28 May 2019 by Richard Cornish
St George’s Rd Festival
About a sixth of the people living in Shepparton were born overseas. In recent years they have come from countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Samoa, Turkey and Republic of the Congo. They come together next Sunday to break bread in the annual St George’s Road Festival. This is a community festival where newly arrived locals roll up their sleeves and cook the dishes they remember from back home. There could be bameih – okra and lamb stew from Iraq or a salad of broad beans and fermented bread from Sudan. Expect music, dancing and cultural displays as council blocks the street and the crowd spills into the neighbouring park.
St. Georges Rd Shopping Precinct, Sun Nov 6, 11am-4pm, free, www.shepparton.vic.gov.au
They grow a lot of apples in Shepparton. Most end up in the supermarket, exported or in tins. In 2000 orchardists and entrepreneurs the Morey family took a trip to Somerset in England, the home of cider, to discover how real cider is made. Eight years on and the Cheeky Grog Co. is making some rather good cider which you can sample when you visit their cellar door. Now is a good time of year as the outdoor cider garden is shaded by the 100 year old fig tree under which sits a dozen or so chairs made from old apple crates. This is a good place to try the five cider tasting paddle. The Secret Seven Cider is made from seven different heritage cider apples, has some really good fruit tannins and packs a punch at 8.2% alcohol. Grannies That Pop is cider made méthode champenoise with fresh apple aromas mixed with yeasty flavours.
5160 Barmah-Shepparton Rd, Bunbartha, Sat-Sun 12pm-5pm, www.cheekygrogco.com
It’s lunchtime midweek and Little Lipari is full. This casual Italian café/diner is owned by chef Joe Di Stefano. He used to cook at The Stokehouse and his chef is ex Café Di Stasio. They cook great Italian food and the floor team have a sense of polish underplayed by country bonhomie. Known for good coffee from early morning come here lunchtime for the little pillow like gnocchi perfectly slathered in lamb ragu and very good seafood linguine. The food is here is simple, easy and delicious.
143 Maude St, Shepparton, 7am-4pm Mon-Sat, 0407 501 497
This is the type of market most of Melbourne would kill to have as their local. It is a joint venture between a fruit grower, namely Wintersun Fruit and a beef farmer who sells their beef under the Bunbartha Beef label. The shelves are stocked with excellent fruit and vegetables, including a lot of apples, at very good prices. In the fridges is a lot of very good quality grass-fed beef grown on the owner’s farm. The quality is matched in dry goods such as pasta and pulses, sustainable cleaning products and a large range of food from other local farmers and producers.
Shepparton Market, 91 Benalla Rd , Mon-Fri 8am-5.30am, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm, (03) 5821 4131, www.sheppartonmarket.com.au
Being on the flood plain Shepparton is as flat as tack, except for one large hill on the outskirts of town. This was the tip. A great mountain of rubbish that was covered in earth, landscaped using recycled materials and planted out in native plants to create a great, high rectangular hill that juts out of the river red gum forest. While in its early stages the plants are yet to soften the space so it is a good time to see the hard edged plantings of sedge and magenta flowered pig face that form high plateaus looking over the flood plain. From the top of the gardens one look out over the town, to Mooroopna and the Murray River as it forms a snaking dark green cordon through the paddocks and orchards.
Australian Botanic Gardens Shepparton, Kialla Tip Rd, Kialla, Open daily
Shepparton punches well above its weight when it comes to art. The Shepparton Art Museum boasts some big names from Merric Boyd’s ceramics he made in Murrumbeena in the 1950s to Fred Mc Cubbin’s The Sawyer to Sam Jinks’ hyper-realistic Mother and Child. The museum also hosts an indigenous ceramic prize and, until November 27, there is a solo show by Sydney artist Nell covering subjects that involve and combine AC DC and Zen Buddhism.
70 Welsford St, daily 10am-4pm, (public holidays 1pm-4pm, (03) 5832 9861, free entry, www.sheppartonartmuseum.com.au
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