An hour outside of Melbourne sits one of the country’s ultimate foodie destinations, the Coldstream Trail.
If you haven’t heard of it until now, it’s situated in the Yarra Valley and offers visitors the chance to sample the very best produce from the area, including great food and wine.
The Coldstream Trail is a 13km loop with ten stops, so you’re probably going to need a car, designated driver and a pair of pants with an elasticised waistband. The great thing about the trail is that pinpoints the very best spots to stop and includes a number of kid friendly activities, perfect for families.
Pick up the trail at Yarra Valley Gateway Estate, where you can pick your own juicy, ripe strawberries. All of the strawberries are grown indoors so you can pick them in all weather conditions and with no entrance fee, you only pay for what you pick. They also have a range of farm fresh vegetables and their signature Gateway Estate free range dry aged beef.
If you’re hankering for a picnic, take all that lovely fresh produce and team it with home-made organic bread, jams and relishes purchased from The Farm Gate Shop.
Next stop on the trail is Coombe Farm Estate, which was once home to Dame Nellie Melba and specialises in supplying top-notch chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. You can take a tour of the beautiful on-site gardens daily, except Sundays, and stock up on a few bottles of your favourite drop.
One winery may not be enough, which is why the trail also takes you to St Huberts Vineyard, Yering Farm Wines, Stones and Punt Road Winery too. The great thing about visiting these places is you get to see the land where the grapes are grown, matching what you taste with what you see around you.
If all that wine gets a bit too much, seek refuge at Napoleone Brewery and Ciderhouse. The building was created from the foundations of a 19th century dairy on the Napoleone family property and transformed into a working brewery with stunning views of the area. Get comfortable with a pint, pot or tasting paddle, giving you the chance to sample each craft beer on offer.
The second last stop on the trail takes you to Yarra Valley Dairy, which is an absolute haven for cheese lovers. It’s a chance to indulge in tasting some of the finest traditional Australian cheeses, set in the picture-perfect surrounds of the dairy farm. Sample marinated cheese, fresh creations like chèvre and dill, or go all out with the rich, full-flavoured mature cheeses. Just be warned, you’re going to need an esky for all the take-aways you purchase.
If you’ve still got room, make a stop at the Coldstream Brewery, the very last stop along the trail. The pizzas here are fantastic and the beer tasting paddles are a great way to try a bit of everything and find your favourite.
Getting lost along the Coldstream Trail is a great way to discover the real meaning of farm to table. As you explore the area you get to see and taste the land’s produce, giving you an even better appreciation for really good food.