A luscious, one-night-only lasagne. Your last chance to visit a locally loved pie shop. Win 30 kilos of pasta (plus 84 – yes, 84 – bottles of wine). And a whole lot more. Here’s what Broadsheet Melbourne editor Tomas Telegramma is checking out in Melbourne in September.

It’s picnic season
Finally, a flicker of freedom. Fully vaxxed? Recruit four also-fully-vaxxed mates. Not yet fully vaxxed? Make some one-on-one plans (and start counting down the days till you’re double-jabbed). Picnicking is all about location, location, location: find Broadsheet’s guide to Melbourne’s best picnic spots here and figure out which ones are within you and your mates’ respective 10-kilometre radiuses here. But once you’ve decided where to lay your picnic rug, there are a few other things to remember. Picnic boozing is currently off the cards (but getting to socialise should give you at least a bit of a buzz?), so here are 38 booze-free alternatives to try. And if you’re determined to picnic come rain, hail or shine – as you should be – here’s some snazzy wet-weather gear to invest in.

Plenty of page-turners
Should the conversation or – god forbid – the snacks dry up at your next picnic, bring a book. I recently demolished Who Is Maud Dixon?, a dark and twisty psychological thriller by American author Alexandra Andrews, that’s been compared to The Talented Mr Ripley. Recommend. Twelve other Broadsheet staffers also compiled this reading list of books they couldn’t put down this year. It includes a gripping thriller about race and class, an insightful memoir about growing up in a Mormon fundamentalist community, a laugh-a-minute account of millennial life, and a beautifully written story of a hoarder trying to find companionship through objects. In need of something more soothing? Consult our list of Covid comfort reads, with picks from acclaimed author Benjamin Law, Archibald Prize-winner Yvette Coppersmith and more.

Grand Final fever
The Big Dance won’t be so big this year, with the usual game-day antics benched yet again. But, at the very least, we can eat well. We’ve rounded up eight special footy snack packs to order for Grand Final weekend, including Attica’s nacho footy loaf, now on a two-year winning streak. Plus, pasta bar Pentolina is bringing back its lusciously layered lasagne for one night only. Or you can keep it simple with a footy pie. Our comprehensive guide to Melbourne’s best pies features Matt Wilkinson’s locally loved Pie Shop, which is closing for good on Grand Final Day. And Geelong brewer Furphy is giving away 1000 chunky-beef pies to mark the end of footy season; find all the details here.

What pasta dreams are made of
This year marks 150 years of King & Godfree. It’s a helluva milestone. To celebrate, the longstanding Carlton deli has teamed up with Broadsheet to give away nearly $5000 worth of pantry staples (and pasta-party shortcuts, for when those are eventually allowed). It includes 30 kilos of dried pasta and tinned San Marzano tomatoes; heat-at-home lasagnes; Pidapipó gelato tubs; Mount Zero Olives oils; and a whopping 84 bottles of wine. I repeat: 84 bottles of wine. Has lockdown left your pantry and liquor cabinet looking a tad bare? Enter here for your chance to win a restock to end all restocks.

Hospo merch to add to cart
Ordering takeaway directly is a sure-fire way to support your favourite Melbourne restaurants, cafes and bars – and help keep them afloat during what’s become a longwinded lockdown. But it’s not the only way. We’ve put together a list of killer hospo merch to buy, so you can show your love in a wearable – not just edible – way. Kick around in 1800 Lasagne trackies; don one of Pidapipo’s cute gelateria caps; or slip on a T-shirt from Leonardo’s Pizza Palace, Frankie’s Tortas & Tacos or Hector’s Deli. Plus, Smith & Daughters’ doggy denim jackets will make even the most placid pooch seem bad arse.