Photo credits: Belinda Satterthwaite, Tomolly Carcoar.
This is the authentic taste of a cultural dining experience in a remote Italian village on top of a mountain. Without having to go all the way to Italy. Instead you get to pause for a moment outside of time in the charming historic Australian village of Carcoar in New South Wales.
Carcoar is just a scenic 40 minute drive and equidistant from Orange, Bathurst or Cowra – taking you through some classic and iconic Australian countryside [there is also a gorgeous secret back road joining the historic villages of Millthorpe and Carcoar if you follow the Old Cemetery Road from Carcoar].
This is not an Italian restaurant as you may know it, Antica Australis is a ‘locanda’. A locanda is a local, casual dining establishment where everyone is warmly welcomed and where you are encouraged to feel right at home. It’s a very traditional regional Italian concept of an inn, designed to provide meals for weary travellers looking to rest and revive their spirits. Carcoar was an original stop on the old Cobb & Co track, so it’s the perfect alignment of rural life in Australia and Italy!
Say it with us, <cho-sha-ria>. Paolo is from the ancient ‘hidden’ region of Ciociaria in central Italy, it’s just one hour south from Rome but a whole world away. This is the wild heart of Italy, the homeland of ancient Italic tribes who forged the first concept of a unified country in the Apennine Mountains over 3,000 years ago. They were conquered by the ancient Romans circa 300 BC but their spirit lives on in their food, stories, music and dialect. Paolo has brought a little of the wild Ciociarian spirit to the untamed ancient southern land he now calls home.
[Antica Australis – ancient southern land].
The first European explorers to cross the Blue Mountains arrived in 1815, with the first European settlers arriving in the area in 1821. The first land grant was given to (Sir) Thomas Icely in 1829 and Carcoar was gazetted for settlement in 1839 as a service village for Iceley’s grand Coombing Park estate – on which he grazed large runs of sheep and cattle and mined the region’s first copper & gold. In Carcoar a number of large stores, a brickworks, two flour mills plus cheese, cordial and beer factories were established – and by the 1850-1860s goldrush era it was a town of around 2,500 souls with 16 pubs, three churches, a court house, district hospital and a public school.
Carcoar is still perfectly preserved with many heritage buildings and historic sites and the entire village is classified by the Australian National Trust. The cheerful Belubula River runs through the village of Carcoar alongside Antica Australis and the district was the original abundant heartland of the Wiradjuri people. The word ‘belubula’ is believed to mean ‘stony river’ in the Wiradjuri language and Carcoar means ‘frog’. In summer the sound of Carcoar as the sun sets is of contented little frogs singing along merrily on the banks of the Belubula River.
We would like to acknowledge the Wiradjuri people as the traditional custodians of the lands in which we live, work and learn and we pay our deepest respects to the Elders – past, present and emerging – for holding the memories, traditions, culture and hopes of this beautiful place.
Antica Australis. 2 Belubula Street, Carcoar. Just a 40 minute drive from Bathurst, Cowra and Orange.
Visit www.anticacarcoar.com and follow us @AnticaCarcoar on Facebook and Instagram.
There isn’t one!
Throw all your preconceptions of an Italian restaurant out the window when you walk in our door. We are a locanda (a local, an inn). where you are a very welcome guest. This means we are definitely not fine or contemporary dining. We are fun dining – totally and completely wild-style Ciociarian.
Paolo cooks in the casarecce (housemade)style of the Ciociarian region. Slow-cooked and seasonal, with fresh local produce using traditional Italian recipes.
We are gloriously BYO. There’s a pub next door if you run out. We don’t charge corkage.