Melbourne Snacks

Hi everyone,

This post was one that evolved as I took numerous photos of all the little snacks and food stops I had along the way while in Melbourne and realised at the end that there was no way I could do a post for each and everyone single one, even though many deserved it as I would be writing those posts until almost the end of time. The solution to this was to collect them into one post, and hopefully one which is not too haphazard.

Queen Victoria Markets

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One of the mornings in Melbourne was spent wandering around looking at all the different stalls with things for sale at the Queen Victoria Markets. Before we could do so we went and had breakfast in the food section of the market. There was such a great selection of foods not only for breakfast but also for lunch and dinner options that I wish we had a spare night or two in the schedule to wander over to the markets and pick something that caught our fancy before going home straight away to have it for dinner. For breakfast I settled on a homemade toasted bacon and egg roll with a berry smoothie from Cafe Reń. The toasted roll was quite nice and very fresh unlike their usually thought of counterparts from McDonalds… The smoothie on the other had was such a disappointment. Stick to buying your smoothies from the stalls that specialise in them as the bakery I went to gave me a cup of watered down berry flavoured yogurt. My cousin on the other hand had one of my all-time favourite smoothies – think jam-packed with fruit and ice from Juice Haven. The other standout from our market experience was the African Chicken Piadina, which Mum selected from a pizza shop a few places down from Cafe Reń. I had been eyeing off this particular item but decided against it as avocado and coriander are not favourites of mine however mum loved them and loved it.

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Toasted Bacon and Egg Roll.

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Smoothie.

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African Chicken Piadina.

Lord of the Fries

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I was sold from their name, and from my first bite of their deep friend chicken nuggets and hand cut fries I was in fast-food love! I didn’t realise until after the guy had coated my meal in tomato sauce that they have a selection of special sauces – something to save for my next trip to Melbourne I guess!

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Little Cupcakes

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Giant selection of mini cupcakes… need I say more?

My selection of cupcakes (mint, raspberry and white chocolate, Cookie Monster, Chocolate fudge brownie, red velvet).

My selection of cupcakes (mint, raspberry and white chocolate, Cookie Monster, chocolate fudge brownie, red velvet).

Macaroons

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small selection of the available macaroon flavours.

I found out while in Melbourne that my cousin had never tried a macaroon before. I rectified that immediately the next time I saw a macaroon stall upon finding this out. I grabbed a rose macaroon for myself while my cousin had the Chocolate Fudge. The rose macaroon was different and unusual in flavour, and in comparison to the heavenly chocolate fudge macaroon it stood no chance. Must have these more often as the flavour selection at the shop was so tantalising but it would have hurt the bank and my stomach as I was carrying around 5 mini-cupcakes already at this point.

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Until next time!

Melba, Melbourne

Hi Everyone,

My last night in Melbourne this month was spent having dinner at Melba Restaurant located in the Langham Hotel. The restaurant was buffet styled, however the food on offer ranged from seafood, to pasta prepared to order, roast station, Indian station, made to order sashimi station to a wide selection of cheeses, salads and cold meats. This link will take you to a sample menu for what could be offered for dinner in the buffet at Melba.

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Their selection of cheese’s reminded me of the cheese platter I had at Quarter on Hay in Perth. I thoroughly enjoyed myself with a sample of a small selection of these for a starter while I eyed off the different buffet stations and planned my dinner.

Selection of cheeses.

Selection of cheeses.

I started at the Roast Station where I had a selection of pork, beef, chicken, lamb, vegetables and a selection of sauces to accompany. The meat was cooked well and the selection available led me to grab a small piece of everything I could so I could try as much of what they had as my stomach would take.

Roasted meats station.

Roasted meats station.

There was a sashimi section where you could select from a range of fresh raw fish to have sushi made for you on the spot. I tend to avoid raw fish and so was a little disappointed I could not try any of the tantalising sushi, which I had seen at other tables in the restaurant.

Seafood.

Seafood.

