Local organisations in the news

 
Melbourne’s best pizza 2017: Good Food have announced their 10 best pizza restaurants of 2017. Half are from North East Melbourne: A Boy Named Sue (St Andrews), Kaprica (Carlton), Lazerpig (Collingwood), Lievita (Northcote) and Postino (Balwyn). (posted March 22 2017)
Maria Ciavarella, from My Green Garden, was interviewed by Clare Bowditch on ABC Melbourne earlier this week on the subject of compost. Click here to listen to the interview (13 minutes). Earlier this month, she was also interviewed on 3WBC on on a variety of subjects (chickens, growing veggies, etc) – click here to listen (36 minutes). (posted March 22 2017)
That’s Amore Cheese and Montifiore Cheese both featured in the 14th December Whittlesea edition of The Leader. (posted January 4 2017)
Shillinglaw Cafe and Restaurant featured in the 14th December Nillumbik edition of The Leader. (posted January 4 2017)
The Seeds Communal Garden food swap in Brunswick featured in 5th December Moreland edition of the Leader. (posted January 11 2017)
Who says milk bars are dead? Not the two brothers who own Weidlich Food Store. (posted December 14 2016)

The cafe is located in Eltham North and I paid it a visit over the Christmas period. The food I chose (modestly called a spinach and ricotta roll but actually a lot more complicated and exotic than that) and the drink (a banana smoothie) were both yummy, the ambience was good and the service was excellent (and they have free wifi). But the reason for mentioning the cafe again is that there are two interesting ideas underlying its development which have potential wider applicability. The first idea is the placement of a cafe in a housing area rather than in a shopping centre – for a number of people, it will therefore be their closest cafe. The second idea is the potential over time for developing the place into something of a community hub. Arguably, The Third Place Cafe in Wollert is trying to do something similar. Taffy’s on Looker in Montmorency is another cafe in a residential area that was previously a milk bar. (posted January 4 2017)

Adrian O’Hagan has been interviewed by ABC radio re permablitzes. Listen to the interview. (posted December 14 2016)
Congratulations to Alan, Greta and Robin: the 2016 Banyule and Darebin Sustainability Awards included three newsletter readers: Alan Leenaerts (Montmorency Sugar Glider Project), Greta Gillies (a Local Hero) and Robin Gale-Baker (also a Local Hero). (posted November 30 2016)
Newsletter reader Carol Woolcock’s garden featured in this month’s Permablitz re-visited. (posted November 30 2016)
Research-based Quists Coffee won a silver medal in the recent Golden Bean Coffee Roasters awards. They were also inducted into the Australian Coffee Roasters Hall of Fame. Congratulations Doris and Jim! (posted November 23 2016) quists
That’s Amore Cheese, from Thomastown, were in the 19th October edition of The Weekly Review. You can also read more about Giorgio’s story in a 2014 article in the Italianicious magazine. (posted November 2 2016) thats-amore-cheese
The facilitator of the Italian cooking workshop at Living & Learning Nillumbik at Panton Hill, Janice Mariani, was featured in the 19th October edition of The Weekly Review. (posted November 2 2016) italian-cooking
The Macleod Organic Community Garden was in the 26th October edition of The Weekly Review. (posted November 2 2016) macleod1
Pier Varel, owner of Pierross Pasticceria Italiana, was profiled in the 19th October edition of The Weekly Review. The best pizza I have ever had in Australia(!), but you can only buy it on Friday and Saturday evenings. (posted October 26 2016)
Top Hundred Acres were featured in the 11th October edition of The Leader. (posted October 12 2016) top-hundred-acres
Newsletter readers Robin Gale-Baker and Chris Newman were in the 28th September edition of the Leader. (posted October 5 2016) macleod
Time Out Food Awards 2016: several North East Melbourne places featured in the Time Out Food Awards 2016. Most notably, the Second Home cafe in Eltham won best cafe (i.e. the best cafe in the whole of Melbourne!). Jo Barrett, from Oakridge Winery in Coldstream, won the hot talent award. And three places in Fitzroy won awards (Mukka, Smith & Daughters and Jimmy Grants). (posted September 28 2016)
Newsletter reader Yuki Cameron was in the 21st September edition of The Weekly Review. (posted September 21 2016) yuki-cameron
Old Evropa was in the 14th September edition of The Weekly Review. (posted September 14 2016) old-evropa
Nature’s Harvest Hurstbridge in the 7th September edition of The Weekly Review. (posted September 14 2016) natures-harvest
Blue Pear Pantry in the September edition of The Warrandyte Diary. (posted September 14 2016) blue-pear-pantry
Newsletter readers Lucinda and Sean Flynn in the 31st August edition of The Weekly Review. (posted September 7 2016) going green
The Northcote and Reservoir food swaps were featured in the 19th July edition of The Leader. (posted August 24 2016) preston
Your local newsletter editor, Guy Palmer was in the 17th August edition of The Weekly Review. They actually missed out my best quote: “Pizza at Pierross: they make the well-known 400 Gradi restaurant in the CBD look like a bunch of amateurs.” (400 Gradi won the margherita pizza world championship in 2014) (posted August 17 2016) guy
Montmorency-based The Mushroom Shed was in the 3rd August edition of The Weekly Review. (posted August 10 2016) mushroom shed
Kangaroo Ground-based winery Kings of Kangaroo Ground was in the 3rd August edition of The Weekly Review. (posted August 10 2016) kings 2
On 8th August 2016, Frankie Spranger, from both Bee Rescue and Heidi Honey Hurstbridge, rescued a bee colony after a P-plater crashed his car through a wall in St Helena. Read the articles in The Age, The Herald Sun and The Leader. Which article has the best (or worst) pun? (posted August 10 2016) bees
Kangaroo Ground-based winery Kings of Kangaroo Ground featured in the August edition of Farm Magazine, which is part of the rural Weekly Times newspaper. (posted August 3 2016) kings
Yan Yean-based fruit and veggie grower Just Picked featured in the August edition of Farm Magazine, which is part of the rural Weekly Times newspaper. (posted August 3 2016) just picked
Behi Cakes, from Greensborough, featured in The Leader. (posted July 27 2016) behi cakes
2 local breweries in the Weekly Review’s top 10 Melbourne pubs and breweries: 3 Ravens from Thornbury and The Public Brewery from Croydon. Here is the full list of 10. (posted July 20 2016)
Old Evropa have opened a shop!

