The last couple of weeks have been very special for myself and James as we embarked on a 2 week “Baby Moon”. Yes… that’s right. We are having a baby. The little one is due in mid December and we couldn’t be happier. Life is changing slowly already as plans are made and quite moments are savoured.
Orange in the Central West region of New South Wales, Australia, was one of our favourite destinations during our vacation. For those of you unfamiliar with the region it is a cornucopia of amazing fresh produce, boutique food producers, outstanding vineyards, high quality restaurants, bakeries, gorgeous accommodation and wide open rural spaces.
The Agrestic Grocer was one of our absolute highlights of the trip. This cafe, cellar door, providore and grocery pretty much blew our foodie brains. Former health food store owners Lucas (pictured) and Danielle Martin and Katie and Beau from The Farmgate have joined forces to create a truly unique and authentic food experience. In the 12 months they have been open the business has grown into a thriving community focal point. Local producers are encouraged to swap their home grown produce for products from the shelves and locals bake mouth watering cakes for the cafe.
The large shop and cafe space on 426 Mitchell Highway, Orange, was fitted out almost completely by recycled materials. The rustically decorated outside seating area is lined by beds of lush seasonal fruit and veggies… reminding you of the special paddock to plate experience this establishment offers.
We were drooling at the shelves overflowing with the freshest and most vibrant varieties of local produce.
The shelves in the shop provide a inspiring shopping experience as the products are not only of the highest quality but sourced locally from community members. Calare Public School, who run an extremely successful Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program, have a wonderful range of jams and preserves for sale. Another community example is the Huntley Berry Farm which is an Australian Disability Enterprise and provides a range of products for sale through the store.
Winter greens ready for harvest line the garden beds at the The Agrestic Grocer.
Beau serves up a world class coffee while Katie’s German grandmother makes the best apple pie you are likely to ever eat. Make sure you plan a couple of stops into the cafe next time you are in town. Breakfast is a highlight but afternoon/morning tea can’t be missed.
We had many remarkable vineyard stops on our route. I was taking note for the next visit (post baby) and gathered some bottles for the cellar. The stunningly situated Borrodell Vinyard, elevated above the town, with uninterrupted panoramic views also boasts luxury boutique accommodation, truffle fossicking onsite, as well as orchards brimming with heirloom and heritage apple trees.
Our accommodation can only be described as uniquely Australian. The Black Sheep Inn is a B&B situated in a chic conversion of a 100 year only sheering shed. Check out this one in a million accommodation setting…
We are looking forward to returning with a bunch of mates for BBQs on the deck with local food and wine.
Aside from the high quality produce Orange is a great location to blow the city cobwebs away and reconnect with nature in a stunning rural setting. Where country highways turn into gravel roads there is an abundance of birds and other friendly animals you don’t see in Sydney’s suburbs.
Orange has a strongly developed cafe and restaurant culture. Byng Street cafe is a local’s favourite with a steady queue of post workout ladies and gents stopping by for their range all Paleo sweets. They have great sandwiches, soups and snacks. Perfect for holiday snacking.
For fine dining there are a number of highly regarded establishments in the Orange region. Racine Restarant, with one chef’s hat and situated in a picturesque rural setting features local produce and wine on their sophisticated menu. We stopped in for a sun soaked cafe style lunch which is available only on Thursday and Fridays.
Rustically chic outdoor dining or sophisticated restaurant settings inside at Racine.
Vegetarian pasta from the cafe menu featuring pumpkin, kale and hazelnuts.
We were lucky enough to get a sneak peak at the evening menu this dish featuring mushrooms, 60degC poached egg and fresh shaved truffles.
Racine also run a bakery in the centre of Orange which is bursting with all your naughty baked favourites along with an impressive array of organic breads.
Just around the corner from Racine Bakery is the food lovers heaven: A Slice of Orange. This modern providore supports locally grown, seasonal, handmade produce and oporates using the popular ‘100 Mile Diet’ philosophy. This philosophy established in the book The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating (or Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally) is a non-fiction book written by Canadian writers Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon. In the book, the authors recount their experiences, including motivations and challenges, on restricting their diet, for one year, to include only foods grown within 100 miles of their residence.
With the Taste Orange Sydney Festival currently underway (Aug 20-22) in Martin Place I urge you to drop by and sample a taste of the amazing produce Orange has to offer. Or better still book a trip and see and experience it for yourself.
Photos by James Horan and Megan Young.
IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT JAMES HORAN PHOTOGRAPHY 2014. FOR USAGE CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org 0439669315