Category Archives: Regional

Moriac Makers and Growers Market

Last Sunday, Newling Reserve was host to the second Moriac Makers and Growers Market, which was located on Hendy Main Rd and easy to spot, due to the number of cars parked on the street. If you’re coming from Geelong, picture the Market across the train tracks and almost behind the general store. It is approximately a 25 minute drive to Moriac from the city of Geelong.

Arriving at about 11am, the market was already in full swing. We were greeted by a range of food stalls selling baked potatoes, pizzas, cevapi and pasta. Further in was a stage with live music to enjoy while browsing the stalls. There was also plenty of space to sit on the grass in front of the stage to enjoy the music while relaxing or perhaps enjoying a bite to eat.

Spring Creek Organics had an amazing vegetable stall selling top quality produce at a good price and friendly service.

This stall had some interesting beetroot for sale, including a variety that is bright yellow inside. There was no yellow beetroot left for sale by the time I got to the market, however, I was able to taste some raw. To me it seemed a little sweeter than the normal variety. Among other items, I ended up picking up some beetroot that had red skin with alternating pink and white circles inside.

Products being sold by other stalls included: jewellery, heat packs, cards, notepads, hair pins, headbands, children’s colouring books, children’s clothing, artwork, plants, macarons, traditional lemonade, cordial, honey, cheese and icecream.

Plant Stall

This market is definitely one to visit for top quality home made and home grown products. The market is only on three times a year, so be sure to keep your eyes out for the next one!

Details:

Moriac Makers and Growers Market

Newling Reserve, Hendy Main Rd, Moriac

Check their website here for dates or keep an eye out for local advertisements.

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Rolling Pin Pies and Cakes

My partner and I headed out to Ocean Grove last weekend, as I had a store I needed to visit in the area. We ended up at a few garage sales on the way, and at one point ended up at Coles, as I needed to pick a couple of things up. We found Rolling Pin while we were walking back to the car. I had already been trying to scope out places for lunch, and after seeing all the awards in the shop window I couldn’t resist.

Rolling Pin Shop Window

The shop uses a ticketing system similar to the one you see at the deli counter of most major supermarkets. You need to take a ticket and wait for your number to be called. The shop was really busy when we walked in, so it made sense for something like this to be in place.

Obviously, being vegetarian or even part vegetarian doesn’t usually leave much choice when it comes to pies and pasties. So, I was quite excited to see a curried scallop pie on the list… and then I was disappointed because the customer before me was told there were none left… and then excited again because the lady serving me said they did in fact have them, after I asked if there were any other seafood pies available. Phew! When I asked what was inside the pie, the lady serving me got a laminated sign from behind the desk and pointed to it. I’m not sure if it was a lack of product knowledge or just bad customer service. It may be a bit of both. Perhaps they operate on a “treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen approach”. Either way, if you’re working in a specialty pie and cake shop I would say that knowing your product is a large part of the job.

The curried scallop pie had a fairly thick texture in the middle, containing vegetables of some sort and small scallops. It had quite a mild flavour, and wasn’t spicy at all. I was quite happy with the way it tasted. My partner had the lamb pie, which he said was quite good, but not out of this world.

Lamb Pie

The store also has a selection of delicious looking cakes. I had some freshly baked cakes at home, so I decided to give the Rolling Pin cakes a miss this time.

Details:

Rolling Pin Pies and Cakes

12 Park Lane, Ocean Grove
(In the Coles carpark)

Open: Monday-Friday 8.30am to 5.15pm
Saturday 8am-1.30pm
Sunday 9am-2pm

Newtown Farmers’ Market

I am taking the time to mention the Newtown Farmers’ Market that operates every 4th Saturday of the month – rain, hail or shine!

It’s a great opportunity to buy fresh produce straight from the farmer/producer. Products range from fresh fruit and vegetables to cheeses, breads, cakes, wines and more! I’ve been a few times, and while some of the stalls remained the same, I noticed some that weren’t there previously.

The market is great for those looking to support the ‘small guys’. Bring your calico bag down and join in on the old-fashioned way of shopping.

Details:

Newtown Farmers’ Market

Corner Shannon Ave and West Fyans St, Newtown.
(Head down the hill)

4th Saturday of the Month. 8am-1pm.

Note: You may want to double-check that the market is on over the Easter weekend. Market website and contact details are here.

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Moriac Hotel

Moriac Hotel has recently undergone some renovations, and again started serving food from their kitchen. I went there a few weeks after the completion of the renovation. I’m not sure how well the kitchen is going, as when I went there the dining area was rather empty. But it is still early days.

The starting plate with dips, olives, cheese, crisp bread and other goodies was well worth it. The cheese was served at room temperature and the dips were creamy and flavoursome.

The mains were a bit of a mixed bag. There aren’t any vegetarian options on the menu apart from a pasta. Being the only vegetarian option, you would think the flavours would really be there, but unfortunately they aren’t.  There are a couple of fish dishes and one prawn dish, but the remainder of the menu is meat, meat, meat. There were no complaints about the mixed grill or Moroccan chicken. The parmas our table ordered were a bit of a mixed bag. One was cooked to perfection, while the other was a bit soggy on the outside. The parmas are definitely a decent size, and give some of the others I’ve seen around Geelong a run for their money.

