We all know the Yarra Valley is brimming with some of the best wineries Australia has to offer, but what else is there?
Truth be told this part of Victoria, barely an hour’s drive out of the CBD has plenty more to offer than the wines it is so well known for – the key is knowing what else to look for.
So if you’re down in the Valley and don’t feel like swilling on a Sauvignon Blanc, or just need a break between drinks, here are some alternative options for you to try!
Fresh fruit and produce
Did you know you could eat the grapes before they become wine?
All jokes aside, The Yarra region is one of the best places to get fresh, fragrant fruit that’s bursting with flavour. You can also pick up some locally produced artisan cheeses, sauces and relish, even tea!
There are a number of places in the area where you can get your fresh fix all week long, instead of waiting for your next local farmers’ market to pass by. And what’s more – the prices are mostly cheaper than the supermarkets, so you can well and truly stock up without breaking the budget.
We like: Yarra Farm Fresh; Cnr Edward & Coldstream West Rd, Coldstream
What once began as a very makeshift operation selling cherries in the tractor shed has now turned into a cornerstone for local businesses to showcase their produce and their wares.
Head over for the best in seasonal produce, stay for a coffee in their relaxing courtyard area.
Café’s to rival the big smoke
Having recently moved back to the Yarra Valley, I must admit, I was a little worried about where I’d be heading to get my caffeine fix. Thank the coffee gods some absolute winner venues have popped up in the last couple of years, and they’re still sprouting, with new café Vintage & Co opening up in Yarra Glen just a few weeks ago.
Known as the gateway to the Yarra Valley, Lilydale has been granted with a few hidden gems to get a good brew and even better feed. Locals really are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating somewhere with locally sourced and grown produce.
We like: Bom Gosto; 11 Castella St, Lilydale
A little café down a quiet side street in the heart of Lilydale, Bom Gosto cooks all their meals in a handcrafted wood fire oven. They also grow a lot of their own organic produce up the road in Yarra Glen. Probably the most important factor is their designated ‘Burger Nights’ where I have witnessed someone say they had the best chicken burger of their life (and they eat a lot of burgers) – so definitely worth a try!
For the sweet tooth
When we think of the Yarra Valley, it often comes down to the beautiful wineries and vineyards at every turn. While wine and cheese is considered the perfect pairing (because: obviously), there are some beautiful artisan chocolatier stores and cafes sprinkled throughout the region that are worth a try when its time for dessert.
A good stop for gift ideas, or even just a decadent treat, visiting a specialised chocolate store is the closest you will ever get to living in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – I still haven’t found my golden ticket, but a girl can dream.
We like: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery; 35 Old Healesville Road, Yarra Glen
A truly special experience, the Chocolaterie has become a regular stopping point for winery tours around the area. Come for the free chocolate and ice cream tastings, and stick around to see the European Chocolatiers make their craft, peruse through the showroom and just take in the beautiful views this hilltop venue has to offer of the valley.