Trentham is pretty small. It’s the kind of place you drive right through on your way to somewhere, glance out the window and think, “Huh, cute country town,” and then keep on driving. But Trentham is well worth not only a stop, but a day or two spent exploring the place and its surrounds. For a town of its size, there’s quite a bit going on, including some food that’s sure to impress even the most jaded of city slickers.
Located in between Daylesford, Kyneton and Gisborne, Trentham is in the perfect position to explore spa country or the Macedon area. But increasingly, visitors are arriving in Trentham to enjoy the town itself. While many locals declare the place to be on the verge of becoming ‘the new Daylesford’, it’s far too small for that.
And really, Trentham doesn’t want to be the new Daylesford – it’s smaller and quieter and the locals like it that way. But, one thing the two towns do have in common is a great food scene. There have been a few places in Trentham flying the flag for a couple of years, but it was the opening of Annie Smithers’ second restaurant, du Fermier, on the main street, that really started to bring the town attention.
We spent a cold (the town is an icy 700 feet above sea level) but relaxing weekend sampling fine food and wine and enjoying the bounty the region has to offer.
Twigs on High
Interior designer Fiona Nowland has created a cosy, self contained cottage with a French provincial feel right on the main street of town. Previously a retail store and cafe (a sensibility it still retains somewhat), it’s now a two-bedroom cottage filled to the brim with books and knick knacks. There’s a full kitchen, a welcome hamper on arrival and a dining area, making it suitable both for a lazy romantic getaway and a group holiday.
38 High Street, Trentham
(03) 5348 4422
The Cosmopolitan Hotel
Looming at the end of the main street, The Cosmo is somewhat of a strange sight. Driving past, it looks abandoned, but head round the back to the stables and you’re in store for a surprise. The Cosmo burnt down in 2005 and was bought by Rod Hughes in 2009. Since then he and his business partner have set about slowly restoring the pub. First up were the stables, which have been converted into a restaurant, with quality food coming out of a kitchen run out of a trailer in the garden. Plans are in the works to renovate the main building and bring The Cosmo back to its former glory.
Corner High Street and Cosmo Road, Trentham
(03) 5424 1516
Just off the main street is Colliban Foodstore, a cafe, foodstore and wine shop. Owner Paul English spent more than three years working on the site, before opening a little over a year ago. Originally a restaurant, the idea behind Colliban’s pared back incarnation is to offer samples of the local produce stocked in the shop – think terrines, platters or a traditional pork pie – alongside quality coffee. The real drawcard though is the incredibly large wine list (there’s 700 wines on there, including 200 half bottles). Full of locals chatting across tables, Colliban is a nice way to spend a morning over the papers.
18 Market Street, Trentham
(03) 5424 1774
With her Kyneton restaurant, Annie Smithers Bistrot, igniting the town’s food renaissance a few years ago, Smithers is set to do the same with her new venture, du Fermier. French for ‘from the farmhouse’, du Fermier is all about French country-style cooking. The menu is small and seasonal. There might be cured ocean trout or spaghetti with mussels. We definitely recommend ordering the plat du jour, a dish to share that evokes everything good about rustic French food. When we visited, it was a to die for cassoulet with a side of potatoes roasted in duck fat and a fresh green salad. They also do lunch.
42 High Street, Trentham
(03) 5424 1634
Red Beard Bakery
Tucked down a laneway behind the main street is the exceedingly popular Red Beard Bakery. Home to a Scotch oven that’s over 100 years old, Red Beard specialises in sourdough, offering a large range of bread and other baked treats. The bakery/cafe does a great breakfast and there are pies, sausage rolls, focaccias and all kinds of sweet treats on offer. They also run tours and sourdough making workshops.
38a High Street, Trentham
(03) 5424 1002
The longest single drop waterfall in Victoria, Trentham Falls is a beauty, cascading 32 metres into the Colliban River. Just out of town, there’s a viewing platform to admire from afar, or wander down to hear to roar up close.
Off Trentham Falls Road, Trentham
Every third Saturday of the month sees the Trentham Farmers’ Market set up shop in the town square. A small, local affair, there’s generally fruit and veg, local produce (maybe some honey or homemade preserves), bread from Red Beard Bakery, a sausage sizzle, crafty things and even live poultry.
Trentham Town Square, High Street, Trentham
At a quiet end of town, Wooden Duck is packed to the brim with industrial furniture, antiques and a whole lot of ducks. It’s a bit of an odd mix, but amongst the figurines, old signs and feathered friends, there are some great pieces of wooden furniture including desks, shelves and a set of collectors drawers we almost brought home with us.
51–53 High Street, Trentham
(03) 5424 1054
If you enjoy the pig and all its products, Istra is a must do. About a 20-minute drive from Trentham, in the even smaller town of Musk, it’s well worth the journey. Istra is run by the Jurcan brothers – Bernie and Sebastian – whose parents arrived from Croatia over 35 years ago and started producing all kinds of piggy things. Their bacon is well known to Melbourne breakfast-goers, but they also make top-notch proscuitto, pancetta, cappocollo, salami, ham, chorizo and much more. Stop past their factory and shop to buy in bulk, straight from the producers.
36 Wheelers Hill Road, Musk
(03) 5348 3382