The price of the food here is a little on the expensive side for what you get. It is still early days, so maybe they’ll bring the prices down yet. Not really worth it for a vegetarian in my opinion.

Details:

Moriac Hotel

1115 Princes Highway, Mount Moriac.

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Fyansford Hotel

A friend and I went to the Fyansford Hotel on a Sunday evening for a pub meal. Being somewhat limited in what I can eat, I was a little worried my whole meal might be grease-filled. The menu left me pleasantly surprised. No pictures of the menu, however, expect the usual pub grub plus a bit extra.

After arriving at the pub to find all the seats taken, we grabbed an empty bar table and had a look over the menu board. Chicken Caesar salad, battered fish and chips, Thai beef salad, scotch fillet, selection of dips, calamari with aioli, chicken parmigiana, and more. The menu seemed quite extensive for a pub, with around 15 items available.

I went with the calamari and my friend ordered the chicken parmigiana. Both $13.50. I’m told by a regular that eating in the dining section of the hotel is quite a bit more expensive than eating in the pub section. I’m not sure whether the quality of food is different, or whether it’s just the ambiance that makes all the difference.

After discussing the menu some more, we were quick to whisk away some bar-stools from people who had just finished their meal. I was told by a friend the next day that there is actually a large beer garden out the back which would have had sufficient tables and chairs. You can get there by walking into and through the second room.

The meals didn’t take long to come out, and we by no means felt rushed.

Lemon peppered calamari

I was glad that the calamari was done a little differently to what is normally seen in pubs, and was pleasantly surprised it came with a salad. The calamari didn’t come out hot – I’m not sure if that’s how the chef intended it to be served, or if it cooled down quickly when placed on top of the salad. Regardless, the taste was great and it came with the right amount of aioli. The salad underneath had different types of salad leaves, red onion, red capsicum, carrot and some tomato on the side. It was well-dressed in a mustard based dressing.

Chicken Parmi

The chicken parmi had the option of being served with vegies or salad. The salad seemed the same as the one served with the calamari. The meal was tasty, but could have done with a little less oregano in the tomato sauce. Being a pub, we were expecting a giant-sized parmi – this one was reasonably sized, but not as big as we were expecting. Still, a really good deal for the price.

Being a pub, I wasn’t expecting fantastic service, but we had no complaints. The meals came out within what we thought was a reasonable time, and the plates were cleared in a timely manner.  Although, it would have been nice to have been pointed in the direction of the beer garden we had no idea existed.

Details:
The Fyansford Hotel (Pub section)

67 Hyland St, Fyansford

Open Tuesday – Sunday for lunch and dinner.

Fyansford Hotel on Urbanspoon

Gentle Annie Berry Gardens and Tea-Rooms

I ventured out to Gentle Annie on a warm February morning in search of some luscious fresh berries. Whilst they do have a website here , it doesn’t seem to be updated too often, so it pays to call in advance to find out the types of berries that are currently available. The day I visited they had raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, rhubarb, plums and nashi pears (Asiatic pears).

After a 40 minute drive from Geelong, through Winchelsea, we arrived at Gentle Annie, looking forward to tasting the berries on offer. The way it works here is you can either pay $5 (Adult, cheaper for children) for a “Gobbler’s Pass” which means you can pick and eat as you go, or you can grab a large punnet (or BYO) and fill that with berries to take home. The price of the punnet is calculated on the way out, by weight and assortment of berries. I opted for a Gobblers Pass and a punnet- so I could taste test the berries as I picked some to take home. The owner, Russell, will show you where to head to for each type of berry and explain the best way to pick each berry. There are helpful signs everywhere to avoid any confusion between the berries.

Rows of strawberries

Something worth taking note of is that the strawberry patch contains about 10 different varieties of strawberries. We worked our way across the rows until we found the sweetest, juiciest strawberries. The beauty of Gentle Annie is that the fruit is all pesticide free.

Strawberries

We also took some time to wander through to orchid and sample some different types of plums. All the fruit I tried was delicious – much better than any store bought fruit. After about an hour of picking and tasting I had filled the punnet with strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. The punnet, along with about 8 stalks of rhubarb cost about $12. I had just over 1 kilo of berries. I think the price is reasonable, considering it tastes so fresh and so sweet.

Large punnet

The small shop at Gentle Annie also has some homemade chutneys, jams, cordials, icecreams and dessert sauces on offer for a reasonable price. You have to remember that these products are all homemade and don’t come out of a big factory, so they may not be as cheap as some of the jams or cordials at the supermarket, but the difference in taste will be astounding.

There is also a licensed Tea-Room at Gentle Annie which serves drinks, snacks and lunches, open for morning and afternoon tea and lunch.

Details:

520 Pennyroyal Valley Rd, Deans Marsh.

Open Monday-Sunday: 10am-5pm. Open Cup Weekend til the 30th April. Cafe closed after April school holidays. Closed Christmas Day.

Gentle Annie is about 40 minutes from Geelong or 2 hours from Melbourne.