A new culinary gem: Celebrating Laguna
For a taste of true country hospitality with a scrumptious, contemporary twist, head to this historic trading post in the Wollombi Valley.
The tiny pioneering town of Laguna has been a much welcome stop for weary travellers along the Great North Road for almost two centuries. Now, there’s another reason to take scenic route 33 and to stop for food, drink and provisions.
Andrew Taylor, Rosanna Marsh and chef Joel Humphreys (previously of St John in London and Rockpool in Sydney) were keen to continue the legacy of what used to be known as the Great Northern Trading Post, while adding a new chapter to its story.
“We wanted to be respectful of the building’s heritage, while bringing out its best features. We have pulled out the floors, re-laid original bricks and repurposed some of the old timber,” explains Andrew.
“To continue the concept of a general store, a hub of the local community, was really important to us.
“At 33Bread + Wine, you will find all your essential provisions. The name references route 33 and emphasises bread and wine as two of the most important staples in life. Both provide sustenance, if at somewhat different ends of the spectrum,” he shares.
“We bake fresh bread, pastries, cakes, and donuts on site, all based on our traditional recipes. There’s olive oil from Pukara Estate, local honey, lemons from Wombat Bottoms, a nearby citrus farm, and of course wine. We are focusing on local wineries like Noyce Brothers, Margan or Winmark Wines, and have a penchant for organic, natural wines from the likes of Angus Vinden.
“It is a refined wine list, but we are keeping it approachable and easy to access, not the least for younger people.”
If you don’t have much time, pop in and grab a freshly brewed coffee and a sweet or savoury bite, sit down on the wide verandah and take in the views, the peacefulness and the fresh country air.
For those who would like to linger a little longer, head next door into Café Marjorie, a covered alfresco dining space with a completely open kitchen to one side.
“We wanted to bring nature into the café space, to give it a rustic feel of the country,” says Rosanna who heads up the insightful, friendly service.
The café’s name is an homage to Andrew’s grandmother Marjorie, who lived in nearby Sweetmans Creek, as well as to the pioneering women from the early days of European settlement. “But it’s also a reference to the kind of food you can expect at the café,” says Andrew.
Read more about the Great Northern Trading Post in the Autumn Edition of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.