HOT: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

Travelling Samovar 412 Rathdowne St North Carlton 6 HOT: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

After years, nay decades, of being a coffee-mad town, Melbourne seems to have really started embracing the ancient ritual of tea-drinking with specialist tea shops starting to pop up.

Travelling Samovar 412 Rathdowne St North Carlton 4 HOT: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

The latest addition is Travelling Samovar, a beautifully decorated and cosy tea house in North Carlton. The two-roomed shop feels part Middle Eastern, part Asian and part Eastern European – sort of like a trip on the Orient Express via Rathdowne Village.

Travelling Samovar 412 Rathdowne St North Carlton 2 HOT: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

There’s a glossy Russian samovar dominating the counter, delicately painted tea pots lining the rosewood cabinets, bright Chinese paper lanterns adorning the ceiling and a crystal chandelier and crackling fireplace in the back room.

Travelling Samovar 412 Rathdowne St North Carlton 3 HOT: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

Travelling Samovar 412 Rathdowne St North Carlton 5 HOT: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

It’s possibly one of the most photogenic locations I’ve photographed but at the risk of overloading this review with too many pictures (and never getting to drink my tea) I was restrained with the camera.

Travelling Samovar 412 Rathdowne St North Carlton 1 HOT: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

Of course there are a huge variety of teas and tea accoutrements  showcased in the two rooms. If you’re overawed by the thick menu then I recommend starting off with one of the eight Tea-sers, mini-tea tastings where you get to taste and compare three related styles of tea to compare ($9.95). You’ll drink a lot of tea but also learn a lot too!

Travelling Samovar 412 Rathdowne St North Carlton 10 HOT: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

Travelling Samovar 412 Rathdowne St North Carlton 7 HOT: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

I chose the Chinese Green Teas Tea-ser which included teas originating from three different Chinese provinces. It was fascinating to watch the exact science of tea brewing as Pascale whipped out the miniature scale, poured just-under-boiling water onto the leaves and organised the egg timer for the optimum brew. The Long Jing (from Zhejiang) was grassy and fresh, the Jasmine Pearls (from Fujian) was supremely fragrant and sweet and the Yin Si (from Yunnan) was almost savoury.  

Travelling Samovar 412 Rathdowne St North Carlton 8 HOT: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

A brief question to Pascale, one of the owners, elicited a passionate stream of interesting information about the processing of tea, different flavours and experimenting with brewing times. She told me that jasmine tea is so expensive (theirs is around $150 a kilo wholesale) because it is highly labour-intensive process where tea leaves are infused overnight and sifted with night-blooming jasmine flowers at least ten times. Beware of cheap jasmine tea as it’s likely to be treated with synthetic fragrance!

If your taste is more towards a traditional English breakfast then Pascale recommends Larsen & Thompson’s Good MorningAssam blend which is best taken with milk. Oh and I don’t think I’ll be going back to Earl Grey now – it’s apparently just neutral, no-flavour (and probably cheap) tea leaves strongly flavoured with bergamot.

And their most expensive tea? The Larsen & Thompson Duflating OR82 Assam tea from India, full of golden tips, costs $250 a kilo wholesale. If you want to taste before investing try it for yourself as part of the Assam Tea Tea-Ser.

You’ll want some nibbles to go with your tea and while there are a few savoury options (antipasto platter, soup, tart) I suggest you head straight for the cake cabinet and try one of the cakes made on premises by another one of the owners, Katya. I really enjoyed the moist, slightly sugar-crystal coated Persian Love Cake made with yoghurt, almond meal, brown sugar and pistachios and it came with a dollop of rose cream.

Travelling Samovar 412 Rathdowne St North Carlton 11 HOT: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

But why not go all out with the decadent four-layered sponge slathered in salted caramel buttercream frosting (fortunately I was able to take half of it home)!

