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Book our exclusive Mother’s Day overnight getaway and we’ll return her feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and pampered.
✦ Overnight accommodation
✦ Country-style breakfast
✦ A four-course Mother’s Day lunch or dinner
✦ Late check-out of 12pm
✦ A ½ bottle of Champagne
✦ A 64-piece selection of chocolates
✦ A $100 credit
✦ And many more indulgences
Starting from $663 pp
Forever seeking local produce, the Lake House’s Alla Wolf-Tasker now grows her own at her family’s regenerative farm, Dairy Flat.
WORDS AND RECIPES BY ALLA WOLF-TASKER AM | PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARNIE HAWSON | STYLING BY BELLE HEMMING BRIGHT
COUNTRY STYLE MAGAZINE: APRIL 2021 ISSUE
|As a revered chef, pioneer of locally sourced, seasonal food, and co-founder of the award-winning restaurant and hotel Lake House in Daylesford, Victoria, Alla Wolf-Tasker had enough on her plate already. But it’s the plate, as always, that she’s concerned with. That’s why she bought Dairy Flat Farm, a 15-hectare property in the hamlet of Musk, 6km from Lake House, to serve as a kitchen garden.
With two hectares of vegetable, herb, and flower gardens, a two-hectare vineyard planted with chardonnay and pinot noir, plus a 250-tree olive grove, a 300-tree orchard and a bakehouse – not to mention The Lodge, which can sleep 12 – Alla is busier than ever. Thankfully, she’s helped by husband Allan, daughter Larissa and son-in-law Robin, plus a team of more than 100 people. After Victoria’s extended lockdown last year, the properties are now bustling with guests. Here, Alla reveals what led her to buying Dairy Flat Farm and also shares a few of her favourite recipes:
“At Lake House, four decades of continued accolades, inclusion in ‘best of’ lists, a couple of generations of very contented guests, a zillion celebrations and accumulated memories – and I was dwelling on new possibilities.”
“There’s a real cause for optimism where a better understanding of good food is concerned. That’s enough to gladden my heart.”
A good time in my life, I thought, to further share the ethos that has always been close to my heart, of knowing the provenance of the food we serve. The world had changed. More people cared about such things. In our kitchens, we had always worked from the ground up – starting everything from scratch. As a family, we now felt comfortable enough to invest more in enriching the experience for our teams and guests. We considered closing the loop in growing and producing more of the raw product destined for Lake House, and possibly providing the opportunity for guests to enjoy the experience firsthand. Serendipitously, a very close-by property was on the market. It would be a financial stretch, but we thought it doable. Besides, what could go wrong?
Two years of an ever-expanding budget, hard toil, and much creativity from our team and talented members of the local community ensued. We were ready to open. And then came my late-stage cancer diagnosis, COVID-19, and the closure of our business for most of 2020.
|Dairy Flat Farm was never about pushing a food agenda. At its core, it’s a retreat for guests lucky enough to call it home for a few days. Filled with art, comfortable furniture, good food, and wine, The Lodge is nurturing and beautiful. Guests can wander the pesticide-free gardens, market gardens, orchards, olive grove, and woodland. Many, on a morning walk, pop into the bakehouse for a croissant, coffee, and a chat. Sharpening the appetite, our sweet country air beckons for walks out the gates and down country lanes.
A box of just-harvested produce and another of freshly baked sourdough loaves and pastries is delivered daily to the Lodge kitchen for guests. Dinner might be a farm feast or a table at Lake House. Lodge residents sink easily into the daily background of activity all around them: the harvesting and baking for Lake House kitchens, ongoing gardening, and even beehive and vineyard management.
“Reconnecting with friends and family now has added meaning for us all, and reconnecting with the source of one’s food obviously also brings great pleasure. Chats among guests under inky, star-filled skies over a glass of wine often touch on the deliciousness of the just-picked produce at our regenerative farm. That’s enough to gladden my heart. And participation in beekeeping, propagation and baking classes (mostly for non-residential guests) is also on the rise. It would seem there’s a real cause for optimism where a better understanding of good food is concerned.”
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