When you make your way to the township of Yackandandah, you will immediately fall head over heels with the stunning landscapes, historic streetscapes and the incredible community spirit of the people that make this eclectic community click. Sitting in the heart of this vibrant town is Saint Monday. Step inside this popular cafe, and you will quickly get a feeling that food is much more than what comes out on your plate. The people, the place and the respect of the the product all comes together in a thoughtful and creative menu.
What is your food philosophy at Saint Monday?
We believe that great food should be a product of its place, and the people who bring it to your plate. When a meal is infused with the personality of the cook, the stories of the producers, and the culture of the place in which it is prepared, cuisine is created. And when people celebrate cuisine, they participate in the creation of the culture that gave rise to it - it’s cyclical. It sounds a bit lofty, but we love the place we live in, and we want to affirm everything that’s great about it with every plate we serve.
Why is supporting local producers so important to you?
When you source locally, your produce is fresher, longer lasting, tastier, and supports the local economy. All these things are valuable, but the greatest value is that it comes with a story. If you know the person who grows your watermelons, you will also know that their variety looks pale, but is incredibly sweet, and that the seeds came from the grandfather with the market garden on the Causeway, who had to protect his patch from the kids who would float down the river on lilos to pinch them!
What are your favourite ingredients in Spring?
One of the early signs that Spring is upon us, is when asparagus spears begin shooting from the ground. Picked that day they are tender and delicious, and infused with the promise that the cold dark of winter will soon be over. Broad beans are a huge favourite of ours as well - double peeled they are intensely fresh, and mixed with lemon juice, or a tangy feta cheese, they epitomise the flavour of Spring.
What kind of dishes can we expect to see at Saint Monday over Spring?
For the month that we can access asparagus, we go crazy! We grill it, stir-fry it, pickle it, mix it with pulses, and serve it with scrambled eggs. We also like to make use of ingredients that are a little more challenging to use at home, such as fennel (we make a great pickle that means we can enjoy fennel during other months of the year too!), grapefruit (try it in our homemade grapefruit, cardamom and chamomile soda), and raw beetroot.
What is your favourite thing to do when you have visitors in town?
Spring is time of emergence - everyone is becoming active and doing things they neglected during winter, such as walking, mountain-biking and horseriding. We like to search for wildflowers in the Stanley State Forest, and the Mt Pilot-Chiltern National Park. Waterfalls are also turbo-charged with snow melt, and we like to send visitors on walks to search for them on Mt Buffalo, at Granya, and in the Pine Mountain National Park. When all that activity wears folks out, we’re lucky to have a really great café in Yack for people to hang out in as well...!
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