Freelance writer and blogger from Sydney (ex-Melbourne). Avid foodie and traveller. Loves dogs.
Published January 30th 2017
A way to your loved one’s heart is through their stomach
With Valentine's Day approaching like a bullet train, it's now time to start thinking about putting on the best Valentine's Day dinner for your loved one – or risk their wrath for the rest of the year… and that wouldn't be pretty, wouldn't it? Forget about going to a restaurant this year – chances are they're either mostly fully booked or make you pay around $150 per head for their 'special' Valentine's Day banquet menus. Instead, why not prepare a completely customised meal for your sweetheart that speaks from the heart? Here is a list of places to inspire you along the way – and best of all, you'll be supporting local Melbourne businesses and suppliers.
1. Buy some food: Established in the 1950s, Toscano's is a family-run business that built its reputation as one of Melbourne's finest fruit and vegetable purveyors. These days, they also sell oils, pastas, yoghurts and quality pantry essentials as well as fresh flowers – in other words, all the basic ingredients you need to get your Valentine's Day meal started. We suggest picking up some fresh greens supplied by Cranbourne's very own Corrigan's Produce Farm before working your way up the pasta aisle and picking up some pink roses before you hit the cashier. Where: Toscano's of Kew, 213-219 High Street Kew VIC 3101 (also in Richmond and Toorak)
Rainbow beets: good for cooking - and for displaying in vases like flowers
2. Pick up some cheese: If your other half is a fan of cheese (who isn't?), then make sure Richmond Hill Café & Larder, a much loved Melbourne institution, is one of your pit stops. Head straight to the cheese room where their team of passionate cheesemongers will assist you in choosing the right cheeses to impress your sweetheart. In addition to stocking an impressive range of local and imported cheese in the cheese room, the team also produces mature cheese in their purpose-built fromagerie. Where: Richmond Hill Café & Larder, 48-50 Bridge Road Richmond 3121
3. Select a nice bottle of wine: City Wine Shop, Melbourne's most loved wine depot continues to be popular for a couple of reasons: they're centrally located in the city and they stock a huge range of wines for all budgets. You can get bottles of Penfolds reserves and hard-to-find French sparkling wine just as easily as you can pick up a bottle of beautiful Yarra Valley Cabernet Franc for less than $25. Where: City Wine Shop, 159 Spring Street Melbourne 3000
4. Don't forget dessert: The Grain Emporium may be best known for supplying stone baked sourdoughs to some of Melbourne's most loved cafés and restaurants, but this artisan bakery also do a roaring retail trade selling handcrafted pastries too. The Grain Emporium's team of bakers do an impressive range from buttery escargots to jam-filled bombolini (Italian donuts) with seasonal fruit danishes and creamy custard-filled tarts in between. Grab some sweet baked treats before you head home to impress your sweetheart with a sweet tooth for dessert. Bonus points if you grab a loaf of sourdough so you can prepare Nutella on toast with strawberries for breakfast the next day. Where: The Grain Emporium, 318 Clayton Road Clayton VIC 3168
The Grain Emporium: sourdough toast with Nutella and strawberries - not a bad way to wake up the next morning
5. Present your masterpieces on beautiful crockery: You've managed to pick up an impressive swag of edible treats but there's no point serving them on broken crockery or paper plates. Unfortunately, beautiful crockery can be expensive but if you know where to look, you can buy gorgeous plates, cutlery and wine glasses at a great price. While hospitality supplier Lumas Hospitality is catered to businesses, they also happily welcome retail customers into their showroom and there is no minimum purchase amount if you just want to pick up a couple of plates. As a bonus, Lumas offers 10% off if you have a valid ABN. Where: Lumas Hospitality, 1663 Centre Road Springvale VIC 3171
Lumas Hospitality: Churchill Stonecast Plates, designed to show off your culinary skills