HOT: Agathé Pâtisserie, Stalls 63 and 64, South Melbourne Market, cnr Coventry and Cecil Streets, South Melbourne

Agathe Patisserie 6 1024x811 HOT: Agathé Pâtisserie, Stalls 63 and 64, South Melbourne Market, cnr Coventry and Cecil Streets, South MelbourneIf you walked into South Melbourne Market last week your nose will have detected the new aroma of fresh, buttery pastry in the aisles. That’s because Agathé Pâtisserie, a Parisian-inspired patisserie and croissanterie, has just opened a permanent kitchen and retail store in South Melbourne Market.

Agathé Kerr’s pastries have gained a cult following since she started a little Saturday market stall in Prahran Market last year. The Parisian gained her professional pastry chef qualification at the prestigious Ecole de Boulangerie et Patisserie de Paris and had been making all her wares in a pop up store/lab in Windsor.

The new double-sized stall is clean and white, with the exposed kitchen baking fresh items daily behind the tempting pastry counter.

Agathe Patisserie 8 1024x676 HOT: Agathé Pâtisserie, Stalls 63 and 64, South Melbourne Market, cnr Coventry and Cecil Streets, South Melbourne

I ordered a classic pain au chocolat (with two luxurious sticks of chocolate inside), a brightly striped infused raspberry croissant, a classic escargot and almond croissant.

Agathe Patisserie 5 1024x909 HOT: Agathé Pâtisserie, Stalls 63 and 64, South Melbourne Market, cnr Coventry and Cecil Streets, South Melbourne

All excellent quality, with a buttery crumb, subtle flavours and airy layers of pastry.

Agathe Patisserie 2 708x1024 HOT: Agathé Pâtisserie, Stalls 63 and 64, South Melbourne Market, cnr Coventry and Cecil Streets, South Melbourne

There is one must-eat item on the menu. Agathé Pâtisserie’s famous cruffins ($7) are now piped to order with vanilla creme patisserie and topped with your choice of filling – on my visit, Nutella, salted caramel or peanut butter caramel.

Agathe Patisserie 1 1024x781 HOT: Agathé Pâtisserie, Stalls 63 and 64, South Melbourne Market, cnr Coventry and Cecil Streets, South Melbourne

Agathe Patisserie 3 683x1024 HOT: Agathé Pâtisserie, Stalls 63 and 64, South Melbourne Market, cnr Coventry and Cecil Streets, South Melbourne

Agathe Patisserie 4 814x1024 HOT: Agathé Pâtisserie, Stalls 63 and 64, South Melbourne Market, cnr Coventry and Cecil Streets, South Melbourne

For now Agathé Pâtisserie is focusing on their new premises and retail offering so there’s no wholesale orders to cafes. That means the only place to try these amazing pastries is at South Melbourne Market. Warning – on the first day of opening at South Melbourne EVERYTHING was sold out in 1 hour (9am!). So if you want to sample some of Melbourne’s best pastries you’ll have to set your alarm clock and get in early.


 

Agathé Pâtisserie, Stalls 63 and 64, South Melbourne Market, corner of Coventry and Cecil Streets, South Melbourne 0403 222 573

Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm or until sold out.

HOT: Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

Smith Deli 111 Moor St Fitzroy 6 HOT: Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

The owners of popular vegan restaurant Smith & Daughters in Fitzroy have now branched out to a delightful Jewish-inspired deli just around the corner on Moor Street. Dubbed Smith & Deli, the new-age convenience store will be a haven for vegans, vegetarians and curious omnivores.

Smith Deli 111 Moor St Fitzroy 1 HOT: Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

Smith & Deli is housed in an old brick factory and I love the retro feel to the place, from the mint-green furnishings thanks to Callum Preston (who also designed Smith & Daughters) to the 50s rock tunes.

Smith Deli 111 Moor St Fitzroy 12 HOT: Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

Smith Deli 111 Moor St Fitzroy 5 HOT: Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

The store’s focus is on take away food, provisions, fresh produce and take-home meals and the shelves and cabinets simply groan with neat rows of tempting food.

Smith Deli 111 Moor St Fitzroy 4 HOT: Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

Smith Deli 111 Moor St Fitzroy 3 HOT: Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

I was invited to visit Smith & Deli ahead of their official opening this Tuesday 16 June and had a lot of fun sampling their goods. I should preface my comments with the fact that I’m not vegan – so I’m comparing vegan dishes with their non-vegan originals. If you are limited to vegan choices then I think Smith & Deli will be a gastronomical broadening of horizons. If you’re not vegan, it’ll be eye-opening though in some cases I admit I’d prefer to eat the non-vegan versions.

