Grace Kelly: Style Icon is curated and organised by the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco, and runs at the Bendigo Art Gallery until 17th June. The exhibition is beautiful – the photographs and film excerpts as captivating as the dresses and accessories.
What a great excuse to visit this stunning and delicious part of Victoria. This was my first visit, and I’m already planning the next. The Daylesford / Macedon area is a foodies dream, with lots of boutique food producers, cellar doors and great restaurants that celebrate their produce.
Lake House Boutique Hotel & Restaurant, a culinary icon set beside Lake Daylesford, first put the spa town of Daylesford on the food map almost 20 years ago. Now the town is home to a huge number of great cafe’s and restaurants and award winning day spas. The spectacular scenery, natural mineral springs and historic streetscapes, together with a vibrant artistic commumity, ensure that it is one of Victoria’s most popular tourist destinations – and it’s only an hour and a half from Melbourne.
An eight course degustation menu with matching wines at Lake House was sublime. The exquisite detail, without compromising on flavour, of each of the dishes, was an absolute treat. Some unusual wine selections took us a little out of our comfort zone, but worked an absolute treat with the food, and that’s how it should be!
Another absolute gem of a town about a 45 minute drive from either Bendigo or Daylesford is Kyneton. What a find. This town is Food Central. It has a restaurant and cafe scene of such breadth and quality, that it should be on every serious foodies radar – from the fabulous French provincial-influenced Annie Smithers Bistrot, (1 chefs hat) to the Best New Regional Restaurant award, Mr Carsisi, retro-styled Pizza Verde, and modern Australian fare at Star Anise. Many of these restaurants have a kitchen garden to source ingredients.
A much anticipated dinner at Annie Smithers Bistrot lived up to all the recommendations we had heard. A not too large, but enticing menu, ensured we had difficulty deciding what dishes to try, a task made easier over a bottle of local Curly Flat Pinot Noir. Entrees of rabbit boudin blanc with bacon, pumpkin and garden greens, and a brilliant onion tart with the most vibrant and flavourful parsley puree (made in a Thermomix) began this memorable meal. Next was melt-in-the-mouth slow roasted lamb shoulder with potato puree, cavolo nero, feta and cucumber. A shared dessert of warm lime curd tart with meringue completed a stunning meal.
And of course you need good coffee wherever you are, and Kyneton dosen’t disappoint. Little Swallow Cafe and Monsieur Pierre are the go-to places.
Piper Street, Kyneton’s original commercial centre, has a mix of grand buildings and large industrial structures – woolsheds, an iceworks, a mill – that line the wide street, many dating back to the gold rush days of the 1850’s, and now house all these fabulous food destinations. Like Daylesford, there is also a large artist commumity here too. Add to that, the unique produce and flavours of the region, that are available in stores and the Farmers Market, it’s no wonder this town is thriving.
Accommodation options are not as well served here, as in Daylesford. However, Mollisons in Mollison Street was a real find. Housed in the former Bank of New South Wales building (circa1817), and now converted into stylish rooms and apartments, it is decorated with a combination of Danish modern furniture and antiques, many of which can be purchased from the store on the ground floor that is operated by the owners. The beds were a dream to sleep in, and I’m told many a guest has bought one upon checking out !
We had 3 days and 2 nights, mid-week, in the area, which allowed us time to have a good look around. Be aware that many establishments close for their ‘weekend’ mid-week, so make sure the ones that are top of your list, are open when you visit. This area would make for a great romantic get-away, a spa indulgence, or a fantastic Girls’ Weekend.