Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm
350 Hepburn-Newstead Rd, Shepherds Flat, VIC
03 5476 4393
Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm is a truly unique experience. Nestled amongst the rolling hills of Shepherds Flat you’ll find lush European gardens, aromatic fields of flowers, a heritage farmhouse and of course, mouth- watering meals.
The farm dates back to the 1850s when many Swiss-Italians settled in Daylesford and the surrounding areas. Many came in search of gold but stayed when they discovered that the fertile land was perfect for farming. A number of European immigrants built homes from local golden stones and while some have been left in ruins, a lucky few still stand.
Carol White is the lucky owner of one of these beautiful buildings – although it wasn’t quite so beautiful when she first discovered it. The cottage was abandoned, run down and in need of plenty of tender loving care. For Carol, a Europhile in need of a new project, the derelict farmhouse was a dream come true.
When you’re at Lavandula, make sure you take a break at its friendly eatery, La Trattoria. Carol takes a step back here and lets Head Chef, Siddharth Murthy, work his magic. Sid hails from India, where his love of cooking blossomed as he helped his mum in the kitchen. Determined to become a great chef Sid moved to Dubai before ending up in Europe. Despite falling deeply in love with European food and culture, Sid made the move to Australia, where he headed straight for Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm.
Sid sources as much as he can from the kitchen garden but if he can’t find or grow what he’s after, he seeks out local and regional producers. Because so much of the produce is grown on-site or locally, the menu is constantly changing, but you’ll be delighted by the seasonal offerings.
A typical spring or summer menu could include items like tender osso bucco served with grilled polenta, or focaccias with peppers, zucchini, eggplant and rocket. For those with a sweet tooth, we suggest you enjoy the range of cakes and baked goods that showcase the best produce grown on-site; when you’re at Lavandula it’s hard to go passed lavender-infused scones, served with jam and cream.
If the weather’s fine, enjoy eating al fresco under the shade of the ash trees with a sparkling wine from one the surrounding regions. When the weather turns cooler head inside to the snug timber room or the stone loggia where a glass of red and a hearty meal will quickly warm you up.
Whatever time of year you visit, there’s always plenty to explore. The farm plays host to three large festivals each year. January brings with it the Lavender Harvest festival where visitors can learn all about lavender – from cutting to distilling essential oils. In May there is the Autumn Harvest with European music and stalls, and demonstrations showcasing the best of autumn produce. In October you can enjoy the La Primavera Swiss Italian Festival featuring performances and produce that have roots in the old country.
For a beautiful day out in spectacular surrounds with excellent food and a true respect for history, pay a visit to Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm.