Trentham is about an hour's drive from Melbourne, but it will feel like you've left the rat race decades behind. Slower-paced, perfectly situated to take advantage of its surrounding nature (rainforest, ranges and waterfalls) and with other townships within a few kilometres (such as Daylesford and Woodend), this little village (pop. ~1,500) is a step back in time. With its restaurants, antique shops, spas, wineries, hotels and craft shops, Trentham is a fine destination, offering a convenient break from the city and a breath of high country air. Within Trentham, Red Beard Bakery delivers the high quality coffee, satiating meals, enjoyable experience and refreshing beverages, that Weekend Noters will appreciate.
Red Beard Bakery is not just a bakery, but also a cafe, restaurant and pastry purveyor. Famed for offering dense, warm and delicious organic sourdough that is baked in one of only a handful of remaining authentic Scotch Ovens (c. 1891), Red Beard also offers a 'cellar door' of cakes & biscuits, jams & chutneys, teas & coffees, and baking wares & recipe books. All food is made on the premises using "local, seasonal, and organic ingredients wherever possible."
The cafe and restaurant itself are cosy in winter with an open fireplace, and airy and light in the warmer months. With plenty of seating options, inside and out, the restaurant provides interesting decor in the historic building, as well as a view outside to the lawn and old brick oven where children are encouraged to run around and play. Opposite the bakery, and part of Red Beard's land, is a curious collection of life-size fibreglass zoo animals. Lions, and tigers, and bears, as well as giraffes, an elephant, and dogs.
Red Beard Bakery's menu board, note the 'sold outs!'
Food-wise, the agony of choice is the most difficult part of visiting Red Beard Bakery, as it is impossible to savour every tasty treat and there will always be some opportunity cost. Lunch is served from noon to three, with a rotating menu, typically consisting of a fresh hearty soup, sandwiches & toasties made using Red Beard's famous sourdough, a set lunch tasting plate offering dips, cheeses, smallgoods & breads, and pastries. Beware, arriving later in the day will inevitably bring disappointment as "Sold Out" is chalked across items. On the drinks menu, fully licensed, there are some lovely local beers and wines, and for the designated driver, excellent espresso coffee, teas, milkshakes, and soft drinks.
Red Beard Bakery is proud of its history, and welcomes visitors to watch their bakers through a viewing window as they perform their craft. Tours are also available for group bookings, including meal options, with Red Beard's guide explaining the baking techniques and showing the inner workings of the rare Scotch oven. For the truly dedicated, Red Beard offer hands-on baking workshops, where each participant covers the history and constitution of sourdough, the process of making and mixing doughs, the actual baking of bread, and a lunch at the cafe. The products baked are the participants' to keep, including some additional supplies, for the $300 workshop.
There are so many day activities in and surrounding Trentham, that all end with a perfect excuse for as light or as indulgent a snack, drink or lunch as one needs. From touring Hanging Rock in Woodend, to enjoying a spa at Daylesford, or hiking up Mount Macedon and driving around the magnificent houses, Trentham and Red Beard Bakery are between 20 and 30 minutes at most from any of those fantastic sites.