Boasting a natural habitat that is both pure and beautiful, the Blue Mountains region has long been home to those who like to live clean, organic and chemical-free existences. As an increasing number of consumers become aware of environmental issues and the dangerous level of chemicals found in foods, more and more dining establishments are changing the way they operate. In the Blue Mountains, there is certainly evidence of a growing enthusiasm for “slow food,” sustainability and fresh produce grown in the area. If you’re keen to sample some of the best ethical food available on your next trip to the Blue Mountains, read on for five places where you can find organic, local or sustainable cuisine.
If you’re getting ready to search for accommodation in the Blue Mountains, you may want to think about staying in the area of Glenbrook. If you do, head to Mash Café for a meal that will not only taste, but also feel, good. Operating as a values-led café, Mash focuses on recycling, organic produce, fair trade products, eco-friendly packaging and supporting charities. At Mash Café, all chocolate, tea and coffee used is certified fair trade. The chef also uses organic ingredients, including locally grown produce that has not been sprayed with harmful pesticides or fertilizers. The packaging used for takeaway food is made from 100-per-cent recycled and biodegradable materials, and management calculates the total energy used in the café’s operations each year and plants an equivalent number of trees to balance out the emissions. The team at Mash donate a portion of tips to worthy causes like sponsoring a World Vision child and participating in a community program with the Salvation Army to feed the homeless.
If you’re looking to source some fresh, local and organic produce when spending time in the Blue Mountains, head to the Blue Mountains Food Co-op in the heart of Katoomba. The co-op is owned and run by its members, and sells a variety of certified organic and biodynamic goods. With a policy of only dealing in “good food that doesn’t cost the earth”, the co-op supplies customers with everything from chemical-free fruit and vegetables to bulk organic wholefoods, eco-friendly cleaning products and items specifically for people with special dietary needs. The shop is open every day of the week and prioritises goods grown locally in 200 kilometres.
Although Café Memento was first established at Bronte Beach in Sydney, it has been trading in Blackheath since 1995. Set in a peaceful location with plenty of parking, the café serves up modern Australian cuisine with a European influence. All food is cooked on the premises using natural and wholesome produce such as organic flour and rice, free-range eggs, fresh herbs and all genetic-engineering-free ingredients. At Café Memento, more than 70 per cent of waste is recycled, and the establishment is powered by 100 per cent renewable (wind) energy. The owners also donate part of the café’s profits to various charities such as Animals Australia, the Australian Wilderness Society and Greenpeace Australia.
Although you need to stay at the luxurious Wolgan Valley Resort to dine there, the cost is certainly worth it. Winning many awards since its opening, the resort features multiple dining spots such as the provedore-style Country Kitchen, the Wolgan Dining Room and the Valley Bar & Terrace Lounge. With a food philosophy revolving around seasonal, organic and local produce from small private growers, visitors to the resort can rest assured they will be eating ethically at every stage. Wolgan Valley has an on-site kitchen garden to supply its fruits, vegetables and herbs and the rest of the ingredients are sourced from no further away than 160 kilometres wherever possible.
Located in Glenbrook, the Jazz Apple Kitchen is run on a mentality of “keeping it local” and as a result, ingredients come from the Blue Mountains as often as possible. The majority of the menu items are made by hand on site and the café also use coffee beans sourced from the Blue Mountains Roasters. People who need to eat gluten-free foods are well-catered to at the Jazz Apple Kitchen as are vegetarians.