Over coming months we’re going to be sharing loads of foodie stories with you on appetizing Australia, starting with posts on mouthwatering Melbourne, then stories from Sydney, home to Australia’s best restaurants, followed by tales from Victoria’s wine regions and foodie destinations such as Orange.
So how did we come to be back ‘home’ after all this time? From Bangkok we flew via our former home of Dubai to do some things and then onto Melbourne. As you may know, we left Australia in 1998 but in recent years we’ve tried to return each year for Christmas, however, our ‘grand tour’ kept us on the road for a year and then South East Asia held our attention. So a catch-up with family and friends we hadn’t seen in years was long overdue. We had loads of writing to do, plenty of commissions on Asia to write up, a book to finish, other projects to develop, and we wanted to do some stories on Australia too.
Our family’s house on the outskirts of Bendigo, a country town in Victoria, seemed a good place to do it. Our plan was to stay a few months, spend time with family, get on top of the writing, and move on. But travel opportunities within Australia kept presenting themselves, as they do in our business, and the next thing we knew it was Christmas, and here we still are.
So where have we been? Well, we’ve been fortunate that both magazine commissions and collaborations with tourism bodies and travel companies to tell stories on this blog have taken us to some of our favourite places (Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, the Barossa Valley), to places we’ve never been (Lord Howe Island, Hamilton Island), to our old hometowns (Sydney and Brisbane), and even on an epic train trip aboard the Southern Spirit from Brisbane to Adelaide through spectacular scenery in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. We’ll be posting stories on all of those places in coming months.
But we’re going to begin at the beginning, with our Melbourne stories. One of our first Australian commissions was a story called ‘Mouthwatering Melbourne’ for Lifestyle+Travel magazine, which took us to Melbourne for 12 days, which was closely followed by a three week trip to Sydney for a similar story, and then back to Melbourne and Sydney yet again for a few months.
The food and wine stories enabled us to spend our time doing little else but eating and drinking and talking about food and wine. Bliss! We tried many of Australia’s finest restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney, visited Melbourne’s best markets, attended Melbourne food festivals, tested out gastro-pubs, Sydney’s bars and Melbourne’s cafés, explored Melbourne’s laneways and arcades and Sydney’s harbour and beaches, and, best of all, met many of Australia’s finest chefs, sommeliers and foodies, from chefs Peter Gilmore and Dan Hunter to wine guru Matt Skinner and cheese expert Will Studd, including chefs like Neil Perry who we’ve admired for most of our adult eating life.
A warning is therefore in order: if you’re not a foodie, and if food isn’t a key way for you to discover a culture, perhaps you’d better call back in a couple of weeks? For the rest of you, meet mouthwatering Melbourne, starting with this tasty time-lapse.