A butter factory is not something you'd immediately think would be a tourist attraction, but the Myrtleford Butter Factory has made itself a foodie destination for visitors to Victoria's north-east.
The venue has a long connection with butter - from its origins in 1893 as a creamery, to the change to a fully fledged butter factory in 1903. It closed in 1966 and we had to wait a few decades for it to be restored in 1995. Butter production didn't restart till 2010 though, but it's now a fabulous place to sample rich handmade butter and all its incarnations. You can still see some of the original features of the factory in the building.
There are lots of the original factory features around the place
There is a small indoor cafe, which seats perhaps about 15 people. I believe it used to be much larger, but some of the space has been converted into the butter tasting area and shop. It was actually much smaller than I expected when looking at it from the outside, but luckily it was a bit of a wet day when we went, so we had no trouble finding a seat. I imagine it would be chock-a-block on a nice day.
The covered outdoor area is huge and probably very popular in warm weather
We didn't have a big lunch, but we enjoyed what we had - huge homemade sausage rolls, served with homemade sauce and chutney. Really delicious. The coffees are also superb - among the best I've tasted in the area. I can't credit the local milk for how mine tasted, as I take soy milk, but they definitely did something right - it was delicious too, really thick and strong and creamy. Clearly someone in that kitchen really knows how to make coffee, and I'd go back just for that.
If you're lucky, you can watch them making butter in the factory
It's worth taking the time to have a look around the shop. Some of the products are made onsite, like the butter of course, and the buttermilk products. You can buy fresh buttermilk too, which is the liquid that remains after the butter has been churned. It's low fat and a must for pancakes.
You can buy the butter plain, or try a flavoured version in a small tub. It's not cheap, at around $7 for a tub, but it's a special treat. And you can try before you buy. I loved the Black Truffle butter ($12), but figured I'd have to eat it all myself, so selflessly chose the Honey and Walnut butter ($7), and the Smoked Salt butter ($7). The former was lovely and not sweet, but full of walnuts and a hint of honey - great on toast with honey, actually. The Smoked Salt butter was divine on steamed vegetables.
The flavoured butters are a little expensive ($7 for a small tub) but a delightful luxury treat
You can also buy Horseradish Mustard butter ($7), Garlic butter ($7.50) and Herb Provencale butter ($7) - for a complete list, take a look at their excellent website (and hey, you can buy online too). Other products include creme fraiche and ricotta.
If you feel like attempting your own artisan butter, you can buy a buttermaking kit ($55, doesn't include the milk), or book yourself in for a factory tour (Thursdays at 11am, $8 including a tasting, or try a hands-on buttermaking tour for $120, 3rd Saturday of every month).
For a special treat, you can pick up a buttermilk-based bath product