Travelling Samovar 412 Rathdowne St North Carlton 12 HOT: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

Travelling Samovar does a stellar job in creating a special moment, a calm experience, through the act of tea drinking. They are also in the business of tea education and upstairs is a tea tasting room where they will be holding regular tea-tasting events (join their mailing list at info@travellingsamovar.com.au). As a non-coffee drinker in a coffee-mad town, I’m really happy that they’ve arrived.

Travelling Samovar 412 Rathdowne St North Carlton 9 HOT: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne St, North Carlton +61 3 9917 2911

Wed-Sun 10am-5pm


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HOT: Japanese Afternoon Tea, Hihou, Level 1, 1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

Japanese Afternoon Tea Hihou Level 1 1 Flinders Ln Melbourne 1 HOT: Japanese Afternoon Tea, Hihou, Level 1, 1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

Hihou’s limited edition Japanese Afternoon tea represents all that I love about the food scene in Melbourne.

Japanese Afternoon Tea Hihou Level 1 1 Flinders Ln Melbourne 7 HOT: Japanese Afternoon Tea, Hihou, Level 1, 1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

A hard-to-find, hidden situation (walk through Nama Nama from Spring Street or ring the doorbell on the unmarked black door on Flinders Lane). An urban location with a scenic view of one of Melbourne’s beloved green pockets. And the opportunity to relax on a weekend afternoon over tea and treats.

Japanese Afternoon Tea Hihou Level 1 1 Flinders Ln Melbourne 3 HOT: Japanese Afternoon Tea, Hihou, Level 1, 1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

Japanese Afternoon Tea Hihou Level 1 1 Flinders Ln Melbourne 8 HOT: Japanese Afternoon Tea, Hihou, Level 1, 1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

For three Saturdays in July (future dates are 13 July and 20 July) as part of City of Melbourne’s Look.Stop.Shop winter program, Hihou are offering  Japanese afternoon tea with Lupicia teas or coffee from Market Lane in their beautiful bar. It’s possibly the best value afternoon tea you’ll find in the CBD as the 2 hours of indulgence will cost you only $25. 

Japanese Afternoon Tea Hihou Level 1 1 Flinders Ln Melbourne 9 HOT: Japanese Afternoon Tea, Hihou, Level 1, 1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

I’m not normally a fan of fruit flavoured teas but I’m in love with the Ume Vert – Japanese plum green tea – by Lupicia. It’s sweetness and clarity in a cup and I’m stocking up at Lupicia‘s QV store. I urge you to try some of the green teas on offer in the tea menu and eschew the boring Earl Grey/English breakfast/peppermint route.

Japanese Afternoon Tea Hihou Level 1 1 Flinders Ln Melbourne 6 HOT: Japanese Afternoon Tea, Hihou, Level 1, 1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

Hihou’s riff on the traditional three tier afternoon tea tray means three courses of savoury and sweet bites. The first savoury course consists of a fat scallop siumai embedded in a whole fleshy shiitake mushroom and soy dipping sauce. A small laquered plate holds some panfried oyaki dumplings filled with chilli miso whole soy beans. The finger sandwiches are not your usual cucumber or smoked salmon – rather they are filled with nuggets of pork tonkatsu, some slithers of cabbage and mayo.

Japanese Afternoon Tea Hihou Level 1 1 Flinders Ln Melbourne 10 HOT: Japanese Afternoon Tea, Hihou, Level 1, 1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

Next comes a laquered box which opens to reveal a gasp-inspiring selection of delicate sweets. Our favourite bite was the matcha and macadamia nut cookie, followed by two sweets which are currently appearing in Nama Nama’s winter picnic bento box – the chocolate shochu coconut truffle and sticky pistachio and peanut caramel shards. I quite like the bean paste texture and faint sweetness of wagashi but my friend wasn’t as much of a fan. And we both found the miso paper and sweet potato cigar curious, but not particularly appetising given its savoury notes and combination of slippery and mushy textures.

