Valentine's day is looming. After a few rather expensive and mediocre dinners on the past Valentine's days, I've come to the conclusion that a more understated celebration is the way to go. With Valentine's day falling on a Friday this year, I've jumped upon the opportunity to organise a picnic to gorge on gourmet goodies. Melbourne boasts many beautiful and lush picnic grounds to enjoy a hamper of gourmet goodies in so if you're keen to enjoy a picnic this romantic day, check out some of these places to fill your hamper with.
Café Vue at Heide (Bulleen)
Tues to Fri 10am - 5pm and Sat & Sun 9am - 5pm
A lunch box or a picnic hamper and the Heide gardens to relax and enjoy your picnic in, all in one location and available for pre-order on the Vue shop website.
Lunch boxes go for $18 each and picnic hampers for two people are $60.
Mon to Sat 7am - 4pm and Sun 8am - 4pm
One of Melbourne's reliable bread makers offer a delightful picnic menu which allows you to pick and choose according to your preferences from their range of sandwiches and desserts. Otherwise, they also offer hampers if you call ahead to order them in.
Domaine Chandon (Yarra Valley)
Daily 10:30am - 4:30pm
By purchasing a ready made picnic basket, you can enjoy the fresh produce in the lovely, manicured grounds of Domaine Chandon. There is an array of goodies to get any foodie excited - pâté, Serrano Jamon, mixed olives, gravalax, cheese, crackers, a baguette, relish, salads and ice cream. Enjoy with some Chandon sparkling. The below hamper was kindly gifted by the people at Domaine Chandon & Undertow Media.
Gourmet picnic boxes are $150 for two people, excluding wine.
Mon to Wed 7am - 3pm, Thurs & Fri 7am - 10pm, Sat 8am - 10pm and Sun 8am - 8:30pm
Fitrovia in St Kilda offer a gourmet picnic menu which comes in a gorgeous hamper filled with plenty of food, cheese, desserts and drinks along with cutlery, glassware and everything else you'll need to waste an afternoon away in your desired picnic location.
Their hampers are catered for two people and are priced at $150 each.
Hinoki Japanese Pantry (Collingwood)
Tues to Thurs 10am - 6pm, Fri & Sat 10am - 7pm and Sun 10am - 4pm
If raw fish is more your thing, then Hinoki Japanese Pantry should be your first and last stop. I'm a rather big fan of their fresh selections, not to mention they have a range of Japanese groceries and desserts to complete your picnic.
Prices vary: the below large sashimi & sushi platter being the dearest at $52 & easily caters for 3 people.
Ichi Ichi Ku Izakaya (South Yarra)
Daily 7am - 11pm
Sometimes thinking about dinner is a drainer after a long and exhausting day at work so one day, I popped by Ichi Ichi Ku Izakaya on the way home and grabbed a couple of take away bento boxes and desserts to have a picnic at home. Ours consisted of crispy ebi prawn salad, salmon sashimi and maki rolls, pan fried whiting with brown rice, pickles and miso soup. We loved the bento boxes however we couldn't finish the desserts (green tea tiramisu and black sesame cheesecake) as the flavour combinations were very peculiar.
Bento boxes are $22 each with desserts at $5.
King & Godfree (Carlton)
Mon to Wed 9am - 7pm, Thurs to Sat 9am - 9pm & Sun 11am - 7pm
One of Melbourne's oldest food and wine stores is King & Godfree, which is also next door to the new Pidapipo gelateria test lab. So pop in for all your delicatessen and liquor needs and then follow it up with some refreshing gelati. For your information, the buffalo milk and fig jam gelato I had was divine.
La Parisienne Pâtés (Carlton)
Mon to Wed 9am - 6pm, Thurs to Fri 8:30am - 6:30pm, Sat 8:30am - 6pm and Sun 9:30am - 6pm
From pâtés, terrines to charcuterie platters, cheese and pies, La Parisienne Pâtés will cater for a very indulgent, romantic French picnic.
Milk the Cow (St Kilda)
Tues to Sun 12pm - Late
If you're happy to pamper yourself with cheese and wine alone, head to Milk the Cow. They offer a variety of cheeseboards available in their takeaway boxes and come with all the accompaniments you'll need with the assortment of cheeses. Not to mention, bottles of wine are also available for take away as well!
Takeaway cheese boards go up to $35 for 5 cheese or DIY your cheese board for market prices.
Melbourne Zoo Twilight
Fri & Sat until 8th March 6pm - late
If animals are more your thing, the Melbourne Zoo continues the twilight events which allow visitors to explore animal exhibits, followed by entertainment by various artists while enjoying your pre-booked gourmet picnic hamper.
Hampers for two people are $85.
Montalto (Mornington Peninsula)
Daily 12pm - 4pm
One of my favourite spots in the Mornington region is Montalto, as it holds many special memories from our many past visits. Not only are the grounds expansive and impressive, the food in the restaurant is equally as delicious. They offer fully-catered picnics in a five of their unique sites - a bit more fancy, delicious and decadent as the cellar door is at your disposal!
Picnics are $80 per person.
Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder (Richmond)
Daily 7am - 5pm
A bonus of sourcing your picnic hamper with a cafe and larder, is that not only can you get freshly made salads and sandwiches, there are a variety of cured meats and cheese to choose from. Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder offer alcoholic beverages as well as all the cutlery that you'll need for the day. Easy peasy!
Prices for two people: Light lunch picnic $55 and the luxury picnic $99 with additions available.
Okay, there are too many great things here. The cheese cave downstairs, the upstairs grocery with a range of cured hams, antipastos and freshly made lunch rolls to cater for your picnic as well as the City Wine Shop next door to purchase a bottle of vino. If you end up only moving across the road to enjoy your picnic, another plus is that after all the feasting, you only need to return across the road again for some premium gelati and sorbetti for dessert.
Supper Market at the Abbotsford Convent (Abbotsford)
Every Friday night over summer 6pm - 10pm
Everybody loves a night market and the peaceful grounds of the Abbotsford Convent hold a weekly Friday night market which allow you to wander around and have your own impromptu picnic with the many food stalls and food trucks there.
The Stables of Como (South Yarra)
Mon to Sat 9am - 5pm and Sun 10am - 5pm
One of Melbourne's prettiest cafes, The Stables of Como, also have picnics available to enjoy in the grounds of Como House and Gardens. The picnic consists of dips, salads, a Ploughmans board, mixed olives and a pull apart baguette with home made drinks and desserts. They come complete with cutlery, picnic rugs and lots of fun add-ons such as a Frisbee or a croquet set!
The 'Armatage' picnic is $45 per person with many add-ons available.
So have you decided what you're planning for Valentine's day this year?
I would love to hear what you've got planned! I'm not even sure which one I'm going to go with yet..