After falling in love with Sydney four years ago and again last week, I wondered how Melbourne would fare in comparison. Everyone says there’s a rivalry between the two cities — for lifestyle, food, atmosphere, you name it. I figured at the very least I would like Melbourne…how could I not when I heard it was the culinary capital of Australia!
Before embarking on this trip, I had the good fortune of learning about the Good Food & Wine Show and that it would be making its Melbourne stop during my visit. Brilliant! I don’t fancy myself a “foodie” by any stretch of the imagination, but I do enjoy eating well and healthfully (we’ll get to my sweet tooth in a minute) and have come to love watching and learning from Top Chef and shows like it in the past few years.
Purchasing a ticket was a bit of an indulgence…$30 just to get in and then an extra $50 for the Lindt Chocolate Masterclass. However, it would cost that much to book one of the day trips the hostel has posted on the brochure wall, and I determined long ago that food (i.e., eating well, experiencing good restaurants, staying healthy on the road) was a financial priority for me.
With the purchase of the ticket, I was allowed to select one “Celebrity Theatre” experience — meaning that Australian chefs who appear on TV would host a live demonstration in front of an audience. I knew nothing of Gary Mehigan or George Calombaris before today, but they were so much fun to watch, and I’d love to eat at one of their restaurants at some point (i.e., if someone wants to pay for me to go).
After the show, I walked up and down every single aisle and sampled free goodies, which ultimately became my lunch I didn’t anticipate purchasing anything, but I did buy three gluten free goodies between two different vendors. One of the vendors lives in St. Kilda and encouraged me to email her if I’d like to get together before I leave Melbourne. How sweet is that?!
By the time I’d eaten copious amounts of crackers with jams and spreads, it was time for the Lindt Chocolate Masterclass with Master Chocolatier Thomas Schnetzler.
No, I didn’t eat all nine squares! Instead, as Thomas taught us about the history of chocolate and also Lindt (his mission was to transition us from chocolate lovers to chocolate gourmets), he instructed us to taste each as he came to a new part of his presentation. We received a bag to take the leftovers home — no way we’d let that go to waste!
A few things I learned:
1) The company is actually Lindt and Sprüngli.
2) There are a small handful of Lindt Cafes in the world, with Melbourne being home to one. It’s only a few blocks away. I’ve talked my roommate into going on Sunday.
3) Montezuma consumed ~50 cups per day of chocolate!
4) 1828 is when chocolate was first made and consumed as a food instead of a beverage.
In addition to the leftovers from the nine squares, we each received a goodie bag to take home. Take a look at this beautiful assortment!
Since I’d only eaten the equivalent of 3 squares during the class, I left without feeling full or sick, which I had worried about O:-) For a chocoholic like me, it was a worthwhile way to spend $50.
Next time you eat chocolate, take time to smell it first to enjoy the aroma. Then, take a small bite, crunch down a few times to break it into smaller bits, and finally let it melt in your mouth. Yum!
The show hasn’t been my only opportunity to experience Australia’s culinary capital — but sharing a sample of Melbourne eats deserves its own post next week. Get excited!