Koonwarra Store has been representing locally grown and made food and drink since opening in 1996. The building it’s housed in dates much further back, to 1892.This heritage has been lovingly preserved – the site was once a newsagency and a post office, and the old scales are still on display.
There’s no sign of roughing it in the country here, with a custom blend of coffee on the espresso machine, turmeric lattes, almond-milk chai and hot Milo for the kids. You can also taste South Gippsland wines. The store stocks bottles from Lithostylis, Lucinda Estate, Dirty Three, Lightfoot and Sons, Bass River and Bellvale on the shelves, as well as Grand Ridge beer from Mirboo North.
The kitchen plates up breakfast and lunch, with everything as house-made as possible. Your coffee is paired with Gippsland Jersey milk, and the shelves are lined with house-made preserves and locally sourced olives, vinegars, oils and salt. The store is also a must-stop for a handful of local cheeses from Pangrazzi, Berry’s Creek and Tarago River Cheese (which makes the silky Shadows of Blue double-cream blue).
There’s a sunny courtyard for grazing on warm days, skirted by a lush garden and pond. The store is well situated as a start (or end) point for riding the Great Southern Rail Trail, and the staff will happily pack you a custom hamper to take on your two-wheeled adventures.