Japanese Afternoon Tea Hihou Level 1 1 Flinders Ln Melbourne 4 HOT: Japanese Afternoon Tea, Hihou, Level 1, 1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

The third course is more sweets in the form of an almost savoury rectangle of black sesame cheesecake and a fluffy warm yuzu tofu cake covered with a white chocolate sauce. The plate came served with a matcha whisked tea, a large bowl of frothy powdered green tea of the kind that I don’t often see served in Australia and a lovely way to neutralise the palate after all that sweetness.

Japanese Afternoon Tea Hihou Level 1 1 Flinders Ln Melbourne 5 HOT: Japanese Afternoon Tea, Hihou, Level 1, 1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

 

Hihou’s Japanese Afternoon tea is only available for a limited time so make sure you book and catch it while you can. I hope that they’ll extend the season for it as it’s a wonderfully unique experience for a city that loves its afternoon tea.

Hihou Japanese Afternoon Tea, Level 1, 1 Flinders Lane, Melbourne +61 3  or book online

Remaining dates Saturday 13 July and Saturday 20 July, 3-5pm

 

HOT: Books Illustrated Gallery & Showroom, 300 Beaconsfield Parade, Middle Park

Books Illustrated Gallery Showroom 300 Beaconsfield Parade Middle Park 2 1024x710 HOT: Books Illustrated Gallery & Showroom, 300 Beaconsfield Parade, Middle Park

On Beaconsfield Parade, facing the beach and the bay, is an unprepossessing little house which is the location of Books Illustrated.

Books Illustrated is an independent bookstore and gallery which promotes Australian children’s literature and book illustrations. Their focus and specialty is Australian hardback picture books and in two small rooms (and online) they sell books for babies right up to young adults, original illustrations and limited edition prints.

Books Illustrated was established in 1988 (and has been in various locations since) and I only visited for the first time recently when they held an Open House with Julie Vivas, the illustrator of the beloved Australian classic Possum Magic. Normally the cosy showroom can only be visited by appointment.

In one room, where Julie was signing, there were bookshelves and an exhibition of original watercolours from Possum Magic. In the second room the walls were lined with more books as well as limited edition prints resting on the floor which you can flick through.  Cosy couches, an open fireplace and some friendly dogs encourage browsing and lingering.

Books Illustrated Gallery Showroom 300 Beaconsfield Parade Middle Park 1 1024x764 HOT: Books Illustrated Gallery & Showroom, 300 Beaconsfield Parade, Middle Park

Books Illustrated hold book signings, exhibitions and conduct workshops at Gasworks Park. The best way to find out about their events is to sign up to their newsletter here.

If you like children’s bookstores try visiting The Little Bookroom, the oldest children’s bookshop in the world.

Books Illustrated Gallery & Showroom, 300 Beaconsfield Parade, Middle Park +61 3 9534 7751 

HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

Signature High Tea Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re Cnr Langridge Oxford Sts Collingwood 5 HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

Where a Girl Goes is the flagship store of Melbourne stationery designer Cristina Re and it’s well-named – it’s an unabashedly feminine place, full of pastel colours and frills and flowers and butterflies.

Signature High Tea Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re Cnr Langridge Oxford Sts Collingwood 12 HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

The large space has a retail section displaying Cristina Re‘s stationery, crockery and bath and body products, but most of the floor  is dominated by a high tea parlour. The parlour is filled with white replica French Provincial furniture and vases of pink roses (rose is the favourite flower of Cristina) and it’s a very pretty space to indulge in afternoon tea. It demands dressing up in your best frock and a bit of lipstick!

Signature High Tea Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re Cnr Langridge Oxford Sts Collingwood 2 HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

You can even book a semi-private area if you have a large party.

Signature High Tea Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re Cnr Langridge Oxford Sts Collingwood 10 HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

Gourmet Chick and I were invited to try their signature high tea and on a weekend the tables were all booked up with hen’s dos and baby showers. The signature high tea, which goes for 2 hours,  includes two hot beverages plus savoury and sweet treats for $49 ($59 on weekends). You can upgrade your signature high tea with flutes of sparkling wine, apple or pear cider, a cocktail or even include  include craft activities and astrology/tarot card readings in your booking, making it a more unique experience than your traditional afternoon tea.

