Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show 2015 – Giveaway!

Alistair1 1024x681 Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show 2015   Giveaway!Australia’s largest consumer food and wine exhibition the Good Food and Wine Show is being held in Melbourne over the long weekend on Friday 5 June – Monday 8 June  at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The main ambassador for this year’s show will be UK celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott, where he will exclusively take part in the Melbourne show. He’ll be there along with a line up of renowned local and international chefs plus  hundreds of boutique exhibitors and a focus on on-trend foods and beverages.

Exhiting 1024x681 Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show 2015   Giveaway!

Take a shopping trolley, lots of cash, wear comfortable shoes and clothes and don’t drive or ride a bike – there’s beer and wine on offer!

Tickets are $34 general entry for adults, $20.40 for children 12-17 years and kids under 12 years are free.

Giveaway! Thanks to Good Food and Wine Show  I have 3 x double adult passes for general exhibition entry on any of the 4 days to give away. To win all you have to do is leave a comment before midnight Monday 1 June and the winners will be selected randomly. Good luck!

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HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 4 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

High Tea on the Rails was a one-off fundraiser organised by Elysian Afternoon Teas for McAuley Community Services for Women’s May High Tea Appeal.

Elysian Afternoon Teas is a vintage high tea business run by Therese Slee which offers small groups of 2-12 people the experience of high tea without the mess or the fuss.

Therese delivers high tea to your home by bringing her stash of vintage china (including a large collection of unique souvenir teaspoons), linen and table decorations. All the catering is done from her home kitchen. Some of the recipes come from the Ritz in London, some are treasured family recipes and some have been created by Therese.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 5 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

The location of this event was at the Newport Railway Workshops, which once used to be the largest industrial complex in Victoria. I never knew this place existed! The original 1880s workshops are now occupied by railway preservation groups Steamrail Victoria, Diesel Electric Rail Motor Preservation Association Victoria and R707 Operations and used by the Department of Infrastructure for the storage of disused trams and other rail rollingstock. The Australian Railway Historical Society Railway Museum is located south of the workshops.

I’ve eaten a lot of high tea in Melbourne, but never before in a vintage railway carriage! For this occasion we were very lucky to use the historic Avoca Dining Car, which was built at the Newport Railway Workshops and used for the Royal Visit of the Duke and Duchess of York on their visit to Australia in 1927. It was on loan from R707 Operations which charters locomotives, carriages and trains for private tours, corporate events, tours and filming across Victorian rail network.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 7 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 2 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

Our high tea began with a flute of bubbly or home made ice tea in the spectacular Art Deco interior of lounge car 708, which was built in the 1940s and further decorated with some items from Seddon vintage shop Once More, With Feeling.

IMG 1035 1024x1024 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

We were then ushered into the snug dining car. Each gorgeously decorated table held a plate of traditional crustless sandwiches and scones with home made jam while pots of Madame Flavour teas were brought around.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 14 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

 

The sandwiches were not terribly exciting to be honest as the bread was too soggy and thin. The traditional fillings included chicken paté and lettuce, cucumber and egg.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 12 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

The cake trolley was my highlight, filled to the brim with excellent home made treats. I dived into the moist Lemon Cheese Cream Butter Cake, a crispy hazelnut meringue filled with chocolate ganache and a tart with a hazelnut base and spiced apple butter filling.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 1 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

The ginger fluff sponge was simply amazing, like eating puffs of cloud sandwiching light whipped cream.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas Newport Railway Workshops Shea St Newport 13 HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

From the hum of conversation a grand time was had by all as we dined to our fill in unique surroundings. Best of all, $10 of each ticket went to McAuley Community Services for Women, which provides much needed services for women and their children who are escaping family violence and for women who are homeless.