While I was sampling from the roast station others dining with me had headed off to the Indian station for tandoori chicken, saffron rice and naan cooked to order.

After finishing our first plateful we discovered the pasta station where you saw your pasta being cooked in front of you with ingredients of your choice. I wish I had filmed the guy as he casually created a delicious masterpiece for me all the while conversing with me.

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After we had our fill of pasta we intended to get another plate of food however we wandered past the desert station and didn’t manage to make it any further. The variety of deserts available for selection made for a very tough decision, especially when a chocolate fountain was included – I was in desert heaven!

Deserts galore!

Deserts galore!

Selection of deserts from Melba plus cupcakes from Little Cupcakes.

Selection of deserts from Melba plus cupcakes from Little Cupcakes.

For those who love their seafood then this restaurant is one to check out while you’re in Melbourne. There was also a selection of prawns, oysters, crabs, you name it included in the buffet. I’m not a big fan of shellfish and seafood in general so I passed on this selection however the presentation looked fantastic!

Last was the cocktails that we had over the night. While their wine menu had many interesting options I had a quick flick through the cocktail list and saw an Apple Crumbletini and was instantly sold. We also ordered their Strawberries and Cream cocktail and their Passionfruit Mojito. All three cocktails were delicious and a good way to end our time in Melbourne.

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Apple Crumbetini and Strawberries & Cream

Passionfruit Mojito.

Passionfruit Mojito.

Thoroughly enjoyed the meal and will have to return next time I am in Melbourne so that I can attempt to make it to every single station in the restaurant as well as getting the chance to try a few more of their cocktails which looked very tantalising on the menu. Service was also fantastic and the view over the Yarra River and Melbourne at the sun was setting made for a perfect and relaxing end to a quite hectic trip to Melbourne.

Until next time!

Melba Brasserie on Urbanspoon

Yarra Valley, 2013

Hi everyone,

While I was in Melbourne last week I was granted half a day in the Yarra Valley to unleash the wine lover in me. Unfortunately this half-day was the same day that I had hopped off the plane after only 2 hours sleep so in the end I was quite exhausted after the few wineries I got to. I ended up sticking to the three major wineries in the region that were wanted to be seen by myself and my travelling companions as well as a cidery and chocolate/ice-creamery which caught our attention as we drove throughout the region.

Yarra Glen Bakery.

Yarra Glen Bakery.

We began our day with breakfast at a bakery in Yarra Glen. I had a definitely homemade Chicken Pastie, which while being stuffed full or chicken, feta, spinach and nuts was too rich for my stomach to handle so early in the morning.

Chicken Pastie.

Chicken Pastie.

De Bortoli

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We arrived at De Bortoli and were greeted by their resident dogs Millie and Harry. Before entering the cellar door the same time as a tour bus. While the ladies running the cellar door were busy dealing with two large groups they still made time to make me feel more than welcome at the cellar door as I tasted my way through a selection of their wines. We ended up leaving with 3 wines some for our stay in Melbourne and some to take home back to Perth.

Harry and Millie at De Bortoli.

Harry and Millie at De Bortoli.

Este Sparkling ($34)

Sparkling Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend made from cool climate grapes in the traditional method. This wine had a nutty and creamy palate and was a delicious wine. We were quite intent on picking up a bottle of this before we remembered that we would be heading to Chandon later that day, After having visited Chandon this still wasn’t a bad drop in my opinion.

La Boheme Act 3 – Pinot Gris and Friends 2011  ($20)

Pinot Gris with a “splash” of Riesling and Gewürztraminer. This wine was zesty, fresh and light on the palate with a hint of minerality on the nose. For not being a fan of Pinot Gris or Gewürztraminer I was a fan of this wine.

Yarra Valley Sauvignon 2010  ($20)

Oaked (french) Sauvignon Blanc, from which I felt like I could taste a hint of lychee on the palate. The oak made for a different and unusual wine. I wasn’t the biggest fan of it but

Yarra Valley Off-Dry Riesling 2011  ($20)

Still quite a dry Riesling, no hint of lychee as the tasting notes implied. Refreshing wine.

