Whether you queue up for the latest restaurant opening or duck down a side lane to try out a golden oldie of the long-established restaurant scene, Melbourne has something for you, writes Dani Wright.
Food is a great way to get to know a place, and there are few places as in love with food as Melbourne. So, dip your fork into the local cuisine and discover a city proud of its migrant roots, welcoming of its newest food fads and restaurant openings, and supportive of its golden oldies of the foodie scene. Here are some to seek out next time you're visiting Melbourne.
Travel is a good excuse to indulge and Melbourne has plenty of delicious dessert offerings to entice you, whatever you desire. There are the vintage cake shops along St Kilda's Acland Rd, some still making the same recipes as they did 50 years ago — including gooey-good giant vanilla slices.
Try one of the Jewish bakeries in Elsternwick, such as Aviv Cakes and Bagels or let your sweet tooth lead you to a speciality macaron shop, such as La Belle Miette (translated as "the beautiful crumb"), with melt-in-your-mouth macarons in flavours such as lychee or champagne chocolate.
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Melburnians love their markets, with the Queen Victoria Market offering the ultimate in marketplace sights, sounds and tastes inside an iconic destination. It's also worth checking out the shops around the market, such as Books for Cooks, filled to the brim with intriguing food books from the rare to the latest bestseller. Head over to the South Melbourne Market for a more intimate experience. Here you can get your tarot read under the staircase, pick up a dozen oysters to eat on the go or join the throngs picking up their flowers, fruits or sticks of salami from the charismatic stallholders.
OUT OF THE CITY
Just about everywhere in Victoria has local food and wine to shout about — from Gippsland's dairy industry to the King Valley's prosecco road. My pick for a trip out of the city would be to the Bellarine Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road. Places to stop include Merne at Lighthouse for contemporary Australian shared plate dining with panoramic views across olive groves, vineyards and a landscape coloured in with farms, dairies, orchards and vegetables. Closer to Melbourne city is the tiny town of Sassafras in the Dandenong Ranges, worth a visit for the novelty Bavarian-themed buffet house, Cuckoo, nearby or the quaint (and always busy) Miss Marple's Tea Rooms for cream teas.
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