Archive for the ‘Travelogues’ Category

We, along with another couple, decided on sort of a whim that we’d take a day trip to Daylesford in country Victoria to escape the bustle of the city. The weather turned out to be perfect for strolling through the countryside and taking in loads of fresh air. The drive out there was unremarkable, the landscape was dotted with lots of nothing and pre-fabricated housing. I fell asleep and when I awoke, Daylesford was there waiting for me.

Daylesford is a quaint little town with a main drag, Vincent street, adorned with food shops, cafes, boutiques, restaurants, local watering holes and it was a shame that I couldn’t spend the entire day eating! Our first stop was Sweet Decadence at Locantro, a chic European-style chocolate shop serving coffees, hot chocolates made from their own chocolates, pastries and mouthwatering scones with local jam and double cream. We ordered a round of lattes for $3 each ($3.50 for soy), two serves of their special mineral water scones for $7.50 each and chocolates ($1.50-$2) to share — chili, fig, champagne truffle and mocca flavours. The scones themselves were worth the 1.5 hour drive out there. They possessed every characteristic one could ever wish for in a scone: once you break off a morsel and reveal their insides, your eyes are met with layers upon swirly layers of the lightest dough ever. With lashings of cream and blackberry jam, one simply can’t go wrong!

Chocolates at Sweet Decadence

We topped off the scones with chocolates and headed off to explore Vincent street, which took about 15 minutes to walk up and down both sides. We stood around for a few minutes wondering what to do next being that it wasn’t quite time for lunch. We declined the option of visiting one of the local galleries because it required shelling out cash when we had no intentions of purchasing anything. Next stop? Lavandula, a Swiss Italian lavender farm that looked so French you’d forget that your were only in country Victoria and not gallivanting across Provence with the love of your life.

Apples at Lavandula
This Old House at Lavandula
The grounds of this farm were gorgeous. The sun decided to make an appearance for the visit and cast a fantastic bright light on everything making for loads of photo opportunities. We saw lamas, a fat dog, donkeys and a pony name Pasquale who apparently liked to be brushed. The best feature of the farm were the organic gardens brimming with produce used at La Trattoria, the farm’s eatery. Still full from the scones and lattes, I did my part to support their food operation and bought 1 kilo of organic apples for $2.50, which will probably go into an apple tea cake later this week. I snacked on two of the apples and offered a few to our friends. It was amazing how concentrated the flavour was in such a tiny apple in comparison to any apple I’ve bought at the supermarket. No grainy texture, just pure flavour.
After about an hour of walking the grounds it was finally time to leave the farm in search of a proper meal and popped back into town and into Harest Cafe on Albert street. The menu was 95% organic and the back of the cafe was fitted with a health food shop chock full of bulk food items, organic this or that. The options were mostly vegetarian, which was fantastic, but don’t expect any surprises or endless options. We settled a large carrot juice ($5.50), a tofu burger ($9.95) and a TLT, a tempeh, lettuce and tomato open-faced sandwich ($11.95). The tempeh was the most delicious tempeh I’ve ever placed in my mouth: moist, beautifully caramelised and full of sweet-savoury flavours. The sourdough bread that accompanied the burger and the sandwich was clearly of artisan quality and made with love, but did nothing more for me than give me a choking sensation and encourage me guzzle down our carrot juice more quickly than planned. My TLT needed a moist buffer in between the toppings and the bread, so I left the browning lettuce and the dry bread behind and focused on savouring every last bit fo the tempeh.
The tofu burger special came neslted in between two thick slices of sourdough, heavily coated in butter with no visible caramelisation in sight. The burger itself looked gorgeous with the bits of vegetables mixed in with the tofu, but after taking a single bite, I was met with an overly moist texture and the unmistakable taste of bland tofu. I really wanted to like that tofu burger as I’m one of tofu’s biggest fans! We washed down our meals with another round of lattes. My soy latte was made with Bonsoy and, I must say, it’s the best soy latte I’ve had to date. I savoured every drop and looked forward getting back in the car for another snooze.
Harvest Tofu Burger
Harvest TLT
I’d go back to Daylesford any day, although I might skip Harvest Cafe and try my luck at some of the other posh eateries in town. Food is definitely putting this little country town on the map!

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