What was once the domain of sugar-loaded kids and their frazzled parents, the Royal Melbourne Show has really come to offer something for everyone in recent years. For me, attending the Show means bypassing the petting zoo, the Gravitron and the fairy floss stand (although I'm sure my dentist will thank me) and heading straight to the Tastes of Victoria Pavilion.
Paradise for lovers of gourmet food and wine, the Pavilion puts the spotlight on Victoria's phenomenal produce with the list of exhibitors including Boosey Creek Cheese, Fritz Gelato, Rayner's Stonefruit, Yarra Valley Gourmet Foods and Seven Hills Tallarook (try the goat ham - so good!). Stock up on jams, mustards, olives, cheeses, fudge and more - whatever you're looking for, the Tastes of Victoria Pavilion will have a decadent and delicious option on offer. Oh and don't leave without a Deli Pantry Bag - one of our tips for best big kids showbags - because really, what's better than a bag full of cheese?!
Prefer to sit back, relax and watch the masters work their magic? Well, the Pavilion has that too. Cookings demos with some of Melbourne's top chefs - think Josie Bones' Chris Badenoch, The European's Ian Curley and my personal favourite, Cutler and Co's Andrew McConnell - will run right through the duration of the Show, so you can pick up a few tips to impress your friends at you next dinner party. The kids haven't been totally forgotten either, with Masterchef fan favourite, host of Kitchen Whiz and owner of the most amazing oversized glasses collection, Alice Zaslavsky hosting cooking classes for little tackers.
Once you've had your fill of celebrity chef tips and tricks, head to the Brew Bar and BBQ for a succulent beef brisket burger with pickles and slaw or some ribs, washed down with a craft beer or crisp cider from Victoria's best micro-breweries. This promises to be one of the most popular parts of the Pavilion with some of the Australian International Beer Awards winners on offer.
To top it off, the Tastes of Victoria Pavilion has thrown in the magic word that sends Melburnians into a craze – 'pop-up'. That's right, for the first time the Pavilion will feature some of Melbourne's best establishments in a series of alternating pop-up restaurants, perfect if you want to sample some of their most famous dishes. The pop-up schedule includes:
1) Albert St Food & Wine, September 21st – 23rd
2) Fonda, September 24th – 26th
3) Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio, September 27th – 29th
4) Union Dining, September 30th – October 2nd
Need more tips for grown ups tackling the Royal Melbourne Show? Don't miss our guide to the best kids showbags!
Melbourne Showgrounds, Epsom Road in Ascot Vale
September 21st - October 2nd
Open daily 9:30am - 7:30pm
(note, the Show is open until 9:00pm)