As soon as I found out about this gourmet food trail it was firmly in the itinerary of things to do. If you are planning on driving the Great Ocean Road scenic drive in Victoria, put aside some time for this delectable detour.
The best option to be able to spend a day enjoying this loop, is to stay in Port Campbell (see previous blog post) and allow yourself plenty of time to visit the food artisans on the trail map. Some of the producers are only open seasonally according to the food grown, but there are plenty of opportunities to choose from year round. The trail map is available from tourism operators anywhere along the Great Ocean Road and suggests that the total driving distance to visit all of the food producers is around 88 kilometres and it’s advised to allow 5 hours to enjoy the experience. We visited most of the sites mentioned and would agree that the guide is pretty accurate in the time predicted.
The places we sampled on the Gourmet Food Trail were:
Timboon Railway Shed Distillery
Housed in a renovated railway good shed built in the early 1900s, this distillery is a warm and welcoming venue to visit. Apart from tastings they also serve lunches, which judging by the aromas in the air seemed worth staying for. There is a very colourful history of illegal distilling of whiskey in Timboon, dating back to 1881. Now thankfully it is made legally on site in a 600 litre copper still using Australian single malted barley. You can pay a small fee to taste a range of whiskeys or if you only wish to try a couple of products, some are free to try. On offer at the shed are whiskeys, a vanilla vodka, limoncello, a strawberry schnapps and a coffee cream, which on tasting this hazelnut and coffee liqueur it’s not hard to see why it’s the most popular product. The distillery is open 7 days a week from 10am to 4.30pm with lunch served from 11.30am to 3pm.
Timboon Ice Creamery
A short walk across the creek from the distillery you’ll find this local institution with 24 premium ice cream flavours. The friendly staff are more than happy for you to have a few sample tastes too which is just as well when you are having trouble deciding between so many tempting flavours. It is open daily from 11am to 5pm.
This cheesery has a really lovely garden setting surrounding it which you can enjoy while having a light lunch or scones with jam and cream and a tea or coffee. The cheese varieties they make are available for tasting with a staff member taking you through the different varieties and how they can best be used. The brie style cheese was an absolute winner as was the spiced quark which we just had to buy after hearing how well it paired with jacket potatoes. They also sell other locally made produce from relishes to jams and sauces and organic dairy milk. They are open daily from 11am to 4pm.
Dairylicious Farm Fudge
This creamiest, most Moorish fudge is available for tasting with a wide range of flavours to choose from. All the fudge is made on site in this expanding business and the secret to their mouthwatering product is in the dairy product they source direct from local farmers to make the caramel. No powdered pre-mixes are used, all the fudge is made from scratch using more dairy and less sugar. The shed is open daily from 11am to 5pm.
Apostle Whey Cheese
Too much cheese is barely enough! Set on the top of the hill with scenic views over the valley you can taste the cheese varieties here whilst getting a very thorough explanation of all of the cheese varieties. From one side of the tasting room you can watch cheese being made and out of another window, watch the cows who were responsible for the raw product. There is also a bit of quirky cow art outdoors.
A nice place to finish is GORGE (Great Ocean Road Gourmet Experience) chocolates. More samples and more purchases to be made of freshly made Belgian style treats which you can wash down with a real hot chocolate drink.
If you are feeling up to it you can also visit Berry World, Aldo’s Olives and Sow & Piglets Brewery, which can also be found on the gourmet trail. Luckily there are a lot of coastal walks and steps to and from some spectacular beaches to help work off the indulgences of the trail.
Happy trails indeed!