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Suckling Pig Dinner at Saxe restaurant

Saxe restaurant in Melbourne was the perfect venue for the first of a series of Suckling Pig Dinners featuring Western Plains Pork. The World Loves Melbourne was invited along as a guest of PorkStars.

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The World Loves Melbourne enjoyed a stunning evening with Owner/Chef Joe Grbac on fire in the kitchen showcasing the best of this amazing Victorian and Australian produce. This occurred in the same week as the Australian PorkMark Ham Awards at Bentley Restaurant. A big week for pork!

Victoria performed brilliantly in terms of the ham awards. Fleischmeister, Horst Schurger, and chefs, Simon Bestley and Darren Smith, assessed 155 hams from across the country, judging their appearance, taste and aroma.

In the Traditional Bone-in category, Montrose Meats/Montrose Smokehouse, Montrose, took top honours with a ham judges said had a nice even colour, excellent texture, good flavour and well-balanced aftertaste. Second place went to Andrew’s Choice Smokehouse, Laverton North, with Lago Smallgoods, Broadmeadows, third.

Barkly Smokehouse Pty Limited, Thornbury, took out first place in the Victorian boneless competition and second nationally with a ham judges said was a nice artisan style, with very good trim, excellent initial flavour, perfect balance and a great product. Rounding out top three in Victoria, Montrose Meats/Montrose Smokehouse placed second, with Andrew’s Choice Smokehouse, third.

Australian Pork Limited’s Mitch Edwards said a beautiful Australian ham was the perfect centrepiece for any celebration. “This time of year, we love to get together with our nearest and dearest, with food at the heart of those gatherings,” he said.

“A traditional bone-in ham can be transformed with a glorious glaze or enjoyed carved straight from the bone, while a boneless ham can be perfect for canapes. “All bone-in hams are guaranteed to be made from 100% Australian pork, but with more than 75% of ham sold in Australia made from imported pork, if you’re buying a boneless ham or sliced ham, look for the pink PorkMark logo or ensure the label says it’s at least 90% Australian ingredients.”

Nationally, Pattemore’s Meats, Alexandra Hills, Queensland, took out the Best Artisan Ham and Best Traditional Bone-in Ham, while the German Butchery, Bexley, NSW, took out the Best Boneless Ham.

To see all of this year’s Australian PorkMark Ham Award winners, plus recipes, tips and tricks for your Christmas ham, visit

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A convivial atmosphere as pork lovers gathered at Saxe.

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Joe Grbac an iconic chef in Melbourne and his Suckling Pig Dinners are an exciting offering (at a reasonable price too). Nose to tail philosophy.

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I understood there were 4 courses but there seemed to be more... 

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Even the bread starter was a highlight. 

It was an honour to connect with Judy Croagh from Western Plains Pork in Otway. We were thrilled to also visit the kitchen during the evening and chat with Joe Grbac.

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Thanks to Mitch Edwards and Kylie Roberts from PorkStars for the invite.

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This was a dinner to remember including a dessert that featured pork belly. Pork hock and shoulder were highlights.

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Action from the kitchen.

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Joe Grbac the master at work.

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Pork shoulder was a highlight with artichoke, eggplant, and potato.

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Delicious suckling pig with crackling!

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Dessert featuring pork belly! Along with pumpkin pie it reminded me of American Thanksgiving.

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A stunning evening and we highly recommend the Suckling Pig Dinner series. Thanks to PorkStars, Saxe and Western Plains Pork.