Blackwood’s Martin Street Coffee Roasters welcomes good bakery offering

Words by Della Vreeland
Images Suppled

The quaint little village of Blackwood is about to become all the more charming with the opening of a new retail offering along the main drag.

The town’s much-loved Martin Street Coffee Roasters has welcomed their new flatmate Adam Kluga of Adam, The Good Baker this week, offering locals and visitors the chance to savour some of regional Victoria’s finest sourdough alongside their morning brew.

Blackwood Bakery

Hailing from a Sicilian background, Adam says food and baking have always played a significant role in his life.

‘I spent quite a few years living with my Nonna, so I learnt a lot about preserving and pickling and cooking more generally,’ Adam said. ‘My granddad was a career baker and my Nonna knew a lot about the trade, and that was my first exposure to making fresh bread and making good honest food.’

Having launched his micro-bakery from his humble home in Trentham during the height of the Covid pandemic in 2021, Adam quickly earned the community’s respect and admiration for his wholesome products made with love, passion and integrity.

I’m not trying to do anything flash. I’m just trying to make good, honest food for people to share. There’s no frills.

Having been approached by the Martin Street Coffee team, he said the opportunity presented itself at the right time and it made sense to ‘take the plunge’.

The retail space will initially operate from Martin Street Coffee Roasters on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with Adam also maintaining his wholesale and online orders. Expect indulgent sourdoughs, crispy baguettes, seeded loaves and other European-inspired goods.

‘It’s such a great opportunity and a beautiful space,’ Adam said. ‘The crew have curated such a welcoming, warm environment and I’m really looking forward to settling into the space, utilising a dedicated kitchen and offering people really good bread. It’s really exciting. I couldn’t have asked for a better fit.’

Trading since 2017, Martin Street Coffee Roasters is renowned for serving up carefully roasted, seriously decadent coffee with a big focus on being good to the planet.

Coffe Balckwood

The roastery specialises in small-batch roasting using bespoke fluid-bed, air-roasting technology that guarantees a smooth, bold, delicious and never bitter flavour profile and prides itself on choosing beans from family growers using sustainable, eco-friendly methods.

Martin Street Coffee Roasters founder Simon Daniel said his team was thrilled Adam would be operating out of the same premises as the factory door.

‘Adam produces slow-fermented bread products that are next level,’ Simon said. ‘We’ve known him for a reasonable while and have always enjoyed the high quality, crunch, texture, and flavour of his bread.

‘People see us as a destination, a welcoming hub to immerse oneself in the sight, sounds, and aromatics of the coffee production process. Visiting the factory door speaks to a wide range of people, from those sampling or purchasing our products to those making quick stops to stock up on beans and other products.

‘The idea was to support another small, high-quality business to get into an actual retail space. We have a good connection and look forward to the vibe this collaborative concept will bring.’


WHAT: Adam, The Good Baker at Martin Street Coffee Roasters
WHERE: 21 Martin Street, Blackwood
WHEN: Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10am until sold out
FIND OUT MORE: Adam The Good Baker & Martin Street Coffee Roasters

We wish to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Australia’s ‘Father’ of sourdough takes the helm at Maldon’s newly restored bakery

Words by Della Vreeland
Images Supplied

If there’s one thing John Downes can’t stand, it’s the fact that everyone these days has become so precious about their carbohydrate intake.

‘It’s stupid how paranoid everyone is about carbs,’ the legendary Australian baker exclaims.

Speaking to John, he’s swiftly able to reel off the countless nutritional and even spiritual benefits a homemade loaf can bestow upon any individual, particularly if it’s baked with love and using traditional methods. Benefits that far outweigh any supposed caloric detriments.

‘(As a baker), I’m involved in something worthwhile and whole in every way. The Buddhists would say it’s a Right Livelihood – a beneficial livelihood to everybody including me and not ugly in any way. That’s what I’ve loved – pre-setting a product that benefits people in many ways and that’s a beautiful thing.’

John Downes is known around Australia for starting the sourdough movement in the 1970s. Now, he has taken the helm as one of the lead bakers at the newly-restored Maldon Bakery along with his 50-year-old leaven which he aptly calls, “the leaven”.

The bakery is the oldest continuously running bakery in Australia, and makes use of a 19th-century scotch oven which John says makes for some of the ‘best bread imaginable’.

‘Using the scotch oven is like deja vu for me. It’s second nature,’ John says. ‘Nothing can replicate the type of alchemy that happens in a wood-fired oven. That’s the original way bread was baked and there is a certain je ne sais quoi to it.

