Food fads come and go, but coffee, brunch and sourdough bread are here to stay. This passion for casual dining with fresh ingredients is shared by bakers, cooks, chefs and baristas throughout Victoria's regions.
Some of the smallest towns and villages are home to the choicest cafes, bakeries, and – the ultimate sweet spot – bakery-cafes, many of which create delicious meals, pastries, sweets and loaves with local ingredients.
Get your caffeine and brunch fix at converted 1950s store Cliffy's Emporium in Daylesford, at versatile general stores in Kilcunda and Wye River, or in a nursery at Poppies in Anglesea. Bendigo's UNESCO City and Region of Gastronomy designation makes it no slouch: pop in to El Gordo and Percy and Percy, among others.
There's all-day food and espresso in the High Country at Mansfield Coffee Merchant, and home-style goods at Annie's Provedore Barwon Heads.
Vegan menus and options are becoming more widespread. Echuca's gorgeous The Sweet Meadow is one that gets it right.
When it comes to bread, naturally leavened and slow-fermented sourdough is in, whether white, stoneground or grain. Loaves are baked by longstanding artisans and modern newcomers. Don't miss Trentham's RedBeard Historic Bakery, where the wood-fired 19th-century masonry oven is as much an attraction as the pies, bread and cakes. Or Burnham Bakery in Sherbrooke Forest, where bakers apply biodynamic and sustainable practices.
Get in quick for French-butter pastries at Wesburn's Yarra Valley Artisan Baker, and stay for a filled baguette lunch at Healesville's Habituel.
You'll discover a passion for pies across our state, both glammed-up and traditional. Bite into scrumptious scallop pies at Apollo Bay Bakery on the Great Ocean Road, and choose from 15-plus flavours baked at award-winning Rolling Pin Pies and Cakes in Queenscliff.
For traditional sweets done exceptionally well, it's hands-down custard and pastry heaven at the Vanilla Slice Cafe in Sorrento.