Signature High Tea Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re Cnr Langridge Oxford Sts Collingwood 4 HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

The tea selection has a list of about a dozen options from Cristina Re’s signature tea leaf range, or you can choose a Belgian hot chocolate, Belgian hot mocha, espresso coffee, chai latte or juice. Of course with afternoon tea you should try one of the teas but for your second beverage I highly recommend the creamy and rich hot chocolate.

Signature High Tea Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re Cnr Langridge Oxford Sts Collingwood 6 HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

The food offering consisted of a mini vegetarian quiche (in our case, one mushroom and one roasted capsicum) with a few sprigs of rocket as garnish, plus a tiered tray.

Signature High Tea Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re Cnr Langridge Oxford Sts Collingwood 7 HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

First impressions are always important and thus I tend to form an opinion about the quality of an afternoon tea based on the sandwiches. While the sandwich bread and fillings here were fairly standard (cucumber, chicken, smoked salmon) they benefited from the fact that they were very fresh. My pet hate is stale, pre-prepared finger sandwiches.

Signature High Tea Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re Cnr Langridge Oxford Sts Collingwood 3 HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

The middle tier had a fat, fluffy scone for each person accompanied by some chantilly cream and some very fruity raspberry jam.

Signature High Tea Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re Cnr Langridge Oxford Sts Collingwood 8 HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

The top tier was my favourite – some petite sweet vanilla cupcakes with different flavoured frostings, a selection of handmade Belgian chocolates and some excellent miniature macarons demonstrating a lightness of touch in their making. You can also purchase the sweets to take home.

Signature High Tea Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re Cnr Langridge Oxford Sts Collingwood 11 HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

 

Signature High Tea Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re Cnr Langridge Oxford Sts Collingwood 9 HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

For a place which doesn’t really specialise in catering, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and beverages at Where a Girl Goes.  I particularly liked the fact that the afternoon tea is served on  Cristina Re‘s elegant gold-rimmed High Tea Collection porcelain along with 24 ct gold plated cutlery.

Signature High Tea Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re Cnr Langridge Oxford Sts Collingwood 14 HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

 

Signature High Tea Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re Cnr Langridge Oxford Sts Collingwood 13 HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood

From the outside Where a Girl Goes may seem intimidatingly pink and frilly but inside the setting is unique, the atmosphere and the service staff are warm and inviting and I think it’s a perfect place for a girly get-together

Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood +61 3 9495 6222

Wednesday   10:30am – 5:00pm
Thursday    10:30am – 5:00pm / Workshops & Consultations 6pm – 8pm
Friday     10:30am – 5:00pm
Saturday   10:30am – 6:00pm
Sunday     10:30am – 5:00pm

Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show 2013 Giveaway!

Good food wine show Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show 2013 Giveaway!

Australia’s largest consumer food and wine exhibition the Good Food and Wine Show is being held on the Queen’s Birthday Long weekend on 7-10 June at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. It is a huge event for food and wine lovers and this year will feature appearances in the Celebrity Theatre from Maggie Beer, Miguel Maestre, Tobie Puttock and Michelle Bridges.

Fisher & Paykel will be presenting YUM kitchen – the Good Food and Wine Show’s first hands-on cooking experience run by Australia’s most-loved cooking schools. Riedel brings to the show three fantastic wine class options in the Riedel Decanter Bar, Riedel Glass Tasting and Riedel Wine Theatre.

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 $33 general entry for adults, $25 for children up to 17 years and kids under 12 years are free.

Giveaway! Thanks to the Good Food and Wine Show I have 10 x double adult passes for general exhibition entry to give away. To win all you have to do is leave a comment before midday Friday 31 May. Good luck!

And the winners are comment number #11, #25, #8, #23, #16, #46, #87, #9, #14, #66. An email has been sent to you!

