Ready for a walk down memory lane? Lee Ho Fook chef Victor Liong is recreating the Chinese restaurant of Australia’s past for The Village Feast, complete with sweet and sour pork, prawn toast and black bean beef. But rest assured the provenance of your roast duck, satay chicken and short-rib beef will be of the highest Gippsland quality. Dive in.
Farmers Daughters – chef Alejandro Saravia’s ode to the produce of Gippsland – is going all out for The Village Feast, bringing purpose-built equipment from MONA in Hobart to cook a whole cow from Gippsland Natural Beef over open flames. The steel structure that Saravia’s got his hands on was built for last year’s Dark Mofo event and will rotate the animal 360-degrees over a fire pit, roasting it slowly until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender. Given the size of the animal, it’ll take about two days of cooking. And if that wasn’t enough, Saravia will also set up a camp-fire kitchen, complete with charcoal grill and fire wall, over which he’ll prepare damper, grilled corn and a wood-fired vegetable salad.
Farmers Daughters asado set-up at a Renascence Gippsland event in 2017
An essential detour on any roadtripper’s Gippsland itinerary, tiny Korumburra bakery Tamsin’s Table (located within The Borough Department Store) will be bringing its treats to the main street of Jindivick for the day. Choose from a buckwheat sponge, lemon and polenta cake, almond and lavender cake or classic chocolate – or don’t choose at all and get a selection of everything on offer to share with your squad.
Relive afternoons spent poring over the lolly jars at the local corner store with one of these paper bags. Filled to the brim with sweet treats made by hand in Gippsland, the bags are the work of Jaci Hicken, who runs cooking school and event space Jacican in Mirboo North. And there’s nothing mass-produced about these sweets. We’re talking berry liquorice made with real fruit from Sunny Creek Organic Berry Farm, milk bottles made with Gippsland Jersey milk and musk sticks twisted by hand.
Lollies made by Jaci Hickens
Getting back to his country roots, superstar chef Matt Moran is partnering with the only restaurant in town, the Jindi Caf, for The Village Feast. The chef’s famously tender pulled lamb shoulder will make an appearance, as will a beef burger (one of the local café’s specialties), pavlova with local berries and more. Plus, he’ll be cooking alongside one of his biggest fans, Sue Goodwin, who owns and operates the Caf.
Born and bred Gippsland chef Trevor Perkins is setting up shop under the banner of the Smokehouse, where he’ll proudly serve a 100 per cent Gippsland menu. Get set for Noojee trout pâté, terrine of rabbit sourced from Yarragon, Tarago River and Prom Country cheese and grissini made with flour milled in South Gippsland. And that’s just the beginning.
Carlton pub The Lincoln have been tasked with creating the town pub that Jindivick never had. Sailors Grave beers, brewed in East Gippsland in the abandoned Orbost Butter and Produce Factory, will go down nicely with a serve of the pub’s fish and chips (made with Gippsland fish of course). Or if beer’s not your thing, local wines and ciders will also be on offer.
Patrick Sullivan and William Downie are well-known names on Australia’s natural wine circuit. And they also happen to be residents of Baw Baw Shire, where Jindivick is located. Teaming up with mate David Moyle (Longsong) they’ll be turning a hidden back block into an intimate alfresco wine bar, serving their own wines while Moyle dishes up grilled flatbreads topped with produce from Sullivan and Downie’s farms. If we know anything about these guys, we know this is a must-do at The Village Feast.
You might know Shannon Martinez for her vegan restaurants Smith & Daughters and Smith & Deli. But for The Village Feast, she’s loosening the rules and offering a vegetarian menu of crowd-pleasing sandwiches and salads. Think egg salad, turkey club and chicken schnitzel on bread plus a Caesar, potato and other classics. Then, stash a sweet treat in your pack for later. Pick from Swiss roll, doughnuts and hundreds and thousands biscuits.
Doughnuts from Smith & Deli
Gippsland distillery Loch is partnering with Melbourne bar Bad Frankie, combining their joint love of all things local to create cocktails that put the region’s spirits in the spotlight. Loch’s gins made it on to the drinks list of Noma’s Australia pop-up in 2016 and are crafted at a solar-powered distillery 50 kilometres south-west of Jindivick. Bad Frankie takes pride in a nearly 100-per-cent Australian line-up on its shelves, crafting cocktails using local vermouths, gins, whiskeys and more, and complementing these with Victorian brews and wines. Sounds like a winning combo to us.
Melbourne’s favourite bottle shop, Blackhearts & Sparrows, has taken on Canberra, Hobart and now, Gippsland. Well, for the day at least. Converting the now-shuttered general store into the town bottle shop, the crew will also be pouring wines for you to enjoy right there before you decide which bottle of Gippsland juice to take home as a memento of the weekend.
The best ice-cream is made with the best milk. And with a steady supply of Gippsland Jersey, the ice-cream at The Village Feast is set to be the stuff of dreams. Scoops of passionfruit, boysenberry and crème brûlée will join staples like chocolate and vanilla, while the list of ice-cream sundaes includes a dairy farmer’s play on the frog in the pond called Cow in the Paddock – it has to be seen to be believed. Pus there’ll be milkshakes, also made with Gippsland Jersey milk, in an array of classic and not-so-classic flavours. It’s all on offer at – you guessed it – The Weekly Times Milk Bar.
The Village Feast, noon-9pm, 16 March, Main Street, Jindivick, $25. Tickets are on sale now.
By Emma Breheny