1 October 2019
1 October 2019
Amidst fertile farmland in the Central Tablelands, three-and-a-half hours west of Sydney, the 160-year-old town of Millthorpe has a long history of notable food and produce. The architecture lining the main street testifies to its age; the entire village, lined with 19th-century heritage buildings, has been classified as historically important by the National Trust.
Gastronomically speaking however, Millthorpe has moved far beyond its past. Here’s how to make the most of a weekend in Millthorpe.
A morning in Millthorpe
Both locals and weekenders bustle into the rustic and relaxed Millthorpe Providore for their morning brew. The expert, city-standard coffee (from Bills Beans in Orange, no less) is topped with milk from Dubbo’s The Little Big Dairy, breads are fresh from Bathurst’s Pee Wee Bakery and the ever-popular breakfast sandwich comes stuffed with Trunkey Creek bacon.
Set in one of the town’s most charming buildings with an open fireplace and pretty, flower-filled gardens, The Old Mill is a popular choice for lunch on a cooler spring day. Think beef and shiraz pie or salad bejewelled with fresh Clarence River prawns.
The town has two notable wineries that harness the benefits of high altitude, cool climate varietals. One of the largest in the area is Angullong Wines, a picturesque gathering of stables dating back to the 1800s and plantings of 18 different varieties including riesling and pinot gris. The smaller Slow Wine Co. has a cellar door in town. It has won awards for its pinot noir and uses only native yeasts and enzymes to assist with fermentation.
Fine dining dinner
If things have changed in the 16 years that Tony Worland – head chef and owner of multi-hatted eatery Tonic Restaurant – has been in Millthorpe, it’s due in large part to his own pioneering efforts. Having earnt his whites in the kitchens of Matt Moran and Gordon Ramsay, when Worland returned to Sydney from a stint in London, he gave it all up to live in this tiny Central West town.
His thriving Modern Australian restaurant regularly welcomes visitors as often as it does neighbours, with a discernible lean towards locavores.
“Our seasons are quite distinct,” Worland notes. “We get really cold winters and hot summers. So you can go out to the pine forests and get the mushrooms that you can’t get anywhere else. Everybody’s starting to do truffles out here and some of them are getting some really good results.”
That means a menu often sprinkled with Cowra lamb, Blayney truffles, Orange venison and saffron milk caps or slippery jacks from a nearby woodland.
Although Worland’s initial hopes for Tonic were only to “not go broke in the first three months”, the result has well and truly exceeded his expectations and changed the scene in Millthorpe forever.
“We're in a little village out in the sticks and to be able to do this in a place like this, I think it's pretty special.” Few would disagree
*Mercedes-Benz New Zealand Ltd at all times promotes the responsible service and consumption of alcohol.
By Bridget de Maine