Smith Deli 111 Moor St Fitzroy 2 HOT: Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

I was offered a pre-made lunch box to try ($15) consisting of a half a Reuben sandwich, a noodle salad and a slice of apple crumble slice. I also gave way to temptation to buy up their baked goods – a croissant, doughnut, dill pretzel, passionfruit tart, honey cake and challah.

The highlights were the spongy glazed doughnut with ‘custard’, the surprisingly flaky croissant and the bready but not too chewy dill pretzel. Let’s just say they got the tick of approval from a 4 year old omnivore!

Smith Deli 111 Moor St Fitzroy 8 HOT: Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

I didn’t love the dry pastry of the passionfruit tart though the filling was creamy and sweet or I’d much prefer the chunky meatiness of a proper Reuben sandwich.

Smith Deli 111 Moor St Fitzroy 11 HOT: Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

Intrigued by the possibility of a vegan take home meal I bought a ready made pastrami pizza and margherita pizza ($16 each). The pizza base was light and fluffy and the flavours were true – it was just the curious un-melted texture of the ‘cheese’ which signalled its vegan origins. My kids loved it…but give me mozzarella instead.

Smith Deli 111 Moor St Fitzroy 10 HOT: Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

There’s no seating on site so it’s strictly take-away service. Whitlam Square and Condell Reserve all offer nice places to sit and eat and if you’re studying in Fitzroy Library it’s just a handy diagonal stride across Moor Street.

Smith & Deli is a unique concept – a friendly grocery store where dishes have been converted to plant-based fare without sacrificing flavour. I did think in some cases the texture of meat and dairy simply couldn’t be replicated, but I’m curious enough to return, especially for the house-made vegan pastrami and salami (their slicer wasn’t working yet).

Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

Tue-Sun 8am-7pm

Opening Tuesday 16 June 2015

 HOT: Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

HOT: Lygon Food Store, 263 Lygon Street, Carlton

Lygon Food Store 263 Lygon Street Carlton 1 HOT: Lygon Food Store, 263 Lygon Street, Carlton

Lygon Food Store was a pioneer in Melbourne in the 1950s. This iconic Carlton cafe and food store opened 63 years ago as one of the first suppliers of imported products from Italy and it was the first shop in Lygon Street to serve Lavazza coffee.

Lygon Food Store 263 Lygon Street Carlton 7 HOT: Lygon Food Store, 263 Lygon Street, Carlton

This unpretentious establishment has long been a favourite with uni students and academics for a casual breakfast or a hearty lunch.

Lygon Food Store 263 Lygon Street Carlton 4 HOT: Lygon Food Store, 263 Lygon Street, Carlton

Their huge ciabattas and baguettes are excellent value (all under $10) and the glass cabinet holds a rotating mouth-watering selection of Italian meals, soups and salads.

Lygon Food Store 263 Lygon Street Carlton 9 HOT: Lygon Food Store, 263 Lygon Street, Carlton

The cartoccio, an oval mass of pizza dough, squidgy mozzarella and laden to overflowing with antipasti and charcuterie, is one of their specialities. It’s big enough to share between two or three, making it an economical lunch for $14.50.

Lygon Food Store 263 Lygon Street Carlton 3 HOT: Lygon Food Store, 263 Lygon Street, Carlton

About a month ago Lygon Food Store opened its doors for dinner on Thursday to Sunday evenings.

I was invited to sample some of the dinner menu, which has an emphasis on Southern Italian cuisine mainly from Puglia, the region that owner Pasquale Coco knows best. Some of the recipes are from his family, some have been devised by Pasquale who is also the chef.

Lygon Food Store 263 Lygon Street Carlton 2 HOT: Lygon Food Store, 263 Lygon Street, Carlton

The highlight of the preview was the serves of pasta and the risotto Milanese, all cooked al dente and adorned with the simplest of sauces to highlight the freshness of the ingredients. All the pastas and stone fired pizzas are under $20.

Lygon Food Store 263 Lygon Street Carlton 6 HOT: Lygon Food Store, 263 Lygon Street, Carlton

There are just four main dishes to choose from – a veal osso bucco, rockling fillet, crunchy eggplant polpetta with spicy caponata and couscous and in a nod to on-trend ingredients, a light quinoa salad. Again, each of the mains was very reasonably priced under $30.

Lygon Food Store 263 Lygon Street Carlton 5 HOT: Lygon Food Store, 263 Lygon Street, Carlton

While bright new eateries ensure that Lygon Street is ever-evolving it’s always nice to revisit old favourites. Lygon Food Store is a Melbourne institution for a reason and now you can enjoy their wares (and do your deli shopping) morning, noon and night.

