Melbourne Foodie Adventures (three months in)
Moving to Melbourne has been a HUGE change for me, but an exciting one to say the least. One of my favourite things about moving to such a big and cultured city is the fact that there are SO many cool and hipster places to explore, especially cafes and health food stores. I have only been here three months, but already my foodie adventures have been pretty extensive. That being said, I have barely made a dent in the list of places to go... Which means there are many more adventures to come!
I thought tonight I would put together a little list/review of the few places I have visited so far.
Pana Chocolate - Richmond (www.panachocolate.com)
I am not going to lie, the fact that the Pana Chocolate store is in Melbourne was legitimately a deciding factor in my decision to move to Melbourne. My love for Pana Chocolate cannot be under-estimated. So on a windy, cold and rainy (i.e. typical) Melbourne day, Mum and I ventured out to Richmond to visit the Pana Chocolate store. Despite all of my expectations, it exceeded my wildest dreams. A cute and unassuming little store with a gorgeous inspiration wall and a cake fridge that brought me to my knees with choices. I eventually decided on a chai raw cheesecake (plus a block of Pana Chocolate - cause you can never have too much right?).
On another note, I LOVE Melbourne because Pana Chocolate is not only abundant here, it is much cheaper than anywhere else I have ever been (it is $8 a block in Adelaide and basically non-existent in Mildura). I found a shop where you can buy it for $5 per block - that made my day. On another rainy Sunday morning I went to a tiny little supermarket that was essentially devoid of stock, but they still had every flavour of Pana Chocolate!
Aunt Maggie's Organics - Brunswick (http://www.auntmaggies.com.au)
This place was a case of love at first sight for me. On my very first day in Melbourne I ventured over to Brunswick to arrange my studio hire for yoga classes (note: I teach classes at Brunswick Yoga Studio - click here for details), and then wandered across the road into this beautiful store. It is literally a whole supermarket full of every organic thing you could ever need. It is spacious and inviting and I spend way too long wandering up and down every aisle contemplating my food budget for the week. Since that first fateful day I have returned so frequently that I think the staff might actually recognise me now.
The best news ever, Aunt Maggie's also holds regular special events like cooking classes and special promotional days. Plus there are five stores across Melbourne: Brunswick, Fitzroy, Balaclava, Malvern and Hampton.
Industry Beans - Fitzroy (http://industrybeans.com)
I went out for a brunch with my beautiful friend Zoe, who took me to Industry Beans. It is a super-hip industrial-style cafe with a CrossFit Box right next door (there were people completing their WODs as we ate our brunch, haha). Industry Beans is also a speciality coffee roaster for all of the coffee lovers amongst you. On that note, one thing that Melbourne does REALLY well is coffee. We both ordered the crispy bean quinoa salad with poached egg and oh my goodness it was fabulous. Well-priced, cool and great service. It's a definite yes from me!
Melbourne Uni Food Coop - Uni of Melb (Union House), Parkville (Facebook page)
This place is quite special to me, since I am actually a coop volunteer. I found the coop by accident when, slightly homesick and confused, I wandered in one Friday afternoon, and the amazing Vee (volunteer coordinator) offered me a cup of chai. I think it was one of the kindest things anyone has ever done. The next week I started working as a volunteer and I can honestly say my two hours spent there each week are a highlight. The coop members, volunteers and staff are some of the zaniest and friendliest people you will ever meet and there is an abundance of vegan and vegetarian food on offer each day, including hot plates of curry, dahl, rice and salad, pies, sweet treats, plus a whole wall of bulk food that you can purchase at your leisure. Although it is not strictly gluten-free (it is mostly vegan/vego food), there are always gluten-free options. You can also purchase a membership for $10 per semester, which gives you awesome discounts on both fresh and bulk food. It is located up the stairs on Level 1 of Union House, in the University of Melbourne. Come and visit!
Like-Minded Projects - Fitzroy (Article about Like Minded Projects, or search #likemindedprojects on Instagram)
Like Minded Projects is actually three fabulous places in one shop - Fred Gets (salads, wraps, meals, bircher muesli, desserts), Ace Cookies & Milk (raw desserts, ice cream cookies and Pana pops) and Coffee Supreme (need I explain?). It is all completely vegetarian and vegan friendly, plus almost everything is gluten free. I have only managed one flying visit to this wonderful inner-north cafe, in which I grabbed the Pana Pop pictured above (which is like a healthy Magnum) and got out before they closed, but I have been meaning to go back for some time. I can already tell that not even 20 visits will suffice to taste all that there is on offer at Like Minded Projects.
The interior is also stunningly simple and clean, creating the overall cool, hip vibe that I have come to expect from Melbourne cafes.
Follow: @fredgetsfriedly, @ace_cookiesandmilk, @likemindedprojects and @coffee_supreme on Instagram. WARNING: serious food porn!
The Source Bulkfoods - Brunswick (http://thesourcebulkfoods.com.au)
Another awesome shop mere metres from where I teach yoga (Brunswick Yoga Studio, in case you forgot!). The Source Bulkfoods has many stores across Australia, including one in Pharan in Melbourne, but I was very excited to witness the creation and opening of The Source Bulkfoods in Brunswick. It is beautiful in its simplicity: a store full of bulk food bins containing every imaginable food stuff, brown paper bags to store your goodies and counter to weigh and pay (aka. kiss goodbye to all your money when you buy kilos of mixed nuts). Great for stocking up on essentials, like brown rice, quinoa, muesli (they have many different varieties), nuts, seeds and dark chocolate-coated goji berries (they are obviously a staple food..).
MelbUni Farmer's Markets (Wed) - Uni of Melb (North Court), Parkville (Melbourne Farmer's Markets)
Wednesday is definitely the best day at uni - for this exact reason! The market is packed full of amazing food stalls that range from strawberries and cakes, rhubarb and mussels, through to organic green veggies, roasted chestnuts and fermented veggies and drinks. There is plenty to enjoy for lunch and you can do your grocery shopping here too. Some of my favourite stalls include the organic veggie stall - kale, celery, pumpkin, spaghetti squash; the strawberry stall - $5 for a punnet of beautiful, imperfect strawberries; the apple man - I buy 7 apples religiously from him every week (an apple a day keeps the doctor away); the middle-eastern dip place - healthy and delicious hummus, beetroot dip or babaganoush; Pat's Fermented Veggies - jars of gut-loving goodness; and Tibisco's fermented drink (like kombucha but a different mushroom).
Unfortunately, the markets will stop running after May 27th, and re-start once the warmer weather returns in spring.
Aucustico - Brunswick (http://acustico.com.au)
Another cute and homely cafe in Brunswick (once again a stone's throw from the yoga studio). It has a small, but quirky breakfast/lunch menu, small sweet treats, coffee (it smells great) and veggie juices. The cafe is also decked out with super-comfy tables and chairs in little corners (great for long catch ups with friends).
Green Refectory - Brunswick (Facebook page)
This bustling little cafe is just near where I teach yoga, so I walk past it three mornings a week. A fabulous and extensive menu for breakfast and lunch, plus it has a whole fridge full of salads, wraps, cakes (including raw cheesecakes) and other sweet treats that you can buy. Definitely the perfect brunching location - especially if you head out the back to the tables in the little lane way - provided it is a nice day, of course!
That's all for now - but this is just the beginning! Comment below your favourite places in Melbourne and I will add them to my list.
Keep healthy and happy,