Sunday, June 4, 2023

Four great foodie spots to go that aren’t in the food guides

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by Andrew Prior.

There are lots of different reasons to travel and food is definitely one of the best ones. If you’re planning on taking a trip around regional Australia, there some great foodie spots to visit on the way. You may even want to make a special trip to visit some of these, especially if you’re interested in food festivals. Some of these places don’t always feature in the food or travel guides. Here are some of my favourite places in regional areas.

Glenrowan pies
The much-praised pies from
Glenrowan Bakehouse & Café

Glenrowan Bakehouse & Café, 34 Gladstone St, Glenrowan, Vic. 3675

Halfway between Melbourne and Canberra, just off the M31, is the quaint Australian town of Glenrowan, which is also the perfect place to stop and try some real traditional Aussie meat pies. The Glenrowan Bakehouse & Cafe have received high praise over the years from thousands of happy customers for their pies, but just as good are the chicken parma and chips. When you have finished with these, for dessert you might try the bee sting cake, a delicious sponge cake with cream in the middle and topped with honey and almonds. All of the above are good enough reasons to search out Glenrowan on a road trip.

The Vanilla Slice Café, 23 Ocean Beach Rd, Sorrento, Vic. 3943

Vanilla slice from the Vanilla Slice Cafe
Vanilla slice from
the eponymous cafe

For some people, the Mornington Peninsula is about a weekend getaway from Melbourne, fabulous wines or a visit to the fairy penguins. But foodie-minded travellers will know about the famous vanilla slice in the town of Sorrento not far from the bottom tip of the Australian mainland. The Vanilla Slice Cafe doesn’t just make any old garden variety vanilla slice, it makes the best in Victoria if not, well, Australia. The cafe is famous in the peninsula for it and a bit of an institution. So much so that other café’s in the area have caught on and there are now more than one place to choose from. There is even said to be a vanilla slice war going on in this regional Victorian town, so you might just have to try a few other places vanilla slices. But if you only stop at one, this one won’t disappoint.

Spirit House Restaurant and Cooking School, 20 Ninderry Rd,  Yandina, Qld. 4561

Spirit House Restaurant and cooking school

The late Helen Brierty and her husband Peter started the Asian restaurant and cooking school The Spirit House back in 1995 on the Sunshine Coast and pretty much put the town of Yandina on the map for all Australian foodies. Now it’s a one-hat restaurant where you can still learn from the chefs that cook there, keeping with the traditional that Helen started. It’s set in an extraordinarily authentic Thai garden setting, which conjures up images of Chang Mai. Even if you don’t go there for the cooking school, the restaurant is one of the best regional restaurants in Queensland. It’s a perfect way to escape the cold, although can Queensland in winter really be described as cold?

Orange F.O.O.D Week, Orange NSW 2800

Orange Food Week

One of the best food festivals in Australia in my opinion is in a part of Australia a lot of Australians wouldn’t go to. Orange is a beautiful regional city 255 kms west of Sydney and 55 kms west of Bathurst. It’s a city that has become known for both its food and wine, with a claim to more than one hatted restaurant and more than one celebrity chef. It’s only fitting that the city has a food festival and  it’s not just about good food, but in fact great food. Orange F.O.O.D Week is actually Australia’s longest running regional food festival and it combines restaurants, cafes and food producers from the area along with great wines in a week-long celebration of great food. The next festival runs from the 9th to 18th of April 2021.

Andrew Prior is a committed Australian foodie, cook, tour operator, author and YouTuber. After giving Masterchef Australia a go as a contestant in 2013, he decided to set up a food tourism business in Melbourne. He now runs food tours to and around France and runs cooking classes. He has a YouTube channel at


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