If you’re interested in the works of R707 Operations they restore and maintain heritage locomotives and carriages and can provide tours by appointment. They also regularly provide comfortable family friendly and affordable vintage rail travel day train trips to regional centres in in Victoria.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport 

HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

Humble Patisserie 4 HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

Humble Patisserie is a sweet little cake shop and bakery in Hawthorn. While the store is humble in size (there are only a few tables and chairs tucked inside and on the pavement), the cake, pastry and  confectionery spread certainly is not.

Humble Patisserie 3 HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

I love the super-cute fit out, with Orla Kiely wallpaper behind the counter and riotously up the ceiling and a large storybook rabbit wielding a baguette and wallpaper matching scarf.

Humble Patisserie 2 HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

It’s the kind of place where it’s impossible to choose just one thing to eat. Everything is baked fresh daily on site. They are justly famous of their pastries, especially the almond croissant, and their homage to classic Australian biscuits and sweets such as the Wagon Wheel and coconut ice.

Humble Patisserie 1 HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

If you have to whittle down your choices, I highly recommend the Kingston and one of their mini tarlets, a buttery biscuity crumb filled with creamy lemon curd or a rich peanut butter and chocolate ganache.

Humble Patisserie 140 Auburn Road Hawthorn HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

Humble Patisserie wholesale to a few other cafes in town but I suggest you make a trip to visit this nostalgic little bakery for a sweet treat and a coffee using Axil beans.

Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn (03) 9818 2463

Mon to Sun 8am – 4pm

minilink HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

The Artisan Bakery Bar Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015 Queensbridge Square Southbank 1 HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (Saturday 28 February – Sunday 15 March) is kind of like my idealised version of Christmas (lots of eating without the present traumas) which makes the Artisan Bakery & Bar the ultimate Christmas Village, a place to celebrate some festival cheer.

The Artisan Bakery Bar Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015 Queensbridge Square Southbank 2 HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

The Artisan Bakery Bar Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015 Queensbridge Square Southbank 3 HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

The Artisan Bakery Bar Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015 Queensbridge Square Southbank 6 HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

Every day until Sunday 15 March, from 7:30am to late, head down to Queensbridge Square on Southbank to sample delicious bread-based wares from Peter Rowland as well as a rotating calendar of local and international bakers producing their most famous baked goods, including Éric Kayser (Maison Kayser, Paris) and Justin Gellatly (co-founder of London’s Bread Ahead).

DSC09924 521x820 HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

I ‘accidentally’ inhaled one of Justin Gellatly ‘s famous doughnuts for breakfast and oh my god…I have to say it was one of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had. Spongy, fluffy and dripping with salted caramel cream with a shard of crumbling honeycomb on top.

DSC09926 820x545 HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

Apparently guest baker’s products have been selling out every day by 10am so I’ve diarised Éric Kayser‘s visit (Tuesday 10 March and Wednesday 11 March) in the hope that he’ll turn out some of his famous eclairs.

I was also invited by Peter Rowland sample some of Artisan Bakery & Bar’s mostly Victorian menu.

We started off with little pots of Irrewarra Sourdough’s granola, some fluffy and tart Victorian yoghurt and homemade fresh fruit compote.

The Artisan Bakery Bar Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015 Queensbridge Square Southbank 9 HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

Then the carb-loading began, with wooden boards containing a selection of Irrewarra Sourdough and Woodfrog Bakery’s bread, Mount Zero olives, Milawa cheese, Mytleford butter and picles and condiments by Peter Rowland ($20 each).

The Artisan Bakery Bar Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015 Queensbridge Square Southbank 8 HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

Then a selection of tartines ($14) – basically fancy open-toasted. Nothing better than melted cheese on bread! Our selection included double smoked leg ham, heirloom tomatoes, pickled red onions and chutney…

The Artisan Bakery Bar Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015 Queensbridge Square Southbank 12 HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

…sauteed mushrooms and onion jam…

The Artisan Bakery Bar Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015 Queensbridge Square Southbank 7 HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

….pulled beef, corn relish and pickled gherkins.

