Castlemaine: an emerging food destination
The former gold mining village of Castlemaine has long been known for its historic charm and, more recently, as a creative and artistic hub. Adding to its appeal, Castlemaine is rapidly developing a reputation as an emerging foodie hotspot thanks to a top notch farmers market, acclaimed wineries and a growing selection of restaurants, cafes and provedores showcasing seasonal and locally produced fare. Here are some of the most recent developments:
Opening earlier this year, The Good Table is a classy addition to the local dining scene in Castlemaine. It specialises in sophisticated but unpretentious European shared food (categorised into small and large bites) inspired by chef Alexander Perry, a born-and-bred Castlemaine local who has returned to his hometown with a Movida pedigree. One appetising example, and a signature dish, is Perry's handmade ravioli filled with gorgonzola, confit pear and burnt sage butter, which illustrates his culinary commitment to regional fare with a European flair. The Good Table's beautifully restrained but comely interior is in keeping with the unpretentious and understated food offering. There is immaculate but not over-fussy attention to detail throughout with polished floorboards, simple timber table settings, arcaded windows and a well executed mix of clean contemporary lines with old-world references such as the Bakerlite phone and pewter water jugs.
Castlemaine-based seafood retailer, She Sells Seafood was named Australian Seafood Business of the Year at the 5th Australian Seafood Industry Awards dinner last month. This innovative business has also made forays into publishing, producing a well received fish cookbook Hook Line and Dinner (rated "Find of the Week" in Weekend Australian’s Food Detective column) and its own seafood calendar as well as Seasonal Sushi, a visual arts display in the 2009 Castlemaine State Festival.
New licensed bakery café Apple Annie's has opened on Templeton Street offering in-house and locally produced fare as well as onsite accommodation. Nearby, chef Michael Nelson, formerly of The Lakehouse (Daylesford), continues to put his mark on the seasonal menus at the boutique Empyre Hotel.
In other food news, it was recently announced that the Criterion Hotel is set to become the next foodie hotspot in town with not one but two venues to open there in the near future. Behind the development are Hayden Winch, former owner of The Dispensary (Bendigo) and Peter McMahon (former Manager of Prince of Wales in St Kilda) who will be taking over the lease to open a provincial bistro and fine-dining restaurant.
For further information: www.maldoncastlemaine.com
Media contact: Lisa Hunt, Tourism Victoria Ph: (03) 9653 9745