The tiny town of Marysville in Victoria was devastated by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires which wiped out the majority of the town’s buildings and killed many of its residents. But before the bushfires Marysville was better known for its natural beauty and with the bush land now regenerating its time Marysville was back on the map for more than tragedy. I was invited to visit Marysville for a weekend to experience how the town is busy reinventing itself.
Everyone in Marysville has a story to tell about the bushfires including Marysville Patisserie owners Christine and Ashraf Doos who evacuated at the last minute and were left with only the sign and front door to their patisserie standing. Showing great resilience they have rebuilt the Marysville Patisserie on the same spot. There’s a wide verandah you can sit out on and substantial lunch offerings from home made pies ($18.50) to a salad made with lamb shoulder ($18.50), slow cooked until it is sticky and teamed with dukkah and olives in a nod to Ashraf’s Middle Eastern heritage.
It’s the sweet stuff that steals the show here. All the cakes and ice-creams are home made. The raspberry cheesecake was dense but still fluffy and tart from the berries while an apple tart was perfect comfort food complete with a serve of smooth ice-cream speckled with vanilla bean. I loved the warm, traditional country hospitality at the Marysville Patisserie and the obvious love and pride reflected in the food.
Details: Marysville Patisserie, 7 Falls Road, Marysville (Ph 0400 596 336)
Buxton Trout and Salmon Farm
Ten minutes down the road from Marysville is the Buxton Trout and Salmon farm. The setting amongst the gum trees is very picturesque and at the farm you can catch your own trout, get it gutted and cleaned and then cook it up on one of the BBQs. The farm also has its own smoker to produce smoked trout and hand milks salmon to make salmon caviar.
Details: Buxton Trout and Salmon Farm, 2118 Maroondah Highway, Buxton (Ph 5774 7370)
Damage: $3 admission includes rod hire and bait.
Black Spur Inn
The Black Spur Inn is not your typical country pub. It’s about ten minutes drive from Marysville set in beautiful bushland and has established a name for itself as a gourmet destination. The dining area is huge and looks like the sort of place which hosts lots of wedding receptions and conferences but the view into the bush is unbeatable. The menu showcases local produce like the regional tasting plate ($18.50) with Buxton smoked salmon and Yarra Valley cheese.
Dishes have a retro feel to them with Beef Wellington ($35) even making an appearance but the food is tasty and crowd pleasing. Of the mains the spiced lamb rump ($34) impressed with the meat lightly spiced and served on top of a fluffy pea and bacon risotto. Desserts included “death by chocolate” ($11.50) which was actually a chocolate walnut pudding served warm and oozing in the middle. A rather pleasant way to die.
Details: Black Spur Inn, 436 Maroondah Highway, Narbethong (Ph 03 5963 7121)
Like most businesses in Marysville, Fraga’s Cafe burnt down in the bushfires. But owner James Fraga kept the community going in the aftermath with a temporary Fraga’s Cafe in a tent. Now the cafe has been rebuilt complete with mosaics and brightly coloured walls. The coffee here is good and the breakfast options are simple but hearty with country sized portions. My pick was the Buxton smoked trout with creamy scrambled eggs which came served on a croissant for a bit of added luxury.
Gourmet Chick was invited to visit Marysville and received complimentary meals and accomodation.
Gourmet Travel Tips
- Marysville is about one and a half hours drive from Melbourne, just past Healesville.
- There are beautiful trails for walking, running and riding throughout the surrounding bush.
- On Sundays the Marysville Community Market held in the heart of the town is worth a visit. I bought some heirloom tomato plants and also snapped up a huge bunch of asparagus for the bargain price of $3.
- We stayed at the Amelina Cottages which were rebuilt after the bush fires. Cute as a button and brand new the cottages are light and airy with spa baths and wood fires in each cottage. The cottages are right opposite a beautiful bush walking trail but are also a 5 minute walk into the centre of Marysville.
Details: Amelina Cottages, 1120 Buxton Road Marysville (Ph 0434 692 622).
Damage: Reasonable. We stayed in the Mistletoe Cottage which is $440 for two nights.