Lygon Food Store, 263 Lygon Street, Carlton 03 9347 6279

Monday – Wednesday, 7am – 6pm
Thursday – Sunday, 7am – 10pm

 HOT: Lygon Food Store, 263 Lygon Street, Carlton

HOT: Proper & Son, Shop 13-14 South Melbourne Market, 322 Coventry Street, South Melbourne

Proper Son Shop 13 14 South Melbourne Market 322 Coventry Street South Melbourne 7 HOT: Proper & Son, Shop 13 14 South Melbourne Market, 322 Coventry Street, South Melbourne

Proper & Son is a handsome new market deli and cafe within South Melbourne Market.

The space brings a bit of the country to the city, with modern white subway tiles offset by a provincial-style patterned wallpaper cleverly disguising chickens, pigs and cows.

Proper Son Shop 13 14 South Melbourne Market 322 Coventry Street South Melbourne 8 HOT: Proper & Son, Shop 13 14 South Melbourne Market, 322 Coventry Street, South Melbourne

The stylish cafe seats around 35 people max and at around 10am on Sunday there was a short lineup before a table become available. Once we sat down everything was brought us promptly.

All the food is made on site (breakfast until 11:30am, lunch from 11:30am) and the owner Eugene Lavery is also behind the stove. A owner-chef tends to bode well for the quality of an eatery, as he/she will really care about what comes out of the kitchen and how the service is managed.

Given Proper & Son’s location it has the privilege of being able to change the menu weekly depending on what’s in season and what’s available within the market. So you can be assured that all the produce is as fresh as fresh can be.

As we were visiting on Mother’s Day we tried their special ‘Proper High Tea’ menu where we received a hot beverage and a selection of sweet and savoury treats for $20.

Proper Son Shop 13 14 South Melbourne Market 322 Coventry Street South Melbourne 3 HOT: Proper & Son, Shop 13 14 South Melbourne Market, 322 Coventry Street, South Melbourne

Half the fun was discovering what was presented on the wooden platters – a fat brioche bun with smoked salmon and dill, a slice of  creamy pumpkin frittata, a rosy coconut cupcake and some sort of fudgy chocolate brownie. The only disappointment was the flat disc of a scone, though it was served with some delicious house made preserves and cream.

Proper Son Shop 13 14 South Melbourne Market 322 Coventry Street South Melbourne 2 HOT: Proper & Son, Shop 13 14 South Melbourne Market, 322 Coventry Street, South Melbourne

The creamy coffee was made with Toby’s Estate beans and my hot chocolate was by Mork Chocolate.

In addition we ordered the buttermilk hotcakes, a substantial dish of three fluffy pancake rounds heaped with fresh fruit, pecans and a huge ball of lemon curd ($13.50). A peek at our neighbours indicated that serving sizes seemed to be in on the generous side overall.

Proper Son Shop 13 14 South Melbourne Market 322 Coventry Street South Melbourne 5 HOT: Proper & Son, Shop 13 14 South Melbourne Market, 322 Coventry Street, South Melbourne

For lunch Proper & Son turns into a carvery, with roast meat rolls made to order and a selection of four fresh salads. I’ve heard lots of raves about their ‘Market Roast Roll’ made with free range roast chicken with a sage, onion and cranberry stuffing or corned wagyu brisket with pickles, cabbage and mustard.

Proper & Son is an exciting addition to an otherwise lacklustre food court in South Melbourne Market and you could visit it weekly without eating the same thing twice. It’s a great place to stop with before or after your shopping.

Proper & Son, Shop 13-14 South Melbourne Market, 322 Coventry Street, South Melbourne, 9699 7057

Wed, Sat-Sun 7:30am to 4pm

Fri 7:30am to 5pm

minilink HOT: Proper & Son, Shop 13 14 South Melbourne Market, 322 Coventry Street, South Melbourne

HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 4 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

If you enjoyed going on Easter egg hunts as a child then going on a gourmet chocolate tour has got to be the next best thing when you’re an adult!

