December may be fraught with lists, but here's one to take you into the New Year the way you should be entering it - with your finger on the pulse. Yes, it's nice to reflect on the 'best/hottest/top' lists of 2019, but at Worksmith we want to look at the future of F&B.
As the team at Worksmith spends all day every day talking, reading and writing about food and beverage, we figured we might as well share some of the places/faces/flavours and ideas that we'll be talking about in the next year:
Melbourne Cocktail Festival: When we say we talk about the beverage industry all day, we literally mean it. Melbourne Cocktail Festival is launching in Feb 2020, and the Worksmith team has gathered hundreds of top industry names to showcase Melbourne's cocktail culture to the entire city over five HUGE days. Think events at Above Board, Romeo Lane, Bar Liberty, Peaches, Eau de Vie and others, showcasing the best we have to offer. We're expecting thousands of Melbournians to get involved, but we've put aside some free tickets for Worksmith Members. It's an exciting time to be in our industry, and an exciting time to be in Melbourne! #MCF2020
Small Batch City: Andrew Kelly's Small Batch has been roasting brilliant coffee since 2009. They roast coffee that is sustainably sourced from smallholder producers, they support regenerative agriculture and pay prices that support sustainable livelihoods. It's an ethos we can certainly get behind, and a quality of coffee that has the whole town talking. Small Batch opens their new all-day venue in Little Lonsdale St in early 2020, where they'll continue to showcase and support sustainable producers of food, wine and coffee. With Charlie Duffy (previously of Small.Numbers) in charge of baked goods, the CBD's cafe offerings just got a lot greater.
Faye in Brunswick East is a newly opened (so new that we are letting it slide into the 2020 category of openings) Restaurant and Bar with natural wines, good food, and stellar service. Think pickled mussels and marinated capsicum, or white zucchini with sweet corn and salted ricotta. Food for wine, and wine for food. The space is intimate, warm and light. We think you'll find a few Worksmithers here on the reg.
The Fermentary gets BIG. We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the week-long fermentation extravaganza gracing the east coast of Australia in Feb. Worksmither Sharon Flynn (The Fermentary) is bringing out her former teacher/mentor, friend and "unexpected rockstar of food" Sandor Katz to spread the good word of fermentation from Fitzroy to Byron Bay. Krauts, Kimchi's, Kefirs. They'll (coincidentally) also be featuring in the Melbourne Cocktail Festival programme, so the opportunity to hear from to industry (and just in-general) LEGENDS are a-plenty, but you better get your tickets quick.
From The Collective, Carlton is a new, unique opportunity for regional independent producers from Victoria to shine in Melbourne. Food lovers will be able to explore Victoria in a single Melbourne space, but it's not just any space. From the Collective is a retail space, a bar, an eatery, a function space, a storage location and shipping point, an online store, and a collective that shares marketing and resources. If the huge rise in attendance of Melbourne's many Farmers Markets is anything to go by, From The Collective is going to be big, and we are here for it.
Natural Wines - Love them, just don't call them 'Natties'. There's an inescapable charm to Natural Wines. Its definition is still contested by many, but we'll look at a definition from Isabelle Legron for this article's sake: "It is wine from vineyards that are farmed organically, at the very least, and which is produced without adding or removing anything during vinification, apart from a dash of sulphites at most at bottling." A delivery of Radikon will last minutes in-store, a bottle of Pash Rash pet-nat will be devoured in mere minutes. Wine is fun and sexy to younger generations again, and a new kind of interesting to the older ones. The tastes will blow your mind, and to cap it all off, the hangovers are minimal! The local makers that we'll be keeping an eye on? LAS Vino in WA, Architects of Wine, Borachio and Lucy Margaux in SA.
Wattle. The humble native Wattle. Forget Finger Lime, Peppergum, and Eucalyptus. Flowering wattle is where it's at in 2020, and here's why. Luke Whearty has been incorporating flowering yellow wattle blossoms into a sort-of fortified wine, and it's created a drink that is goddamn delicious. Whearty's process is lengthy, but the results are more than worthwhile. We can't wait to see how else this flower will be worked into menu's across the board next year.
Melbourne International Coffee Expo returns in 2020, and next year promises to be it's the biggest event yet. MICE is known throughout Asia Pacific as the largest and most exciting dedicated coffee event, though in the seven years it has been running, it has been missing one big deal: The World Barista Championships. In 2020, It's Melbourne's turn. And that, my friends, is kind of a big deal.