Hear “Birregurra” in 2019 and you’re likely to immediately think of Brae. The highly acclaimed world-class restaurant has really put the humble country Victorian town on the foodie map. Last week I passed through Birregurra en route to Lorne, and while Brae wasn’t on my culinary itinerary, Otway Artisan certainly was.
Now, veering off the beaten highway can be fraught with danger for a travelling Coeliac. As a rule of thumb, the frequented spots have better awareness and accommodations for food allergies and sensitivities. Road trips, either at home or abroad, take some planning. It would be wonderfully liberating to take a devil-may-care approach, just ‘wing it’, but when you have genuine dietary requirements, research is paramount. Holidays are meant to be worry-free after all, and for most of us, memorable local meals are an essential element of the broader experience. Relying on emergency soups and protein bars does not a happy camper make. What you crave is the chance to recharge with a luscious latte (or a vino) and sample regional fare that won’t come back to viciously bite you hours later.
Otway Artisan Gluten Free popped up in my Google search of the area. Against all odds (and perhaps business logic), a town of approximately 800 residents is home to an incredible 100% gluten free bakery. Located just 64 kms from my home (Geelong), I was a bit ashamed to not have found it before. Offering freshly baked loaves, rolls and pizza bases, as well as café-style breakfast and lunch options, this hidden gem is heaven for local and visiting Coeliacs alike.
The menu boasts a number of tantalising treats, including freshly made up rolls and toasted paninis packed with yummy ingredients. This hopeless procrastinator struggled of course, but I eventually chose the chicken pesto panini, paired with an iced mocha.
The GF bread itself was right up there with the best I’ve had. The texture was outstanding, light but with a proper crust. It was like… bread! What a joy. Free from gluten, and full of hope for sandwich-loving Coeliacs. (You can also find these baked beauties used in cafés along the Great Ocean Road in Anglesea, Lorne and neighbouring towns).
My days in Lorne included a couple of dining delights too, again with pre-planning paying off. The majority of dishes at Greek restaurant Ipsos are gluten free, and with quality food and service, is highly recommended. Try the duck – so good.
Pizza Pizza serves up top-notch toppings on a crisp GF base, while Mexican Republic has plenty to offer too.
The Otways region provides stunning ocean views, and is great for a relaxing and gluten free getaway.
View their GF goodness on Instagram: