10 of Melbourne’s finest foodie destinations
1. Queen Victoria Market: cnr Victoria and Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne. Everything from fruit and vegetables, fresh produce and delicatessen goods to clothing, plants and pets are sold at this market which covers seven hectares (around 1000 traders). Guided tours are available. Market Days: Tues and Thurs 6am-2pm, Fri 6am-6pm, Sat 6am-3pm, Sun 9am-4pm. Closed: Mondays, Wednesdays, and public holidays. www.qvm.com.au
2. Prahran Market: with its fresh produce and wide range of delicatessen goods, this lively market is frequented by locals and visitors alike and is just a short walk from Chapel Street. 163-85 Commercial Road, South Yarra. Open Tuesday and Thursday 10am-5pm, Friday 6am-6pm, Saturday 6am-1pm.
3. Koko Black: hidden away in the historic Royal Arcade between Little Collins Street and the Bourke Street Mall, this licensed chocolate lounge specialises in premium Belgium-style chocolates, all lovingly hand made on the premises by Belgian master Chocolatier Dries Cnockaert. Upstairs is a cosy lounge where you can indulgence in super rich and sinfully delicious hot chocolates, chocolate mousse martinis and creamy iced chocolates. Shop 4, Royal Arcade, 335 Bourke Street, Melbourne and 167 Lygon Street. www.kokoblack.com
4. Victoria Street, Richmond: the heart of Melbourne's Vietnamese community with exceptional Asian food at bargain prices. Take a wander through the Asian groceries or stop for Vietnamese snacks including crisp rice paper rolls or a steaming bowl of pho.
5. The Wine & Cheese Providore: a destination for lovers of fine wine, artisan cheeses and excellent produce. Located on the central Piazza at Waterfront City, Docklands, it contains a cheese room that is humidity controlled for premium cheeses sourced from all around the world and also a special cheddar maturation room. A large deli counter serves quality produce and meats, focusing on the best of regional produce. Tel: (03) 9602 1640.
6. Acland Street , St Kilda: is a sweet tooth's heaven row upon row of cake stalls and European delis packed with calorie-laden delights.
7. Gertrude Street Enoteca: a bistro-style wine bar with a wide range of fresh, artisan foods homemade tarts, panini, cured ham and pork terrines and a diverse range of cheeses. Eat in or take home a hamper of goodies. 229 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. Tel: (03) 9415 8262.
8. Enoteca Sileno: the very best of Italian goodies from imported prosecute, sangiovese and moscato, all available in the wine shop, to olives, oils, pasta and much, much more. 920 Lygon St, Carlton North (03) 9389 7009.
9. Yarra Valley: the Yarra Valley, around an hour’s drive from Melbourne, is one of the best cool climate wine districts of the world. Follow the Yarra Valley Regional Food Trail and you’ll find dozens of producers whose food features on local and city restaurants free range eggs, honey, fruit, berries, herbs and cheese, game, pasta, preserves, trout, clotted cream, chocolates and ice cream. Before you set out, check the opening days of the local markets, where stalls are piled high with local foods, much of it organic.
10. Mornington Peninsula: drop in for a wine tasting at one of the Peninsula’s 40 wineries producing sleek chardonnays, full-flavoured cabernet sauvignons, pinot noir and increasingly, pinot gris; or visit Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, the largest strawberry producer in Australia. Pick your own (November to April), take a farm tour, and sample the fruit wines or an afternoon tea in the café. 80km south of Melbourne.
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