Food and Drink
Posted by Ross Battaglia
09. Apr, 2015
Crowds celebrated the last weekend of the season in style at the Picnic Peninsula. Just forty-five minutes from Melbourne at the Mornington Racing Club, with the beach in close reach, it was the perfect outing for those seeking the last of the summer sun.
By car, bus, bicycle, van or even a helicopter for those wishing to flash their cash, patrons flocked to the harvest-inspired event all in the hopes of sampling the local delights of food, produce and liquor to a soundtrack of cruisy, melodic tunes.
On arrival, we were greeted by a cloud of bubbles and children playing games of croquet and badminton. A sea of picnic rugs loomed ahead, while stalls stood beckoning from all sides. We soon realised the Picnic Peninsula assembled this arsenal for one purpose: to put on an unforgettable day. And it was.
Looking and operating like a countryside fete of yesteryear, many patrons were faced with an unfamiliar social taboo: should one awkwardly weave through the obstacle-ridden maze of picnic rugs with care and consideration, or should one purposefully stride through, head up, shoulders back, without a second’s contemplation of whose rug one is traipsing on? Such decisions reveal much about a one’s character.
Local legends like The Waifs and Paul Dempsey belted their classic songs to a welcoming and enthusiastic crowd, with Dempsey paying homage to Something for Kate. A personal highlight was a solid performance from The Pierce Brothers on centre stage. From their humble beginnings on Bourke Street Mall, they have generated a cult following in their own right.
For foodies, DOC and Pope Joan—two of inner-north Melbourne’s best eateries—went head-to-head, offering awe-inspiring creations. DOC’s ‘Porchetta rolls’ (Panino porchetta with roast pork, Mt Martha raddichio & mostarda di mele) was the instant winner; the carver offering you a slice of the tender roast only enticed your tastebuds of what was to come. Pope Joan’s Warm Beef Roll was forced into an early retirement but points were saved with their Smoke yoghurt ice cream topped with raspberries and pistachio #YUM. Notable mentions go to Terminus at Flinders Hotel with their soft shell crab slider or Dee’s Kitchen for their vegetarian option of falafel with tabbouleh.
If you are getting thirsty, The Picnic Peninsula promoted much of what Mornington Peninsula is known for: great wine. Expert vignerons and vineyards were on-site, making things easy for wine-enthusiasts (or liquor-dependents) to sample elite labels such as Montalto, Crittenden Estate or Circe, known for producing one of the country’s best Pinot Noir. Caffeine-based sustenance was supplied by Franklin Coffee, the ideal beverage for the drive back to the city. Sunshine Smoothies was also on hand for those wanting a fruit hit.
The only downside of the Picnic Peninsula would be that food options were scarce after a certain time, as whole stalls were exhausted of all their offerings. I assume the 2016 Picnic Peninsula would cater to a hungrier audience.
Listening to a spending mix of folk, blues and rock music, with a beer in one hand, an empty bottle of wine lying on a bright picnic rug without its dignity, a group of friends clamouring over a grazing plate while the sun sets is one unforgettable way to spend a Sunday.
To quote the Picnic Peninsula, ‘happiness is an unexpected hug’. And that it was.
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