These days Mansfield, a small town on the doorstep of Mt Buller and Mt Stirling, is a vibrant food and wine hub.
It’s a far cry from when greasy hamburgers and cold chips were the only options on the way to the snow. Think gourmet food, craft beer, fine wines and quirky shopping and schedule in extra time to explore the pretty high country town surrounded by lofty mountains and rolling hills.
Named after an English village, it has a rich and colourful history starting with its gold mining days in the 1840s. It was also the stomping ground of bushranger Ned Kelly – a marble monument pays tribute to the three police who lost their lives in a shootout in 1880.
No matter what season it is you will find High Street and Highett Street buzzing and soon discover Mansfield’s charm.
Drop into the iconic Mansfield Regional Produce Store, known as the Proddy by the locals. Dean and Gillian Belle – ex Mt Buffalo Chalet, have been showcasing the region’s best produce and wines there since 2007. In another life, the store that dates back to 1895 was a furniture auction room and a greengrocer.
Fuel up for the day on sweet potato and macadamia nut fritters with poached eggs and chilli jam on the side. Coffee is great too and it’s hard to resist the sweet and savoury muffins, cakes and slices piled high on the counter. Don’t leave without a signature Dutch chocolate and walnut brownie or you’ll be sorry.
Stock up on supplies for your snow stay including pasta, cheese, dumplings, frozen meals such as Chicken Korma and Tunisian Lamb, and gluten free products. Pick up locally made treats including jams, pickles and bread.
Wine lovers should head to the wine room where more than 70 local wines feature and check out the art for sale by talented local artists.
Get your caffeine fix at the Mansfield Coffee Merchant located in one of the town’s oldest buildings. Former Melbourne coffee guru, Mat Picone uses ethically sourced in-house roasted beans. The cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Coffee is fabulous and has a great following. The roast lamb shawarma with garlic yoghurt, roast capsicum pickles and fresh herbs on house flatbread, is a dinner standout.
Crunch the Carbs
Willpower vanishes as you discover the temptations including authentic French artisan pastries, cakes and chocolate at the small Alpine Patisserie. The raspberry and blackberry mousse cake is heavenly and the pumpkin baguettes – delish.
Boonderoo Farm sourdough and rye breads plus other artisan breads are available at the Mansfield Produce Store.
Vegan, vego, gluten free fixes
Vegans, vegetarians and paleo lovers are well catered for at the super cute, Camille in the Kitchen cafe, where you will find delicious gluten free cakes and healthy slices. Smoothies, juices and speciality tea and coffees are served. The beetroot latte and mushroom cacao will have you licking your lips. Camille is a French chef and naturopath.
The Fields is a fun, funky bar and eatery that showcases Asian fusion cuisine for lunch and dinner plus takeaways. There’s burgers and buns for lunch – fancy a wagyu beef, cheese, bacon, pickle, onion, lettuce, on a squishy bun. For dinner try the Octopus Takoyaki- yummy.
Cosy up beside the roaring fire at the Delatite Hotel where– specialities include roasted lamb rump with rosemary. Love a steak? Try the Red Gum Scotch fillet on a creamy parsnip puree and sautéed green vegetables with bacon and drizzled with a rich jus. Or feeling wicked – the Delatite Bad Boy Parmie might be for you.
Bos Taurus Steakhouse is the town’s dedicated steakhouse, bar, grill and artisan butcher that’s been reopened by Chelton Crow and Jane Denny. You can select your cut of meat and dine in or purchase from the on-site micro butchery and take it with you.
The Commercial Hotel Chef Marty McQuillan does great smoked meats– the smoked chicken wings and homestyle braised lamb shank are delicious.
Delatite Winery Cellar Door is 10kms from Mansfield and home to cool climate wines, great views, tasty platters, pizzas and local produce.
Drop in for a tasting at Ros Ritchie Wines at historic Magnolia House on the town’s outskirts. Ros started her own wine making enterprise in 2008 – it’s a beautiful and historic location with pretty gardens.
Best Hangover Fodder
Had a big night? George and Al Roy, described as the cheeky little brother cafe to Mansfield Coffee Merchant serves tasty burgers, fried chicken and falafels.
The Delatite Hotel runs Pancakes at the Pub on Sunday mornings with pancakes, waffles, toasties and egg and bacon rolls.
Father and son team, Jeff and Sam Whyte brew craft beer at Social Bandit Brewing Co. Popular drops include the hoppy Triggered pale ale, grassy wet-hopped Delinquent IPA and The Heff, an impressive version of a German hefeweizen. Darn good pizza is served as well.
Mansfield Produce Market
Fabulous fruit, vegies, artisan bread, cheese, eggs, cakes and sweet treats are showcased at the Mansfield Farmers Market held on the fourth Saturday of the month.
Shop, Shop, Shop
Wander the main streets and you will come across a wide variety of quirky shops including Home Station that’s known for its high country quirky gifts and furnishings. Made in Mansfield is manned by local artists who showcase their work. Basic B Lifestyle Store has funky fashion and gifts.
Photo credit: Filed Image/ShutterstockCyclists will love the Great Victorian Bike Trail that stretches 134kms from Tallarook to Mansfield. You can ride a small section or tackle the entire trail. E bikes are available at All Terrain Cycles.
Get lost in the High Country Maze, then enjoy the gardens. Head to Power’s Lookout for amazing views and historic Stringybark Creek commemorates the police shootings by Ned Kelly and his gang. Saddle up for a horse ride with Watsons Trail Rides.
Note: Some restaurants and eateries may change hours during COVID-19 so please check ahead.
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