Melbourne Milkshakes

The City, The Cuisine

Milkshakes in Australia are over-the-top.

It all started in Canberra, the capital territory, in mid-2015 with Patissez, a small bakery that first made insane milkshakes and dubbed them “FreakShakes,”  a name which they are currently trying to trademark.  Due to the social media culture, customers (obviously!) posted a picture of the gorgeous milkshake they were going to devour.  Eye-catching, the pictures got tons of likes, which spurred other companies to follow the trend.

Now, a lot of tiny, mom-and-pop cafes all over the country have these crazy milkshakes as their main draw.

Melbourne especially, took on the milkshake trend, as it is the “culture capital” of the country.

I did some research and made a list of the most jaw-dropping milkshakes I knew I had to try.  Over the course of a month, I tried 9 milkshakes and became a bit of a connoisseur.

Today, I will be describing the milkshakes I’ve had based on 3 criteria: taste, design, and obscenity.  Every single time my milkshake order came out, my dad would say “That’s obscene.”  So, in honor of his comments, that is one of my categories.  It is equivalent to “over-the-top”-ness.

*ROYAL STACKS*

Salted Caramel

milkshake2

Taste: 4/5

Design: 0/5

Obscenity: 0/5

img_3406I wanted a base milkshake so there would be some point of comparison.  This was a basic burger joint shake.  It was very frothy, creamy, and super flavorful (even if it did taste more like butterscotch).  There were no frills, which I wanted here.  After judging some others, this one was definitely thicker.

*CAFE LAFAYETTE*

Brownie and Double Chocolate-chocolate walnut brownie, Nutella, candied pop corn, pretzels and cream

milkshake5

Taste: 5/5

Design: 5/5

Obscenity: 5/5

img_3412

At this modern cafe/coffee shop with an Asian flare, their milkshakes are one of the main draws.  This was my first one and I had no idea what to expect, so I was shocked when it came out.  There was a huge tower of caramel popcorn, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce, which made it a little bit hard to break into and eat.  A brownie with walnuts is hidden under the popcorn resting on the top of the glass.  Pretzels were welded on the side with melted chocolate.  The milkshake itself was thin but still rich, which was a nice difference in texture from all the crunchy toppings.  There was Nutella in the shake so it was slightly hazelnut flavored.

Matcha Matcha-matcha cake, jelly beans, KitKat, honey comb, pistachio and cream

milkshake3

Taste: 2/5

Design: 4/5

Obscenity: 3.5/5

img_4006

Topping this milkshake was an edible violet, bits of honeycomb, powdered sugar, and jellybeans interspersed on a bed of whipped cream through which ran a criss-crossed KitKat.  I was not able to find any pistachio, which was promised on the menu.  Rimming the glass was a matcha cream which wasn’t sweet.  The matcha cake resting on top of the glass had only a light sweetness, but the strongest matcha flavor; it was kind of dense, slightly too much with the shake.  This milkshake was the thinnest and least milky out of those that I tried.  However, it was the sweetest one.  It only had light matcha flavor and was the least overwhelming and filling.  Overall this milkshake was the least insane of the Freakshakes I tried.

Berry Pavlova Forest-raspberry curd, mini donut, mixed berries, marshmallow and cream

milkshake45

Taste: 4.5/5

Design: 4.5/5

Obscenity: 4/5

img_4158

The first thing you see are the berry-flavored homemade marshmallows, perfectly dusted with powdered sugar, that were skewered on a wooden stick (which was then inserted into the straw to make it stand up like it does).  Whipped cream with fresh strawberries and a fresh flower topped the milkshake.  There was raspberry cream/curd dripping down the sides and toasted marshmallow rimming the glass.  On top of the glass rested a jelly-filled donut; the donut was light and the jelly was super fresh and a nice gel-like texture.  Inside, the milkshake was very good.  Even though it had lots of fresh fruit in it, it was still creamy like a milkshake (and not like a smoothie).

