Central Coast named ‘Outstanding Region’ in this year's delicious Harvey Norman Produce Awards
Central Coast named ‘Outstanding Region’ in Australia's most prestigious food award
The Central Coast’s reputation as a gourmet foodie destination continues to grow with the Central Coast named ‘Outstanding Region’ in this year's delicious Harvey Norman Produce Awards.
This latest accolade of foodie supremacy puts the spotlight on the brilliant producers and restaurateurs that have contributed to making the Central Coast such a vibrant world-class destination nationally and globally.
A who’s who of the Australian food scene judged Australia's most prestigious food award the 2022 delicious Harvey Norman Produce Awards – with 18 trophies presented at the award ceremony last night celebrated at Chef Matt Moran’s Chiswick Woollahra. The national judging panel included renowned Chefs Josh Niland, Lennox Hastie, Matt Stone, Jo Barrett, Matt Moran, Andrew McConnell, Peter Gilmore, and Alla Wolf-Tasker.
This year's Awards focus
The Coast's eco-friendly ethos
With this year’s Awards acknowledging producers across four major categories – dairy, earth, paddock, and sea - with a focus on environmental sustainability, provenance, species diversity, preservation and collaboration with the local community, there’s no doubting why the whole Central Coast region has been recognised by judges as outstanding.
Producers here are evolving in harmony with the environment. In 2021, the Central Coast was the only New South Wales finalist to feature on the global stage in the 2021 Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories list. And in 2022, we officially achieved international ECO Destination Certification with Ecotourism Australia, recognising the Central Coast as a world-class destination for sustainable, nature-based tourism. This is our destination-wide commitment to nurturing local stories, the environment and culture with sustainable choices and respecting cultural authenticity now and for generations after us.
Following this coveted destination award, we couldn't be more ready to help you get to #knowyourproducer
So lets take a closer look at what makes this region's foodie scene stand out.
Producers on the Central Coast and their farm gate experiences
Slow food heroes working to natures marketing calendar
The Central Coast has an incredible bounty of fresh seasonal produce that Chefs and kitchens truly passionate about paddock to plates can discover. As you head west from the coastline there are some surprising experiences. More than our much-loved beautiful golden beaches, the Central Coast has a lesser-known hinterland region that is rich in rural food and nature-based experiences. Visit the tranquil places that encourage the growth of our quality produce; we have plenty of pick your own farm gate experiences so foodies can savour the flavours of the Coast for themselves, right from the source. Get on the Central Coast's growers path with our long list of eco-conscious producers.
You can hop on the Central Coast's self-drive trails or navigate to various dairy, earth, paddock, and sea producers with a growing list of unique farm-gate experiences, honesty boxes, and popular stalls at markets and events.
On the farm, sensory tours and experiences
Start your foodie adventure at the Hawkesbury at Mooney Mooney. Don waders and shuck oysters with Sydney Oyster Farm Tours. A unique experience that will literally immerse visitors in the waters where the oysters grow. Each guest will don waders and walk among the oyster leases in the beautiful Hawkesbury River, learning about the evolution of oyster farming, before shucking and tasting them straight from the water. Tours depart from Mooney Mooney, the gateway to the Central Coast.
Sample a new type of meat, tasting pearl oyster meat harvested at Broken Bay Pearl Farm. Broken Bay Pearl Farm is the only pearl farm in New South Wales. They cultivate sustainably grown Akoya pearls for jewellery, plus also the new seafood delicacy – Akoya pearl oyster meat. Visitors can join a tour of the farm to learn about the lifecycle of a pearl, browse the jewellery at the ‘Shellar Door’ or try the peal oyster meat for themselves.
Morning Chores with Grace Springs Farms. A family-run farm focusing on sustainable, regenerative farming, producing chemical-free, grass-fed dairy beef, pastured eggs, chemical-free veggies, garlic and honey. Join Virginia for the regular ‘Morning Chores’ tour kicking off at 9am for a cow milking demonstration, followed by tending to the resident chooks, ducks, pigs and cows, experiencing a real glimpse into rural life. Private afternoon tours for families and groups are also available.
Pick your own and family farming workshops with Mustard Seed Small Farm. From little things, big things grow! At this farm, families will get their hands a little dirty planting and picking their own fresh produce for dinner. Everyone will get hands-on as they explore the interdependent relationships of nature, plant and animal needs, and the life cycles of the food crops we love.
Cheese-making workshops at Little Creek Cheese. Located at Wyong Milk Factory, Little Creek Cheese is an award-winning artisan cheesemaker, offering hands-on workshops where participants get to try their hand at producing ricotta and paneer, to take home with them after the class.