The Artisan Bakery Bar Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015 Queensbridge Square Southbank 10 HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

To end was Tivoli Road Bakery’s out of this world fruit loaf – a light fruit-studded bread almost akin to Christmas cake – plus a selection of Milawa cheeses plus Tivoli Road’s famous salted caramel and lemon curd doughnuts.

The Artisan Bakery Bar Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015 Queensbridge Square Southbank 15 HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank
The Artisan Bakery & Bar is not just a place to eat and imbibe – there are workshop classes running onsite too, including free Little Foodies baking classes for children. Spaces for adult and kids classes are limited and bookings essential.

DSC09946 820x546 HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

7 days a week 7:30am-late until Sunday 15 March

HOT: 5 and Dime Bagel, 16 Katherine Place, Melbourne

5 and Dime Bagel 16 Katherine Place Melbourne 2 HOT: 5 and Dime Bagel, 16 Katherine Place, Melbourne

5 and Dime Bagel’s New York style boiled bagels have been gaining a loyal following from farmer’s market shoppers for the past two years.

 While you can still buy 5 and Dime Bagel at Flemington and Gasworks farmers markets, they have opened a permanent store in Katherine Place, near the King St end of Flinders Lane. They are one of half a dozen new, small, food enterprises that will hopefully turn that rather dead area of the CBD into a vibrant culinary destination. 

I love 5 and Dime Bagel for their chewy but not too dense texture and slightly crunchy crust. They are hand rolled, boiled and baked fresh every day on site and then distributed to other outlets as well as tumbled into wooden trays in their new premises. 

5 and Dime Bagel 16 Katherine Place Melbourne 1 HOT: 5 and Dime Bagel, 16 Katherine Place, Melbourne

The small cafe is reminiscent of an old-school American diner. Not the ones with kitschy, brightly coloured decor but the sort of subdued neighbourhood hangouts I can imagine found in tumbleweed Midwestern towns. When I walked in I was immediately reminded of the film The Last Picture Show. 

5 and Dime Bagel 16 Katherine Place Melbourne 4 HOT: 5 and Dime Bagel, 16 Katherine Place, Melbourne

The cafe offers bagels with a rotating selection of flavoured cream cheese (schmears) and fillings, all made in house. You can buy bagels to take away ($2 or 6 for $11) or sit down for a simple bagel sandwich and an espresso or filtered Promised Land Coffee. 

5 and Dime Bagel 16 Katherine Place Melbourne 3 HOT: 5 and Dime Bagel, 16 Katherine Place, Melbourne

My tip is to go for the dill bagel. The dill bagel has no added salt, which is unbelievable as it is so full of flavour. Combined with their house cured salmon/trout and cream cheese combo and it’s one heavenly sandwich.

They are purists with their bagels too. It is usual for bagels to be toasted in other cafes but here they don’t toast them because the bagels are so fresh. They bake constantly, throughout the day, so even if you arrive at the end of the lunch hour the bagels are still fresh.

 I can’t get on a plane to New York so 5 and Dime Bagel is the closest I’ll get to having a New York breakfast. And now you don’t have to wait for the weekend for your bagel fix!

5 and Dime Bagel, 16 Katherine Place, Melbourne

Monday to Friday 7:00 am to 3:00 pm

minilink HOT: 5 and Dime Bagel, 16 Katherine Place, Melbourne

HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 1 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

Maribyrnong Makers Market is a sweet little arts and crafts market held several times a year in Seddon. The market is at Seddon Uniting Church, a small and charming venue which hosts stalls inside the church hall as well as the outside grounds.

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 4 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

The focus of the market is about showcasing the work of local craftspeople and artists. Every stall holder has made their products themselves and the community feel extends to the charity sausage sizzle set up on the pavement outside.

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 3 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

I bought some treats from Helen’s Kitchen Favourites, a local sweets and preserves business based in Williamstown.

