Make it MAITLAND
Maitland has undergone a transformation of late, as independent CULINARY HOTSPOTS and LOCAL ARTISANS spring up across the region, discovers SALLY SCOTT.
OFTEN OVERLOOKED for its more famous neighbours, Maitland packs a punch for a short-break getaway. Located just two hours from Sydney, this charming region has a rich cultural history, emerging food scene and thriving arts community. Most of the action can be found in Maitland’s High Street and the redeveloped shopping precinct The Levee, on the banks of the mighty Hunter River. Here you’ll find an eclectic mix of local creatives, antique stores and cafes serving superb local brews.
Make sure you stop into nearby Morpeth while you’re there. Once one of the busiest river ports in New South Wales, and the gateway to the Hunter, this quaint historic village showcases the best of the region’s local artisans, cafes and boutique accommodation.
A new addition to the city’s dining scene is the impressive COQUUN, located on the banks of the Hunter River. Named after the Hunter’s original moniker, it roughly translates to ‘fresh water’ in its traditional owners’ language. Respectful tributes to the Wonnarua people are peppered throughout the menu with terms such as ‘karay’ (meaning ‘kangaroo’) and native ingredients adding some local flavour. Visit this refined bistro for a true taste of the local area. coquun.com.au
THE MAITLAND REGIONAL ART GALLERY IS A SERIES OF EXHIBITION, RETAIL AND CAFE SPACES DEDICATED TO MAKING ARTS AND CULTURE ACCESSIBLE TO LOCALS AND VISITORS. COME FOR THE ART AND STAY FOR THE FOOD AT POPULAR SERAPHINE CAFE. MRAG ALSO HOSTS THE ACCLAIMED OLIVE TREE ART AND DESIGN MARKETS SEASONALLY, SHOWCASING THE REGION’S MOST TALENTED ARTISANS. MRAG.ORG.AU
During a weekend getaway to Morpeth, Stephen and wife Allison discovered the original bakehouse of his great, great, great grandfather William Arnott, founder of Arnott’s Biscuits. With baking in his blood, “it was destined” that he buy the premises and launch a bakery on the historic site. Fast forward more than 15 years and the Arnott’s sourdough is still in high demand, and only available from the Morpeth store. historicarnottbakehouse.com.au
THE CUNNING CULINARIAN
Brainchild of Alina Mackee, The Cunning Culinarian brings her love of rustic home baking into a welcoming country-style cafe housed in a gracious old building on High Street. Using the freshest produce (some of it even homegrown at the onsite kitchen garden), the food is bursting with colour and flavour. The homemade relish on the corn fritters is so good, you could bottle it! thecunningculinarian.com
Ick y Stick y Patisserie
KICKSTART YOUR MAITLAND FOOD JOURNEY WITH A PIT STOPATTHE ICKY STICKY PATISSERIE.THESE DROOLWORTHY CREATIONS ARE THE WORK OF JESSICA BOUTARD, PHILLIP BOWTELL AND THEIR TALENTED AND PASSIONATETEAM OF PASTRY CHEFS.THEIR SWEETTREATS HAVE LOYAL LOCALS FLOCKING DAILY TO THE PATISSERIE TO SCORE THEIR SUGAR RUSH. HOT TIP: GET THERE EARLY ON THE WEEKENDS TO ENSURE YOUR PICK OF THE PASTRIES. ICKYSTICKYPATISSERIE.COM
The Bronte Boutique Hotel
LOCATED IN MORPETH’S MAIN STREET,THE BRONTE IS A BEAUTIFUL BOUTIQUE HOTEL BOASTING JUST SIX ROOMS. THE HISTORIC BUILDING HAS BEEN REFURBISHED WITH AN ECLECTIC FUSION OF VICTORIAN AND ASIAN ANTIQUES, AND BREAKFAST IS SERVED ON THE SUNNY FRONT BALCONY. THEBRONTE.COM.AU
BREAD & WATER
The region’s first 100 per cent glutenfree cafe has opened right next door to Maitland Gaol, and is bound to be a hit regardless of your dietary needs. Owner Vanessa Martin, who is also coeliac, ensures the food is made to exacting standards with no risk of cross-contamination. Vanessa’s mission is to “satisfy your desire to indulge without worry” – a dictum evident in the abundant tempting gluten-free goodies available. facebook.com/bread-and-water
Dennerley Leather Designs
WITH OVER 55 YEARS’ EXPERIENCE BETWEEN THEM, HUSBAND-AND-WIFE TEAM BOB AND ANNIE DENNERLEY UNDERSTAND THE PATIENT WORK THAT GOES INTO PRODUCING QUALITY, HANDCRAFTED LEATHER GOODS.THEIR COLLECTION OF BELTS, BAGS AND LEATHER ACCESSORIES ARE ALL CUT AND STITCHED IN THE HIGH STREET STORE USING TRADITIONAL TOOLS AND METHODS. FACEBOOK.COM/DENNERLEYLEATHER
DONARCH FINE CHOCOLATES
When Donna Archer couldn’t find a raspberry chocolate made with real raspberries, she decided to make her own! The result is the award-winning heart-shaped ‘Raspberry Heart’ chocolate, and a fantastical store filled with almost every chocolate imaginable. Think honey, dark choc ginger or the hand-painted salted caramel. donarchfinechocolate.com.au
This sophisticated wine bar on Maitland’s High Street is more than just a cosy cocktail lounge, with a growing reputation for its great dining, too. Step into the characterfilled 1870s heritage building and be greeted by Howard Bourne or his son Nick – the dynamic family team delivering exceptional service and an inviting menu with handy wine-matching suggestions. therigby.com.au
To discover more about magical Maitland visit visitnsw.com or mymaitland.com.au