Lost News - May 2018



Three Decades On  will be available in selected bookstores, at Lake House and online in May. Pre-orders can be placed at  www.lakehouse.com.au  to receive books in time for Mother's Day.

Autumn has proven to be much sunnier but a lot drier than any of us expected. We are feeling for the farmers as it has been way too long since we had decent rain. It has also delayed mushroom season and whilst there are some to be found at markets, there haven't been many to be found at the usual mushrooming haunts scattered across the region in remote pine plantations.

Mushrooms were not required at a recent dinner at Bistro Terroir where we enjoyed a smashing entrée of crudités. A very traditional French appetizer, Matt Carnell's version is a celebration of fresh and pickled vegetables including carrots, radishes, roast pumpkin and the very last of Florian's tomatoes from Mount Franklin Organics. Served with pumpkin and goats cheese dip, hummus, mt zero olives and crisp pomme gaufrettes, this could easily be a sizeable main course. 

Another (kind of) newcomer to the scene in Daylesford is Adele Stevens who has opened Dele Foodstore in the industrial village serving delicious take-home meals. We grabbed a tub of chicken, vegetable and lentil soup recently when feeling poorly - it was fresh, zingy and full of flavour. Dele has been running a highly successful catering business and food caravan for a while now so we all cheering that we can grab Dele's tasty meals without having to secure an invite to a wedding. You can follow Dele Foodstore on Insta and Facebook.

We were saddened however to hear of two great venues that have closed recently. Belvedere Social (famous for all of those great cocktails and championing local producers) has closed its doors with the team at Hotel Frangos (upstairs) taking over the space. We don't know much about what is going to reopen there - they are keeping pretty tight lipped about it other than it will be a move away from 'fine dining' but definitely not as casual as their adjacent cafe Koukla. Knowing this crew, whatever the outcome, it will be warm, welcoming and great value so stay tuned.

The other venue to close was Perfect Drop. We all loved this place - and they certainly knew how to throw a farewell party to end all parties! Most of the team have gone across to Creswick where owner Chris Molloy operates the enormously popular Farmers Arms Creswick. The Perfect Drop building, a gorgeous old Victorian weatherboard in the heart of Daylesford, is going to be put back on the leasing market and anyone interested in taking over this charming space can contact the owner directly on 0419 562 614.

A perennial favourite to locals and visitors to Spa Country is Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm located about 10 minutes from Hepburn Springs in Shepherds Flat. The second of their massive annual festivals, the Autumn Harvest Festival is being held on Sunday 20th May. There will be plenty of artisans sharing their knowledge and passion for olives, honey, fruit preserving, wool spinning, gardening and more. There will even be a couple of raptors there with some of their feathered friends which include falcons, an owl and even a wedge-tailed eagle. With entry at only $6 per adult and $2 per child, loads of food and entertainment, it makes for a terrific day out.

A little further afield in Ballarat, one of David Bromleys' projects has finally opened its door. And it is worth the wait. The Pub With Two Names, set in a magnificent historic building (formerly Peter Lalor and Royal Highlander Hotel) has been completely transformed under the artistic guidance of David and Yuge Bromley with the experienced food & beverage team of Donatello Pietrantuono and Iain Gunn of Carbonis Italian Kitchen running the restaurant and bar. The hotel fitout is wonderfully eclectic and charming - filled with paintings, murals, graffiti, sculpture and curios. The grand re-opening of the adjacent famed Stables is part of the upcoming Plate Up Ballarat Festival (see p34) and sold out in less than 48 hours. We were fortunate enough to be given a private tour of this truly remarkable space and are really hoping that we get an invite to a party there very soon!  We were however completely awestruck at the enormous Argentine Grill in the main kitchen. Expect seriously good meat dishes. Chef Dona made me weak at the knees with the Bora Bora Cheesecake with its mango cremaux, passionfruit curd, berries and meringue. 

Annie Smithers has been running Petit Marche from the doors of du Fermier every Saturday morning since November selling a seemingly endless array of pastries, quiches, smoked meats plus a wonderful assortment of leafy greens, vegetables and eggs from her farm in Lyonville. Anyone would be forgiven for thinking that the Rolling Stones were in town for the enormous queues of foodies lining up for the doors to open at 9am. And no matter how many sausage rolls and donuts Annie prepares, the benches are usually bare by 10am. But June sees the start of Annie's Winter cassoulet and duck classes and dinners, so this lovely little market will finish up at the end of May. We will then have to wait until Spring before Petit Marche reopens. In the meantime, Annie has asked us all to stay tuned for some special dinner services in August. Follow her on insta @kittensmithers.

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