I’ve never been happy with anything I’ve done with electric ovens and I’m not going to waste my time doing it. It’s about quality and you can’t get that quality from any other oven.

Bakery owner and Castlemaine resident Rebecca Barnett says she couldn’t resist restoring the bakery to its former glory, particularly since it housed the original scotch oven.

‘It seemed like such a terrific opportunity to do authentic traditional baking,’ she says. ‘It’s the oldest continuously running bakery in Australia, but the scotch oven hadn’t been used for nearly 20 years.’

The restoration process took six weeks and included re-opening the original bakery quarters to the public, fixing the scotch oven to make it fully operational, and rejuvenating the facade.

‘It was a real diamond in the rough and I wanted to bring it back to accentuate all its wonderful attributes and do proper baking again.’

The bakery is currently staffed with a team of four, including another two experienced bakers who are benefitting from the wisdom of Australia’s sourdough extraordinaire.

Rebecca says she hopes to expand the offering currently available, which already serves up gourmet meat pies comprised of local chunky beef, as well as cakes, tarts, biscuits, cheesecakes and a selection of locally-made pantry items.

With five generations of bakers in her family and a background in hospitality, Rebecca says she’s thrilled to finally have her own piece of the bakery pie. The Maldon Bakery logo is even based on her grandparents’ bakery and has been designed by her mother.

‘I was always in and around bakeries growing up, and my first memories were from my Grandpa’s bakery with the bread coming out of the scotch oven, so it’s no wonder I’ve come back around to it.’


WHAT: Maldon Bakery
WHERE: 51 Main Street, Maldon VIC
FIND OUT MORE: Maldon Bakery

We wish to acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

A discovery of the St Andrews village

Words by Della Vreeland

A one hour drive north-east of Melbourne, St Andrews is a small rural township that is characterised by its lush native bushlands and charming village aesthetic.

While its bustling weekly market acts as one of its major drawcards, the town is fast becoming known as an all-around hub of creativity, with a range of boutique businesses showcasing the versatility of talent and wonder inherent within. We give you a glimpse of exactly what this quaint community has to offer travellers with this specially curated itinerary.

Mornington to welcome Oasis grocery & bakery

Words by Gwen Luscombe
Images Supplied

It’s been a Murrumbeena icon for nearly 25 years before opening a second location in Fairfield back in 2018. Now Oasis, the hugely popular Middle Eastern grocery and bakery is opening its doors to a third, super-sized location on the Mornington Peninsula in mid-May.

Taking residence where Target once stood in the Mornington Central Shopping Centre, the brand-new store is part of a large refurbishment of the centre. It’s also set to bring all homemade products including dips and salads, ready to eat meals Lebanese pizzas, nuts, spices and other cooking ingredients that have made Oasis oh-so-popular over the decades.

While the Mornington location won’t have the on-site café that both Murrumbeena and Fairfield do, you can expect a much larger store than the others at close to 700 square metres, with a range of over 8,000 grocery products. Oasis Mornington is also dedicated to focussing on food that showcases and supports local producers, so you can also expect everything from fresh produce to local beer, wines, cheeses and more.

Since the opening of the first Oasis in the late ’90s, Emad and Marwa Makool began a three-generational legacy of enthusiastically supporting patrons with one of the city’s finest Middle Eastern food stores.

General manager, Ely Makool says the Oasis ethos goes well beyond simply delivering delicious eats. They’re focused on doing it while operating sustainably.

“Being able to set up a store from scratch has given us an opportunity to invest in the latest cooking equipment, LED light fittings, water loop refrigeration system and ultra-efficient air conditioning system, to maximise energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Oasis Mornington will change the way the local community, shops, eats and socialises. Oasis is excited to be able to share the same hospitality and food that we’ve become known for with the Mornington community.

WHAT: Oasis Mornington
WHERE: 78 Barkley Street, Mornington

From rolling green hills to charming railway towns: your guide to West Gippsland

Many times we have watched with envy, the photos uploaded by those touring the region of West Gippsland. So we thought it’s about time we explore this region for ourselves. 

The rail towns of West Gippsland are less than an hours drive from Melbourne CBD and with the option of catching a V-line train, means you can easily explore this diverse small-town community as a weekend day trip with friends.

As you can see from our itinerary below, it’s quite the day out, with not a moment to spare, so pack the car or jump on the V-line and come and join us in West Gippsland!