Owns 'FoodLit'. Highly qualified, established food & lifestyle writer, former restaurateur, founder professional writing business, Articul8. Long, diverse writing history, passion for food culture, the land & inspired food language.www.foodlit.com.au
Published April 30th 2013
Lick Your Lips on Lygon Street
Lygon Street Gelati - Lip Lickin Good
If you love fine food steeped in stories and a rich culture, you'll love everything about the new Carlton Food Tour hosted by Cameron Smith from 3RRR's Eat It program.
The brainchild of Melbourne's most knowledgeable and most-loved foodie, Allan Campion, the tours traverse all that is divine and delectable about the world-famous Lygon Street and surrounds.
When Allan, who also joins the tour on the day, joins culinary
Don't Mind if I do Thanks, Cameron
forces with Cameron over their favourite topic (and mine for that matter), the result is an impassioned afternoon of amazing tastes, stories and experiences bound to whet any appetite.
In fact, in my case, it did more than whet the appetite; it satiated many times over. My sister, Lisa, who came with me (and took the pix - thanks sis) agrees.
My favourite experiences on the day? Well, it's hard to pick, although I very much appreciated two key aspects:
The old and the new: As stated on the Melbourne Food Tours website, "Carlton and Lygon Street have one of the strongest culinary histories in all of Melbourne. From earliest settlement times it has been a place where people from around the world have come to gather and eat together."
So, stops at, or stories about, some of the area's culinary icons - like Jimmy Watson's Wine Bar, established in 1935, Donati's Fine Meats and Doninin's Pasta - were tantalisingly intermingled with modern-day newcomers, like Baker D. Chirico, for Melbourne's best sourdough bread to ever grace your
Nuts about Nougat at Baker D. Chirico
morning toast, and D.O.C, for gastronomic Italian food experiences that re-define, if that were even possible, Italian food in Melbourne.
Separating the wheat from the chaff (or the 'must-visits' from the 'please avoids'). Lygon Street comprises a food culture of contrasts: there are the absolute gems that demand and deserve your attention and your dining and shopping dollar; then there's the too-long string of restaurants that might well leave you feeling ripped off - both on flavour and in the hip pocket.
Basically, if they need to stand out the front of the place cajoling and almost begging you to eat there, you really have to ask yourself why.
Quality restaurants, after all, get so many 'bums on seats' through a fine reputation and word of mouth, they have to turn people away.
Okay, so back to my favourite experiences. Here are just a few:
offerings, pizza-twirling expertise, sexy accents on knowledgeable staff, take-home lasagnas, and an endless array of exquisite, high-quality Italian specialty foods that even my discerning Nonna's would lend their approval to. Of course, Allan almost had to drag me away should I hold up the tour; I did come away with a bagful of beauties though.
Gewürzhaus, famous for its awesome spice blends, and filled with aromas to send your senses wild.
Brunetti, recently opened at 380 Lygon Street near
Touch Choices at Brunetti's
Cinema Nova, for a veritable emporium of cakes, pastries, coffees, pizza, panini and Italian food memorabilia that command a full afternoon's exploration and graze, rather than a quick coffee.
Bezela's free-range smoked roast Wagyu beef. Please give me a moment while I re-live the experience.
Home to Melbourne's only free-range deli, Bezela, as the Italians might say, è molto bella.
While we're on the topic of Melbourne's best ever food experiences, I can also personally vouch for Allan's Melbourne Food Tour. So too can my waistline, although the Chinese egg tarts and delectable peking duck were well worth it. Read more.