Jackie Robertson, owner and chef at the recently opened Frog and Swallow Cafe in Allora, has a passion for preparing delicious food from local ingredients. “What I want to do in my home village is provide good, honest, rustic food that I have prepared from scratch,” said Jackie. She sources her fresh produce across the street from Percy’s Fruit Market, her meat from the butcher next door, and her dry goods from localpurveyors.
“I buy everything locally,” she said. “And everything is made here. It’s about keeping together and supporting each other. With my neighbour, Allora Butchery, we want to make this end of town a foodie destination.”
When Jackie says everything is made by hand, she means it. Bourbon butterscotch sauce, loaded fruit cake, beef and Guinness pies and strawberry chilli dipping sauce are just a few of her homemade offerings. Nothing prepackaged is served to her guests. Coffee is brewed in a traditional Italian fashion from fragrant Lupo coffee beans, shipped in specially from Italy.
In addition to operating Frog and Swallow Cafe six days a week, Jackie and her husband John will also host Shared Long Table Dinners throughout the year. At this monthly culinary event, 24 guests will indulge in a 2-course dinner under the stars, set at long tables in the garden at the back of the cafe. Dinner will include a main course like roast fillet with port and Stilton gravy, roasted rosemary potatoes with a seasonal salad, while guests can expect desserts such as individual pavlovas, given an exotic twist with rose-scented cream, Turkish delight and pistachios.
The cafe will also be available for private dinner parties, act as a venue for local artists to perform and as a cooking school. Jackie will offer a seasonal preserve making classes, teaching the techniques that have contributed to the success of her side business, Frog and Swallow Gourmet Preserves.
“I want people to feel like they’re coming into our home as guests,” Jackie said.
Words and images by Krista Bjorn