La Boheme Act 2 Pinot Noir Rose 2011  ($20)

Musky, fruity nose. Light palate which had and acidic and dry finish. Lacking palate which disappointed me.

Bellariva Moscato del Re 2012  ($18)

Delightful drink with a low 5.5% alcoholic content. Delicious, musky sherbet nose paired with tropical fruit and a refreshing finish which makes it possible to have a glass or two and now feel slickly after it. We ended up taking a bottle of this pack to Perth and it was enjoyed all round.

Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2011  ($32)

Deemed a “bonza vintage” in the tasting notes. Earthy Pinot Noir with a fantastic colour in the glass. For my first Yarra Valley Pinot Noir of the day, it did well.

La Boheme Act 4 Syrah Gamay 2011  ($20)

Presently the style being served in “the cool bars of Paris”. The wine was different to anything I had tried before, light bodied but delicious. This was the bottle of wine that I selected to bring back to Perth.

Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010  ($28)

This wine with balanced oak but still showing that it was young, light bodied wine but it showed some promise. Give it a few more years.

Yarra Valley Chocolatier

I wandered around this place looking more with my eyes than my stomach but I did have some of their ice-cream and sorbet curtosy of my mum and cousin who were quite in awe of their VERY generous servings!

Berry Sorbet Waffle Cone.

Berry Sorbet Waffle Cone.

Rocky Road and *.

Rocky Road and Cookie Dough.

While wandering around the store I came across some novel chocolate carrying devices as well as some interesting sweets that I wished would have survived my stay in Melbourne and the flight home so I could have purchased them!

Tasty Insulation in the wine glass for travelling.

Tasty Insulation in the wine glass for travelling.

Desert Topping Syrups.

Desert Topping Syrups.

Domaine Chandon

This winery offered guided and unguided tours of their winery along with tastings of a selection of their wines. We opted to do the self guided tour and got a chance to glimpse at their crushing, cellaring and cellaring rooms.

Old press on display.

Old press on display.

Oak barrels on display.

Oak barrels on display.

Cellaring room.

Cellaring room.

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Riddling process.

After the self guided tour I was most keen to sample the wines on offer. To my surprise after having worked in a bottle shop for the past two years I learnt that Chandon produces still wines as well as sparkling wines, and that their standards are quite high. We tasted our way through the wines on offer and the highlights for myself was the Curvee Riche, 2009 Vintage Brut and the 2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz (which we were offered as a one off sample as we had quite enjoyed their shiraz on the tasting menu and was considering it for a gift, however the 2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz for $18 more was well worth the money. Big thank you to the gentleman who walked us through the tasting for giving us the opportunity to taste this wine, I know it will be well enjoyed when it makes it to its intended owner!)

2009 Vintage Brut

This was a good sparkling wine. Smooth on the palate, with a dry finish. Definitely will be recommending this wine at work from now on havint tried it, it exceeds the NV Brut, which I have tried in the past.

NV Curvee Riche

The guy who took us through the tasting said that this one was a favourite of his and it is clear to see why. For those who love a sweeter sparkling without going to a Sparkling Moscato should keep an eye out for this one. It was a tough decision deciding between a bottle of this and the 2009 Vintage to take with us, in the end we decided upon the Curvee Riche.

2008 Vintage Brut Rose

Personally could not stand up to the 2008 Vintage Brut and

NV Sparkling Pinot Shiraz

This wine was interesting to try, having only tried a few sparkling red wines but didn’t impress me the way I hoped it would.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc

Crisp and vibrant youthful wine, which was the favourite for the white wine drinker in the group. I myself was also quite impressed with this wine.

2012 Pinot Noir Rose

Average on the palate and nose for me personally, there was strawberries and cream on the nose and palate however I felt that it did not follow pack the punch that I look for in a Rose.

2011 Pinot Noir

Luscious berries on the palate are balanced out by the wine’s tannins. Not a bad wine but it could not compare to Pinot Noir’s from Yerling Station.

