This month, get bougie picnic hampers to take to the park, order from a new Portuguese tart shop that’s bucking tradition with boba pearls and pandan, and take a Zoom-delivered eggplant-parmigiana masterclass. Here’s what Broadsheet Melbourne editor Tomas Telegramma thinks you should check out in October.

Perfect the art of picnicking
With restrictions incrementally loosening, here’s how to picnic better as you return to socialisation. Find 12 of the city’s best spots here, a park with socially distanced circles painted on the grass here, and the overlap between you and your mates’ respective five-kilometre radiuses here.

To eat? Try these luxe cheesy hampers (feat. spanakopita triangles); this very smashable antipasti platter by excellent, just-launched online wine store Diggin’ in the Cellars; or these bougie, neatly packaged canapé boxes – because after months cooped up, you deserve to eat steak tartare, salmon blinis and chicken-liver parfait in the park.

Get those just desserts
In the sea of Covid chaos, Veronica “Vez” Lai – who works full-time in finance – launched The Pastel de Nata by Vez. Her Insta shop is dedicated to crumbly, creamy Portuguese tarts, but Lai is by no means a purist. Some are topped with boba pearls, others are infused with pandan, and there’s even an apple-crumble flavour. Unsurprisingly, these sell out quick smart.

Plus, on the 2nd, cult patisserie Black Star Pastry is releasing an ambitious, multi-layered chocolate cake that’s inspired by a desert sunset (a desert dessert!) – and so beautifully constructed you might feel bad smashing it to bits. And we’ve also rounded up the best of the Basque cheesecakes getting around Melbourne right now.

We’ll make a chef out of you yet
If your mates’ lavish lockdown cooking is putting yours to shame, give one of these Zoom masterclasses a whirl.

Tipico will teach you how to make a nonna-approved tiramisu on the 17th, or melanzane (eggplant parmigiana) – aka my deathbed dish – on the 31st.

Plus, learn the secrets behind Cannoleria’s delicate tubes of golden fried pastry piped with sweet ricotta on the 17th; and Yarraville’s Mabu Mabu, which champions native ingredients, is running a damper crash course on the 3rd. (A workshop dedicated to wattleseed-and-chocolate pavlova with strawberry-gum cream is on the cards, too.)

Dial up the competitiveness
I’ve always been a bingo sceptic, but a recent (rowdy) game restored my faith in its youthful appeal. So, I’m into the fact Japanese diner Tokyo Tina has shifted its Bingo Academy online for Covid times. Sign up to get all the bingo essentials, a curated playlist, and drag superstar Valerie Hex as your virtual host. The accompanying feast includes togarashi-spiced edamame, five-spice karaage chicken, beef brisket ssam – and everything you need to mix eight Aperol Spritzes.

Meanwhile, pizza joint Ladro has kicked off its Chocolate Ripple Cake Challenge on Instagram, whereby participants must make a no-bake cake – such as this majestic creation – using just Arnott’s biscuits (any variety will do), cream (as “cement”), and “edible bling” (open to interpretation). When you’re done, share a photo with the hashtag #crcakechallenge.

Think you’re all puzzled out? Think again.
From three Melbourne creatives come some aesthetically pleasing newbies – each of which will be worth framing after all the blood, sweat and tears.

Photographer Bri Hammond has converted some of her eye-catching travel snaps – including one featured in her 2019 show Nuoto Da Sola – into a series of 500-piecers; and Callum Preston, the artist behind the popular ’90s-style milk bar installation, has released a stained-glass-style Flinders Street Station puzzle.

Plus, two dark and moody pieces by acclaimed Melbourne street artist Rone are now available in 1000-piece-puzzle form.

From Broadsheet’s national editor Sarah Norris:

To hell with white-sneaker anxiety
Surely there must be a German word that encapsulates the fear you get while trying to maintain that so-fresh-and-clean status of a brand-new pair of white sneakers? The anxiety is palpable. That said, stepping out in squeaky clean sneaks is such a joyful experience – it’s worth the angst. I recently acquired a pair of perforated Spring Courts and they are everything I could’ve hoped for. If you too are looking for a new look for the impending summer, check out our guide to the best sneakers to buy right now. If money were no object I’d add to cart a pair of Common Projects’ Original Achilles. Sigh.