We may have enjoyed an unseasonably warm autumn, but that good luck ain't gonna last forever, and nor would we want it to. The best thing about winter's arrival is the ability to get the roasting tray out and heat up the kitchen with some basted chook and yummy veg. Even better, why not decamp to somewhere toasty and let them do all the hard roasting work for you?
That's the idea behind the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival's The Roast Collection. A showcase of over 100 events demonstrating the very best in winter grub, from bold, spicy red wines to whole roasted pig or pit-smoked lamb. Spread across the state, we've selected some of the best events happening in Melbourne during the course of The Roast Collection's 30-day celebration from June 1-30.
Pig & Pinot
Richmond's Royal Saxon on Church Street will join forces with the Kooyong Estate winery guys to deliver a sumptuous feast fit for a piggy king. You can scrimp and save and go for the three-course food only option, with house made stozzapreti with Veronese-style pork sausage ragu and saffron, followed by roast Berkshire pork belly and climaxing with a beurre bosc pear, cinnamon and sumptuous dark chocolate strudel with warm vanilla Englaise for $60. OR you can go the whole hog for $100 with matched wine including the 2011 Haven Pinot Noir and the 2010 De Bortoli Noble One Semillon, Yarra Valley. You can guess what we'll be doing.
The British Food & Wine Feast
Each Sunday for the entire month of June, Papa Goose on Flinders Lane will be hosting a long table-style British feast lunch. Easing you in with a wine tasting that takes in plonk from Heathcote's Bridge vineyard and the Yarra Valley's Soumah, the Roast big lunch event moves onto a sharing platter of cold cuts and antipasto. The main event is a big ass roast lunch with Yorkshire puddings. You get two glasses of vino included for $80.
Maya's Winter Mole
What's better than a roast, we hear you cry? Chocolate? Well who says the two are mutually exclusive? Certainly not the Mexicans. Mole sauce (there are quite a few variations) has nada to do with the blind mammals and everything to do with unique combos of chocolate and chilli, amongst a host of other wondrous ingredients. South Yarra's Maya Tequila Bar and Grill will be dishing up their take on an Oaxacan slow-roasted lamb shank in mole sauce, served on a bed of Mexican polenta porridge, for the entire month of The Roast Collection, accompanied with tortillas, tomato salsa and pickled salad.
Fiesta De La Barbacoa
While you're on the Mexican kick, why not head to Curtin House's tequila bar and kitchen Mesa Verde, who will be chargrilling then roasting chilli marinated lamb from Timboon, Colac and Corowa each weekend during The Roast Collection month. Dished up with house-made chorizo, nicola potatoes, sprouts, radicchio and lardons, they'll be offering mulled Badaginnie Run Shiraz and, of course, Añejo tequila. Olé!
Shanks & Shiraz
We love our reds big, bold and spicy, and South Wharf's Melbourne Public on Dukes Walk is answering our prayers. Shanks & Shiraz sees outstandingly named chef Kestrel Urban slow-roasting veal shanks sourced from Benalla alongside Cotechino sausages and yummy roast veg supplied by eco-friendly and local-supporting Spade & Barrow. You get a nice big glass of Shiraz for your $40 too.
Top To Tail Feather
Collins Street's Mr Mason in the CBD will be inviting all and sundry to get in and make the most of their Macedon Ranges roast duck degustation. Head Chef Thiago Miranda will ensure nothing goes to waste, using up every bit of the yummy duck, from head to tail feather, with the five-course roast feast drawing on French traditions. At $95 a head, or $150 for matched wines, this one's well worth shaking your tail feathers and having a gander.
Yia Yia's Sunday Roast
Hellenic Republic brings the big fat Greek flavours to Sunday roast with a three-course menu featuring mezethes, slow-roasted shoulder of Victorian lamb accompanied by roasted lemon patates and a healthy salad bulging with winter vegetables. Then you can stuff your face with a cornucopia of Greek sweets. Happening each Sunday arvo during the Roast Collection month, it doesn't matter if you head north or East, because both the Kew and Brunswick East venues are on board.
Saint Crispin's Pig Out
Stuff the apple in the pig's mouth shtick, the guys behind Smith Street's Saint Crispin in Collingwood have a much better idea. On Wednesday June 4th they'll be serving up a four-course roast piggy feast of Western Plains milk fed pork with matching St Ronan's cider. If you miss out on this snout-to-tail extravaganza, fear not, highlights from the one-off event will snuffle up in the Thomas Olive bar throughout the month.
Asado De Elementos
Depending on which week of The Roast Collection you rock up to Meyers Place's San Telmo, you'll be feasting on a variety of elements, including fare from the earth, water and sky. Share plates one week include such delicious morsels as roast pork neck, lamb belly and beef flat iron, while the second stint has bugs, octopus and a whole roast fish, with the final offering delivering boar, venison and rabbit.
Lunch With Mirka
Legendary artist and all-round Melbourne celebrity Mirka Mora will preside over a fantastically French-inspired lunch held at Heide Museum Of Modern Art's Café Vue up in Bulleen. She'll inspire with tales of the artists who once frequented her host of European eateries, including Mirka Café in Exhibition Street and St Kilda's Tolarno Bistro, during the 50s and swinging 60s. Heide director Jason Smith and curator Kendrah Morgan will be on hand to share their wisdom. It's a bargain at $75, but will sell out so book quick.
City Cellar Door
The wine bar addition floating above Cumulus Inc. on Flinders Lane, Cumulus Up, will kick off a monthly celebration of Victorian winemakers' vino accompanied by a whole roast pig doled out in yummy pork buns, with the first event falling on the first Saturday of The Roast Collection, and every first Saturday of the month thereafter. The first vineyards on board will all hail from the Beechworth area.
Patrons Get Game
East Kew's Fat Penguin will be getting their best game in play with a flutter of roast birds focusing on the best produce Victoria has to offer, with daily specials running for the full month of The Roast Collection. Yering Station chief winemaker, Willy Lunn, will be on hand to get the roasting party started on the evening of Wednesday, June 4th.
Crackling Sunday Roast
Who doesn't love to be beside the seaside? Executive chef Matt Dawson from St Kilda's Republica on Jacka Boulevard will be dishing up a Western Plains pork scotch for two with all the trimmings each Sunday during The Roast Collection. At $60 for two, or $100 with a bottle, it's an affordable date.
Parrilla En Piqueos
The full flavours of Peru and Argentina collide at North Carlton's Piqueos on Rathdowne Street, and chef Blair Williams will be slow-roasting lamb on a charcoal fire, matched with Argentinian wines and locally-sourced veggies mid-month on Sunday, June 15th. It's as good a time as any to explore the South American passion for hearty food.
Whisky Winter Warmer
What's better than a roast to warm your cockles this winter? A roast served with a nip of whisky, of course! The New World Whisky Distillery out in Essendon Fields will be dishing up roast beef ribs that have been marinated in their showcase Australian whisky, Starward, on June 14th. Using locally sourced malted barley and ageing the goods in charred barrels, with the wood also sourced here, there will be plenty of opportunity to taste the award-winning dram and to snoop around the distillery too.
Lamb Shoulder For 2
If you want to make a romantic night of it with your partner, or chance your arm on a first date, why not head to Henry & The Fox on Little Collins Street in the city to share an intimate feast of a seven-hour slow roasted Gippsland Tarwin Lower lamb shoulder with roast potatoes in duck fat with pimento. Designed to fall off the bone, if you're lucky the clothes will follow suit once you get home.
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