Prahran Market to Birrarung Marr and Chez Dre, Melbourne 10 Do's and Don'ts by Tad Lombardo

In past 2 months and a half, 10 Do's and Don'ts have been a bit of a neglected child as I was dealing with a heavy workload.

Things have slowed down a bit and it allows me to catch up.

Today marks the return of 10 Do's and Don'ts with a trip down under thanks to chocolatier Tad Lombardo of Cioccolato Lombardo, a New Jersey native now based in Australia.

Read the whole piece as some of Tad's don'ts are actually do's.

Tad Lombardo's 10 Do's and Don'ts of Melbourne:

I visited Melbourne for the first time in May 1994 on a two-week holiday. It was then that I first fell in love with this city and Australia. I moved here permanently in 1996.

Melbourne is a modern, thriving, classy, cosmopolitan city of approximately 4.5 million people and is the seat of Government for the State of Victoria. The city has a distinct European vibe and is renowned for its art, architecture, diversity, entertainment, fashion, food, and shopping. The city is Australia’s events capital hosting regular National and International events – there is always something going on in Melbourne! Melbournians are also Sports mad featuring Tennis, Australian Rules football, Cricket, Rugby, Horse Racing, Soccer and Formula 1 to name some of what is on offer. (For more details and information about our fine city, see: Visit Melbourne)

The following are my favourite “do’s and don’ts” for my adopted hometown of Melbourne, Australia and many are the reasons why Melbourne is regularly voted “The Most Liveable City in The World”:

Do's:
1. Have dinner at Attica Restaurant (No. 53, San Pellegrino World’s Top 100 Restaurants List) In my mind; Attica is Australia’s best restaurant and one of only two restaurants in the country to earn a place on The World’s Top 100 List. Attica is Victorian Restaurant of the Year 2012 and was awarded Three Chef Hats (Australia does not use the Michelin Star rating system. We use “Chef Hats” and Three Chef Hats is the highest rating.) Advance Bookings are essential. 

2. Visit The Prahran Market, Australia’s oldest food market. The Market dates back to the 1850’s and is known as “The Food Lover’s” Market. I sell my chocolate at The Prahran Market, so anyone visiting, stop by and say hello!

Damianpike

3. Le Petit Gateau should not be missed when in the Central Business District. Melbourne’s famous French Pastry Chef, Pierrick Boyer, operates/manages LPG. 

4. Areas such as Degraves Street (across from Flinders Street Train Station and Federation Square) are one of the reasons why Melbourne is loved so much. The alleyways and side streets are full of cafes, bars and eateries that flow out onto the streets, giving the impression of a European city.

5. Located in Degraves Street is a lovely shop called Clementine’s. Clementine’s only stocks products made in the State of Victoria and provides smaller producers an opportunity to showcase their products in the central business district of Melbourne. Products include gourmet food, artisan chocolates, pottery, gifts, etc. 

6. Visit the Melbourne Cricket Ground, aka The MCG, take a Guided Tour of the grounds and visit the National Sports Museum located within the MCG. Even if “sports” are not a personal interest, the MCG is steeped in history. The National Sports Museum is award winning and contains impressive multimedia displays including a 3D hologram presentation with Australian Cricket Icon, Shane Warne. The museum is not just about Cricket, however, and covers all sporting disciplines.

7. Visit Books For Cooks located at 233-235 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. Books for Cooks is an independently owned book shop and specialises in cookbooks, food writing, food history, and all things related.

8. Take advantage of the beautiful Victorian countryside and make a day trip to The Bellarine Peninsula, The Mornington Peninsula and/or the Yarra Valley. All these regions are located no more than 90 minutes drive from the Melbourne CBD. These areas not only showcase stunning scenery, but renowned Victorian grape growing/wine regions and local produce.

9. Melbourne is known for its “café culture” and coffee is a very large part of it, thanks to Italian immigration in the 1950’s. The coffee here is different than it is in the USA. To experience the coffee culture here, it is a good idea to learn the nomenclature. Every thing on a coffee menu will be a variation of an espresso, which means quick brew under high pressures (as opposed to drip brew which is popular in the USA.) When ordering coffee here, the following are the drinks to order:
􀀀 -Flat White: the most basic/popular drink of choice, which is an espresso with steamed milk.
􀀀 -Long Black: espresso & hot water makes a steaming mug of 'black coffee' (stronger than a flat white, but ask for milk on the side if you need a little 'white.')
􀀀 -Short Black: espresso only in a small glass
􀀀 -Macchiato: espresso & a spoon of milk froth
􀀀 -Latte: espresso & steamed milk & froth
􀀀 -Mocha: a latte with a sprinkle of chocolate powder
􀀀 -Cappuccino: 1/3rd espresso, 1/3rd steamed milk, 1/3rd froth

10. Visit Bridge Road Shopping District. There are many factory outlet type businesses here with many bargains on name brand and designer products. Not to be missed!

Don’ts

1. In 1885, Melbourne was built on the lower stretches of the Yarra River.
Originally the Wurundjeri people inhabited the banks of the river. They called the river Birrarung, but at the time, English settlers translated the word incorrectly and called it “Yarra.” The name remains today. Don’t leave Melbourne without learning something about Australia’s Aboriginal people: their rich culture, history and beautiful art.

Rock-carving_birrarung-marr_mel_r_1269199-303_503x283

2. Don’t swim in the Yarra River, its not the cleanest waterway! But definitely boat on it or take a cruise – there are great views of the city!

3. Don’t be surprised if the Australian version of English leaves you a little bit confused. Australian slang is used through out every day conversation.

4. Don’t leave Melbourne without visiting Chez Dre in South Melbourne. This is a beautiful, new French inspired café and the food and pastries are amazing! 

Chezdre

5. Don’t drive on the wrong side of the road. In Australia, we drive on the left hand side.

6. Don’t be alarmed by the size of the spiders – they are enormous!

7. Don’t use flash photography when taking photos of the little penguins at the penguin colony at St. Kilda Pier as the flash can damage their eyes. Yes, believe it or not, just 6-kms (3.7miles) from the Central Business District of Melbourne there is a colony of little penguins numbering about 1,000. 

8. Melbourne is one of the few cities in the world that still uses Trams for public transport. If driving in Melbourne, don’t attempt to turn right on a road with Trams unless you are familiar with a “hook turn” from the left hand lane. Have a look at the following YouTube Clip to see what I am talking about!

9. Don’t stress if you get lost while strolling through the city. It is set-up on a grid (similar to Philadelphia) and is easy to find your way around. The people are very friendly; so don’t be afraid to ask for directions! There are volunteers who wear bright red shirts and caps. These people are City Ambassadors and are stationed on various street corners to assist tourists with information and directions.

Cityambassador

10. And finally (and most important), don’t let a Sydneysider try to convince you that Sydney is better than Melbourne…yes, there is a healthy rivalry

Thanks Tad for taking us around your adopted city.

(* Photo of Damian Pike by Susanne Edwards from Prahran Market Facebook Page, Chez Dre photos from review by local food lover The Misadventures of MissChievously,  Photo of City Ambassadors from Melbourne city site, Photo of Aboriginal Rock Carvings at Birrarung Marr from Visit Melbourne website)

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