The Gusto! exhibition (Friday 3 August 2012 to 28 April 2013) is an incredibly exciting exhibition for all foodies and art lovers as a celebration of Melbourne's culinary history. Described as featuring 'a cornucopia of gastronomic treasures' from the State Library of Victoria, the exhibition includes Australia's first cookbook published in 1864, as well as an original World War One Army biscuit.
The Gusto! exhibition covers subjects such as Indigenous foods, sustainable food practices, fine dining and food rationing (which have been known to go hand in hand), and also features the stories of some significant culinary figures (such as Stephanie Alexander, Rita Erlich, Guy Grossi and Jaques Reymond).
Another highlight is the historical display of menus from Melbourne restaurants from the Rita Erlich Collection. These menus tell us much of the evolving story of the Melbourne culinary scene. For example Rita muses that chilli, ginger and coriander belonged to Asian cooking in the 1980's, not mainstream. Other musings bring a smile - we remember the popularity of sorbets in the 1980s between courses (what were they thinking).
Of course there is also a tribute to iconic Vegemite (you can still smell the product when you drive past the factory on the freeway).
There are exciting events and activities planned around the exhibition, some involving top Melbourne restaurants.