HOT: Country Women’s Association of Victoria State Fair, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, 3 Lansell Rd, Toorak

DSC06947 540x359 HOT: Country Womens Association of Victoria State Fair, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, 3 Lansell Rd, Toorak

The Country Women’s Association is a not-for-profit organisation which provides support for women, primarily in rural and remote areas of Australia.
Each state has its own branch and the Country Women’s Association of Victoria has its headquarters in urban Toorak, in a grand mansion called Umina.

Every year, as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, the CWA opens up the grounds of Umina to host their Annual State Fair Fundraiser. It’s a chance for people of the surrounding community to explore the bed and breakfast run by the CWA (which is available as accommodation for the general public as well as CWA members) and to support the work of CWA by purchasing items from the various stalls.

DSC06952 540x359 HOT: Country Womens Association of Victoria State Fair, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, 3 Lansell Rd, Toorak

Entry to the State Fair was free and it had stalls that you’d expect at any good country fair – a cake stall with homemade cakes, biscuits and muffins, a jam and preserve stall, lots of crochet and knitting and other craft items and of course Devonshire teas.

DSC06955 382x540 HOT: Country Womens Association of Victoria State Fair, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, 3 Lansell Rd, Toorak

In fact, it’s probably a prerequisite to membership to CWA that you know how to make scones! I bought a dozen freshly made scones for $6 along and wrapped them up in a beautiful heavyweight linen teatowel I bought from the CWA merchandise stand.

The tea towel was designed by Australian artist Rachael Flynn of Red Tractor Designs and it features charming illustrations and a classic plain scone recipe. Maybe it’s even a recipe endorsed by CWA!

tea towel HOT: Country Womens Association of Victoria State Fair, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, 3 Lansell Rd, Toorak

As for the scones, they were light and fluffy even reheated a day later and especially delicious when slathered with some homemade strawberry jam purchased from the State Fair.

DSC07031 540x357 HOT: Country Womens Association of Victoria State Fair, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, 3 Lansell Rd, Toorak

HOT: Put Victoria on Your Table Cellar Door and Artisan Market, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, Como House & Garden, Corner Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

DSC07025 540x359 HOT: Put Victoria on Your Table Cellar Door and Artisan Market, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, Como House & Garden, Corner Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

Melbourne’s unpredictable weather has turned on the sunshine this weekend – perfect weather for outdoor eating and drinking. And a festive garden party is a picturesque location for wining and dining al fresco as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013.

Put Victoria On Your Table: Cellar Door and Artisan Market is a weekend event that’s being held in the surrounds of Como House and Garden. Winemakers, brewers, butchers, fisheries, bakers and producers from all around Victoria have come together for an upmarket and festive farmers market with food and wine tastings, activities, demonstrations and live entertainment throughout the day.

If you’re a regular at Melbourne’s accredited farmers markets you’ll probably be familiar with a lot of the producers. I bought gourmet ice cream from Gundowring Fine Foods, chocolate hedgehog from Springhill Farm and Persian feta from Yarra Valley Dairy in the Cheese Room (yes! a room where you can eat your fill of cheese!).

DSC07028 540x429 HOT: Put Victoria on Your Table Cellar Door and Artisan Market, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, Como House & Garden, Corner Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

DSC07006 540x365 HOT: Put Victoria on Your Table Cellar Door and Artisan Market, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, Como House & Garden, Corner Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

DSC06997 540x264 HOT: Put Victoria on Your Table Cellar Door and Artisan Market, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, Como House & Garden, Corner Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

For take away eats there were barbecues roaring throughout the grounds though the most popular item seemed to be cone of fried calamari from The Flying Calamari Brothers located in ‘Sustainable Seafood Square’.

