When two people just “get” each other, banter flows like rich, warm chocolate under a gentle heat. That’s exactly what happened when Kate Ceberano chatted with highly acclaimed Culinary Director and co-owner of Daylesford’s Lake House, Alla Wolf-Tasker, about the remarkable community of Daylesford.
Kate: Lake House continues to be accoladed with so many awards, it is a gastronomic retreat that represents the region in a lot of ways. Alla, I think you too personify everything that this region is.
Alla: Thanks Kate, yes, we’re super proud of our continued awards at Lake House, but I think you’ve nailed something extraordinary about the region. When you visit here, you really do “meet the locals”. It’s not just me - we all personify the place. This is not a region of enterprises owned by faceless people who live elsewhere. When you front up to a farm, workshop, distillery, restaurant, gallery or a fermentary, you will most often meet or interact with the person who owns the business. We are locals, and so we are super passionate about what we do. This is our home. It matters to us. You can’t help but want to connect and learn more.
In some cases, we now have multi-generational family businesses like ours, amongst producers and winemakers. It all makes for an exciting and culturally rich community.
Kate: Tell me more about this interesting, culturally rich community?
Alla: You can sense the rich tapestry of the region. It’s a richness that comes from the variety of enterprise; from the love for the area itself and a joy about the produce grown. Beautiful things are made and created here, be they art or wonderful food and wine. Hospitality abounds. But be prepared to scratch the surface a little. Ours is a real regional community, not some sanitised, gussied up version of one. We get our hands dirty. We are proud of what we do, and we are particularly proud of the people who grow and produce our beautiful local food and make our products. Spend a bit of time uncovering and getting to know our artisans, producers, artists, cooks, restaurateurs and winemakers. Stop and chat with our farmers at the weekly market, visit studios or give us a wave in our kitchens and gardens.
Kate: We have this very exciting event - Live.Love.Life happening in Daylesford on Nov 14-18. One of the things that David Bromley and I, as creative directors, have been grappling with, is this notion of wellness. Wellness seems to run through the veins of the region. It is what we want people to experience when they come here. How do you think we best do that?
Alla: Wellness does run through the veins of our region. I think I say it best in my latest book :
“If you visit us, we can promise you’ll eat and drink very well. You’ll likely share forest tracks with birds and animals, enjoy great shopping, a little spa indulgence and possibly immerse yourself in wonderful local art, glorious music and beautiful events. Just make sure you also take some time to touch the earth, to stand in stillness before a sunset or a sunrise, to climb an ancient hill or listen to the sounds of rushing waters…….” Let our beautiful environment and the warmth of our community lay itself upon you. You’ll understand that life matters. You’ll understand wellness.
Kate: Thanks Alla for inspiring us with your description of your remarkable community. This region of winemakers, gastronomic creators, artisans, artists and local growers created the apothecary of health that is Hepburn and Daylesford. It’s something quite exceptional.
Alla Wolf-Tasker’s book “Three Decades On” is available from lakehouse.com.au