Carlton icon The French Lettuce looking forward to welcoming customers once more
Modern Australian patisserie The French Lettuce Carlton will reopen to customers this Friday, 26 March after a month of renovations to upgrade the venue’s layout.
Locals will again be able to enjoy a cup of Veneziano coffee and plenty of slices, tarts and pastries featuring local artisanal ingredients with French and Italian inspiration.
Since pastry chef Peter Brown and wife Nicole took over ownership in 2003 after the venue opened in the ‘80s, The French Lettuce has been cheered for its cakes -- supplying masterpieces for the likes of Katy Perry, Bert Newton and Eddie McGuire. The team has also made a replica of Prince William’s and Princess Kate’s wedding cake for a private celebration.
The Brown children Campbell, Molly and Hudson became managers of the café in 2017 and despite the difficulties last year presented, The French Lettuce opened a second, bigger site in Bulleen in early August 2020 and is proving to be a favourite with locals.
The French Lettuce has been featured in Broadsheet, Fairfax, Urban List and on Channel Nine’s Postcards TV program. It has been recognised for its culinary prowess, having been awarded best vanilla slice in Melbourne by The Age and runner-up in the same category by the Herald Sun, among other achievements.
The patisserie gives back to the community through its involvement with the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal and donations, including leftover food, to the Salvation Army, Oznam House, Sisters of the Poor and St Mary’s House of Welcome.
The French Lettuce will also get involved in this year’s Good Friday Appeal by donating the money made from sales of its popular vanilla slice at both locations from Monday, 29 March to Good Friday (2 April).
Co-manager Hudson Brown says, “We are really looking forward to contributing to this year’s Good Friday Appeal as a way of giving back to the community.
“We plan to sell 3500 units of vanilla slices so we want Melburnians to have morning tea with us next week for a great cause.”
Innocent Bystander, the Healesville based winemaker and purveyor of deliciousness, is releasing its premium Mea Culpa range, available from May 2020.
Mat Janes, Head of Innocent Bystander said, “At a time like this, when we all need a little unadulterated joy, we’re proud to release our winemaking guilty pleasure, the Mea Culpa Pinot Noir 2019 and Syrah 2018”.
“Innocent Bystander’s Mea Culpa range is an admission of guilt, an unapologetic indulgence. While we generally steer well clear of the navel gazing snobbery of the wine world, with Mea Culpa we give over to winemaking passion, take exceptional parcels of Yarra Valley fruit and indulge in vinous debauchery to create a uniquely expressive wine. This is not a wine that claims perfection, but a wine that delivers a fantastic expression of site, vintage and winemaking character”, says Mat Janes.
Senior Winemaker Geoff Alexander says “This wine is a joy to make, it’s where we get to pull out all the stops, take the best Yarra Valley fruit we can get our hands on and really show what it has to offer”. “Our Mea Culpa range has been around for over ten years, but we only put the wines out when the vintage is right and we’re confident we’ve got a compelling wine to release and a wine that will drink well young or cellar beautifully”.
Innocent Bystander’s Mea Culpa Pinot Noir 2019 is a beautifully layered, complex and fragrant expression of Pinot Noir from historic vineyards in the Yarra Valley. Its combination of black cherry richness and savoury truffle notes glides across the palate like silk, and then builds in intensity as it treads through the fine balance of elegance and depth with dangerous ease.
Their Mea Culpa Syrah 2018 is an exceptionally smooth and layered Syrah from an outstanding Yarra Valley vintage. It begins with a seductive breath of blackberry and raspberry rich flavours that skim the palate and leads to a wicked sensation of white pepper spice and finally ends with a smooth and satisfying afterglow.
What’s more exciting is that Innocent Bystander is hosting a one-off Mea Culpa live virtual wine tasting via their Facebook and Instagram page. Held on Friday, 22 May at 5pm, Innocent Bystander’s in-house sommelier will go through the ins and outs of the new releases, allowing wine lovers to learn about the premium range from the comfort of their own homes.
The Mea Culpa range will be available nationally from $49.00 per bottle at great wine stores, or can be ordered online via the Innocent Bystander online store here: https://www.innocentbystander.com.au/shop
The best in Australian cheese direct to your door.
WHAT IS THE MOULD CHEESE COLLECTIVE?
The MOULD Cheese Collective is not just an awesome club giving you access to some of the best cheese in the country, it’s where you’ll get to meet a passionate community of like-minded makers, growers, farmers and families who happen to make the best cheese in Australia.
YOU’RE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!
Like us, we know you’re passionate about where your produce comes from, and our support right now has the power to keep these producers’ businesses alive. Where we put our food dollars really matters and has a direct and immediate impact on producers, their staff and their families.
So let’s continue to show the love and support the little guy.
