Belgian-born baker Miek Paulus owns and operates Ket Baker, an artisanal bakery on the Bellarine Peninsula. Miek was drawn to this region of Victoria due to its strong sense of community, abundance of local produce and honest business practices.
'We let faith take us there,' she says.
What started as a small kitchen in Miek's garage in 2016, the shed bakery now sits on a beautiful and peaceful patch of land in Wallington. It's here that Miek and her team create their small-batch pastries, sourdough and croissants, working with other makers in the local community to source the finest and freshest ingredients.
Miek shares with us some of her favourite places in Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula.
1. Bellarine Rail Trail
Starting in Geelong and ending in Queenscliff, the Bellarine Rail Trail is a great way for cyclists and walkers to experience the Bellarine Peninsula. The 32-kilometre journey takes around 2.5 hours to complete, passing the historic railway line, seasonal wildflowers, and providing gorgeous views over Geelong, the bay and the nearby You Yangs National Park.
After a ride along the rail trail, Miek likes to spend time soaking up the sights of Queenscliff. The historic seaside village has a Victorian-era streetscape, heritage architecture, a vibrant modern waterfront and is home to the famous Blues Train.
'We love all the wineries on the Bellarine Peninsula, especially the little hidden ones,' Miek says. The Geelong wine region is home to 40-odd cellar doors. Try Oakdene Vineyards, Terindah Estate and Jack Rabbit Vineyard for starters and see where the road takes you.
4. Little Malop Street
Adorned with street art and outfitted with hip bars and cafes, this Geelong precinct has a ton of great places to eat and drink, all within close proximity to each other. Choose from a menu of modern European cuisine at The Continental and grab a drop of local plonk at Geelong Cellar Door. Continue your night with a cocktail at 18th Amendment Bar, or sing along to your favourite tunes at the Piano Bar.
5. Local produce
Miek works closely with other small business owners, using their products to produce her own baked goods. Drysdale Cheeses create goats cheese from their dairy herd and operate a small farm gate on their Bellarine property. Lard Ass Butter sell artisan butter and other handcrafted dairy food products at their Ocean Grove factory, and Bellarine Smokehouse use traditional smoking techniques to produce their award-winning smoked fish. 'They are beautiful creators with amazing ladies behind them.'