From regional Victoria’s world class producers to the makers nestled in Melbourne’s laneways and diverse creators of the city’s eclectic neighbourhoods, the best of Victoria is here waiting for you to discover when you are next in town. In the meantime, meet some of Melbourne’s incredible producers behind what’s in the box
Sisters Maria and Eva Konecsny used the inspiration of cold winters in Germany and the hot fragrant scents that wafted from their Grandmother’s kitchen, in a small village called Heidenheim, near Stuttgart. It’s virtually a lolly shop for herbs and spices. Today, they offer over 350 single-origin spices, herbs, salts, peppers, teas and sugars from around the world, as well as hand milling over 100 different spice blends. Their Melbourne Coffee Meat Rub is iconic and something you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Henry Sugar Bar is the result of the combined passions of Michael Baker and Daniel Mason. Michael’s time at former world’s best restaurant El Celler de Can Rocameans you can expect some world-class fare and Daniel’s cocktails are sure to delight in both their taste and inventiveness. COVID-19 and the resulting downturn in business meant that the lads had to innovate, and as a result, they recreated their Salt & Vinegar Tempura Leaves into a bag of chips and bottled their amazing cocktails. Next time you are in Melbourne, venture to this local favourite for a drink.
Traditionally Melbourne’s poster child for specialty coffee and brunch hot spots, ST. ALi, a local cafe and coffee roasting business, have developed these delicious Beer Nuts. Salvatore Malatesta, founder of ST. Ali is another one of Melbourne’s successful creative innovators having made a major career jump from lawyer to coffee aficionado, however with the COVID-19 curveball Malatesta was forced to innovate much further afield than just in coffee. And that’s how these revolutionary Beer Nuts in a can came to be! Turn on the game or turn up the party, they are perfect for all snack-time occasions. Expanding into pods, instant coffee, drip coffee bags alongside it’s different blends, you’ll be able to source some Melbourne famous coffee to take back to your colleagues and clients.
It’s an Americana meat sweats dream restaurant, housed in a stunning old building in the middle of Melbourne city. At its centre is a huge smoker named Puffing Billie that gives up its melting - meaty goodness after 16 hours of slow cooking. Owners Kent Bell, Mike Patrick, Daragh Kan and Myles Munro know a thing or two about how to make smoked BBQ taste good. Thank goodness for us they decided to bottle that goodness and make it available for you to sample whilst you’re not in Melbourne. From rich coffee & molasses BBQ sauce, rubs and peppers, to tasty but rip-your-head-off hot sauces, Fancy Hank’s will make your next BBQ very fancy indeed.
Bridget is an architect, an artist and a maker of things. She believes in making your own where you can; be it making furniture or utensils, creating a sculpture or harnessing the power of botanicals with aromatherapy. She finds solace in gardening, in particular with rosemary, as it is the plant that signifies remembrance, poignant in her desire to honour her father. From 700 bushes, she distills pure essential rosemary oil in a Portuguese copper still, resulting in essential oil and hydrosol perfect for connecting and nurturing the body.
Kristen and Tom took on Black Cat Truffles when they decided on a tree-change back in 2019. With no farming experience between them, they embarked on an adventure to satiate their curiosity in understanding what makes truffles so earthly and special. Together with their specially trained truffle hunting dog Winston, his young superstar truffle hunter newcomer Lottie and black cat, Kora, they have created a product line teeming with rich culinary delicacies. For truffle enthusiasts, group truffle hunts led by the most adorable truffle hunters Winston and Lottie, along with Kristen and Tom, can be organised from June – August.
Inspired by their visits to the Scottish Highlands, Russ Watson & Lorelle Warren had a vision to create something special in Drysdale, the heart of the Bellarine Peninsula. On a beautiful farm, rich in black volcanic soil at the foot of three valleys, they grow many botanicals on site, including a few rare apple varieties. The result, is some beautiful gins, smooth and complex, with the favourite, Teddy & the Fox, pairing wonderfully with a light-flavoured tonic. Named for their dog chasing the resident fox around the farm, they now live in harmony, both at the farm and on the label.
Pia Cook’s jewel-like liquid creations in their stunning bottles are a thing of beauty and delight. Born from a want to have something different to drink while pregnant, Pia discovered the shrub elixir, a combination of sugar, vinegar and fruit. “It’s an American colonial style drink from before they had refrigeration,” she said, and now, she has around six varieties in both the syrups as well as premixed with soda in cans. If this wasn’t enough, with the leftover fruit she makes delectable jams and interesting treats, such as her Bourbon & Chocolate Cherries, which are sensational on top of vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
The Broomfield family from the Great Ocean Road area, has honey in their generational blood, their grandfather being a beekeeper for over 50 years. Not wanting to do the usual thing, the family brainstormed across the kitchen table one day, what could we do with infusing flavours in honey? A few weeks later, they reconvened around the table again to sample their creations. Lavender, chai, lemon, orange were all tasty, but the three flavours that stood out the most were Salted, Espresso, and Chili. You can enjoy their habanero Chili Honey in savoury cooking, try the Salted Honey on creamy vanilla ice cream or Robyn’s favourite, Espresso Honey slathered on a scone with cream. The latest addition to the stable is Cacao Honey which makes for a perfect dipping sauce for banana and strawberries.
Based in beautiful Port Fairy owner and artisan Andrew Hall set up shop to make the best chocolate, using the stunning backdrop and local ingredients as his inspiration. The UK-born chef who worked at 2 hatted restaurant Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld for almost four years is committed to tempting chocolate lovers into his new retail space, by creating new flavours such as chocolate-coated wasabi peas or champagne truffles. Together with wife Alice and three young children, he is relishing his decision to settle in the small port town and you can taste the love in his chocolate with interesting flavours.
Carmel & Brett, decided to follow their dream, ditch the city and start a small freehold farm in between Daylesford and Ballarat. After researching a number of options, they settled on black garlic, a sticky black and sweet delicacy, that takes 40 days in an oven at a low temperature to produce. Now, Carmel is famous for her multiple award winning black garlic and she has expanded her range to include numerous sauces, vinaigrettes and exquisite food pearls for hors d'oeuvres and champagne.
You can find Chocolaterie RenMar on the banks of Lake Eildon, near Mansfield. Founded in 2016, René, who is a retired medical doctor, followed a passion and trained at a chocolate and patisserie school in Brunswick, before she and her husband Martin, moved to the High Country. With The Paps in the background and beautiful views of Mount Buller for inspiration, René makes delectable and delicious chocolate treats and bars, with immaculate attention to detail.
Discover the latest business events news in Melbourne