Monday, September 7, 2015

Though we went for the stunning seascapes along the Great Ocean Road, we also ended up finding some foodie treasures. I simply have a nose for good food!

Our road trip adventure started out in the small town of Torquay, which is considered the official start of the 243-km southern coast-hugging Great Ocean Road. We woke up early to catch a splendid sunrise along the town’s Esplanade and nearby beach. I’m not a good morning person, but every now and then I don’t mind getting up early. The views were worth it, and so was the breakfast afterwards.
Not many cafés are open at 7 a.m., so we wandered into Café Moby, which was ranked as one of the top eateries on Foursquare. This local, laidback café provided us with an Aussie brekkie complete with poached eggs, bacon and avocado (an Aussie staple) and a Moroccan-style egg dish that almost reminded me of Turkish menemen.
The night before in Torquay, we enjoyed a pub dinner at a new brewery called Blackman's Brewery, where beer is brewed just a hop and a skip from Bells Beach, one of the world's most famous surfing areas. Hubby recommends ordering the hoppy Pale Ale while I sipped on a homebrewed cider. The brewery specializes in somewhat unique pub food such as barramundi fish tacos and quinoa-beet salad as well as more normal pizzas and buckets of fries. Grab a pint at this bustling brewery and enjoy the local people watching.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to wander off the road between Torquay and Port Campbell, where we stayed the second night. However, if you are interested, check out the Victoria Tourism website for winery, farm and other foodie recommendations, especially in the Great Otways region.

Port Campbell is the ideal locale to stay overnight and visit the nearby 12 Apostles, but it’s really a foodie wasteland and the main restaurant in town looked extremely overpriced for boring food. That said, we did have a decent gluten-free pizza and a large Greek salad at Nico’s Pizza for dinner and a typical breakfast at The Alcove Café, which opens at 6 a.m.
The beach at Port Campbell.
Before leaving Port Campbell, be sure to stop by the visitor’s center for a map of the 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail, which features 11 local food artisans. On our Sunday drive back to Melbourne, we stopped at five of the places for samples of chocolate, cheese, cured meats, ice cream, liqueurs and the best meal we had the entire trip!

Our first stop was GORGE Chocolates, established in 2004 in a former farm shed with a storefront and chocolate making room. The current owners, Mel & Jason, took over in 2010 and make tons of chocolate-covered delights such as marshmallows, honeycomb, freckles and black licorice, which happened to be our favorite! You can stop by here 7 days a week.
Next, we sampled a wedge of country life at Apostle Whey Cheese, a dairy farm since 1981. We had a delicious and informative cheese tasting with Dianne, one of the owners, whom had just traveled to France to learn about more kinds of cheese. We ended up buying a round of brie, a chunk of garlic Havarti and creamy blue cheese. Too bad we didn’t have time to enjoy a glass of local wine with our cheese tasting!
We ventured about 15km down a gravel road to our third stop, Mousetrap Café, home to Schulz Organic Dairy Farm. We thought the cheeses here weren’t quite as flavorful as our previous stop, but we did enjoy the tasting and ended up buying some feta and a washed rind cheese. The café also offers ample indoor and outdoor seating if you have time to order a cup of tea/coffee or glass of wine to go with your cheese platter or freshly baked scones.
Our last and tastiest stop along the Great Ocean Road was the tiny township of Timboon, which proved that big things do come in small packages! The Timboon Railway Shed Distillery is housed in an updated “shed” of the former Timboon railway line. Timboon was a big whiskey producer in the late 1800s. The current distillery produces single malt whiskey, vodka and several liqueurs and all are available for sampling behind the bar. If you like coffee, you must buy a bottle of Baxter’s Coffee Cream. Yum-o!
The distillery also contains a large, bustling restaurant which takes full advantage of the local produce in Victoria and offers an interesting seasonal menu. We ordered the chicken gado gado (described as Asian-inspired, flaky chicken cakes with veggies and a peanut-lime sauce) and the twice-cooked pork belly with coconut rice and an Asian slaw. Both dishes were so delicious that the flavors reminded us of our Bali trip in 2011! In fact, Bali is a very popular tourist destination for Aussies.
After lunch, don’t forget to order an ice cream cone from the Timboon Fine Ice Cream stand or buy some of the many local food products sold in the restaurant.
How about a salted caramel ice cream cone?
The distillery has a large display case of local foodie products from the Victoria region.
Our bellies were full and we still had a nearly 3-hour drive back to Melbourne. Starting in October and November, you can also do wine tastings at several of the wineries located off the A-1 highway between Colac and Geelong. Guess we’ll have to save that part for another trip!

As you can see, the Great Ocean Road not only has stunning scenery, but a vibrant, local food scene as well.
The Great Ocean Road goodies that made it home with us from our road trip!
Bon appétit!

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MJ said...

I love following your adventures.

jenny@atasteoftravel said...

We're all so focussed on the fabulous sights of the 12 Apostles drive that we forget about the small towns and businesses along the way and inland. It's great that a brochure has been published so everyone can follow this food trail and enjoy the delicious goodies you found!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

looks like you are enjoying this new country as much as you have enjoyed the others!

Jennifer said...

Once again you've outdone yourself with the foodie shots. I feel like I post this on all your posts since your move but...JEALOUS!!

Joy said...

Ahhh...thanks MJ! So great to keep in touch since our Istanbul days! :)

Joy said...

Hi Jenny! Definitely a lot to explore in this area and the Otways. Wish we had had more time! Nice to see Victoria Tourism promoting it as well. :)

Joy said...

Thanks Joyce! I try to view life as a glass half full and do as much as possible!

Joy said...

@Jennifer, sorry hon! You're welcome to come visit us in your spring! ;)

BacktoBodrum said...

You are in heaven.

Joy said...

@Annie, we try to find good food! ;)

Rachel said...

What a fabulous haul of goodies! The distillery sounds amazing! It sounds like the complete opposite of our drive along the Great Ocean Road in 08, it was the very end of an very long road trip and we kinda rushed it, ate sandwiches in the car and pulled stupid photo faces at the viewpoints! Hahaha, it was good fun though!

Joy said...

@Rachel, lol....well we've done the sandwiches in the car thing as well! ;) Got lucky this trip with all the pre-planning I did!