Searching for Utopia
WRITTEN BY SARAH LANG
One would imagine that living in the country would bring a change of pace. A slowing down. But given the sheer volume of events, new restaurant openings, festivals and exhibitions in our region lately, one would think this is a world-class food, wine and art destination. And that my friends, is what we are. A world-class foodie, arty and drinking utopia. You could argue that Central Victoria has got this deserved reputation by having a great landscape, soil and climate. And whilst they have played a significant role, it's more the hundreds and hundreds of incredibly hard-working farmers, winemakers, chefs, business owners and visionaries that have turned some very deep chocolate brown soil into one of the most productive food and wine growing regions in the country, and a mecca for artists, writers, designers and artisans. All drawn here to live the country life. But far from being a backwater, this is a growing, energetic, and visionary community.
And it shows no signs of stalling – just after we went to print last month, State Member for Macedon, Mary Ann Thomas announced a significant grant to fund the development of a business case for an Institute of Gastronomy in Daylesford. The idea, developed by one of our fave locals - Alla Wolf Tasker AM (Lakehouse), is in partnership with William Angliss and aims to be not just a learning centre for the culinary arts but also a collaboration between the local food community of growers and producers and really harness
the enormous interest in, and benefits of sustainable regenerative agricultural practices.
Whilst I’m still catching my breath from a month jammed with cultural and music festivals, Artober and an extraordinarily good exhibition at the Convent Gallery, I can’t afford to sit down. Next on the calendar is one of the best events in regional Victoria - Budburst. This is a deliciously decadent festival that celebrates when the first green buds appear on the vines with dozens of wineries throwing open their doors to the public. Many are teaming up with the region's favourite eateries to create what could possibly be described as my kind of utopia. Could there be a more delicious way to spend a weekend? One would think not. But the fact that Lakehouse is also hosting its Spring Masterclass with none other than Andrew McConnell, Victor Liong and Scott Picket has me wishing that weekends could be duplicated and done over on the Monday. The only thing that could possibly top November is if we get the news on the 15th to say that Australia has voted a resounding yes on marriage equality. Not that I have anyone to pop the question to. But if I did, I'd want to make sure that they were legally required to be by my side in my utopia. And by that, I mean be my legal next-of-kin, my main garbage-bin-emptier and chief designated driver.
Have a great November.