It’s no secret that Team Melbourne Girl are a massive fans of a Roadtrip, so I was thrilled to be invited by Honda along with the Daylesford and Macedon Regions to experience the #HondaFoodTrail recently in a zippy new Honda HR-V.
It didn’t take much convincing to clear our schedules, and discover a region of Victoria renowned for it’s delicious produce. amazing scenery, friendly locals and luxe accommodation. So it was a very happy drive as my sister and I (along with my little girl Annabel) headed out of Melbourne and made the trip to our first stop, Trentham.
Trentham is only an easy 90 minute drive from Melbourne, and I love the fact it’s still very much a country town (albeit one with amazing coffee, produce, people, shops and scenery!). Being a city girl through and through, I love the fact that I can escape Melbourne and find myself in such a gorgeous part of Victoria in no time at all.
All the driving worked up an appetite, so we were super excited to hear that lunch would be at RedBeard Historic Bakery. Famous for its handmade, organic sourdough, and a 19th Century Scotch Oven, I was blown away by the history and passion that emanates from this award-winning bakery.
RedBeard is headed up by John Reid, a baker with more than two decades of experience. His passion and knowledge for his craft is so evident, and it was a pleasure to talk all things bread with this talented baker. John also hosts regular workshops on a Sunday at Redbeard, which quickly sell out – you can find out more and book here.
Between you and me, I think one of the real secrets at RedBeard is the amazing food that emerges from their tiny kitchen. Think fresh superfood salads, melt-in-your-mouth curries and diet-breaking desserts.
I was also lucky enough to be given a tour of the famous 19th century wood fire oven that is the not-so-secret ingredient to RedBeard’s phenomenal bread. Powered entirely by a wood fire, the oven is so well built that it can stay warm for weeks after just one fire.
They just don’t build them like that anymore!
RedBeard is open for breakfast and lunch, and I highly recommended taking home a loaf (or 3) home.
The fruit bread was my favourite – so good!
My top tips for Trentham:
• while the bread is ridiculously good at Redbeard, don’t forget the rest of the menu. The coffee made by resident barista (and amazing Trentham font-of-knowledge) Todd is fantastic too!
• check out the eclectic mix of wares at Kuki. The lovely team behind the store are just delightful, and the converted house has the most amazing chimney smack bang in the middle of the store!
• renowned chef Annie Smithers is now based at Trentham’s du Fermier restaurant. While I didn’t have a chance to dine at du Fermier, I was treated to a tour of the kitchen and experience Annie’s amazing skill first-hand. I can’t wait to go back for lunch!
• schedule some time to chill in The Cosmopolitan Hotel’s beer garden. I’ve never come across such a delightful beer garden before!
A huge thank you must go to Todd from Redbeard – he took time out of his busy day to personally take us around Trentham and introduce me to some of the locals who make this town great. I can’t thank him enough for such an amazing tour. Thanks Todd!
While I could have easily spent days exploring all that Trentham had to offer, it was off to our next stop on the Trail – Grange Bellinzona for a decadent High Tea!
Driving into Hepburn Springs and seeing Grange Bellinzona, it was like travelling back in time to the glory days of travel and adventure. Modelled on a European lodge, Grange Bellinzona is an elegant, heritage style building that also hosts a High Tea every Saturday.
One word – yum. With all the pastries and decadent desserts baked on site by Grange Bellinzona’s pastry chef, a glass of sparkling and a pot of tea was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
A short stroll down the road and we checked into our accommodation for the night – The Dudley.
Built in 1908, The Dudley is without a doubt one of the most impressive hotels I’ve stayed at in Victoria. I loved the way owners Paul and Cate Lever have transformed the property, ensuring that The Dudley’s amazing heritage is retained while accommodating every modern convenience for their guests.
The Dudley was recently named a “Small Luxury Hotel of the World” – the only hotel in Victoria to receive this accolade, and one of only 8 in Australia.
An extremely well-deserved recognition in my opinion!
I could wax lyrical about everything I loved about The Dudley for days, but for me the shining attributes of The Dudley come down to 3 things – amazing, personalised service, thoughtfully designed interiors and the BEST hotel breakfast ever.
After a quick rest at The Dudley and a wander of their beautiful grounds, it was time for dinner at Moor Please.
A hip spot on the main drag of Hepburn Springs, I couldn’t describe Moor Please better than the team do themselves “The Vibe is Cool, the Pace is Fast, the Food is Moorish and the Wines are Local”.
My sister and I left ourselves in the hands of the talented team and decided on the Degustation menu. It’s so hard to pick my favourite menu items, but I absolutely loved the buttermilk fried chicken and the homemade Turkish Delight for dessert.
After a peaceful sleep in our gorgeous accommodation, it was time to hit the ground running on Sunday morning for the final day of our #HondaFoodTrail.
We then took the Honda for a spin around the beautiful countryside before alighting at our next destination on the Food Trail – the Convent Gallery.
How can I not love a car that’s as economical as it is chic??
We enjoyed strolling around the gardens (trying to work off some of the calories I’d consumed thus far!!) before heading inside to sample the Convent Gallery’s famous scones and tea.
While the scones were absolutely amazing, don’t forget to try the other cakes on offer – the orange cake I snaffled from my sister was so delicious and worth every minute I’ll need to run on the treadmill to burn it off!
After a relaxing tour around The Convent Gallery and the many spectacular works on show, it was off to our final stop on the Food Trail – Lavendula Swiss Italian Farm.
The fresh herbs and salad leaves from the kitchen garden paired perfectly with the delicious cheeses, cured meats and other delicacies on the platter.
• The Convent Gallery is well-known for it’s amazing selection of artworks, but make sure you take the time to wander the gorgeous grounds
• best coffee in town in my humble opinion is at Frangos and Frangos
Unfortunately, it was time to head home and dream of the delicious food we’d sampled all weekend. It wasn’t all bad however – blasting Taylor Swift in our Honda-HRV all the way home was the perfect end!
Our HRV was the perfect car for our foodie weekender – it’s compact enough that you can easily zip into that last parking spot, but deceptively roomy on the inside. I loved the huge sunroof to capture Melbourne’s beautiful spring sunshine, and easy iPod connectivity ensured we could blast 1989 all weekend. As a self-confessed car novice, even I was impressed at what my husband tells me is “fuel economy” – in all our travels, we barely used any fuel at all.
And finally, a huge thank you to all the amazing people we met during the #HondaFoodTrail – we can’t wait to come back!