Breakfast with Iris Lodge Alpacas. This fun, family-friendly experience takes place every weekend (and every day during school holidays) at Iris Lodge Alpacas, a working farm in Jilliby in the Central Coast hinterland. Expect to be greeted by a hungry alpaca, and meet and feed other animals before enjoying your own breakfast while watching the alpacas. They also offer an afternoon alpaca experience, for the non-early risers.
Glaming under the Pecan Forest at Artisan Estate Pecan Orchard, Somersby. The Pecan Orchard is situated close to lots of activities, restaurants, farms and shops in the hinterland with glamping stay options to enjoy the serenity under the canopy of 400 trees.
Enjoy a tipple at Firescreek Botanical Winery An award-winning boutique winery with over 45 medals under their belt for their botanical wine varietals, created and bottled on-site. The property’s permaculture and regenerative farming techniques, as well as their pretty location on 2-acres of pretty parkland grounds, ensure there is much for visitors to see, learn and taste during a visit. Engage your senses and go behind the scenes touching, smelling, foraging, mixing and making. Meet the winemaker and learn about life as an organic farmer. Sample bush tucker and learn from an Aboriginal Elder about local culture and traditions. Family-friendly tours, group workshops and romantic wine pairing experiences available.
It’s always gin-o’clock at Distillery Botanica. A boutique distillery owned by herbalist and master distiller Philip Moore, set among three acres of pretty gardens with beautiful botanicals and flowering plants - which feature regularly in award-winning tipples by Moore’s Dry Gin and Mr Black Spirits. Stop by for a gin sampling or espresso martini cocktails, then stay for a gelato or coffee from the charming on-site mud brick café, Bar Botanica. In early 2022, Philip Moore became the first Australian to be inducted in to the Gin Magazine Hall of Fame.
Trailing foodie adventures
Roadtrip, along the Central Coast Makers Trail. Indulge the senses, exploring the Central Coast ‘Makers Trail’ - a culinary self-drive journey sampling local oysters, award-winning cheeses, botanical wines, chocolates, nougat and more along the way. A newly-formed self-drive trail with a smorgasbord of culinary experiences, taking in the boutique artisans and fine producers who call the Central Coast home.
Hop on the Central Coast's harvest trail growing citrus, avocado, cucumbers, flowers, and more with a list of eco-conscious farm-gate experiences, markets, and honesty boxes. Follow scenic Peats Ridge Road that loops around Glenworth Valley to find your choice of quality produce. Check ahead to stock up at seasonal farms like S & S Peruch Avocado, Wavertree, Sparacino, Meliora Farm and Mangrove Mountain Country Markets on weekends.
Scenic sipping trail with trailblazing Central Coast makers. Join three Central Coast makers of award winning sips who have joined forced to create a must do scenic sips trail. A self-drive scenic sipping trail starting at picturesque Holgate discovering botanical fruit wines at Firescreek, then looping back to the Coast for amplified ales at craft brewery Six Strings, Erina Heights, and ending in the fragrant garden and courtyard of boutique Distillery Botanica, and Mr Goaty Gelato, all conveniently located within minutes of each other.
Meet the producers
Belly Full Farm - Dooralong
Local, seasonal, organic vegetables farmer-picked and delivered across the Central Coast.
Coachwood Nursery - Somersby
A unique family operated nursery and organic farm that offers quality succulent plants, indoor plants, dried flowers, and a range of seasonal organic produce and edible plants. Guided tours of their organic farm operate and regular workshops.
East Coast Beverages - Kulnura
Blessed with pristine springs and bountiful orchards, East Coast Beverages have continued to supply Australians with delicious fresh juices, Australian spring water, sparkling water and fresh fruit since 1965.
Fanelli Organics - Mangrove Mountain
A certified organic farm situated on 45 acres of regenerated farmland with farm door picks ups and farmgate experiences open to the public. Book in for a farm tour with the family, and let the kids pick straight from the farm from the seasonable produce available. Regular sunflower sessions are also hosted in season, for an instagrammable photo opportunity.
Full Circle Farm – Jilliby
Full Circle Farm is a pasture-based, regenerative farm located in the beautiful Dooralong Valley run by a young family. Everything they do is based on capturing as much solar energy as possible, growing as much grass as possible, using animals to eat the grass and cycle back nutrients to the soil. To experience Full Circle Farm, watch out for their open days. New: watch out for their ‘farm to plate’ Full Circle Farm Butcher Shop, to open to the public in September 2022.
Specialist growers of edible flowers, using organic growing techniques
Horseshoe Valley Farm & Apiary - Dooralong
A proud Central Coast family farm producing chemical free, grass fed lamb and harvesting raw honey from their apiaries dotted along the Coast's hinterland valleys and mountains.
Margin Mushrooms – Woy Woy
Margin’s Mushrooms is a family-based business in Woy Woy, growing three types of mushrooms: White Mushrooms (Agaricus Bispurus) Swiss Browns (Agaricus Bitorquis) and Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus soppopo). They sell direct to the public from the farm and at fresh produce markets. Or book a tour! Private tours available for groups.