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 2 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

I even got to meet Helen and her husband Simon and her sales patter convinced me to buy her handmade and preservative-free pate and shortbread. Both were delicious but particular mention must go to the buttery, crumbly biscuits – three of us devoured 8 large rounds of passionfruit topped ones in one afternoon!

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 7 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

I also loved Little Puddles’ DIY felt ball garland and wreath kit but wasn’t sure of my handicraft skills as to whether I’d be able to make one. Maybe by Christmas I’ll have worked up the nerve!

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 6 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

It’s not every day that you see someone like Raxor, a craftperson actually hand spinning yarn in order to make her woollen goods.

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 5 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

The Maribyrnong Makers Market is a great place to buy some lovely, unique and often handmade things and meet the makers who come from the local area. It’s also within walking distance to Seddon Village with cafes and more shops to explore.

Maribyrnong Makers Market’s next dates in 2014 are tomorrow Saturday 22 November where it will extend down to the nearby park Harris Reserve and Thursday 18 December, just in time for Christmas.

Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

Saturday 22 November 9.30am – 3.30pm

Thursday 18 December 4.30pm – 8.30pm

Cream of the Crop at The Age Good Food Month – Giveaway!

Cream of the Crop Logo M Cream of the Crop at The Age Good Food Month – Giveaway!

November is The Age’s Good Food Month in Melbourne and one of the many events happening is the Cream of the Crop.

On Sunday, 23 November,  the Dairy Industry Association of Australia will be hosting the first ever Cream of the Crop, a dairy festival! For a mere $20 (kids under 12 are free) you will receive unlimited samples of cheese, ice-cream, yogurt, butter and other goodies on offer, as well as entry into dairy master classes throughout the day. Wine, beer and cheese platters will be available for sale.

Cream of the Crop, Sunday 23 November 11am till 5pm

Ormond Hall, 447 St Kilda Road, Melbourne (entry via Moubray Street)

Giveaway! Thanks to Dairy Industry Association of Australia I have 5 x double passes to give away for Cream of the Crop. To win just follow the instructions below. The winners will be randomly selected on Monday 17 November. Good luck!

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HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 12 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

Shannon Bennett, chef-restaurateur and perennial entrepreneur, is developing heritage-listed Burnham Beeches into a a biodynamic farm and self-sufficient village in Sherbrooke in the Dandenongs.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 11 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

Phase 1 of the 22 hectare site is the Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, the commercial bakery which supplies all of the bread and pastries for Bennett’s many restaurants, including Cafe Vue at Heide, Bistro Vue and Vue de Monde.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 14 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

Unfortunately we chose a very wet day to visit Burnham Beeches which meant that indoor tables were in scarce supply. Luckily we snagged one of the remaining available wooden/marbled ended benches at 9:30am (it opens at 9am). Yes it’s that busy even on a wet Sunday morning!

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 9 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

We found the former pigsty and barn quite cold and its high ceilings and polished concrete surfaces meant that it got really loud once the tables filled.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 15 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

The breakfast menu mixes between cafe standards and some of the Vietnamese influences found at Jardin Tan. There’s a lot of pork on the agenda, an apt choice for a place named the Piggery Cafe.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 7 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 18 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

We tried the house made banana bread with whipped honey butter ($7) which was really just glorified cake, the bircher muesli with bircher muesli, poached fruit and Schulz yoghurt ($12) and the BBB – a brioche bun slathered in sweet tomato relish with bacon, a slab of slow-cooked pork and a fried egg with a sunny, runny yolk ($16). All of the food was delicious but I did think the servings were on the measly side.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 16 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

Luckily it meant more room for dessert and it would be remiss to drive all this way without trying one of the amazing cakes (even though it’s only 10am).

DSC05464 540x408 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

The lemon tart ($9) was my favourite, with a rippled short pastry crust housing a soft but not runny lemon curd filling and perfectly burnished squiggle of meringue tinted with flavours of honey. The meringue perhaps was a little bit too soft but it was probably due to the damp conditions.

