Sunday lunch: Mansfield Regional Produce Store

IN ANOTHER life, the Mansfield Regional Produce Store was a furniture auction room selling antiques to the landed gentry. It then became a greengrocer for 30 years and these days it's a quirky cafe with locals and visitors lined up ordering coffee and treats.

Inviting aromas escape from the kitchen and the front counter is piled high with sweet and savoury muffins, cakes and slices.

Inside there is a hotchpotch of furniture, from comfy velvet couches to vinyl chairs and laminated and wooden tables. We opt for a table in the corner near shelves crammed with local produce, such as plump olives, fig jams, handmade chocolates, lemon butter and rich tomato sauces and chutneys.

Owners Dean and Gillian Belle, who ran Mount Buffalo Chalet, took over in 2007 and are passionate about regional produce. Chef Joel Wilkinson and Gillian create a seasonal blackboard menu with tasty dishes as well as baguettes and sandwiches. We select the regional produce platter for two ($46): three King Valley dips, olives, Milawa cheeses, vegetarian tart, pork and pistachio terrine and sweet potato and macadamia fritters, plus a glass of Delatite pinot gris ($7).

The innovative wine room displays more than 70 Victorian wines.

It's a family friendly eatery with coloured pencils and paper for youngsters who can dine on home-made sausage rolls and baguettes.

The work of local artists including Anton Costantino is displayed and there are cabinets of retro crockery, hand-crafted jewellery and sculptures for sale.

As we order coffee our eyes linger on the sweets. We agree a brownie ($4), oozing with chocolate, is needed for the trip home.

Reviewed by Sue Wallace who was hosted by Tourism Victoria

Mansfield Regional Produce Store, 68 High Street, Mansfield, 5779 1404. Open Tues-Sun, 9am to 5pm; book for dinner on Fridays. See theproducestore.com.au. To stay: Wombat Hills Cottages (wombathills.com.au), Highton Manor (hightonmanor.com.au), Mansfield Motel (mansfieldmotel.com.au).

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