DSC07016 540x321 HOT: Put Victoria on Your Table Cellar Door and Artisan Market, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, Como House & Garden, Corner Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

DSC06993 344x540 HOT: Put Victoria on Your Table Cellar Door and Artisan Market, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, Como House & Garden, Corner Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

DSC07022 540x430 HOT: Put Victoria on Your Table Cellar Door and Artisan Market, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, Como House & Garden, Corner Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

The Seppelt Lawn Bar is the place to be when you need a rest. Spread out your picnic rug and goodies bought from the stalls and loll under the shady umbrellas while sipping on local wine, beer and cider.

DSC06987 540x359 HOT: Put Victoria on Your Table Cellar Door and Artisan Market, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, Como House & Garden, Corner Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

Finally, my favourite stand award goes to Otway Forest Shiitake where they are selling grow-your-own shiitake mushroms on behalf of Special Effects Nursery. Apparently each log will yield around 500-1kg of mushrooms a season and they can last for several years. I’m wondering whether RM would agree to sharing the bathroom or bedroom cupboard with a mushroom log ….

DSC07010 337x540 HOT: Put Victoria on Your Table Cellar Door and Artisan Market, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, Como House & Garden, Corner Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

There’s loads happening on the opening weekend of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival so check out the other events in the program here.

Put Victoria on Your Table Cellar Door and Artisan Market,Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, Como House & Garden, Corner Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra 

Saturday 2 March and Sunday 3 March 11-6pm

$45.00 Adult with tasting. Child/Youth (12-17): $10, Under 12: Free. Adult General Admission $20

 

HOT: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Rd (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen

P1110826 540x344 HOT: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Rd (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen

So our bout of 30+ degree days is continuing over the weekend. What better excuse to go for a day trip out to the Yarra Valley and indulge in some chocolate and ice cream!

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icrecreamery is a new foodie destination in the heart of Yarra Glen. The property’s main attraction is a stylish, shaded building housing a chocolate factory, shop and cafe. The cafe spans indoor (air conditioned) and outdoor areas with views overlooking the rolling environs of the valley.

P1110804 372x540 HOT: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Rd (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen

The first thing you notice as you walk through the glass door is the sign for ‘Free Tastings’. Yes that’s right – a free-for-all of white, milk and dark chocolate to scoop as you wish!

P1010691 540x370 HOT: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Rd (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen

Take your time to peruse the large showroom of chocolate, ice cream and dessert goodies, including  a tempting glass cabinet of handmade chocolates by French and Belgian chocolatiers.

P1110762 540x337 HOT: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Rd (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen

It was difficult choosing which products to take home but in the end I settled on a giant version of the classic freckle and couldn’t resist carting home a metre long block of dark chocolate just for novelty value.

P1110764 540x390 HOT: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Rd (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen

P1110809 540x348 HOT: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Rd (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen

I recommend taking the time to sit down at the cafe so that you can enjoy some of the chocolate and ice cream products on site. There are also savoury options if you’re there around lunch time.

P1110770 400x540 HOT: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Rd (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen

We ordered a mix-your-own hot chocolate ($5.50) which you froth with a miniature whisk, an ice cream sundae of wildberry, peach & mango and creamy vanilla ice cream, topped with berry coulis and summer berries (a bargain at $12 in my view) and a triple layered chocolate mousse ($8.50).

P1110793 540x441 HOT: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Rd (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen

All of the desserts were decadently rich on their own but the the giant sundae was the highlight. The berry ice cream was made with fresh fruit and the vanilla ice cream was heavily creamy and fragranced with speckles of vanilla beans, providing a rich counterpoint to the berry tartness. I had to fight my daughter to share it and she literally licked the bowl clean!

P1010700 524x540 HOT: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Rd (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen

P1010704 483x540 HOT: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Rd (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen

Other than eating chocolate and ice cream you can spend some time peeking through the glass windows to watch the factory at work or loll around the lawn enjoying the views.

P1110759 540x357 HOT: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Rd (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen

P1110816 540x350 HOT: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Rd (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen

If you’re looking for a child-friendly destination in the Yarra Valley you won’t be able to beat the temptations on offer at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icrecreamery. Plus as part of the upcoming Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icrecreamery will be offering hands-on Junior Chocolatier Classes on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 March. During the 30 minute class kids will learn how to make their very own chocolate animal and enjoy free tastings. Classes cost $15 and bookings essential as class places are limited to 10 children per session.

