By Lisa Herbert
Recently I came to Mt Zero Olive Grove after traveling around Australia and Europe, looking for a place to call home. My ancestors from Black Range, Stawell and Halls Gap have called to me from time to time, and an opportunity to settle for a while with the Seymours here at Mt Zero has seen me answer their call.
Living in the olive grove means being surrounded by green and grey under a huge sky, all the time watched over by the dinosaur-tailed peaks of Mt Zero. The air sweeps up over the Wimmera and flows through the olive trees, changing the leaves from green to silver and back, as if they are under an ocean. The Grampians linger in the background waiting to be climbed. And the parrots, wagtails, babblers and wrens dart and call all day as the wedgetail eagle circles above.
There is something special about living in an olive grove. The kitchen bench is cluttered with bottles and packets and grinders of salt, of oil, of olives, of pulses and grains that all from the region if not the farm itself. Living within the sea of trees and eating their fruit and drinking their oil is about as close to heaven as you can get. Foraging, cooking and serving food from the land, with the love that goes with being happy where one lives, is an immense pleasure.
To be able to work alongside the Seymours and open up the legendary Mount Zero Café for five weeks only is a fantastic opportunity. To use all the Mount Zero products, local buffalo dairy goods, sourdough bread, wild lamb, turkey, stone fruit, tomatoes and the vegetables and herbs from the farm garden is an exciting prospect that gets my creative juices flowing.
My inspiration for this project is my maternal Great-Grandmother Mrs Christina Moore. Christina ran the famous Stawell Coffee Palace and Guest House and was a popular, well liked woman in Stawell. Using our Scottish heritage as a starting point, and local seasonal produce as a guide, I’m looking forward to serving up truly warm, country home cooking to customers over April and May.
My café/restaurant The Aldgate Providore & Café won Best Breakfast in South Australia (non CBD) and was a finalist many times. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and one I love to prepare for hungry humans. The café will be providing gorgeous “tent service” breakfast hampers and a small but intensely tasty breakfast menu. We will then open for lunch and afternoon tea to one and all, with take away lunches, coffee and gorgeous snacks and slices available all day. The menu focus will be on local and seasonal product of course, but will also reflect my heritage and my new, but old, love for this region. I am finally home and my team and I look forward to inviting guests and visitors to feel the same way.
The Mount Zero Cafe will re-open between 1st April and 7th May 2017. Opening hours - 10am - 5pm. 41 Mount Zero Rd, Laharum VIC 3401