For the last 20 years Chocoholics have run daily chocolate walking tours through Melbourne’s CBD, winding through laneways and arcades to find the artisan chocolatiers for which Melbourne is famous. I was invited to attend one of their tours, the signature ‘Bittersweet chocolate tour’ which included tastings of milk and dark chocolate at five different chocolate stores.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 21 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

The tour started off with a brief spiel by our personable guide about the origins of chocolate and the process of growing, harvesting and processing cacao. We were given some raw cocoa beans and cocoa nibs to try and then the real business of chocolate tasting began.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 19 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

First stop was Cacao Lab, a chocolatier opened by Frenchman Laurent Meric  designed to look like a new age laboratory.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 16 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

At Cacao Lab we were treated to a decorated milk chocolate with a nut ganache and a small shot of their intense hot chocolates, silently churning behind the counter.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 5 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 8 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

The bright colours and beautiful packaging of Cacao Lab lured me to purchase a half-dozen carton of their Belgian chocolate eggs. I also snapped one of their hot cross buns, recently crowned one of the best hot cross buns in Melbourne.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 11 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

Second stop was Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar, an American company with a few stores in New York, one in Dubai and one in Melbourne’s Emporium since October 2014. The store is very large, with lovely ironwork walls and a pastel and chocolate palette.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 14 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 12 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

The company is American but all the product is made in Melbourne and I noticed that they were selling Ingrid Tufts’ ceramicware as well.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 17 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

The recipes have been tweaked where necessary to accommodate Australian palates and some of the super-sweet American flavours haven’t made it on the menu. They use Callebaut chocolate and the aim of the founder, Alison Nelson, is to introduce American (and Australian) audiences to European style chocolate at a mid-range price.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 20 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

We tried some of their iced chocolates with a small slice of red velvet brownie, a cake-like morsel rather than a dense, gooey slab that I usually equate the American style brownies. Then we had a tasting of a very sweet peanut butter and jelly milk chocolate and a lavender milk chocolate.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 9 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

I also purchased a chocolate dipped Oreo (kind of like a Tim Tam actually) and my favourite, one of their selection of Asian flavoured chocolates, the bamboo macadamia jasmine dark log.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 25 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

Our third stop was Koko Black, a European style chocolatier which is credited with inspiring Melbourne’s love affair with high quality couverture chocolate over a decade ago.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 2 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 7 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

We watched the chocolatier in action by the window and then tried a strawberry milk chocolate and a silky drop of raspberry ganache inside a dark chocolate cup. Extremely rich without being cloying and so smooth on the tongue.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 13 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

The fourth stop was Haigh’s, an Adelaide-based chocolatier which is celebrating it’s 100th birthday this year.

When I first moved to Melbourne I was a bit bemused about how everyone raved about their chocolate frogs, which I thought were ok but not the sort of amazing quality I’d experienced in Europe. While their tour tastings were very generous – a dark chocolate palette, a milk chocolate palette and cinnamon and merlot chocolate – I’m still not a Haigh’s fan.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 18 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

Our final stop was Ganache, my favourite chocolatier in Melbourne. While I like the ambience of Koko Black’s flagship store in Royal Arcade, particularly the big cushy lounge chairs upstairs overlooking the passing crowd in the historic arcade, I think the quality of the product at Ganache is second to none. I have attended a masterclass at their South Yarra chocolate kitchen and seen how their work is done, so I am fully confident in the quality control of their product.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 15 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

At Ganache we were offered a hot drink and a full slice of one of their signature cakes, the hazelnut fan slice. I was desperately chocolated-out at that point but could not let such a beautiful cake go to waste.

Chocoholics Chocolate Tour 22 HOT: Chocoholics chocolate walking tour, Melbourne

I had a wonderfully decadent afternoon with Chocoholics and I think that $49 is a very good price for the tour. A lot of ground is covered in the 2.5 hours, there’s a good selection of specialty chocolatiers to try and compare and you’ll certainly not leave hungry.

With several tastings at every stop there is a lot of chocolate to eat in one continuous sitting, so my tip is to skip lunch, drink a lot of water and bring a plastic bag/box to store away some of the tastings – they’ll be appreciated more later.

Note that one of the benefits of buying chocolate via the tour was that we received a discount at every chocolatier (other than Koko Black) which meant an extra excuse to indulge later!

HOT: Pop Up Scroll, 86 Smith Street, Collingwood

Pop Up Scroll 86 Smith Street Collingwood 5 HOT: Pop Up Scroll, 86 Smith Street, Collingwood

In a continuation of Melbourne’s love affair with sweet baked goods, Pop Up Scroll is a temporary pop up shop on Smith Street pedalling scrolls and I was invited for an afternoon tea of scroll tasting.

 A former Chinese herbalist shop has been transformed by the married owners (a pastry chef and interior designer) into a gelati-coloured doll’s house with retro features.

Pop Up Scroll 86 Smith Street Collingwood HOT: Pop Up Scroll, 86 Smith Street, Collingwood

Inside is a temporary purpose built kitchen (the lease expires in May), a counter luring customers with different scroll flavours and some cute seating along the wall and in the window.

