Touring and tasting Maitland’s many culinary delights

Many a culinary gem is to be found along the riverbank and in the beautiful heritage buildings of Maitland. With a little local knowledge, exploring the surrounding country roads and meandering pretty as a picture laneways in charming Morpeth village, can be equally rewarding. To whet your appetite, here’s a handful of food experiences as rich in regional heritage as they are in flavour!

Where better for baking inspiration…

Fire up your love of sourdough with a hands on shaping, scoring and baking session, alongside Maitland’s master bakers.

Book a baking experience with sixth generation baker of Australia’s iconic Arnott’s biscuit dynasty, Stephen Arnott, to be let in on ancestral fermentation tips, and techniques refined down the family line. You’ll bake your sourdough in the original Scotch ovens of his family’s historic, riverside bakery in the village of Morpeth. The very place where his Great Great Great Grandfather baked the first ever Arnott’s bickies back in the 1830’s, attracting traders from the tall ships of Europe and the Americas that sailed into the once thriving river port. In a picture book setting like this, the first chewy slice of your self made artisan loaf, still warm from the woodfire and with lashings of butter, is oh so satisfying!

Or take a picturesque 10 minute country drive from Maitland to Tranquil Vale Vineyard, where a splash of the estate grown Semillon is bound to enhance your enjoyment of the Sourdough Making Masterclass on offer. Try your hand at artisan breadmaking methods before being treated to a private tour and wine tasting with the Vigneron and Winemaker. Then gather at the family homestead for an intimate lunch, with your bubbly crusted, oven fresh sourdough front and centre on the farm table.

Vineyard vibes in the village…

Bringing a taste of the vineyards to idyllic Morpeth village is the cellar door of Boydell’s boutique wines, where you can select six distinctive wines from an extensive range on pour, to settle in and savour, before enjoying a one of a kind slab hut dining experience in the restaurant. 

Be spoilt for choice of sparkling, rose, red and white wine varietals and styles. If you’re open to expanding your palate, leave it to the team to tailor a tasting for you! Don’t miss the magic of lunching in log cabin ambience at Boydell’s restaurant, where their sustainably grown wines are paired beautifully with a sophisticated menu that changes with the local growing season. Delight in the flavour difference of free ranged meats and heirloom veggies sourced from within a 50km radius, like Gresford grown chicken, whole roasted in XO with Chinese sausage, dumplings and Gai Lan, a treat for two to share. You’ll want to keep the house made Venison sausage roll to yourself, enjoyed with port drenched baby figs and pickled walnut. And save room for the decadent Goats Cheese cake with fresh berries, strawberry merlot coulis and sweet honeycomb.

Meet for a wildly inspired riverside brunch or dinner at The Levee…

A good sprinkling of celebration can be felt in the colourfully presented signature dishes of Acacia Dining. A generous dollop of Biscoff marscapone on impossibly fluffy, deep dish hotcakes. Not so classic Eggs Bene with lashings of burnt butter hollandaise (go wild with a side of pulled lamb shoulder)! Every Hipster’s Dream is smashed local avo spiced with nuts, seeds and salsa verde, and you could lose yourself in the Fields of Dreams medley of roast mushrooms with caramelised onions. 

Putting this creative contemporary eatery at the top of its game is the chef’s relationship with local growers, like Rainbird Farm greens, Alderney Creek Eggs, Lady Blackbird Sourdough, Harvest Party Jams and Floozy Coffee. Local wildflower honey, succulent zucchini flowers and distinctive small farm cheeses are the sort of special touches to look for on an ever changing and always enticing dinner menu with a rich sense of place.

A zesty take on seafood with the soul of an old school chippy…

Guaranteed to get your mouth watering, Salt, Chilli & Lime at East Maitland have dialed the fresh catch up a notch with some sizzle and spice. Think Slipper Lobster brioche rolls plump with tangy, tarragon, dill and chive aoli. A tongue tingling Fire Cracker Sauce lavished on a generous platter of crispy prawns, and crunchy Soft Shell Crab dusted with Old Bay Spice. Take comfort that chunky, hand cut chips and golden potato scallops are menu staples… and just keep the wickedly delicious grown up garlic bread coming, with its whipped butter, roasted garlic and tasty prawn oil.

Bistro bites and all natural brews…

Family owned and operated, the Commercial Hotel at Morpeth has been a popular local watering hole since the days when its patrons pulled up in horse drawn carriages. The old pub is now home to Morpeth Brewery, and a new hybrid of 100% natural, living beers, which the makers say evolve and mature with time, like a well made wine.

In house brewing has introduced up to six distinctive draft beers on tap, and on seasonal rotation. So, there’s always a fresh batch to be tried for the first time. All are crafted to time honoured methods, free from any additives, preservatives, filtering or pasturising, and naturally carbonated.

Experience the refreshing difference for yourself in the superb golden Close Call Pale Ale, named in commemoration of two precarious events in the village’s colourful history (ask the Barkeep!), or malty, broody Black Tractor Dark Ale made on an intense blend of Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops.

Bistro favourites include Charsui buttermilk chicken wings with sesame mayo, local pasture-ranged Paterson grass fed beef steaks and a whopping Morpeth mixed grill.

Not ready to end the food exploration just yet?

Mindful that a mid morning checkout on your overnight stay may leave you hungry for more of the local food experience, Umbrella Events & Tours host a Taste of Morpeth curated walking tour, every second Sunday morning.

Before heading home, why not cap off your culinary adventures with this guided, leisurely stroll of up to one kilometre through the charming cobblestone streets of Morpeth. Your guide is a knowledgeable local who’ll share some juicy anecdotes and insights into local folklore, en route to the cabinesque ambience of enjoying a chef’s selection tapas in the slab hut restaurant of Boydell’s family winery.

Another must do for fun loving foodies during your visit is the Umbrella Events & Tours’ Moving Feast progressive dinner. Kick off with a slice of local history washed down with the signature brew of a landmark corner pub, stop in at a much loved local tapas bar, and end on a high point, overlooking the Hunter River, with an all inclusive three course degustation created just for the tour, by the wildly inspired duo behind Acacia Dining.

Craving more?

Enjoy more of a Taste of Maitland. Plan your visit around our unforgettable food, heritage and cultural experiences.

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