Fun fact: some of Australia’s very first providores popped up right here, in Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges, way back in the 1850s.

Our region was at the epicentre of the gold rush, and Swiss Italians settled here early on; some earning a living as providores. One of their enduring legacies is the Bull Boar sausage, which you can still find at some local butchers. The Swiss Italians were also instrumental in helping preserve our famous mineral springs, which were at risk from the extensive mining, but that’s another story.

Today, the role of the providore is to gather up all the fantastic produce that is grown here and sell it in one spot, saving you time and providing you with the best of the best. Bread, cheese, honey, preserves, charcuterie and a dizzying array of seasonal delights are packaged up for you. And the person selling them to you will likely give you an insiders’ tip on the best ‘secret’ picnic spot to throw out a rug and tuck in.

Out east, you’ll find Lancefield Providore. Family-owned, and open seven days a week, they stock loads of fresh produce as well as preserved foods, snacks, staples and more. Not far away, in Kyneton’s charming Piper Street, is Duck Duck Goose & Larder, which has a great café and a tasty selection of provisions, including local wine, beer and gin. Just down the road is the famed Piper St Food Co. Their pork pies are the stuff of legend, and the Sandercock family, who run the business, are delightful.

North of Castlemaine, is the little town of Harcourt, famed for its apples. Here, you’ll find the brilliant Harcourt Produce & General Store: providore, general store, café and wine bar all rolled into one must-visit location. The owner, Annette Larson, a professional chef, saw the site and said I’m going to ‘turn it into something amazing’, and she did. In Trentham’s main drag, you’ll find the beautiful Ruby Goose Foods. Every item is almost photogenic, it’s so colourful and fresh….it’s like walking through a still life painting and the produce is top notch.

Daylesford is home to many of the descendants of the aforementioned Swiss Italians and is also home to some world-class providores. We recommend starting at Cliffy’s Emporium, which is also an iconic breakfast (or lunch) spot and a favourite of both locals and visitors. Just down the road, is Blake Family Grocers which stocks the regions largest collection of fresh produce. At the end of the main drag (Vincent St) is Winespeake, the place to get a bottle of wine and some cheese (the range and quality are outstanding). And for those who love their preserved meat, you simply have to visit Istra Smallgoods, which is just out of town, in Musk.

Our region has a rich heritage, and its legacy lives on in its produce and those who provide it.


Hero Image: Daylesford Macedon Tourism Eat and Drink Guide. Dairy Flat Farm. Photo by Inkd Fotogrfa

About the author

Steve Wroe, Daylesford Macedon Tourism

Steve’s passion for mountain biking takes him all around our region. He lives in Daylesford with his wife, two young girls and three chickens. On most weekends, he and his family explore; either piling into the car and taking a drive to a small town, or putting on the hiking boots and going for a bushwalk. Steve is a big believer in the benefits of rural living and loves introducing his girls to the history, culture and nature of the region. Occasionally they take their bantam chook, Lulu, on their adventures.