Lyndey Milan on the Wonga Creek

Albury was an unexpected gem in my trip around Australia. Nestled on the banks of the Murray River, the city of Albury has a fascinating history which dips in and out of major historic events including drought, floods and the Gold Rush. One of the notable historic aspects of Albury is that the railway station has the longest platform in the Southern Hemisphere. The station opened in 1881, although the arrival of the first train was actually a few years prior.

Taste of Australia encore continues this Sunday 14th August at 12:30pm on Foxtel’s LifeStyle FOOD! It has just been named Best Food TV Show in the World at the Gourmand Awards.

High tea on a historic platform
As it happens, I started my visit to Albury at the historic station, which was an important transfer point between Sydney and Melbourne. In a nod to a glamorous bygone era I created a high tea with a classic twist on the station platform. Whilst we enjoyed treats including chocolate sponge kisses with rose and raspberry filling al fresco, back in the day, passengers would have enjoyed a silver service high tea experience in the grand dining room aboard the train.

Chocolate sponge kisses with rose and raspberry filling

Racing to victory (almost)
After a delectable high tea, it was time to don my glad rags as my visit was lucky enough to coincide with the Albury Races where the locals dust off their fascinators and suits and attend the race course for a wonderful day out. This is one time I will have a flutter and though it may have been the last race of the day I was finally a winner!

Pizza for everyone and some healthy competition!
I also joined in at Grandparents day at the local park where there is a community pizza oven. The oven is regularly fired up by an expert appointed by Council so locals bring their breads, pizzas and all manner of things to benefit from the joys of a wood-fired oven.  It’s a wonderful community project and I think something that could be easily replicated in other regions.  I could not help but stir a little competition between generations and held a pizza cook off between a grandparent and grandchild – nothing wrong with a little family competition in my eyes!

From market to farm, Albury offers a multitude of great Aussie produce
Some viewers might be surprised to learn about how much food and produce is available in Albury. I visited the Hume Murray markets which offerMcIntosh a plethora of regional produce. There’s everything you would expect a good market to offer from cheeses, smallgoods, wines, plants and herbs and locally made ice cream – I couldn’t resist temptation and succumbed to my favourite flavour – liquorice!  Moreover I loved the multi-culturalism of the stall holders.

Sticking to the theme of food, I also headed out to the Murray Bank Yabby Farm, located 45 minutes west of Albury. Yabbies are a fabulous Australian food and one we are known for around the world. This farm is a lovely haven for locals and tourists to visit and stay. As well as the beautiful setting, guests have the opportunity to catch their own yabbies – a great Australian experience. The family run farm also produces its own marmalade, the proceeds of which are given to a charity, Stewarts Way which helps educate Nepalese children, in honour of their late grandson.

Adding some indigenous flavours
Among the other interesting locals I met, a stand out was Leonie McIntosh who met me in the Wonga Wetlands, which has a special place in the hearts of the Wiradjuri people, the traditional landowners of the area. She has learned the ways of the bush from her elders, and I was immensely moved when she handed me some 2000 year old stone tools, like a mortar and pestle. As I felt it, I imagined all the hands which must have used it to grind herbs such as mountain pepper and lemon myrtle. Leonie inspired me to use these spices in the yabby dish I cooked at Murray Bank Yabby Farm.

If you have enjoyed Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia, the book of the same name is available from , the book was awarded ‘Best TV Chef Cookbook in English’ at The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards last year.