I have mentioned Orange before in past posts and if you are a regular reader, you will know about my strong ties to this place. I grew up in Sydney, but my Mum’s side of the family comes from here. This meant that most school holidays were spent here either visiting my Nana or my cousins who lived on a property just out of town. One of my cousins Ed (who regularly comments here) now hails from a town called Mudgee which is around two hours away. We were overdue for a catch up and wanted to have a bit of a food adventure and check out the local scenery. This is a very different place to the one I remember growing up. The Orange of my childhood was just a place we went to see family and maybe get some swimming lessons. It did not involve fancy coffee or vineyard hopping … and it certainly did not involve bacon or almond croissants.
Ed and I had a similar adventure last year, but it was just after Easter and many places were closed. This time we were prepared. The only downer to the weekend is that we did not get any time for vineyard hopping, only eating. This OK, it just gives us another excuse for another adventure!
This post is also in two parts – mainly because we crammed so much in and showing you all in one giant post would be overkill.
I hope you enjoy part one of Anna and Ed’s 48 hours in Orange!
First things first.
Byng St Local Store was Ed’s suggestion and this was the moment that I looked over to her with pride and decided that she was now tour leader. She always picks the best places to go.
The coffee here is Allpress – bingo, guys. Orange has a couple of local roasters that supply many of the coffee establishments around town. Bills Beans is extremely popular with the locals and I haven’t had a chance to try Fish River Roasters but I hear that it is beautiful.
Ed didn't want to be photographed staring wistfully into the distance with my coffee beside her – so instead the photo above is comprised of a macchiato... and Ed’s abandoned handbag.
The atmosphere here was so relaxing that we decided to stick around for lunch. I got a ficelle with Parma ham and Manchego - my interest was piqued by the Parma ham, but I purchased because I wanted to know what exactly a ficelle was. Turns out (as you can see) that it is like a baguette only flatter and thinner.
Ed's lunch in the background was a Byng St BLT and mayo. Both were super fresh and tasty - and the fact that our lunches contained ham and bacon respectively only made us more eager to get to our next destination...
This place is like getting into a secret club or trendy inner city small bar - you need to know what to look for. We found this place by accident last year when we went to the butcher next door to buy some Trunkey Creek streaky bacon. This bacon is the bomb and if you live in Sydney, you can find it at a few farmers markets. Here is what you do if you are achin’ for some bacon in Orange:
- Go into the butchers shop and ask the butcher for Trunkey Creek bacon.
- Watch for the all-important signal (a thumb jerked to the right) and the password: (“next door”).
- Give the butcher an awkward, apologetic look because you are after bacon and not the beautiful steak etc he has on offer and;
- Walk outside and look for a silver door with grating on it.
- There will be a small tell-tale sign as shown above.
- Don’t be afraid to open the door and walk down the corridor that smells like heaven.
- There, at the end lies the answer to all your cured porcine needs.
There to greet us at Trunkey Pork and Bacon were Zanzie D'Souza and her mum Raewyn Mitchell as well as a bunch of friendly butchers. These ladies know their stuff, and are more than happy to stop for a chat - even though they were super busy packing up their wares for the markets in Sydney the next day. They told us that Saturday is the best time to visit as this is when all the action happens and they often have groups through to learn about the process of smoking and curing. Zanzie was such a sport and did have a few sides of bacon smoking away to show us that day….for you to ogle. You’re welcome.
I originally intended to just pick up some of my beloved streaky bacon, but then they went and showed us other beautiful products like chorizo and salami… and how could we say no? So, with the back seat of the car now piled with cured pork, it was time to bust a move.
Next stop was Cook Park.
I love this park – every direction that I pointed my camera I saw greenery and beauty. There is a sunken rose garden, a fernery and a huge duck pond. There is also a sweet little shop selling crafts as well as jams and slices made that day. You can’t not visit here, even if it is just to sit and have a piece of slice while watching the ducks waddle past.
If Orange were ever to be invaded, they need never fear - for they have their very own army stationed in Cook Park...
Orange is home to a few beautiful and award winning restaurants. Racine, located at La Collene Vinyard, is probably one of the most well-known. I sadly have never had the chance to eat here (hoping to rectify this in the near future) but we could not miss out on visiting the new bakery that they have in town. The sourdough here would rival anything Sydney has to offer – truth.
It was a little awkward taking photos in there due to the line of people and the staff being slightly wary of me wielding my camera:
Staff: “are you a journalist?” Me: “Er, no, but I have this blog…”
Ah, it was awkward but they were very friendly.
Ed was conveniently absent during this exchange.
I wish I could have tried those peach tarts...just look at them! Instead we got an almond croissant - and it was probably one of the best I have ever had. Seriously, I am not just saying this.
I bought the organic rye sourdough - loved it. Loved every crumb of it. We used it for sausage sandwiches with homemade tomato relish. Amen.
Ok that's enough for now. Ill be posting a recipe next but stay tuned for more delicious escapades soon after.