Alla Wolf-Tasker at Lake House
With countless accolades and an Order of Australia under her belt, Lake House Culinary Director Alla Wolf-Tasker AM is a legend in regional dining.
Her iconic restaurant in Daylesford has been particularly supportive of the region's local produce, even championing an 'open-door policy' for small producers. But just as Alla has brought a passion for great food to Daylesford, the region itself is fuel for Alla's own inspiration.
'Daylesford and its surrounds inspire with their natural beauty – the undulating landscape, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and forests,' Alla says. 'Its distinctly-felt seasons are a boon for the keen cook or gardener. The local community of growers, provedores, artists, craftspeople and musicians also inspire me.'
Alla shares with us some of her favourite things about Daylesford & the Macedon Ranges.
1. Local provedores
Daylesford is home to an incredible glut of great food producers, many of whom supply Alla's restaurant and cafe. 'Powlett Hill, where we source our biodynamic spelt flour, and Passing Clouds' beautiful wines just minutes down the road come to mind,' says Alla.
There's also an abundance of local honey in the region, including from Alla's own Dairy Flat Farm. 'It's importantly single source, cold extracted and unfiltered, so it still retains all the things that make honey a real superfood,' explains Alla. 'Where would we be without the humble bee?'
2. Great bread
What's a village without a great bakery? Alla recommends RedBeard in Trentham, where organic sourdough loaves emerge from a magnificent 100-year-old Scotch oven. Alla's own slow-fermented sourdough loaves, baguettes and pastries are produced by a master baker from a bakehouse set amidst the rolling gardens and pasture of Dairy Flat Farm, and are on sale daily through Wombat Hill House.
3. Artists and craftspeople
'We're blessed with talent in this region,' Alla says. Both Lake House and Dairy Flat Farm are filled with pieces by sculptor Anthony Vanderzweep, ceramicist Brigitte Bodenham and furniture maker Greg Stirling among many others. The latter first produced the huge handmade oak table for the Lake House cellar room some two decades ago.
4. Mineral springs
Daylesford has the largest concentration of naturally-occurring mineral springs in Australia. The renowned healing waters have spawned a vibrant wellness industry in the area. 'Finding a great masseur or integrated therapist is no problem at all,' says Alla. 'I love enjoying a pure hot mineral spa in one of our treetop Japanese soaker baths at Lake House after a walk through our local forests.'
Alla's bonus tip: go out of your way to seek out some of the more secluded springs like Leitches Creek or Deep Spring in Eganstown.
5. Sunday market
Daylesford's weekly Sunday community market is a chance for the the community and visitors to truly shop local. 'Seasonal produce is among the best in Victoria, and you get to rub shoulders with the interesting vibrant community we have here,' says Alla.
'You're bound to see some well-known faces – actors, musicians, chefs, writers and winemakers – who have made Daylesford their home, but also just folk who understand the importance of supporting local.'