The caramel slice ($8.50) was not too sickly sweet (the reason I tend to avoid caramel tarts) and was adorned by a cute little quenelle of chocolate mousse.

We also particularly enjoyed the springy canele ($3), which contained surprising Green Goblin hued centre of pistachio encased by a sugar-coated crust.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 13 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

The kids loved their shortbread piggy biscuits ($2) dipped in chocolate ‘mud’ and babycinos with a chocolate on the side ($2). There’s plenty of room to park prams and several high chairs available.

From the bakery we took home a loaf of golden, buttery brioche. Note that it’s $6.50 at Burnham Bakery, $7 at Jardin Tan and $8 at Cafe Vue at Heide (yes we buy it everywhere we go!).

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery Burnham Beeches 1 Sherbrooke Rd Sherbrooke 17 HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

If it gets too busy or the sun is shining you can get sandwiches and sweet things to go and laze around the lawns instead. I’m told the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens next door are particularly spectacular but it was freezing and wet on our visit so we had to miss them.

Burnham Beeches is lovely short trip from Melbourne and the Piggery Cafe is a foodie destination if you’re not only after cream teas and crochet. The 2 and 3 course lunch menu looks particularly appetising and seems more adventurous than the breakfast fare.

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke 03 9021 2100

Mon-Fri 10am-5pm

Sat-Sun 9am-5pm

minilink HOT: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke

HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop in Ascot Vale an awesome organic vegan bakery for non-vegans. The magic that they create with their baked goods without the use of eggs, milk, butter or cream has to be tried to be believed.

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop 151 Union Rd Ascot Vale 1 HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

The quirky, retro-tastic cafe has seating along the window and one side of the wall, while the other length of the room is a looong cake cabinet. Breathe in the aromas of cinnamon and cake-baking and settle down for a sweets session.

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop 151 Union Rd Ascot Vale 2 HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop 151 Union Rd Ascot Vale 5 HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

For lunch there are a few savoury options – a savoury scroll and bagels filled with vegan ingredients. I tried the ‘chickpea tuna’ bagel which believe it or not really did taste like tuna, although the texture wasn’t as easily replicable. It was a pretty tasty sandwich, despite being squished down to a hard pancake with the over-enthusiastic use of the sandwich press.

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop 151 Union Rd Ascot Vale 9 HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

But really the main reason you go to Mr Nice Guy is to eat sweets. To be precise, you’ve got to try one of their fluffy chocolate, vanilla or cinnamon based cupcakes in out-there flavours such as ‘Zombie Brains’ and ‘Beetlejuice’ ($4.50). Followed by one of their large sticky scrolls in traditional cinnamon or coffee or the PB&J with lashings of chunky peanut butter folded inside the swirls and a dab of strawberry jam on top ($4.50). Maybe even go for one of their chocolate-infused Polish babkas ($4.50).

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop 151 Union Rd Ascot Vale 6 HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

It’s all good. Most importantly, the texture of the cakes is incredible and you could easily fool a non-vegan with these treats.

Mr Nice Guy will have you exclaiming ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter!’ as you scoff into their cupcakes, doughnuts, slices, brownies and cakes. They cater for lots of different dietary requirements, from kosher to soy-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, corn-free, fructose-free and low gi! It’s so hard to choose from just one visit that you will just have to keep returning, and returning.

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop 151 Union Rd Ascot Vale 7 HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale 0416 848 610

Mon to Fri: 9am – 6pm

Sat + Sun: 9am – 5pm

minilink HOT: Mr Nice Guy’s BakeShop, 151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

HOT: South Melbourne Market tour, 322-326 Coventry St, South Melbourne

South Melbourne Market tour 322 326 Coventry St South Melbourne 5 HOT: South Melbourne Market tour, 322 326 Coventry St, South Melbourne

During Markets of Melbourne’s Market Week 2014 I took the opportunity to take a guided tour of South Melbourne Market.

