“Australia is a pretty special food place…Melbourne, within Australia…is also super special”
These words are taken from an interview with Jamie Oliver during his recent trip to Australia and, having just spent a month there myself, I know I am biased, but I couldn’t agree more.
Food has always been a big part of what I love about Melbourne but I guess I’ve never come at it with such a food-focussed eye, or such a big camera lens, before. This being my first time back since I started the blog, I was anxious to get stuck in and really immerse myself in the cultural richness the city has to offer.
Having lived away from Melbourne for most of my life, I still feel like somewhat of a tourist most of the time. The upside of this is that I really do revel in being there and deeply appreciate some of the simplest pleasures, like walking along the banks of the Yarra River, marvelling at the beautiful skyline and watching people go about their day in one of the world’s most captivating cities.
Do you ever have those ‘stop-and-smell-the-flowers’ moments? You know, when you’re suddenly struck by a strong sense that you really need to just stop and appreciate the moment you’re in?
I had a lot of those moments on this trip.
I have come back to Bahrain still processing all the beautiful sights, tastes and experiences I’ve had over the past month, not to mention the amazing people I’ve met. All my senses have been recharged and I’m brimming with excitement to share it all with you.
It all started with the wedding of some very special friends and quickly spun into a whirlwind of lunches, dinners, photo opportunities, BBQs, ferries, lattes (oh, the coffee!), cooking classes, birthdays, reunions and then, all too quickly, goodbyes.
I was especially pleased to be able to attend an extremely touching and thought provoking dawn service on Anzac Day. I hold a huge sense of admiration, gratitude and respect for all of those who have dedicated their lives to the service of their country and too many times paid the ultimate price. The tragic sense of unnecessary loss overwhelmed me as a veteran read through the names of those who had fallen, and the words “may we and our successors prove worthy of their sacrifice” ran over in my head for days afterwards. Lest we forget.
My time was split between the city and the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, about an hour and a half outside of Melbourne. There’s no lack of choice in that area when it comes to photographic subjects but my favourite morning was spent on the beach shooting the rows of multicoloured beach huts that line the shore.
I also enjoyed more than my fair share of breathtaking sunsets. On clear days, the city across the bay glows pink, dotted with spots of gold where the sun reflects off the buildings. The Eureka Tower, once the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, dons an especially glittery halo.
I had big plans to scour the Peninsula for all the best foodie finds and wish I’d had more time to explore, but I did manage to squeeze in a couple of great meals – including one stand out lunch at Port Phillip Estate in Red Hill – more on that coming soon.
So what else is coming up? Well, there’s…
…an action packed weekend at the Kangaroo Island Seafood Feast-ival including a brief chat with celebrity chef Pete Evans, an abundance of amazing local produce and even more amazing people.
…tips, photos and recipes from a couple of great cooking classes.
…my introduction to the thermomix and more!
So much food and so many photos. Honestly, I could go on and on but, to bring it back to Jamie, why is Melbourne such a “super special” food place? Personally, I think it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation in the sense that I’m not sure what came first, but, generally, when it comes to food, Melburnians are a tough crowd to please.
They know what they want, they have a high appreciation for good food and equally high expectations to match. What has emerged as a result of this (or was it the other way round?) is a vibrant and creative food scene that delivers, in abundance, food experiences that would struggle to disappoint the most discerning foodie; sometimes fancy and sometimes comfortingly endearing in their home cooked simplicity.
Whichever came first, one thing’s for sure, food lovers in Melbourne are spoilt for choice and I’m already itching to get back and continue my journey of discovery.