's part of its appeal. Harried city folk have been flocking to this resort town for more than 100 years, drawn to its picturesque waterside location, unhurried pace and villagey vibe. The Metung Hotel may have something to do with it too. Superbly positioned on the shores of Bancroft Bay on the shimmering Gippsland Lakes, the Metung Hotel is surely a contender for the most scenic beer garden in Victoria. And the seafood platter is up there with the best too. This is everything you want in a holiday pub: laid back, light filled and lake-facing, with a cracking range of seafood sourced from the Lakes Entrance co-op or Melbourne fish markets.
Kurnai Ave, Metung www.metunghotel.com.au
8. Lightfoot it to a wonderful winery
You'll find Lightfoot & Sons pinot noir on the wine lists of many establishments in and around Gippsland. Little wonder, as it's a delightful drop. The family-owned, son-run vineyard, winery and cellar door in the Gippsland Lakes district also specialises in chardonnay and shiraz, combining old and new winemaking methods to create wines that reflect the character of the Myrtle Point Vineyard and the Gippsland Lakes District. Pop by for wine tastings or relax over a glass of wine and local produce platter on the deck overlooking the vineyard and Lindenow Valley.
717 Calulu Road, Bairnsdale lightfootwines.com
Made in Gippsland, enjoyed elsewhere...
Sailors Grave Brewing has no cellar door as such but is banging out some of the best brews in Australia right now. Find it everywhere in Gippsland, and more and more across the country in bars, bottlos and elsewhere. And look out for events at the brewery such as the cocklewarming Deep Winter Festival.
Some say the best milk in the nation is made from a tiny operation in Warragul called Butterfly Factory, from a single herd of rare Fleckvieh cattle by Rachel Needoba. Says Richard Cornish: "The quality of her Butterfly Factory milk is truly outstanding. It has a soft and delicate mouthfeel, with beautiful subtle earthy aromas and a clean, almost savoury, finish." Butterfly Factory products are sold through food exchanges such as Baw Baw Food Hub and Prom Coast Food Collective, which aim to connect producers with consumers in their community.
Chef Alejandro Saravia is widely credited with introducing Peruvian cuisine to Australia's food culture and currently runs his own critically acclaimed restaurant, Pastuso. He is also the official food and beverage ambassador for Gippsland Victoria, and is bringing Gippsland produce to the world through his Farmers Daughters project which is set to really take off in early 2020. Watch this space...