Cork & Chroma offers a fun new take on your traditional painting class, by encouraging participants to bring their own wine. Founded by Hillary and B.J. Wall back in 2013, Cork & Chroma's flagship studio was opened in Brisbane. Over the past few years, they've expanded into Sydney and Melbourne, and it was their Collingwood studio that MEL Live had the pleasure of visiting. Located on the ever-vibrant Smith Street, the cosy and relaxed studio offers classes for a variety of different paintings. We attempted the In the Vineyard class, alongside a bottle of Sangiovese.
Arriving early, we were shown to our seats and shown around the studio. After grabbing our aprons and some glasses, we poured some glasses of wine and started preparing ourselves for the night ahead. No one in our team had really tried their hand at painting before, so we were really trying something different that night!
Leading our class was Martin, who ran through each step and allowed a more than generous amount of time for the class to catch up. With music playing and plenty of wine being sipped, the overall atmosphere of the studio was buzzing. It was obvious everyone was really getting into the vibe, with everyone joking about and chatting with the rest of their tables.
Whether you're painting solo, with a friend, or are on date night, Cork & Chroma accommodates for all. Feel free to even book in as a group, or for a work function - they will have you sorted! The painting calendar changes regularly, and sessions book out pretty quickly, so make sure you check out Cork & Chroma's website for bookings.
Located in Cheltenham, Bad Shepherd has a little something for everyone. The brewery’s extensive range of craft beer will please even the most hesitant beer drinkers. For the adventurous, try a hazelnut, raspberry, or pineapple beer. Can’t decide on what to drink? There’s a tasting paddle available for the indecisive.
If you’re feeling peckish, treat yourself to some comfort food, or a BBQ platter for groups or the extra hangry. The menu doesn’t leave anyone out; with a full vegan menu available, including a vegan cheeseburger, chicken burger, and mac and cheese. After recently hosting the ‘Big Bad Vegan Day Out’, the brewery has gained a big following and reputation as being one of the go-to vegan hotspots in the Bayside area.
Whether you’re up for a few bevs, or a big feed, Bad Shepherd’s atmosphere and staff are more than welcoming.
A short 5 minute walk from Flinders Street Station is the Rendezvous Hotel. Once in the hotel, walk downstairs, and you’ll find yourself in Straits Cafe.
Treat yourself to their high tea, and gorge yourself on their finger sandwiches, cakes, and scones with jam and cream. You’ll also be welcomed with a glass of sparkling wine, and a bottomless cup of tea or coffee. Needless to say, you will not be eating dinner afterwards.
The hotel’s high tea runs from Thursday to Sunday, 3pm-5pm - bookings essential. Bookings can be made at $59 per person, and dietary requirements can be catered to on request.
Head to their website for more info and booking information.
Our motto of the day at the East Malvern Food & Wine Festival was 'Wine not?', as we attended the gold-standard event on Sunday 17 November. With perfect weather and a can-do attitude, our team visited Central Park in Malvern East with thousands of other vino enthusiasts to sample good food and great wine.
The festival, back for its fourth year, offered over 100 wines, craft beers and ciders, as well as boasting a series of local and regional culinary delights. The event showcased 17 wineries from across Victoria, including Bendigo, Heathcote, Yarra Valley, Rutherglen and more. While it wasn't possible to try everything on offer, we had a fantastic time sampling from wineries such as Balgownie Estate, Innocent Bystander, Noble Red Winery, Montalto, and Linnaea Vineyards.
We were fortunate enough to participate in the ultimate wine-tasting experience with a Wine Selectors masterclass. After spending time at the tasting desk sample many award winning wines with the Wine Selectors crew, it was time for the class to begin. We attended the Tongue Twisters workshop, aimed at sampling a variety of obscure and special wines made in Victoria. Beginning with a Sam Miranda Arneis, continuing with a Rutherglen Estate Savingin and concluding with Australia Felix's Sagrantino.
After spending the first few hours of the festival wrapped up in wine tasting, it was more important than ever to start exploring the food on offer. Walking around the park, there was something for everyone as we branched out to try 48h Pizza & Gnocchi Bar, Mushiki Dumplings, and because the weather was so nice, Timboon Fine Ice Cream. As we walked around the event, there were lots of interesting storefronts to explore - from hand-made pastas, to various cheese tastings and gourmet condiments to enjoy. Our favourites included Sticky Balsamic, Harvest Snaps and Sunghue Chilli Sauce.
As the day kicked on, it was great to see lots of families and their animal companions exploring the park and all that the free event had to offer. From the well-known wineries, to the small batch producers including K.BOOCH Alcoholic Kombucha, local brewery Bad Shepherd Brewing Co. and distillers such as Mr Blacks and Great Ocean Road Gin, there was so much to see and so much to do. We finished off the day spending time at the music stage, curated by local music studio House of Voice. The relaxing picnic-style set up allowed people to enjoy their wine in the great outdoors, listening to local talent and soaking up the sun and atmosphere. The event was a huge success, and we can't wait to see what's on offer next year.