South Melbourne Market tour 322 326 Coventry St South Melbourne 7 HOT: South Melbourne Market tour, 322 326 Coventry St, South Melbourne

South Melbourne Market is not a market I frequent often so the tour was a fun and delicious way to discover interesting gems and meet some of the stallholders and characters behind the long-standing market. Here are some of my favourites:


South Melbourne Market tour 322 326 Coventry St South Melbourne 2 HOT: South Melbourne Market tour, 322 326 Coventry St, South Melbourne
Georgie’s Harvest is one of the market’s favourite stallholders. It’s run by a husband and wife team and they specialise in spuds and vegetables generally. I’ve been to a cooking class run by Georgie’s Harvest and learnt all about the different ways to prepare potato!

South Melbourne Market tour 322 326 Coventry St South Melbourne 6 HOT: South Melbourne Market tour, 322 326 Coventry St, South Melbourne

At St George’s Sourdough Bakehouse we tasted some of their organic sourdough bread. I highly recommend the seeded loaf and to avoid the stodgy looking  pastries (which aren’t organic).

South Melbourne Market tour 322 326 Coventry St South Melbourne 1 HOT: South Melbourne Market tour, 322 326 Coventry St, South Melbourne

We dived into the deli aisle and to Alka Polish Deli where we tried a variety of different cured meats. I doubled back later on to stock up on pierogi, ham and sausage – the owner was very helpful about helping me choose what to buy from the large range.

South Melbourne Market tour 322 326 Coventry St South Melbourne 3 HOT: South Melbourne Market tour, 322 326 Coventry St, South Melbourne

At Rita’s Nut Shop we met jolly Rita herself who sliced pieces of her giant handmade Turkish delight for us to try. I highly recommend the almond Turkish delight studded with fruit and nuts.

South Melbourne Market tour 322 326 Coventry St South Melbourne 4 HOT: South Melbourne Market tour, 322 326 Coventry St, South Melbourne

A unique space within South Melbourne Market is SO:ME Space with clothing, art and lifestyle retailers plus pop up stalls. I bought a quirkly paper towel dispenser from The Supercool, a shop where you can find things to make you and your home nice! The Supercool recentlywon Best Trader in the Melbourne Market Awards.

South Melbourne Market tour 322 326 Coventry St South Melbourne 8 HOT: South Melbourne Market tour, 322 326 Coventry St, South Melbourne

After the tour I headed to Simply Spanish for paella. You can smell the food as they cook up huge paella pans on Cecil Street and I got a generous helping of Valencian paella for $14. The rice was a bit overcooked for my liking and there was no crispy base at all, so I didn’t love it. On the Spanish waitress’ recommendation I also ordered the croquettes ($6). They were beautifully crisp morsels ejecting an oozy mass of cheese, potato and pork inside.

South Melbourne Market tour 322 326 Coventry St South Melbourne 9 HOT: South Melbourne Market tour, 322 326 Coventry St, South Melbourne

For dessert I visited Pardon My French, a mobile creperie serving freshly made crepes. They source their ingredients from the market and being strawberry season I decided to deviate from my usual Nutella to add strawberries. A huge triangle of sweet crepe for $8. They’ll be setting up a permanent stall at the market once a site is finalised.

Even though Market Week is over for 2014 you can still join the same tour of South Melbourne Market every month. To Market To Market tours run on the third Saturday of every month and the next tour is tomorrow, Saturday 20 September. A ticket is $35 and includes a coffee, tastings and a market bag. Sign up or give a tour voucher to a food-loving friend or family.

South Melbourne Market tour, 322-326 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Market open Wed, Sat, Sun 8am-4pm, Fri 8am-5pm

To Market To Market every 3rd Saturday of the month 10am-11:30am