Quietly transforming raw produce into delicious food and drink using the power of fermentation.

Across our towns, villages, and countryside, is a close-knit community, quietly transforming raw produce into delicious food and drink using the power of fermentation. These are people, mostly young who have changed their lives by becoming bakers, brewers, cheesemakers, and picklers. With access to the quality raw material grown in the region and with the availability of affordable space, Central Victoria has become the fermenting capital of the nation.

One of the most influential is Sharon Flynn of The Fermentary. Author of the best-selling book Ferment For Good, she founded her fermenting business in an old factory in Daylesford. She makes pickles, sauerkraut, and fermented drinks. This summer she is teaming up with Sandy McKinley from Acre of Roses in Trentham for a series of fermenting workshops. Sandy has been growing medicinal and edible plants for a series of fermenting workshops with Sharon to be held in her exquisite rose garden.

Daniel and Sarah Ajzner from Dreaming Goat Dairy near Lancefield make some of the most sought-after goat’s milk cheese in the region. Based on a farm at Monegeetta on the banks of Deep Creek near Lancefield they ferment sheep milk using lactic acid cultures to make delicious, smooth, creamy and tangy chevre, yoghurt and other cheeses. Buy their cheeses at Piper Street Food Co, Kyneton, Riddells Creek Foodworks as well the Malmsbury, Riddells Creek and Woodend Farmers’ Markets.

Sharon Fermentary 2 Photo by Marnie Hawson uai
Sharon-Fermentary. Photo by Marnie Hawson

The Daylesford Macedon region is also blessed with artisan bakers. Best known is RedBeard in Trentham. Here, down Wolff Lane off the historic main street, sourdough breads and pastries are baked in a 120 year old woodfired oven. Daylesford bakers Katy Bauer and Alison Wilken met at RedBeard and formed their own bakery making rustic sourdough and refined pastries. Buy their Two Fold Bakehouse bread at the Daylesford Sunday Market. Out at Gisborne, Simon Matthee has been baking everyday bread at Millet Road Maker. He delivers locally and sells through local stores and farmers’ markets. Good news for sourdough aficionados is the very popular sourdough cooking classes at Alla Wolf-Tasker’s Dairy Flat Farm on the outskirts of Daylesford look set to take place again this summer.

Nearby to Dairy Flat Farm is Daylesford Cider Co. Here Johnathan and Clare Mackie make traditional English style apple cider, our regional cool climate perfect for long slow ferments. Checkout their apple orchard, cidery, tasting room and outdoor dining area. Out at Dean, between Daylesford and Ballarat, in a tiny weatherboard building that once served as the town’s bank is a nano brewery called Bankhouse Brewery. Since January 2021 Damien Norman has been brewing tiny 44 litre batches of ale, ginger beer and Local Gold, a beer made from locally malted barley and hops grown on a farm just two kilometres from his operation.

About the author

Cornish Richard
Richard Cornish
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Richard Cornish is an award winning food writer whose love of the land lead him to explore the issues around food, where it comes from, how it gets to us and why some foods taste better than others. He writes for The Age, SMH, DMT Life and has written eight cook books including co-writing the Movida series with Frank Camorra.