We’ve enlisted the expertise of our dear friends and food enthusiasts, Kristy and Dave from Mills + Franks, to craft a delectable foodie trail for your indulgence. If you’re seeking inspiration for your next culinary escape from the daily grind, keep reading.

As self-proclaimed foodies with a passion for travel, we, like many of you, crave the thrill of the next culinary adventure. With the arrival of Spring, warm days blend with cool nights, stirring a desire for alfresco dining and the tantalising tastes of fresh, seasonal produce. If you want to uncover the best foodie destinations to share with your significant other and close friends, then look no further. Join us on a gastronomic journey this Spring, from the charming streets of Berry to the coastal wonders of Jervis Bay. We’ve curated a selection of must-try experiences that will immerse you in local flavours and introduce you to the region’s leading world of hospitality.

1. Blossoming Food Scene

In Berry’s vibrant core and stretching to the tranquil edges of Jervis Bay, we’ve personally witnessed the unfolding of a culinary awakening. We’re truly spoiled for choice, as the region proudly presents an array of hospitality experiences, each resonating with the fresh vibrancy of Spring in their own unique way. Trendy cafes with artisan baristas sit alongside hatted restaurants, where chefs showcase their dedication to bring us the freshest ingredients that are the secret behind every delectable dish. Local caterers design menus that transform events into memorable feasts, while passionate producers, with their freshly harvested ingredients, become the unsung heroes behind every delightful bite. Our thirst, too, is always satiated, thanks to the winemakers, distillers, and brewers close by — and for those nights in, boutique bottle shops offer a curated selection of the best. Every corner of our beloved region, from brewing that morning coffee to presenting a vintage wine, prioritises fresh, seasonal produce. It’s a testament to the commitment of ensuring every meal, every sip, deeply encapsulates the essence of Spring. 

2. Spring Picnics and Gatherings

The South Coast presents idyllic backdrops just waiting to be enjoyed. Spring picnics and alfresco gatherings come alive, whether set amidst the rolling countryside or the pristine white sands of our crystal-clear beaches. Journeying from Berry to Jervis Bay, we’ve always felt a personal connection to the local businesses that offer the freshest seasonal produce for our gatherings. Our top recommendation starts with Flavours Shoalhaven in Berry, where crafting the perfect picnic is a joy. Their commitment to sourcing directly from local producers means you’ll be treated to the very best cheeses, charcuterie, smoked seafood, and accompaniments. And what’s a picnic without the perfect bread? Head over to Milkwood Bakery and choose from their range of organic sourdough breads. Pair these treats with selections from Justin Lil Wines & The Berry Bottle Shop, and your picnic is set for perfection.

Now, for the setting: the serene beaches of Jervis Bay, namely Orion’s Beach, Blenheim Beach, and Greenfield Beach, hold a special place in our hearts. Alternatively, for those who seek to luxuriate in private, Supercalla Private Properties offers exquisite accommodations. Our personal favourites? The serene Berry Lake House, offering peace by your private lake, the stylish farmhouse vibes at Mayfield Farm, or the tropical haven of Villa Salina where the beach is all yours. Each location promises memorable moments set against the South Coast’s signature beauty.

3. Seasonal Menus and Creations

Our favourite local restaurants from Berry to Jervis Bay, embrace Spring wholeheartedly, artfully infusing Spring’s essence into their offerings. They offer a diverse range of culinary preferences and styles.

For a laid-back meal in Berry, Il Locale never disappoints. Alternatively you could soak up the sun at The Garden‘s picturesque patio, and if you’re venturing further South, it’s a must to pop into Old Salt Distillery. Their weekend offerings are a culinary delight, combining fresh, local ingredients with smoky and fiery cooking techniques. Once you’re in Jervis Bay, Serotonin on Currambene beckons with its seasonal vegetarian and dietary friendly dishes. And yes, the buzz about 5 Little Pigs is all true with their eclectic menus, and don’t leave Huskisson until you have experienced the freshest handmade pasta from Pasta Buoy.

For those occasions that call for a touch of elegance, we’re incredibly fortunate with options. South on Albany, a hatted gem in Berry, showcases an ever-evolving weekly menu in an intimate setting. Otherwise let Queen Street Eatery transport you to France; their bistro, while rooted in tradition, celebrates the essence of Spring with perfectly paired cocktails and a robust wine list. For a quintessentially Australian experience, be sure to head to The Gunyah at Paperbark Camp. Their tree top dining room will have you enjoying their relaxed approach to cooking, flavours and techniques that reflect our multicultural heritage and a clever use of indigenous ingredients to create a wonderful bush dining experience. With such a wealth of choices, decision-making becomes the sweetest dilemma.

4. Farmers' Markets and Artisanal Finds

There’s an unparalleled charm to the South Coast, a region rich with dedicated producers and providores. It’s a world away from the bustling cityscapes with franchise supermarkets and delis that many are accustomed to. Here, there’s a cherished tradition we’ve always adored: the joy of directly connecting with small-scale farmers, of truly understanding the journey from farm to table. It’s an intimate experience, a moment where you can quite literally ‘shake the hand that feeds you.’