2010 Heathcote Shiraz

Not a bad Shiraz for those that I have tried. Berries and spice on the palate with it’s youth also still showing. Not a bad wine but could still do with a few more years in the bottle.

2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz

This was a delightful wine that you could taste the love that had gone into it. Fruit driven with oak that was well integrated into the wine. You could note pepper and luscious berries on the palate but it was not overly peppery, which gave it extra brownie points in my opinion!

For anyone looking for a good cellar door experience, Chandon did it well and I was very impressed by their knowledge as well as charisma with us. The wines as well are delightful! I must however make time for a cheese platter and a glass of bubbles at Chandon, next time I am in the Yarra Valley.

Punt Road Cidery

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We made a quick stop here on the way to Yerling Station to try their ciders. The had an apple and pear varietal which they had been producing since 2008 when they came to the realisation that wine production occurs for 3 months of the year and that he stainless steel tanks that would have otherwise remained idle for the remaining 9 could be used for cider.

The apple cider was crisp and refreshing however I was slightly more partial to the pear cider, which had a hint of sweetness about it. Their cider can be found in bars, shops and on tap in various locations in Perth, including Subiaco Hotel and selected Liquor Barons across the city.

Yering Station

Last stop of the day as my lack of sleep and jet lag was catching up with my travel companions and I was at Yering Station. Here I went through and did a brief sampling of their extensive wine list.

2008 Yarrabank Curvee

This wine was quite average for the sparkling wines I had tried while in the Yarra Valley. Not a bad wine but not one that impressed me.

2004 Yarrabank, Late Disgorged

It was tough to not buy a bottle of the wine also. It was a delightful bubbly which I do hope to find in Perth. The sparkling wine’s palate and bouquet were dominated by fresh ripe fruit and was a delight to drink.

2010 Yering ‘Village’ Pinot Noir

This is a wine more suited for those who like light bodied reds or are not even big fans of red wine. The wine’s palate reminded me of a Rose with lighter summer berries on the palate and nose. Not a bad wine and different to the other Pinot Noir’s I have tried from the Yarra Valley.

2010 Yering Station Pinot Noir

I preferred this to their Village Pinot Noir as there was more body and it was a more ‘earthier’ wine in comparison. Dark berries on the palate in comparison. Loved this wine, I will have to keep an eye out for this one in bottle shops in Perth!

2010 Yering ‘Muir’ Sangiovese

This was the second bottle of wine I brought back with me from the Yarra Valley. For my first time trying Sangiovese on it’s own, I was impressed. The wine bad body and flavour and while it can be drunk now I do hope to cellar it for a while before opening it.

2010 Yering ‘Muir’ Nebbiolo

My first time trying the Nebbiolo grape. It was quite average and not for me personally. Not enough luscious berry flavours on the palate to balance out the harshness of the tannins in the wine. It did however make for another notch towards my Wine Century Challenge.

Until next time!

Margaret River 2012 Gourmet Escape

Margaret River 2012 Gourmet Escape

The Gourmet Escape was held one the lawn surrounding the Winery at Leeuwin Estate, which was reviewed by me in this post. There were a variety of Food, Distillery, Brewery and Winery stalls along with food and wine theatres for shows and classes.

Hay Bales outside the Rekorderlig Tent.

The Alchemists:

I recognised the name and am still yet to remember where but the lady running the stall was also the owner of the Winery, which she has owned for the last 6 years and was a delight to talk to! Their wines are mainly sold to restaurants in Perth or can be found at their cellar door on the Winery’s Estate.

Ashbrook Estate:

I had met the wine Maker (Tony Devitt) previously at the Blackwood Valley Wine Show last month and Tony recognised me at the Gourmet Escape so it was nice to catch up and continue our discussion about the South West wine region as well as to ask him many new questions that I had accrued along the way as I have continued to write and research for this blog. I also tried their range, while I spoke to Tony and I was quite impressed! Their red wines were made in French styling while the white wines were pleasant and many had seen a little oak, which made the red wine lover that I am quite happy.

