It’s true that 2020 has been rough in so many ways that the terrible summer bushfire season feels much longer ago than March. Because of the fires, Regional Victoria saw a decline in visitors long before it became illegal for Melburnians to leave the city and surrounding suburbs due to COVID-19.
That’s one of the reasons why the state government funded the Victorian Country Market website, so small businesses around Victoria had an easy way to keep trading during this most inconvenient of years. Better still, shipping is free for Victorians, and capped at $9.95 for those interstate, so there’s no reason not to give it a try — especially if you’re on the hunt for thoughtful Aussie Christmas gifts.
The stalls range from fancy olives to beer, wine and spirits, with a little something for everyone.
I recently made a big order from the site so my family could eat our way around Victoria, to make up for our regional road trip being called off. These are some of the best things we tried.
Gather and Harvest
These folks, based in Mount Beauty, make the most incredible handmade bath bombs. They’re almost half the price of some of the big name brands, but twice as good. The Lemon Myrtle and Yellow clay one was particularly amazing, with a generous amount of essential oils.
Silver Creek Sourdough
This Beechworth business specialises in sourdough, and makes crumpets that are to die for. Great if you’re missing cafes, or just want something a bit fancier than the processed stuff they sell at supermarkets.
Tuerong Farm Premium Flour
This fancy, high quality flour from the Mornington Peninsula is perfect for baking. This is the kind of freshly milled stuff you normally only find at specialty stores that smell like patchouli, and getting heavy bags of flour with free shipping is amazing.
Handmade in Daylesford, this delicious Miso is made from certified bio-dynamic Australian soybeans. A perfect gourmet Christmas gift for lovers of Japanese cuisine.
If a bee was involved somewhere in the process, Postcode Hives from the Latrobe Valley probably makes it. We got their Hive Chai Masala and a honey pop and really loved them both. But they also do raw honey and other honey products, too.
Those are just some suggestions, dive into the site and see what you can discover for yourself.