Good food tastes better with a side serve of fresh air. These are some of our favourite ways to enjoy the flavours of the Mornington Peninsula.
Have a farm-fresh experience
You can taste the difference. An apple just plucked from the tree, a carrot straight out of the ground: the texture is crisper, the flavours richer. Which is why we like to bring a big shopping bag when we stop in at Torello Farm’s farmgate. The produce varies with the season and includes not just the farm’s own heirloom veggies and tree-ripened fruit: look for free-range beef and lamb as well as pickles and preserves, all produced here on the peninsula. If you’d like to try your hand at harvesting, head to Rocky Creek Farm to pick your own strawberries.
Or try this: For a taste of farm life with that dials up the luxury, check into Polperro Farmhouse, an elegant three-bedroom retreat fringed by vineyards and forest.
" Green Olive at Red Hill has to be one of our favourite places for a picnic. "
Enjoy loafing around
Nothing smells as good as a loaf of bread fresh from the oven. And when that loaf is made with unbleached, organic stone-ground flour and baked in a 1930s scotch oven, you know it is as nourishing as it is delicious. In the seaside town of Flinders, Flinders Sourdough makes low-gluten loaves using naturally-fermented dough. Choose between sourdough, dark rye and wholegrain spelt loaves.
Or try this: Why do the apple pies at Red Hill’s Johnny Ripe bakery taste so good? Yes, the buttery pastry is divine but we think it’s all about the apples, grown on the bakery’s very own orchard. We are talking food metres rather than miles, which gets a big tick from us.
Go one-stop shopping
Red Hill Community Market is one of Victoria’s most celebrated markets and rightly so. Head here on the first Saturday of the month between September and May and you will find stalls laden with the best local produce and artisan products. Get in nice and early – things get crowded by lunchtime.
Or try this: At Merrick’s General Wine Store, they do a little bit of everything. Set in a magnificent vintage building, look beyond the bistro and the art gallery and you will find a terrific range of local artisanal food for sale.
"Make sure you stop in at Main Ridge Dairy and pick up some of their superb goats’ cheeses"
Plan a picnic
There are plenty of scenic spots around the peninsula where you can unfurl your picnic blanket for a long and lazy lunch but Green Olive at Red Hill has to be one of our favourites. We love the views across the vineyard and the dam, the playground for the kids to burn off some energy – and they even welcome dogs. Perhaps our favourite thing about picnicking here, however, is that you don’t have to BYO. They provide a readymade picnic – including goodies grown on the farm – saving you the hard work.
Or try this: Prefer to put together your own picnic? There are plenty of great farmgates where you can find delicious bites. Make sure you stop in at Main Ridge Dairy and pick up some of their superb goats’ cheeses.
There is a balance between looking after your body and soothing your soul, which is why a little of what you fancy does you good. If you have a weakness for chocolate head to The Chocolate Kettle in Mornington for an outstanding selection. You can pick up handmade local pralines as well as sweet stuff sourced from around the globe. Looking for vegan chocolate, sugar-free or fair trade options? You will find those too.
Or try this: Prefer a quality cup of coffee to a piece of chocolate? Little Rebel Coffee Roastery supplies many of the peninsula’s best cafes. Stop for a cuppa at their headquarters in the Dromana Industrial Estate, or pick up a bag of freshly-roasted beans to take home.