Following our visit to Cliffy’s we drove a few minutes into the town of Musk and missed the required turn off so continued on until we could turn around. As luck would have it the next place to ‘chuck-a-uey’ was in the driveway of the winery Passing Clouds. With a beautiful name like that how could we not pull up for a visit? They use only grapes from their plot of land and as such had sold out of 2 varieties, yet what they did have in stock tasted amazing – cab merlot-shiraz blend – yum.
Our next stop was Istra Smallgoods – number 12 on Australian Traveller Magazine’s Top 100 foodie places to visit. And we almost missed this place so a warning to anyone visiting on a Sunday – Istra closes at 2pm. Get there on time otherwise the Croatian grandmother will lock the door on you. Istra don’t make it easy for the first-time visitor so be wary of the tiny sign that you need to spot directing you off the main road and then the main entry sign is well hidden behind a hedge so we found ourselves driving past and reversing back to the entrance – as did every other car we saw.
Istra provide a small selection of samples to try before you buy which will give you the opportunity to select the perfect stick of salami to take home with you. I did exactly that and you will find me this week on the balcony matching it perfectly with Baker D Chirico sourdough.
I have a thing for cider ever since opening a number of stores for Nike in Somerset and Cornwall in the UK. The abomination known as Bulmers and Magners et al (I’m looking at you Tooheys 5 seed) has swamped the Australian scene convincing newcomers to the heavenly apple drink that it is the real thing, but if you are not paying through the nose for those international brands you are most likely drinking filtered apple juice concentrate brewed by Fosters rather than freshly crushed apples (find more information here: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/lifestyle/cider-house-rules/story-e6frga06-1226171917220).
And a word to the wise – should you be looking for a location for a wedding or large function keep this place in mind as they have great outdoor space, beautifully manicured lawn, gardens and orchard, a boules court and an inside space with old world charm. The English-style ciders served at Daylesford Cider Company were not carbonated and reminded me how few people had truly tasted real cider. I took away a 6-pack – two each of the Sweet, Medium and Dry varieties.
From there we made our way back to the High Street and as mums tend to want to do, there was shops and browsing to be done. Of course being the bright young things that we are, a food and drink fix was needed. A little bird (WordMonkey) kept whispering in my ear during the week prior that she wanted to make her way back to Perfect Drop. This was a place we dropped into for a cheeky drink during our time in Castlemaine and it must have made an impression.
It was the right call as we scooped up the weekend papers and made ourselves comfortable with a cheeky glass of red and ordered some of the amazing tapas they had on offer. All the food is seasonal so was completely different to what was on offer 9 months ago and both times people were walking in hoping for a table and finding the place booked out – so don’t turn up to be disappointed, book in advance unless you are happy on the couch.
Eventually mum finished her shopping expedition and collapsed with us. Eventually rousing her, we made our way to our final destination of the Sunday road trip, which was recommended again by @esurientes – The Farmers Arms Hotel.
I think of any place we had visited during our trip to Daylesford, this pub located on the road between Daylesford and Musk (seems like we were doing laps) perfectly sums up the old world v new world charm the town has. The bar area at the front of the pub has photos of an old boys club pinned to the wall highlighting those that had racked up 20 years barfly milestone. The dining area out the back is a nice space with rickety tables positioned awkwardly around the room.
We stated off with an old-fashioned Pimms ,which was served in a very tall glass and made with all the ingredients you expect to find in it. I just say this as there are many places around Melbourne that do have Pimms on the menu but don’t serve it with the full complement of a fruit and veg garden inside the glass.
The menu is thorough and covers a broad range of dishes so there is really something for everyone. Price-wise it was on the more expensive side of the equation but due to it being held in such high regard we bet that we would not be disappointed.
Two orders of the slow roasted pork belly with potato mash, broccolini & smoky chilli relish were ordered and delivered to the table in a very timely manner. The serve was as bush-sized as they come. As you can see from the photos – the crispy golden crown was cooked to perfection. The meat remained succulent due to the cosy layer of fat between the pork and crackling. The mash was smooth and well seasoned and the eggplant relish gave it the lift that apple sauce otherwise would have.
Originally dubious of the Beer battered gummy shark, chips & salad – due to never having eaten shark before (or so she thinks) – WordMonkey cracked the batter to find a moist fishy centre (choice or wording an issue) and the chips, while not the Heston’s triple cooked standard were nothing to sniff at. Again it was a good portion with two large fillets making hard work to completely finish due to the full day of grazing.
So there you have it – Daylesford well and truly discovered. It truly is a beautiful part of the world that is on the doorstop of Melbourne. So was there anywhere we missed but that you would recommend to our readers? Add your thoughts in the comments section below.
Our next region we will be looking to discover will be the Mornington Peninsula – so again, if you have any places you think we should include in our adventures please let us know!