By WENDY HARGREAVES
Easter is a time for family get-togethers and backyard egg hunts. It’s the last burst of warm weather for camping trips and lazing on the beach. Easter is also the time to binge on laughs at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, still full from all the good stuff at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. And then there’s the AFL.
And every year, those moveable holiday dates sneak up on me, forcing last-minute grabs for chocolate eggs, seafood platters and legs of lamb. With lives turned upside down and back-to-front by the COVID-19 pandemic, last minute Easter shopping becomes a bit more problematic. Here are some tips for celebrating Easter in isolation.
Hit the markets
If you can get to one of Melbourne’s food markets, you’ll find the freshest of fresh produce, while supporting small business operators. Each market has strict rules around social isolation, but the traders are all there to help. Check out Queen Vic, Prahran, South Melbourne, Dandenong and Preston markets are all trading in the lead-up to Easter, closing on Good Friday for a well-earned rest. Weekend trading continues at the Queen Vic, South Melbourne and Dandenong markets.
Never fear. Easter bunny will always find a way.
Those clever chocolatiers at Koko Black have just partnered with Deliveroo to make sure the egg supplies are stocked up, delivering the hand-crafted chockies to your door every day except Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Koko Black’s stores are still open, offering 20 per cent off the whole Easter collection when you pop in to shop.
Melbourne family company Sweet As is also delivering discount Easter chocolate across Melbourne, and their Chadstone store is now on Uber Eats for last-minute purchases.
Here’s another chocolaty treat. Stomping Ground brewers have just released a new beer called Hibernation Dark Chocolate Ale. As the name suggests, it’s a dark ale with smooth, sweet flavour and a touch of dark choc bitterness ($20 for a four pack, with a couple of Easter eggs thrown in for the first 50 orders). Home delivery is free in metro Melbourne for orders over $35.
Melbourne’s own Prosecco Queen Mel Brauer is also delivering fizzy cheer. How’s this for an Easter present for lovers of Italy’s fabulous fizz? Order a six pack of top-class Prosecco for $200 and get a six-week Prosecco Masterclass with the queen herself. The first online video class starts on April 8 at 7.30pm. Call Melissa on 0402 914 201 to make sure your order arrives before Easter.
For the meat lover
Mr Meat Adrian Richardson is selling his dry-aged Victorian grass-fed beef for pick up at his restaurant La Luna. Try a half-kilo rib eye for $29, or go for Richo’s $110 Meat Tray – a beast of a thing with two 330g porterhouses, two 200g eye fillets, two 400g rump steaks, a half-kilo rib eye and some house-made snags (with a shaker of salt, as Adrian would never cook a steak without salt). Order online for pick up at either La Luna (320 Rathdowne St, Carlton North).
A group of restaurant wholesalers and suppliers have banded together and launched Melbourne Food Squad, so you can buy food direct from chefs, wholesalers, farmers and producers. Stock is updated daily, from Tomahawk steaks and Skull Island prawns through to fresh fruit/veg and pantry goods, with next day delivery if you get an order in before midday.
If you want an Easter feast cooked for you, caterer Sophie Cooke from Cooke’s Food is making delicious and well-priced Easter gems like fish pie with prawns, barra and scallops ($35 for two serves) and hot cross bun bread and butter pudding ($38 for six serves) among many other tasty treats. Nourishing home-made soup is just $20 a litre. Call Sophie on 9510 9443 for deliveries in Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula.
Geoff Lindsay and his team at Lamaro’s Hotel (Cecil St, South Melbourne) has put together three family banquets for delivery across the Easter weekend. They can even deliver the same meal to multiple homes, so families and friends can eat together on a video call at the same time. Seafood feasts for Good Friday and a family roast with all the trimmings on Easter Sunday, but you have to be in South Melbourne, Albert Park, Middle Park or St Kilda West.
On the Bellarine Peninsula, Barry Iddles and his team at Queenscliff’s 360Q started delivering meal packs to hibernating locals for several weeks, with gold, silver and bronze options to suit all budgets. He’ll even deliver wine and toilet paper. Next week, he’s delivering two-course meal for $30 and running an online cooking class on Wednesday night. Order online here or call Barry on 5257 4200.