Nestled conveniently between Berry and Jervis Bay, Nowra Fresh Fish & Meat Market and Nowra Farmers Market present a one-stop shopping destination. Here, the spotlight is on locally-sourced, seasonal produce complemented by regional protein selections. For oyster enthusiasts, a visit to Sally at Jim Wild’s Oysters is essential. Not only will you meet Australia’s female oyster shucking champion, but you’ll also have the chance to indulge in freshly harvested oysters from their very backyard. And for a taste of the sea straight from our very own local waters, Jervis Bay Shellfish Market stands ready to satiate your salty cravings.

We’d love you to become familiar with Slow Food, a commendable volunteer-driven initiative championing our vibrant local food scene, ensuring it’s not only delicious, but also ethical and sustainable. Their Local Producers Guide is a foodie’s treasure map with a comprehensive directory. It’s your passport to exploring the freshest seasonal offerings of our breathtaking region, directly linking you to passionate farmers, dedicated growers, and artisans crafting unique, hand-made delights.

5. Spring Wine, Distillery and Brewery Tastings

Whether you’re planning a romantic escape or a spirited gathering with friends, there’s an excitement which brews when discovering new beverages to enhance your personal cellars and drink carts.

For our wine lovers, we suggest beginning your journey at Silos Estate. Here, a welcoming team awaits to curate a tasting in their cellar, complemented by seasonal gourmet tasting platters. Two Figs is your next stop, offering bespoke wine tasting sessions for intimate groups, and what’s more, your four-legged companions are welcome to tag along! Pair your wine-tasting adventure with a delightful lunch amidst the sprawling vineyards of Coolangatta Estate, where their seasonal menus promise a laid-back, yet exquisite dining soiree.

For those with spirits on their mind, another nod to Old Salt Distillery is a must. While their award-winning Gin is undoubtedly the star attraction, they now offer spirit flight tastings. Tara Distillery, set on their secluded estate, offers a diversified palette of gin, vodka, and whiskies, ensuring every sip is a voyage in itself.

And for our beer connoisseurs, the vibrant ambiance of Jervis Bay Brewing is both a family and pet-friendly haven, and not too far away, Flamin Gala‘s artisanal brews will tempt you into securing a growler for the road. The South Coast has a sip, a flavour, a moment for every kind of foodie enthusiast!

6. Intimate Events & Celebrations

Our region offers a spectacular backdrop for celebrating life’s milestones and special moments. You can entertain and create experiences in the privacy of your own space – you are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation. The Supercalla Private Properties portfolio is our first stop to sourcing the best luxury accommodation in the area. Known for redefining the holiday home experience, their handpicked collection of holiday homes stand as a testament to elegance, and when combined with our region’s culinary maestros, they transform into private dining paradises. Our top picks? The rural elegance of 454 @ Jaspers in Berry, along with the private bay side oasis of Driftaway in Jervis Bay, are both designed as an entertainer’s dream. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a restaurant-quality experience in the comfort and privacy of your lavish retreat. We are avid fans of Season & Savour, who magically weave local ingredients into culinary masterpieces, and The Black Hen Kitchen‘s heartwarming home-style feasts. For those who cherish mindful dining, Dandelion and Mallow serve up seasonal, ethical dishes, and if you’re seeking a gastronomic journey, Dine In by Brooke Silk‘s degustation’s are truly memorable.

7. Cooking Workshops and Festivals

As Spring unfolds, our region buzzes with excitement, spotlighting our talented homegrown culinary heroes. This season, food enthusiasts are in for a treat with an array of workshops, festivals, and special events. If you seek unique experiences without the fuss of planning, or simply wish to dive deep into the local food culture, let the Shoalhaven Food Network be your guide. This indispensable directory curates the season’s most anticipated foodie events. Be sure to check out the South Coast Food & Wine Festival which every year brings the best of our region’s food and wine establishments and live entertainment to the foreshores of Jervis Bay.

8. Floral Desserts and Treats

No Springtime celebration feels truly complete without the comfort of a sweet treat. For us, happiness is cradling a warm cup of tea at The Berry Tea Shop with a freshly baked scone served with jam and cream. We can’t help but find ourselves visiting Espresso Boy Donuts to discover their next sourdough culinary concoctions, or exploring The Berry Chocolatier when the whisper of chocolate beckons. And for those moments that call for celebrations, Decadence Cakes offers not just a symphony of desserts but the perfect centrepiece for birthdays. And yes, a trip to Berry is incomplete without standing in line, anticipation building, for that iconic fresh donut from the Donut Van.

9. Conclusion

Spring is a season that rejuvenates not just the world around us, but our palates too, urging us to explore, savour, and celebrate. It is a season that rekindles our love for neighbouring hospitality and the connections we make with our local producers. Whatever the occasion, we love being able to turn moments into memories and celebrations into unforgettable experiences with the perfect blend of luxury, comfort, and culinary brilliance. Living in this beautiful region, we’ve been fortunate to witness our culinary scene bloom, and we hope to inspire you as foodies to embark on your own Springtime gourmet adventure.

This guide has been thoughtfully prepared and written by our dear friend and food enthusiast, Kristy Mills-Franks, from Mills + Franks. If you’re seeking the best professionals to assist you in creating your dream special occasion, Kristy and her team are the ones to turn to.