Clockwise from top left: pick up wine, meat and local produce, including yo yo biscuits, at Farm Foods; jars of honeycomb at Darriwill Farm; fishing boats on Apollo Bay; stop at Birregurra General Store for sourdough and great burgers with the lot; enjoy a cheese platter in the garden at Timboon Farmhouse Cheese; Shaw River cheese (at Farm Foods) hails from further down the Great Ocean Road.
is more your style, try the homemade cannellini baked beans with crispy bacon. The coffee’s Genovese here, too.
In Torquay, try Mejavo’s (Shop 2, 15 Bristol Rd, tel: (03) 5261 2465), a deli that does breakfast essentials like coffee, toasties and muesli with fresh fruit. It also has a great selection of local, Australian and imported cheeses, and is a lot less “Alf-and-Ailsa’s- diner-in-Summer-Bay” than most of the other places in town.
WHERE TO SHOP While the coast along the Great Ocean Road first made its name for whaling, stock came soon after and now its lush greens hills are good for milkers, beef cattle, and the piggies that appear on menus as Otway pork. Move inland and you’ll find produce including honey, free-range eggs, berries, olives, eels and yabbies. And when it comes to the best local seafood, the crayfish is king.
the Kerrs also account for a lot of bobby (young) veal in another of their businesses, it’s also a good place to source the meat for your next scaloppine or osso buco. Other local products stocked include Old Lorne Road olive oil, Shaw River cheese from down the Great Ocean Road towards Warrnambool, and Gentle Annie cordials and jams in flavours like silvanberry and boysenberry. The boys also plan to open a neighbouring cafe.
Next door, the Birregurra General Store (59-61 Main St, Birregurra, tel: (03) 5236 2013) sells Pennyroyal Farm’s magnificently tart raspberry jam, and bread from the La Madre and Irrewarra bakeries. They also make a good coffee and an excellent burger with the lot, worth breaking the journey for.
Further south is the down-to-earth Deans Marsh General Store (1419 Birregurra-Deans Marsh Rd, Deans Marsh, tel: (03) 5236 3305), where Ashley McInnes stocks such local stuff as Irrewarra bread, honey, spuds and onions.
At Birregurra, Farm Foods (43 Main St, tel: (03) 5236 2611) is one of three small stores run by the Kerr Brothers. Part butchery, part grocery and part bottle shop, their meat is a prime reason for coming here. They make their own snags, and from their boning room in Colac comes local lamb, pork and beef. As
You’ll usually find produce from small farms, homemade cakes and biodynamic herbs at the Deans Marsh Produce and Craft Market (Community Cottage, 10 Pennyroyal Valley Rd, Deans Marsh, tel: (03) 5236 3388). It’s on the first Sunday of the month from November to April, 10am-2pm.
Still inland, the best-known cheeses from this region come from Timboon. Just over 20 years ago, Hermann Schultz set up Timboon Farmhouse Cheese (23 Ford and Fells Rd, Timboon, tel: (03) 5598 3387) as a pioneering biodynamic operation. He sold out of the business a few years back, but still supplies the milk. A combination of Friesian and Jersey milk makes for a wonderfully rich, creamy brie, which is our pick. The gourmet feta is perhaps their most famous cheese, but two fresh-curd cheeses rolled in either herbs or a crust of capsicum and pepper also have their fans. There’s also a pretty cottage garden if you want to while away a few hours, far from the beachside crowds, with a cheese platter. They also stock biodynamic Irrewarra Natural Icecream in blackberry, blueberry and mango.
If it’s something cool and sweet you’re after, try Timboon Fine Ice Cream Bar (41 Lord St, Port Campbell, tel: (03) 5598 6411). They scoop the Timboon Ice Cream brand, although old glamour favourite flavours like Turkish delight and lime and coconut weren’t in evidence on our visit. Next door at Port Campbell Marine Services, you can pick up crays and a small selection of fish like warehou, flathead and hake.