 Pop Up Scroll 86 Smith Street Collingwood 2 HOT: Pop Up Scroll, 86 Smith Street, Collingwood

Twice a day scrolls are freshly baked, glazed and topped. Their sell out is the original cinnamon scroll with cream cheese frosting and it is my favourite. Unlike traditional cinnamon scrolls, say from Scandinavia, these scrolls are not dense, yeasty and bread-like. The dough is based on a brioche recipe, which means the texture is butter and fluffy. Really it’s more like a doughnut than a bread product – and hence you can easily eat more than one!

 Pop Up Scroll 86 Smith Street Collingwood 6 HOT: Pop Up Scroll, 86 Smith Street, Collingwood

In fact, my recommendation is to buy mini scrolls ($3) rather than the large scrolls ($4) so that you can try more than one flavour. Other favourites include the peanut butter and banana and decadent chocolate with salted caramel. I’m not such a fan of the coconut and white chocolate scroll as the dessicated, caramelised coconut topping was tooth-achingly sweet, even for a seasoned sweet tooth like myself.

Pop Up Scroll 86 Smith Street Collingwood 1 HOT: Pop Up Scroll, 86 Smith Street, Collingwood

 You can pair your fragrant scrolls with a coffee by Coffee Supreme and if you’re desperate for something savoury they do offer a few options.

 After the 6 month lease is up there are plans for a more permanent shop for Pop Up Scroll in the inner north (which will then be called Eat a Scroll). Until then, get your scroll fix on Smith Street.

 Pop Up Scroll, 86 Smith Street, Collingwood

Monday-Friday 8am-4pm

Saturday 9am-4pm

minilink HOT: Pop Up Scroll, 86 Smith Street, Collingwood

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

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: Bared Footwear, 1098 High St, Armadale

Bared Footwear 1098 High St Armadale 5 HOT: Bared Footwear, 1098 High St,  Armadale

This warm weather heralds my first pedicure for Spring and a chance to wear my new sandals from Melbourne-brand Bared Footwear.

I’m on my feet a lot more these days which means that shoes need to be comfortable, supportive and last more than a few rides around the block. My search for the perfect sandals led me to Bared Footwear.

Bared Footwear is a unique footwear brand because every shoe has been designed by a podiatrist, Anna Baird, but they are not clumpy, sensible ‘grandma’ shoes. They are fashionable shoes that happen to be good for you as well!

The sandals all have a built in footbed which is moulded around the heel, arch and toes, much like a pair of Birkenstocks. Their closed shoes have a removable footbed which means you can customise the fit even further if you have narrow or wide feet or need to wear orthotics. You can read more about the benefits of Bared Footwear shoes here.

Bared Footwear 1098 High St Armadale 3 HOT: Bared Footwear, 1098 High St,  Armadale

I bought a pair of Finch sandals, with an upper made of soft leather straps and a rubber sole. The ankle strap secures the shoe around the ankle so I don’t have to claw my toes to hold on to the shoe as I walk. The sole has a very slight heel for extra support.

Bared Footwear 1098 High St Armadale 4 540x448 HOT: Bared Footwear, 1098 High St,  Armadale

They have been fantastic for my day-to-day routine, which includes heaps of walking, cycling and running after kids!

Bared Footwear 1098 High St Armadale 6 540x284 HOT: Bared Footwear, 1098 High St,  Armadale

I bought the black and brown pair as I still wear black in summer (like a true Melburnian) although it was a difficult decision between them and the rose gold.

Bared Footwear 1098 High St Armadale 2 HOT: Bared Footwear, 1098 High St,  Armadale

I also bought a pair of Pipit sandals, a cream pair of strappy heels with a subtle python print on the arch (they come in black too). The heels are comfortable for walking thanks to the stack heel, padding and the ankle strap. They are actually particularly great for cycling as the upper straps are at just the right locations so your foot doesn’t feel like it’s sliding forward or falling out when you pedal. These are shoes that transition from day to night and are about as comfortable as heels can get when I’m no longer used to wearing heels for long periods.

Bared Footwear 1098 High St Armadale 1 HOT: Bared Footwear, 1098 High St,  Armadale

Bared Footwear only have a single store, in High Street Armadale, so I bought my shoes online (free shipping over $150) and they were delivered very quickly. They are more expensive than what I’m usually used to spending on shoes, but I’m now at a stage when shoes must be practical first and stylish second. Thankfully with Bared Footwear my shoes can be both!

Bared Footwear, 1098 High St,  Armadale +61 3 9509 5771

Monday- Friday 10am – 5:30pm

Saturday 10am – 5pm

Sunday 11am – 5pm     

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