I'm time-pressed and always counting the pennies as a single-mum writer, so going out has to be worth the lipstick. It's the year of discovering tantalizing Melbourne and, sometimes, a tease of Adelaide's treasures. Join me.
Published March 9th 2015
You'll never miss the gluten when it's Yarralicious
Gluten-free goodies for everyone.
Melbourne's love affair with the Yarra Valley as a premier specialty food region is officially our worst kept secret and spoilt locals can no longer keep its superior morsels all for themselves. Well into its second year with a Warrandyte street presence, Yarralicious takes its place confidently in the river sunlight with a reputation for sensational flavours from the quality produce synonymous with the area.
Steamed free range eggs on avocado and gluten-free ham with Mad Dog Chilli Jam. Breakfast all day.
Boiled fruit cake (don't tell Grandma we left out the gluten).
From an honest start selling delicious gluten-free cakes and biscuits at markets, owner and inspired kitchen creative, Maja, took a leap of faith 18 months ago into an unassuming commercial kitchen to supply the demand for her delicious wholesale enterprise. The locals had other ideas, and what started as a few coffees for the favoured few, turned into a cosy space for breakfast, lunch and teas all day. You get the feeling the familiar faces love Maja's kitchen more than their own.
Also a visual feast - stuffed peppers.
Dark chocolate, orange and walnut brownies. Moist with natural flavour.
Smiling from the kitchen like she is cooking for family, it's clear there is passion here and Maja speaks about her food with a heartiness that starts by nourishing people through their tummies, but finishes by sending them home with a brighter soul. My little soul took a soar when offered a taste of cherry sauce (250ml for $14) which cheered up bowls of vanilla ice cream at home later that night, just right.
Maja creates from the heart. PS Yarralicious is not licenced, but cooks are allowed an occasional reward.
Autumn is here and Maja is already dreaming up hot pots and full flavoured stews to keep her customers glowing on the inside. Moroccan Lamb was mentioned as one that might make it to the menu. Imagine also seasonal soups and certainly something surprising – although it's no surprise that when food is your art, it comes from the heart. Coffee is roasted by Red Bean and was good, and hot, halleluiah!
As busy as this local hub was (on a Thursday before a long weekend), and as an out-of-town customer, I felt cared for and important. People and products share top priority at Yarralicious. The atmosphere is relaxed and warm with a huge kitchen dresser displaying delicacies by Yarralicious and other local producer/makers of equal standard. All would make thoughtful gifts, or take pride of place in a generous hamper. I made a diary note to return around Christmas time.
A firm local favourite, Yarralicious offers a warm welcome.
For anyone bored by the slick efficiency of modern cafes with impersonal service and indifferent food, come on home to Yarralicious and sit a while in Maja's kitchen with her crew. I promise you'll find something just right for any time of day. It's all completely Yarralicious.