Bahen & Co Chocolate:

This chocolate company had 4 chocolate on display, all with 70% cocoa which was too much personally for me and BF so we headed back to the wines after sampling them quickly.

Blue Cow Cheese Company:

This company is one which my grandparents adore and have gotten me hooked on their goats cheese which I get to have whenever I make it down south and have a meal with them. The cheeses for sampling and sale at the Gourmet Escape however was their Camembert, Brie, Cheddar and Shadforth. We had some left over tokens at the end of the day so I picked up a block of the Shadforth to take back to Perth and will let you know how it pairs up with wines!

Cape Mentelle:

This winery is one I have eyed off for a while now and have been meaning to head out to their cellar door but have not succeeded yet. I had hoped their Zinfandel would be out for tasting at the show but unfortunately they did not have it. Instead they had their basic range consisting of a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and a Cabernet Merlot, which Liquorland stocks and personally these wine are well worth the ~$25 a bottle they are in Perth stores. They also had a few of their more premium range for sampling and I was impressed with the range, many of which have in the past year done very well with regards to gold medal award and trophies, this winery has a good solid repletion in the Western Australian wine industry.

Deep Wood Estate:

I popped over quickly to their stall to ask where I could find their Harmony Rose, which I had enjoyed at Rose Revolution. Those running the stall were not sure where in Perth it was stocked but did give me an ordering form the price was listed as being $13.50, a bottle with a minimum purchase of a dozen wines and a $5 freight charge.

Devil’s Lair:

This winery has impressed me in all their ranges. From their basic 5th Leg range, their middle range titled Hidden Cave, their premium self titled range Devil’s Lair and their side line Dance With the Devil, which, allows their wine makers to have a little fun. Their Dance With the Devil line was a fun and delicious discovery to make as one of the wine’s produced in this range was a blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc with 40% Chenin Blanc. BF and I were big fans of this unusual blend and even took a bottle home with us at the end of the night with the last of our leftover tokens. This winery is one that I highly recommend and it is unfortunate that they currently do not have a cellar door so tasting opportunities besides buying a bottle is restricted to events such as Gourmet Escape.

Devil’s Lair Stall.

Knee Deep Winery:

I tasted my way through their range, which they had on display at Gourmet Escape. Their SBS was a stand out for me with lychee notes on the nose as well as being pronounced on the palate. Different but a winner for the summer months! Would be interesting to pair this with cheeses for a lazy afternoon drink or two with some friends. Will have to find where this wine is stocked in Perth!

Rosabrook Margaret River Winery:

I had the chance to sample their Chardonnay at the wine class that week and it had been the standout for the session as the best value for money for what it offered. The rest of their range was not bad, but I personally preferred their white wines to their red wines.

Stella Bella Wines:

This winery does some amazing wines! The whites were fresh, crisp and zesty while their reds had a nice balance between the oak, tannins and fruit. They also had some of their premium ‘Suckfizzle’ range which was delightful!

Swings and Roundabouts:

I had been eyeing off Swing and Roundabout wines in stores over the last month but had not yet tried any of their range. I however enjoyed trying their SBS with lychee on the palate, this is a winery that I will be looking out for in Perth! Staff at the event were also a pleasure to chat with!

Swings and Roundabouts Stall.

Xanadu Wines:

This was another winery that I had been wanting to try having heard many good things about their wines. Their range of wines on display were well made and the staff running the stall were a pleasure to chat with.

I am sorry to say that the food I sampled at the show did not last long enough to take a picture! The ‘char sui braised lamb shoulder with sour cream labna and wattle seed roll’ that Capel Vale was making at the show was to die for and was highly recommended by everyone that we ran into at the show! I also had many people tell me that the ’12 hour braised Margaret River ‘big red pig’ port, house made tortillas with condiments’ by Leeuwin Estate was also a standout dish.

Until next time!

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