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Dining :: Melbourne, Australia

Dining in Australia was divine (despite not grubbing on meat pies). Here are my recommendations for meals and and the best places to sip VIC wine and cider.

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Melbourne on Hot Grease

Nicole Taylor is back and reporting on her experiences at the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival! She talks about the coffee culture in the Australian city, as well as the prevalence of re-purposed shipping containers in Melbourne. Later, Nicole plays an interview with food historian Aunty Carolyn Briggs about Aboriginal cuisine, and the parallels it shares with Southern foodways. Nicole also interviewed Chef Sean Brock down under! Listen to hear Sean talk West African influences on Charleston food and his time way way south.

Read more Nicole's trip here.


Magical Melbourne

All Photos Credits (except where noted) :: Nicole A. Taylor

While people in the Big Apple were sending up hail marys for a smell of Spring, I was relishing in the energy of Melbourne, Australia. The weather was similar to a charred  shishito pepper -- blistering.  Luckily, I was able to ignore the heat because this trip had all the fixings to make dreams come true. Melbourne is all about the gourmand. The fancy and crunchy foodist will delight in the super friendly people of Victoria. Here is my guide to finding magic in Melbourne. 

Crown Metropol

I enjoyed the sunrise every morning from the 28 Sky Bar & Lounge or the super luxe infinity pool. Metropol equals the perfect sleeping quarters for the hotel snob. Check out the hotel lobby artwork, have lunch at Bistro Guillame (stones throw away) and indulge in a late night jet lag cure at Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar.


Photo :: Courtesy of Crown Metropol

Photo :: Courtesy of Crown Metropol

Photo :: Courtesy of Crown Metropol

Lanes and Arcades

I would describe the lanes and arcades in Melbourne's Central Business District as euro-chic meets Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  I'm not sure you'll get the same experience without a local leading you. My guide Fiona Sweetman of Hidden Secrets Tours has the perfect adventure for the creative minded.


Queen Victoria Market

Here at FoodCulturist, we believe in gathering places. Started in 1878, Queen Victoria Market is the spot to understand the story-filled foods of Victoria. I sampled grilled kangaroo and crocodile sausage at The Chicken Pantry -- a must. Finally, lets talk donuts. Behold American Doughnut Kitchen, a truck with piping hot round goodness stays parked along side finger limes and local honey. Get into it!


Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley is the equivalent to California's Napa Valley or New York State's Finger Lakes. Gorgeous views, farmers and an overflow of wineries.  My Go West Gourmet Tour included a tasting at Wild about Fruit's Farm Shop, Yarra Valley Dairy and three vineyards.  Boy, De Bortoli Wines won me over and I'm officially singing the praises of Noble One.  Before you leave Yarra Valley, swing by Healesville's main street and dot into Kitchen & Butcher, Clarence, Kennedy & Wilson Chocolates, Morris Brown and Yarra Valley Pasta.

Indigenous Culture

No visit is complete without learning a bit about the cultural beginning of Melbourne.  Make your first stop the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre. A bit of advice, don't spend all your dinner money in the gift shop (they carry a great selection of artwork and jewelry made by the Koorie people).

Looking for cookbooks focused on the bush? My scavenger hunt involved Hill of Content, Reader's Feast, Paperback, Kay Craddoock before finding paradise at Books for Cooks.  Hands down, Tim and Amanda understand food literature from all around the world.  

On my final day down under, Echidna Walkabout Nature Tour was all about focusing binoculars to witness the wonder of koalas and kangaroos. Speechless, powerful, spiritual, grateful are all words that describe me standing a few feet away from gorgeous animals and stepping foot on indigenous meeting grounds -- magical and memorable Melbourne.


Stay tuned for more on Dining in Melbourne and a chatfest on Hot Grease about the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (March 25 at 3:30ET). 


Australia Countdown

Photo Credit :: Daniel Mahon (Courtesy of Tourism Victoria)

Photo Credit :: Daniel Mahon (Courtesy of Tourism Victoria)

Photo Credit :: Daniel Mahon (Courtesy of Tourism Victoria)

I feel crazy always answering the "how are you doing" question with BUSY!  Seriously, I'm swamped but grateful. It's three days before I jet off to Melboure and my plate is full. Writing deadlines, teaching, recipe editing and being Hazel homemaker will be on hold for 10 days. Below is a glimpse of my trip itinerary. 

A Private Foodies Dream Tour at Queen Victoria Market

Chef Sean Brock's masterclass

A day to night Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Earth Masterclass

Sipping on coffee at shipping containers turned The Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar.

Dinner at Longrain and Cutler & Co


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Winning-Melbourne Food & Wine Festival

I'm still shocked, I won a trip to Melbourne! In March, I'll jet off with Bren Herrera and Will Budiaman from The Daily Meal.  Thanks to Tourism Victoria for all the photos and such a fabulous opportunity. 

My Winning Dish-Finger Lime Fish with Nuts & Yams

Cheesin' w/ Chef Guy Grossi

Winning-Will, Me, Guy, BrenAstor Center-KitchenYvo Sin, Nicole Taylor and Alex Penfold

Have you traveled to Melbourne, Australia? Tell me.