Question: why did an Italian, a Bulgarian and a Briton meet in Australia to discuss the French?

Answer: to discuss the new Old Evropa Bakery, which opened in Eltham Village on 22nd June. Yes, that’s right, Mernda-based Old Evropa, who will be known to many of you from their presence at Eltham Farmers’, Hurstbridge Farmers’ and Warrandyte Community markets, have opened a shop. So, you can now buy their yummy bread 6 days a week. I met with Tatiana and Damiano Coluccio, aka Old Evropa, to discuss what they are doing and why.

In the discussion, it quickly became clear that they are on a mission, and that this mission is more than just providing us with yummy bread. Rather, for them, it is about us eating the right sorts of bread: bread that does not make you feel bloated or acid refluxed; bread that does not contain any ‘chemicals’; and bread that has been long-fermented, to make it more easily digested. In other words, bread like it used to be (as long as you are European). So, to quote Damiano, their bread contains only certified organic flour, yeast, filtered (and thus purified) water, salt and (of course) love.

The long fermentation is the key. It is this which conditions the wheat to make it easier to digest. And it is this which, in their opinion, makes the bread suitable in some cases for people with gluten sensitivity.

But the long fermentation is also a problem for the Coluccios. It is this which means that they have had to start baking around midnight. And, because their current small baking space at home is not a controlled environment, they then have had to stay up all night to control the sleeping and waking up of the yeast. Thankfully, the new bakery has a controlled environment so Damiano and Tatiana will be able to move from being nocturnal to diurnal!

I asked them about the scope of what they will be selling in the shop. They replied: a full range. Loaves as well as their current focaccias and baguettes. Croissant and pastries. Even filled baguettes. Tatiana will be full-time pastry chef, and Damiano full-time baker.

I asked them whether opening a shop had always been part of their plans. Tatiana replied that she had always wanted to open a European eatery where people would be able to savour products that bring back memories from Europe. Although they have a long history in both the food industry and baking for family gatherings, perhaps surprisingly, they have only been baking commercially for the past three and a half years. The new shop will allow them to substantially upscale their current operations whilst still continuing with their traditional methods. They would like to go down the route of Organic Certification and they are clearly in it for the long haul.

