After a short (but what felt like a long long) week working at the new agency, six of my closet Melbourne based friends and I decided to take a short camping trip, venturing out far beyond the vastness of Melbourne's concrete jungle and far into the lands of Bacchus Marsh and beyond.
With everyone packed and ready to go, I dropped my camping gear, neatly encased in my trusty Longchamp (you can take the boy out of the city, but never the city out of the boy) into the rental van and we zoomed over the Westgate bridge and straight towards Werribee Gorge National Park,where we (well everyone except the girl and I) had already decided to camp illegally in a state national park. Apparently its far more fun I was told. Completely pitch black apart from a few random lamps, the six guys and girl decided to pitch our tents on what ended up being the worst spot imaginable. This was agreed further once everyone woke up the next morning and told of their unimaginable discomfort throughout the night. I myself woke up at 3.15am to the noise of grunting and things being tossed about. Raccoon, wombat, Kangaroo or wild cats....who knows. All I know is the next morning the campsite was a mess and........you would want to have been absolutely crazy to try camp there as the ground was really not suitable for planting pins in.
We spent the following night in a small town called Blackwood, comprising of a pub slash restaurant, a cafe, a few holiday homes and a campsite. Having tried some of the local delicacies in the pub slash restaurant I spent most of Saturday night lying in the tent clutching my stomach. Was it the food, the drink or the withdrawal symptoms of not being in the civilisation of Melbourne city...............we will never know.
The next morning we awoke, got our stuff together and headed back into the small little town of Blackwood and decided to take a trip to the local cafe, The Blackwood Merchant. What was to confront me.....I could not have foreseen it. This place was just so beautiful, that even as I type, I still cant quite believe how wonderful it was. Hidden away in this tiny little town was a gem of a foodstore/cafe serving and providing some of the finest foods and produce from all of Australia. I live in quite a gem of a suburb myself and even though my local Thomas Dux Grocers provides me with some of the same produce, this place was full of warmth, love and an appreciation for what great food is. Fresh sourdough breads, homemade jams and preserves (and when I say homemade I mean it) and a display cabinet full of food that wouldn't be far from what you would find at your local farmers market.
Not expecting much, we all became enchanted by this beauty of a spot. Glancing out at the views of Blackwoods forests, we even got an introduction to the family's dog, Tyson. Attached to the cafe is an antiques store and whilst most of the gang pottered around it, a few of us spoke to the owners about the area, our trip and the beauty of the store.
I have never been so surprised or shocked about a place before and I truly hope that those of you who ever have a chance to venture to this tiny part of the world, do so and surround yourself with lots of the lovely food and drink this cafe has offer, for its some of the best I've tried and from me, that's saying a lot. Truly scrumptious.
The Blackwood Merchant, 21 Martin Street, Blackwood, 3458
Tel: (03) 53686525