Get a gouda-crusted Christmas-ham toastie from Maker & Monger; do a half-hour champagne and eggplant session at Lee Ho Fook; and walk among 1000 dangling glass yams (yes, yams) at Tarrawarra. Plus, a new vintage Airstream hotel in a vineyard, some of the best New Year’s Eve parties in town, and more. Here’s what Broadsheet Melbourne editor Tomas Telegramma thinks you should check out in December.
I don’t know about you, but for me, the magic of Christmastime is in the all face-stuffing as opposed to the gift-getting. So we’ve rounded up some of Melbourne’s best hams and festive foods (including a massive, three-tiered, garnish-it-yourself panettone) to spruce up your Christmas menu – place those orders now. Or really get in the spirit by nominating someone who’s had a hard slog this year to win a boozy, all-inclusive Christmas lunch from Meatsmith.
There are also some limited-edition Christmas creations around town. From the 19th to the 24th, Prahran Market favourites Maker & Monger and Gary’s Quality Meats are grilling one helluva Christmas-ham toastie – with maple-syrup-glazed free-range Berkshire ham, a crisp gouda-y crust and a sour-cherry glaze. Ooft. And Black Star Pastry is going OTT with its snow-dusted, Christmas-tree-shaped cherry cake.
Relaxation mode: on
After such a turbulent year, I reckon we’re all overdue for some summer R and R. Switch on your out-of-office – and switch off at one of the most luxurious spas in in regional Victoria. You can soak in a heated mineral pool under the stars, then glamp in a luxury tent. Or get a facial at a stunning clifftop hotel, or a pinot-grape body scrub in wine country. There’s also an elegant, contemporary take on the Turkish hammam bath.
Want to book an out-of-town stay? There’s a new vintage Airstream hotel – with seven full-size RVs – at a Nagambie winery; an off-grid tiny house on the outskirts of the Grampians; and a beautifully converted tobacco kiln on a 97-year-old walnut farm.
And why not see if you can slot one of these stunning walks near Melbourne into your travel plans?
See ya, 2020
Wondering where to ring in the hopefully-much-less-cruddy New Year? Here are a few suggestions.
In a sign of the times, Melbourne Food & Wine Festival is taking to the streets this NYE for a smashing series of open-air feasts. Cecconi’s will lavish you with an eight-course seafood spread, Lee Ho Fook will have you in and out in half an hour for its champagne and signature-eggplant sessions, and Supernormal is doing suckling pig bo ssam. Book here (and probably book now).
You can also step aboard Arbory Afloat for canapés and free-flowing booze; head to Johnny’s Green Room for a four-course feast on the rooftop (with Aperol Spritzes on arrival); or go big – starting with caviar and freshly shucked oysters – at a $350-a-head Stokehouse splash-out.
Strapped for last-minute ideas? Broadsheet’s Christmas gift guide – chock-full of booze, books (and bookends) and build-your-own boxes – is here to help.
Some other locally focused options: shop handcrafted ceramics, jewellery, bed linen and more at this expertly curated pop-up in a light-filled gallery; get a centrepiece-worthy floral arrangement from this Melbourne Insta florist; and check out this new ethical gifting destination that supports women and non-binary artists and makers. For something boozier, Moon Dog’s Matefest is an international beer festival smooshed into a box (with a selection of 16 tinnies).
Tip: if you’re doing your Christmas shopping in the city, here’s how to get free parking.
On now at NGV Australia: a major retrospective of bold Indigenous artist Destiny Deacon, which features a “Koori kitsch” lounge room installation. And on the 19th, NGV International reopens with its second blockbuster Triennial. Expect a soaring, mirrored sculpture of a Roman goddess by Jeff Koons, a chapel-like structure in the garden by renowned French artist JR, and a gallery wrapped in fruit-covered wallpaper.
While we’re talking sculptures, find a nine-by-12-metre chimpanzee perched on a CBD building, and a colossal KAWS original in the middle of a Mornington Peninsula vineyard. Elsewhere, walk among 1000 dangling glass yams (hung in the shape of a mushroom cloud) at the Tarrawarra Museum of Art, and explore Melbourne artist Kenny Pittock’s nostalgic, ceramic sculptures of Bubble’O Bills, Tic Toc biscuits and more at Windsor’s Mars Gallery.