When I was growing up in the country I couldn't wait to leave for the big smoke. Farm life and small town life was so dull to me back then. So when I was 18 I moved to the city and lived the city life.....now 20 or so years on and guess what? I'm yearning for country life again! I should qualify this by saying that if I (we) do move back to the country it has to be very near a groovy little village that has a groovy cafe that serves fab coffee and delicious food, oh and of course the cafe needs to be child friendly!
Bungendore is one such village. Located 30 minutes east of Canberra this delightful little village is home to the groovy Food Lovers Market. The owners are previous city slickers who earlier this year decided on a tree change and moved their family from Sydney to Bungendore. They bought the Food Lovers Market, gave it a bit of a tart up and now offer both locals and tourists an awesome food experience.
Food Lovers Market is a grocer, deli and cafe. They stock fresh produce, a lot of which is sourced directly from local farmers, all sorts of yummy deli delights and lots of posh grocery items. You can buy everything from organic apples to a whole rump of grass fed beef to delicious beetroot and fetta bread. They also sell dirt cheap plants, fresh flowers and cute arts and craft items. Frittatas, quiches, pies, sandwiches, salads and cakes are made every day for you to either purchase and take home or sit down and eat in the cafe.
Basically anything can be made to order at the Food Lovers Market. If you want your kids to have a cheese sandwich on wholemeal bread with a plate of sliced apples - they can make it - nothing seems too much trouble. The day we visited, there was a large group of us on a day trip, so the staff made us up antipasto platters to share. We had a lazy long lunch on a long table in the sunny outside area of the cafe - so Italianesque! We ordered the kids toasted ham and cheese sandwiches ($5 each) and babycinos ($1) and they happily munched away and played in the outdoor play area.
I was very excited to see that they served Tobys Estate coffee ($3.50) and the charming barista made it perfectly. It's so nice to see that you can still get a coffee for under $4.00 in the country and it came with a delicious little cookie on the side - not that I actually got to eat it as one of the little bulls swooped in for it before I had a chance! The trendy babycinos served in the signature Tobys Estate espresso cup came with 2 marshmallows much to the delight of all the kids.
Make sure you check out the blackboard specials of the day, everything is made inhouse, the caramelised apple and cinnamon muffins looked and smelt divine. If you are after something to cool down there is also a gelato bar with a great selection - raspberry, chocolate, rocky road, toblerone - basically a flavour to suit everyone in the family.
There are a couple of different play areas for kids at the Food Lovers Market which I think is a brilliant idea. I've been to quite a few child friendly cafes in Sydney where there is a toy corner and every kid in the place is fighting for their square inch of space. At the Food Lovers Market they have a couple of spots inside where there are different toys to play with, plus outside there is a cubby house and some ride on toys that kiddliwinks can zip around the outside space on.
You can sit inside or out at the Food Lovers Market. Trendy industrial cafe style seating is scattered around for you to soak up the sun outside or inside you can sit and drool over all of the fresh produce as well as checking out the latest art exhibition that will be hanging on the walls. The owners are not only keen on supporting local producers but also local artists by hosting an exhibition space that changes artists every couple of months.
When you have finished eating your way through the Food Lovers Market take a stroll through the village of Bungendore to walk off your meal. This historic village is home to many gorgeous shops, old buildings and cafes. It is the perfect day trip from Canberra if you happen to be staying there on holidays as we were, or if you are heading down to the snowy mountains area it is a great place to stop revive and survive as it just under 3 hours from Sydney.
If somewhere down the track we decide to make a move back to the country I certainly hope it is to somewhere like Bungendore because I would so love to have the Food Lovers Market as my local. It covers all my prerequisites - good coffee, tasty food, great service and somewhere for my little bulls to muck around.
So tell me dear parents, is a tree change on your radar and if so where to?
50 Molonglo St Bungendore NSW 2621
02 6238 0018
Open 6 days 9am - 5pm (closed Tuesdays)