Meliora Farm - Peats Ridge
Meliora farm was established in 1925 and the family has been farming here ever since. Cropping consists mainly of avocados and citrus. Enjoy their produce and country style hospitality with regular pick your own online booking dates.
Pick Your Own Oranges - Dooralong
The orchards at Cedar Farm were established back in the 1920's and today there are over 3,000 trees, including Navel oranges which are ripe for picking from July until October. The oranges are all farm fresh and not sprayed with any chemicals.
The Food Farm – Wyong Creek
From their network of leased farms on the NSW Central Coast using regenerative methods to produce organic and grass-fed meat for boxes delivered direct.
One of the best things about the Coast is its natural access to fresh, locally sourced seafood. From hand-shucked Hawkesbury oysters, to snapper and imperadore caught by local fisherman, we’re so lucky to also have businesses championing fresh seafood from our local waterways and Pacific Ocean. To avoid going cray cray and missing out on enjoying the freshest seafood, see our guide on where to find the freshest seafood where we’ve got a raft of local businesses – many of them family-run – that supply quality choices when it comes to sourcing the season’s best oysters and seafood.
Time your visit
Growers markets and events
You can stock up on Central Coast organic produce and culinary delights at any number of our monthly markets, where you can meet local growers, makers and creators. A variety of locations from north, south, east to west, have growers markets including Mangrove Mountain, Long Jetty, etc and growers also have stalls at general markets like Avoca etc..
The biggest annual calendar events are the Harvest Festival that celebrates the Central Coast’s picturesque and fertile hinterland across the June long weekend, and Flavours by the Sea, a premiere multicultural event at The Entrance to celebrate the diverse cultures of the Central Coast.
Spoilt for choice in dining
You may not know, but the Central Coast is home to a number of high-end restaurants awarded a Chef Hat by The Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG). The Guide of independent, anonymous reviews is written by a panel of trusted restaurant critics and recognises the best Australian restaurants nationally.
Visit our guide to find hatted fine dining on the Coast, setting a standard to help you plan the perfect culinary trip away to the Coast, or simply the perfect evening.
Fancy yourself a bit of an epicurean, but want to combine your craving for comfort food with a classy evening out? Experience the foodie wonders of the Central Coast via your pick of its range of classic gourmet pubs. From Gosford to Wyong, Toukley to Terrigal, the Peninsula to The Entrance, you’ll find a stylish range of pubs, hotels and social clubs – many recently relaunching with incredible, modern refurbishments – all coming with fresh foodie-inspired menus to match at their in-house restaurants, bistros and brasseries.
The artisan bakery scene is blooming on the Central Coast
Explore sweet local spots and bakehouses with our 'baker's dozen' list featuring trusty, tasty favourites of the fresh baked goods scene on the Central Coast, there's so many delicious sit down, takeaway or delivery options to choose from. You’ll be spoilt for choice with buttery goodness.
Start with a visit to Burnt Honey, the cool (and sustainable, socially conscious) kid born in Copacabana but now also with a baker's pantry based on the trendy Long Jetty high street, or venture to Green Tangerine just across the road (look for the colourful wall mural!) serving handmade breads and baked goods daily. In the main hub of The Entrance, between the channel to the sea and Tuggerah Lake, find the local institution for hot, fresh gourmet pies at Ken's Humble Pie Shop.
Next up, following your next bushwalk on the Bouddi Peninsula pop into Bells Bakery & Larder offering freshly baked speciality breads and an assortment of sweet treats alongside a range of delicious gourmet pantry and deli goods. A fan favourite in Hardy's Bay is The Fat Goose bakery-cafe, with the most exceptionally hearty pies. New to the Peninsula foodie scene is also RISE Artisan Bakery located within the Ettalong Galleria precinct.
At Erina you'll find the pint-sized Salt Pig Deli and its European inspired Salt Pig Pantry, with baked on-site breads, foccacia and pastries, or nearby at Avoca Beach seek out Ludo’s Gourmet Kitchen.
Knead more, then check out our much-loved guide to the Coast's blooming bakery scene.
Casual eats and drinks
Coffee lovers can get their hands on a deserving brew for their morning ritual at many cafes supplied by award-winning local coffee roasters, while bar-hopping is made easy with ample wine bars, renowned cocktail movers and shakers, and top rated craft breweries. Just have a look at what delicious has to say about where to eat and drink for ideas.
We also have a guide for pizza lovers. If you care more about pizza than you care about your second cousins, be inspired to dedicate your pizza loving life to eating your way through this complete foodie guide to pizza in our slice of paradise at places on the Central Coast that make pizza a way of life, guaranteed to deliver mouth-watering pizza with different points of view but all exemplifying their genre.
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