*NAUGHTY BOY*

Pavlova-coconut and almond milk, passionfruit, kiwi, berries, mango with meringue and fairy floss

milkshake4

Taste: 3.5/5

Design: 4/5

Obscenity: 3.5/5

img_3628

This glass was rimmed with passionfruit cream with which dried raspberries pieces were attached.  A ring of meringue was resting on the rim of the glass and piled on top of that were fresh strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream.  Topping off the whole thing was strawberry-flavored cotton candy, which was homespun and really delicious.  The milkshake was a bit disappointing as it was more like a fruit smoothie.  There were small pieces of dried fruit and meringue  mixed into the milkshake.  Overall this one was not as sweet because of the toppings, which were more fresh.  The Cafe Lafayette take on pavlova in a milkshake was marginally more successful.

Salted Caramel-Nutella, sticky date & rice pudding, peanut brittle and butterscotch cream topped with fairy floss

milkshake35

Taste: 3/5

Design: 3.5/5

Obscenity: 3.5 /5

img_3632

Topping off this milkshake was whipped cream, sticky date/toffee pudding, and a butterscotch cream.  This time the cotton candy on top was caramel-flavored.  The rim had walnuts and peanut brittle stuck on with Nutella.   Caramel was dripped down the inside of the glass.  At the bottom was some sticky date/toffee pudding, which was a little strange as it kind of floated around.  The mostly vanilla milkshake with a hint of cinnamon had a thin texture, which was nice to balance out the heavy and rich toppings.  The milkshake itself was definitely the best part/flavor in this dish.  For the name, salted caramel did not seem to play a huge role in this milkshake.  It was more focused on the pudding.

*ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS*

4C-chocolate/coffee, cookies and cream

milkshake5

Taste: 5/5

Design: 4/5

Obscenity: 4.5/5

img_3930_srgb

A full-sized Magnum bar outrageously topped this shake along with whipped cream and mini Oreos.  The rim was simple with chocolate sauce coated in cocoa.  The thin and milky milkshake was coffee-flavored.  It wasn’t too sweet and was a good balance to the rich and sweet toppings.  This one seems more simple, but the flavors were awesome and the milkshake itself was my favorite one of the lot.

Nutella Bliss

milkshake4

Taste: 4/5

Design: 3/5

Obscenity: 4/5

img_4013

The milkshake itself was a very thin chocolate shake, which was super flavorful (one of the best actual milkshakes).  The topping was simple, but still extravagant–a huge Nutella-filled donut with powdered sugar.  With the generously sized shake, the large donut was almost too much.  The smaller (advertised as mini) donut at Cafe Lafayette was a much better balance.  The glass was rimmed with chocolate syrup and cocoa powder and chocolate syrup coated the inside of mug.

*LITTLE ROSE CAFE*

Gourmet Chocolate Peanut Butter

milkshake3

Taste: 4/5

Design: 2/5

Obscenity: 1/5

img_4009This milkshake was very thick and creamy with pieces of dark chocolate within; they did kind of all sink to the bottom and have to be eaten with a spoon at the end (such a travesty).  There was a very good balance of the peanut and chocolate flavors.  The pirouette slid over the straw was a nice, slight decorative touch as well as the cocoa powder sprinkled on top.  Overall this is a good, classic milkshake, the type I would have expected before coming here to Melbourne.

To recap, here are my definitive rankings of milkshakes in Melbourne (from bottom to top, left to right).

Advertisements

Bikkies for Brekkie

The Cuisine, The Culture

Another day, another quintessential Australian brekkie food.

fullsizeoutput_969

Any food from the brand Sanitarium seems a little worrying, but fear not.  Weet-Bix, the brand’s main sell, is marketed as a health food (as illustrated by the 5-star health rating on the box).  High is fibre and low in sugar, the cereal biscuits are a favorite in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK.

img_4377-1

The size is a bit strange to me.  It’s weird to put 2 pieces of cereal in a bowl for a meal.

