We had a week off and decided to use the time to explore Orange and Mudgee in the mid-west of N.S.W. I hadn’t visited this area since I was a girl and Aron, from Perth via Melbourne, had yet to explore any of regional N.S.W & had always wanted to drive ‘The Mountain’ aka Mount Panorama at Bathurst. One now ticked off the bucket list for Aron!
Taking the advice of our friends DBN and A-L who are well acquainted with what the region offered, our first food stop was Legall Patisserie Café in Bathurst for lunch. We couldn’t go past the pies (Bouf Bourguignon & Shepherd) which had the most flaky, buttery, crispy pastry. We followed our delicious pies with a shared Coffee Choux…..the trip was off to a great start.
Orange was only a short 50 min drive, and our first stop was the specialty regional providore shop, ‘A slice of Orange’ in Anson St in the centre of Orange. This is a small shop which specialises in fresh and gourmet produce from within 100 mile radius of Orange. We would hear more of the 100 Mile Diet when we arrived at Mudgee (Part Two of our road trip). Chatting to the owner as I was purchasing a few local products, I asked about where we might be able to sample local produce and was saddened to hear there was very little on offer. Market door sales were almost non-existent for the general public and there were very few other options for sampling/buying the local fare here in the ‘food basket’ region…..what gives Orange? In my opinion it is an opportunity lost. Nowhere we visited told the story of the local food/products or had tasting opportunities which introduced the regular punter to what was available in the region. Unless you were in the food industry or did a lot of research in advance would you be able to connect with the local produce and those who made it.
We took the advice from our friend Aly, and booked accommodation at the beautiful Borrodell Vineyard on Lake Canobolas Road. Our hosts Borry and Gaye have created a simply beautiful place over the last 50 or so years. We stayed in one of the Cider Suites (Somerset) so named after their impressive apple orchard from which the apples come for their award winning Cider. The spa suite provides a spectacular view with a huge uncurtained picture window allowing the day time beauty to feature and a spectacular sunrise with which to start your day. It is toasty warm inside and smartly appointed. We thoroughly enjoyed the wines at the cellar door and the restaurant, ‘Sisters Rock’, promised to offer good food, celebrating local produce, but unfortunately was not open on the evenings we were staying.
We dined at Lolli Redini, one of the two 1 Hat restaurants in Orange, the other Racine being closed on the nights we were in town. The food was as good as it looked, the restaurant was pretty and the service friendly and helpful…it was unfortunately all just a bit quick and we found ourselves traveling back to our lovely accommodation only an hour and a half after being seated.
Next morning (after an amazing uninterrupted sunrise), we drove into town & enjoyed the coffee (Allpress) and a muffin at Byng St Local Store – well worth a visit!
After a trip to the top of Mt Canobolas, we headed off for lunch at the Agrestic Grocer on the Mitchell Hwy just out of Orange which sells and provides meals from locally sourced produce.
I’d have to say one of the highlights of our trip was our visit to Bloodwood wines. The owner and winemaker Steve Doyle was a fabulous and entertaining host and the wine just got better and better as we moved through the range…we took a lot with us when we left including his fabulously named Rose “Big Men in Tights (may contain traces of nuts)” 🙂 Unfortunately his wife Rhonda was away in Sydney and I didn’t take a photo of the fantastic mural in their tasting room, so we must return. Maybe next year during the Food Festival in April……