St Kilda is known for its vibrant culture, entertainment and as a great place to grab a drink. The St Kilda Wine and Cider Walk managed to combine all of these elements to showcase the local area and its venues. We spent a quality Saturday afternoon exploring some of our favourite places, discovering new locations to enjoy a drink and watching the roving street performers parading down Fitzroy Street.
Each venue was matched with a different winery or cider house, and the multiple, generous tastings allowed our team to sample drinks from 14 different locations on an adventurous day filled with alcohol, laughter and comradery. Our favourite picks of the festival are featured below:
Tolarno Eating House featuring Yalumba Wines
A popular first choice for event-goers and a great place to stay for more than one drink.
Freddie Wimpoles serving Whitebox Wines
We fell in love with everything there is to see at Freddie Wimpoles, and highly recommend a visit.
Most Enjoyable Experience
Enjoying the Willie Smith Organic Cider in Pizza Restaurant, Pizza E Birra.
An organic cider from Tasmania served at a pizza Restaurant - what's not to love?
Cider Pick of the Festival
Mr Little Cider offered at The Fifth Province
A premium cider company from Mornington Peninsula, who have an absolutely delicious Blackcurrant cider.
Wine Pick of the Festival
I Am George - Chardonnay sampled at Three Elephants & Co.
Oaked to perfection, this french-style Chardonnay took our pick for favourite drink of the festival.
After all was said and done, we finished our day with a free glass of wine from Cape Jaffa at the St Kilda Cellars. The event is certainly something we'd do again and can't wait for the next chance we get to return to the venues of St Kilda.
Pinot Palooza isn't your typical wine festival. Set across 13 cities worldwide, the Melbourne event was held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton. With over 70 wineries showcasing over 200 wines, live DJ sets and a massive food lineup, the Exhibition Building was buzzing with excitement. It's a big pinot noir-appreciating party in the middle of Carlton Gardens - what more could you want?
MEL Live were lucky enough to spend the day at the festival. Once you've picked up your glasses at the front door, you're ready to go! Help yourself to a wine guide, and you'll be able to identify which wines on offer are vegan or organic - super handy for those with dietary requirements.
The huge number of wineries were from regions all over; the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Bellarine Peninsula, and even some from New Zealand and South Africa. Each wine 'artist' sorts you out with the wines of your choice, and if you've fallen in love with a particular drop, you'll even have the chance to take home a bottle.
Pinot Palooza really had something for everyone; if wine wasn't your thing, craft beer and cider bars were also onsite, as well as a vermouth bar. What set the event apart from other wine festivals is that you're not restricted to drink tokens for your wine tastings. So if you do attend, make sure you sample all of the fine wines (but please drink responsibly)!
The event continues its tour around Australia, and is then on to Hong Kong and Singapore. We hope to see it back in Melbourne next year.
Held at the Melbourne Showgrounds, the first iteration of the Beer InCider Festival in Melbourne kicked off with a strong start; promising music, beer and cider, food stalls and lots of fun activities throughout the day to keep people entertained.
The music promised to be something truly special, having curated some of Australia’s best talent and upcoming artists from all across the country. Opening the experience was supergroup Loser, followed up by our favourite space cadet Alex the Astronaut, who brought in the crowds for the lunch time slot. Alex’s self-labelled ‘bad jokes’ kept us extremely entertained on the main stage throughout the afternoon. Brisbane locals WAAX were in their element performing in the Showgrounds warehouse, and powerhouse West Thebarton continued the energetic performances to a receptive crowd of punters. Closing the festival, we were happy to see Aussie favourites Something For Kate and Sydney’s answer to Oasis, DMA’s.
If our review contained a list of all of the beers and ciders we sampled over the day, it would be safe to say that we’d simply be copy pasting the list straight from the website and would be confessing more than we’d like to share! Our favourite cider moments were the ciders at Frank’s Cider, the cider slushie from Golden Axe and the delicious cider sorbet from Ten Sixty One. Our favourite beers were from a series of vendors which include: Matso’s Broome Brewery, Young Henry’s, Balter, Exit Brewing, Kaiju! Beer and Mornington Peninsula Brewing.
If you are wondering what there was do to when you aren’t busy drinking or rocking out on the main stage, the answer is there were plenty of options. The food stalls were impressive, catering to a range of all diets - especially to vegetarians and vegans. We were lucky enough to try Red Sparrow’s scrumptious plant-based pizza range and to try the burgers by 8-bit. Chilling in the shade sails, we spent the day relaxing in the many areas to hang out with friends and relax. Walking past a range of artwork by talented Melbourne artists, there was the chance to muck about in the Ping Pong Arena and watch competitions including Balter’s ‘Tins of Glory’ championship.
Overall, the day was a fantastic success and we look forward to the Beer InCider crew bringing the experience back to Melbourne shortly.