The dry texture is a bit like corrugated cardboard, but the taste is like any wheat-based cereal.  However, it would be hard to choke down an entire bikkie dry.

img_4379-1

I fixed mine spread with peanut butter and topped with bananas to add some creamy texture to cut the dryness.  They were a much more enjoyable eating experience with these additions, but what wouldn’t be?

Overall, I see Weet-Bix as a good base (more like toast) rather than a cereal for brekkie.

Meals in Melbourne

The Cuisine

Melbourne is known for its cafe (and coffee) culture.  We been to various eateries around the city,  and they have all been amazing.

Here are some snapshots of delicious Australian food.

Cafe LafayetteAvocado Smash

Avo smash is a huge deal here.  It’s served at every cafe we’ve been to.

Also, the egg yolks are super orange here.  I assumed that it was America who added something to the yolks to make it yellow, but it’s actually Australia who dyes their yolks orange through dye in the chickens’ feed.

img_3416img_3417

400 GradiCalamari Frittiimg_3621

Prosciutto Crudo de Parma

img_3622

Romana Pizza

img_3626

Old SaltFish and Chips

All of our local fish and chip shops have calamari, potato cakes, and dim sum that come with the classic English fare–it’s kinda strange.

img_3642

Little Rose CafeSmoked Ham and Swiss Cheese Jaffle and Gems w/ Tomato Sauce

img_4012

Boon Wurrung CafeBeef and Mushroom Homemade Meat Pie

img_4358

Rock, Paper, ScissorsPancakes

Apparently one of the dishes you have to eat in Melbourne.  Features grilled banana, strawberries, kiwi, and honeycomb, all on fluffy buttermilk pancakes.

img_4152

Bacon and Eggs

img_4359

Corn Fritter Stack

img_4360

Chili Eggs

img_4361

The Petty OfficerLatte

Coffee, coffee, coffee. It keeps this city running.  All the lattes here are served in short glasses–the better to see you with, my dear.

img_4268

Prickly PearChicken Parmesan Burger

Australians, and Melburnians, love their chicken parm.  In this suburb’s cafe, it was on a brioche bun with prosciutto, marinara sauce, melted cheese, and ranch dressing, served with sweet potato wedges.

img_4355

Trying Vegemite

The Cuisine

Well, I did it.  I tried (the dreaded) Vegemite.

img_3991

Vegemite is a paste made from brewers’ yeast extract, mixed with other flavors, of course. It was first invented in 1922 in Melbourne, VIC.  Some of the old, jingle-y commercials for Vegemite are pretty entertaining.  If you so choose, here’s “Happy Little Vegemite”— the original.

I ate my Vegemite the way you’re supposed to: on toasted bread with lots of butter and then a thin layer of Vegemite to top it all off.  To suggest how thin for one piece of bread, the serving size is 5 g.

img_3993

And the verdict?? Not that bad.  It’s very savory; it tastes sort of like soy sauce, Better Than Bullion, and malt vinegar.  It is strong in umami flavor, the fifth taste, and very, very salty.  I personally love salt and soy sauce, so the flavor isn’t that unlike other flavors I like.  There is something, maybe an aftertaste, that is something I’m not as familiar with, but in small amounts, I could get accustomed to it.

World’s Best Pizza?

The Cuisine

Amazingly, Melbourne has the second largest Italian population after Rome.  Its Little Italy sector is very popular and has tons of great restaurants.  One in particular, 400 Gradi, has the (supposed) best margherita pizza in the world, a title won at the World Pizza Championships in Parma, Italy in 2014.

img_3618

Here are the trophies on the hostess stand to prove it.

img_3624

World’s best??

This pizza continues my journey of eating margarita pizzas around the world.  Out of the 5 countries where I have tried a margherita so far, Scotland is currently my number one (Ristorante Isola in Edinburgh).

And… the consensus after trying the “World’s Best” in Melbourne… it’s not the world’s best to me.  Scotland is still taking the cake, or should I say the pie.  While the crust was indeed fantastic, the sauce was not great and the amount of basil was severely lacking (see above).  400 Gradi has, to me, the second best margherita pizza in the world.