I ended the interview by wishing them best of luck but saying I would be sorry to see them stop being a stallholder at Eltham Farmers’ Market. “Oh, no“, they replied, “we will be carrying on at the market“. So, actually, you will be able to buy their yummy bread 7 days a week. (posted June 29 2016)

Mooroolbark Urban Harvest were in the June issue of Living Today. (posted June 22 2016) living today
Macleod Organic Community Garden featured in The Leader. (posted May 25 2016) macleod
A bee rescue caught on camera: at the last Eltham Farmers’ Market, someone called me over to take a photo of a bee rescue in action. This person, whose name I don’t know, had seen a bee become dehydrated (or equivalent), had got a smidgeon of honey (from Heidi Honey Hurstbridge), and was feeding it to the bee. The bee was drinking (or equivalent) and revived in front of my eyes. The photo on the right is the proof. (posted April 20 2016) bee rescue
The Diamond Valley Foodshare is one of the most impressive food-related organisations in North East Melbourne that I have had the honour to visit. Based in Greensborough, it packs and distributes thousands of food parcels for people in need of them. I was really pleased to read in The Leader that they have received a big grant from the Banyule RSL Trust Fund to buy a refrigerated van. Congratulations also to the Banyule RSL Trust Fund itself, who distributed a total of $300,000 in grants this year. (posted March 9 2016) foodshare
The 2016 Australian Good Food & Travel Guide Readers Choice Awards included the following local eateries: Cocoa Moon Cafe from Warrandyte in the Cafe category; ezard @ Levantine Hill from Coldstream in the New restaurant category; Machan Indian Restaurant from Eltham in the Indian category; Rae’s Restaurant from Yarra Glen in the Modern Australian category; The Blue Dog Bar from Park Orchards in the Cafe category; and Tokar Estate Restaurant from Coldstream in the Vineyard restaurant category. (posted February 24 2016)
The food garden at Warranwood Primary School feature in The Leader. (posted February 17 2016) warranwood
Warrandyte food swap featured in Weekend Notes. Click here for the full article. As you may see from the pictures, they are allowed to swap eggs because, contrary to what some people believe, Warrandyte is in Manningham rather than Nillumbik (Nillumbik Council forbids it). (posted February 10 2016)
Mary Williamson has started a Food is Free stall in Ringwood East. See their Facebook page and also the article in this week’s Leader. The stall is located outside 19 Patterson Street, Ringwood East halfway to the Lake (after the Federal Road turn-off). People leave surplus fruit, veggies, herbs, seedlings and seeds. Other people can then take them, at no cost. There is no fee, membership, opening hours, or obligation. Donations of garden produce are very welcome, but also small envelopes or ziplock bags, seeds, labels, glass jars for fresh herbs, etc. Everyone is welcome to get involved. Mary tells me that they are also are moving towards helping others in their local community to grow their own food, with various projects in their early stages. (posted February 3 2016) food is free
On the same page in The Leader as the Food is Free article above, there is also an article about the food swaps organised by the Outer Eastern Permaculture Swap. (posted February 3 2016) wonga park food swap
Newsletter reader Rachel Bishop featured in the Leader. (posted February 3 2016) rachel bishop
Your local food swaps are national news!: see the ABC website. (posted November 25 2015)
We (and Panton Hill Winery) are international news!: LFC member Richard Holdsworth has written an article about LFC and Panton Hill Winery which appeared in Hastings Town Magazine, United Kingdom, in October. Click on the picture to read the article. (posted November 25 2015) panton hill
The Joyfull Pantry featured in The Warrandyte Diary, who even published a video to accompany the article. (posted November 25 2015) the joyfull pantry
Nillumbik wineries featured in the 4th November edition of The Leader. (posted November 11 2015) wineries
This newsletter was featured on the Going Green website (posted November 11 2015)
On Sunday 18 October, a team led by newsletter reader Barbara Marshall was named the 2015 Melbourne Salami Festa overall winner for its unique duck and pork salami. “There was a lot of debate among the judges, but this one won because it was an unusual combination with a simple flavour, that was perfectly cured and packed” said festa director, Carlo Mazzarella. Congratulations Barbara! (posted October 28 2015)
The ‘Food is Free’ initiative at The Rotary Club of Warrandyte Donvale Op Shop featured in the Warrandyte Diary. click here (pdf) to view/download.(posted June 17 2015)

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