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Laneway Tour Highlight in Food & Beverage Trade Week

How good are Melbourne's laneways? An attraction in themselves with a plethora of culinary delights and hidden gems. The World Loves Melbourne participated in a culinary tour of Melbourne's most well-known laneway restaurants as part of the Victorian Government's Food and Beverage Trade Week. Having been a part of last year's Laneway Tour this was an event not to be missed!

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Each year, the Victorian Government brings international buyers, influencers and key decision makers from around the world to Victoria to experience the best of the state's food, fibre and beverage offerings.  This year more than 160 international delegates from 19 countries will connect with 120 of the state's food and fibre growers and producers, exploring everything from growing to advanced food manufacturing. 

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A major part of this year's event is the annual laneway dinner tour where international delegates are taken around some of Melbourne's most iconic restaurants to experience the food culture the city if renowned for. This is a unique event and some of the delegates last year told us they hadn't experienced anything like this at some of the other trade weeks they had attended. This was about discovering new and exciting things in our city; notably the laneways.

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This was an amazing chance for delegates to get up close and personal with some of Melbourne's best restaurants, find out more about the farm to table process and discover why Victoria is renowned as one of the world's most sought after culinary destinations.

Our journey started at The Langham, one of Melbourne's best hotels. Our host Wendy Hargreaves, a noted food identity and journalist, weaved a magical course through some of the best parts of the city; across the Yarra, through Degraves St and along Collins and Little Collins St. To be honest made me proud to be a Melbournian.

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Our first stop of Sarti was fabulous as one of Melbourne's best Italian restaurants. A hub of Italian hospitality, conviviality, authenticity and flair.

Zucchini flowers filled with spinach and ricotta was a rustic delightful dish.

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Prosciutto wrapped gnocco fritto was another authentic style dish.

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A highlight was the Tuna tartare with avocado puree and black sesame served in mini cones. This was a triumph of taste and texture.

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Another stunning entree of the sea was the 1/2 shell Japanese scallops, corn puree, truffle powder, and lime gel. Technique was excellent and the corn puree was a wonderful accompaniment to the scallop, the lime gel bringing tang and the truffle powder a decadence.

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Our second stop was Pastuso under the genius of Alejandro Saravia, as we ventured down ACDC Lane.

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Art everywhere including street art graffiti and significant murals. Quintessential Melbourne.

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It was great to meet delegates from Korea, Japan, India, Australia and America, as well as show off the city to influencers from Canada.

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A private room in Pastuso was the home of our main course extravaganza.

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 Extraordinary Gippsland Natural 30 day dry aged beef, grilled on the parrilla. Melt in your mouth with rich flavours!

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Grilled broccolini with sugar snaps, snow peas, turnips and Peruvian olives.

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Intriguing was the Fried cassava chips with spicy rocoto mayonnaise.

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A star of the show was the 1/2 chicken smoked and roasted served with a traditional spring onion and aji amarillo salsa. What a triumph! There was some debate as to which was best - the chicken or the beef - all agreeing that both were chart toppers.

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The final stop was a showstopper at 55 Collins St. As a foodie I can't ever recall having been here; some 46 floors above the city to reveal a stunning panorama. 

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The highlight was a dessert preparation by world class chef Darren Purchese. What a star! We just had to take a few photos of these creations.

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What a night! And what a great initiative by the Victorian State Government!