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icrecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Road (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen +61 3 9730 2777

Open every day 9am-5pm (except Christmas Day)

HOT: The Cool House, Rokeby Studios, 1/90-94 Rokeby St, Collingwood

DSC06209 359x540 HOT: The Cool House, Rokeby Studios, 1/90 94 Rokeby St, Collingwood

The Cool Hunter is a website/newsletter that does exactly that – hunts out the cool, unique and unusual in design, travel, art, food, fashion and events from all around the world and collects them all in one drool-worthy portal. So it makes sense that founder Bill Tikos has decided to bring the website to life with a pop up boutique concept called The Cool House, with Melbourne being its first stop.

DSC06189 391x540 HOT: The Cool House, Rokeby Studios, 1/90 94 Rokeby St, Collingwood

The Cool House has transformed the warehouse space of Rokeby Studios into a temporary showroom of furniture, design and artwork from Australia and around the world. Here is a selection of the products that I liked but mostly couldn’t afford – it’s all very high end stuff…

DSC06201 374x540 HOT: The Cool House, Rokeby Studios, 1/90 94 Rokeby St, Collingwood

Gorgeous leather pencil case by Dutch company Travelteq

DSC06186 359x540 HOT: The Cool House, Rokeby Studios, 1/90 94 Rokeby St, Collingwood

The cutest miniature swivel chair – I didn’t catch the designer.

DSC06194 540x478 HOT: The Cool House, Rokeby Studios, 1/90 94 Rokeby St, Collingwood

This amazing leather-framed round mirror resting casually by the bedside – again I didn’t note the designer, sorry.

DSC06187 540x363 HOT: The Cool House, Rokeby Studios, 1/90 94 Rokeby St, Collingwood

I don’t have a pooch but these bags are adorable!

If you’re in the area and hungry for more design goodness then drop into Crop at Lightly Showroom for another design pop up retail event.

The Cool House, Rokeby Studios, 1/90-94 Rokeby Street, Collingwood
29 November – 2 December
10am-6pm


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HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

DSC06133 298x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

Melbourne loves pop up design shops and this weekend there are three worth your attention – The Design Files Open House,  The Cool House and Crop at Lightly Showroom. Not to mention the popular twice-yearly Melbourne Design Market at Federation Square. Make that four!

DSC06148 540x350 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

DSC06154 331x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

Design studio Lightly have opened up their two-level warehouse and showroom to 25 other Australian designers showcasing jewellery, homewares, stationery, accessories and toys. They even have free wine tasting by Jamsheed Wines to get you in to the shopping mood.

Here are some of things that caught my eye…

DSC06137 377x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

This decorative sculpture, a Christmas nest, by Wona Bae. I’m not sure that it’s for sale but it would certainly make an eye-catching Christmas wreath for someone’s massive door. She has also made some miniature hand-tied Christmas trees in the same organic sculptural style which are for sale.

DSC06179 347x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

I loved these Jumble macrame rope plant holders by Jessie Tucker but as I was on my bike I couldn’t figure out how to get the poinsettia home.

DSC06139 357x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

This teepee from Gather. I want one for my back yard!

DSC06141 337x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

These sustainable cork and rubber placemats by Lightly come in a range of designs, sizes and colours and are named after the founder’s grandmother’s bridge playing friends (cute!). I bought a red one and green one for my festive table. Also note that during Crop you get to save 20% off all Lightly products.

DSC06158 540x310 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

To match my new table setting, some reindeer glass place by Fi Fy Fo Fum.

DSC06150 282x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

And finally, my gifts beautifully gift-wrapped. Thanks!

DSC06184 432x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

10:00am-7:00pm Friday 30 November
10:00am-6:00pm Saturday 1 December
10:00am-5:00pm Sunday 2 December


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