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March 22, 2024 BY

Chin Chin will soon open its doors within GMHBA Stadium.


Ahh, Easter: my seventh-favourite time of the year after Christmas, New Years, Australia Day, Spring Racing Carnival, World Pasta Day, and Valentine’s Day… sorry, make that eighth (I forgot Grand Final Day).

In terms of getting your chocolate buzz on, I feel there are two options: hit the mainstream aisles of endless products at Coles/Aldi (etc) or head to Pakington Street and stop by Hahndorf’s. This is probably the best retail chocolate outlet in Geelong, highlighting an artisan approach in creating milky/sweet people-pleasing styles (the choice of many) as well as the dark, bitter cocoa delights (more my thing). They do get packed though (no points for assuming around this time of year either) so you can place an order via the web, which is what I have done.

Whichever way you plan to spend this four-day break, be sure to pay attention on what’s open, and if in doubt whether your local favourite café or pub might be open, remember to call or check social media. However obvious this might seem, I can name several occasions I’ve been invited somewhere over the Easter break, only to roll up and the venue was closed (thank you, Ash)

As a reminder, the welcome return of the Lara Food & Wine Festival happens this weekend. Among the many highlights, I’m particularly looking forward to seeing some of the apprising, younger chefs in our region battle it out in the Master and Apprentice cook-offs. These are the occasions we need to encourage more of to help shape the skills of our culinary future amongst the VET-school students, apprentices and who’s trying their hands at cooking as a profession.

Held at Pirra Homestead (108 Windermere Road, Lara) this Sunday, March 24, expect a packed afternoon of music, cooking demonstrations, crafts and, of course, great food, wine and drinks of all kind. For the local produce supporters and shoppers among us, it’ll take you hours to browse through the more than 70 stalls (longer if you stop at the donut-eating competition), which isn’t a bad thing at all. Just give yourself plenty of time to chat with the makers and growers (and brewers/distillers) on hand. Take a rug, as leisurely picnicking is encouraged with an assortment of the festival’s treats.

I had a brilliant coffee and experience at Rebecchi’s this week gone. It’s a (kinda) new café found in an old favourite spot (sort of). Let me explain: the spot I’m referring to is the well-known café site at the entrance of Boom Gallery along Rutland Street, which was previously known as Brother Lawrence (and before that, Neighbour). Anyway, let’s not get caught up in the history. They have great coffee, a winning location and fun vibe – plus Boom Gallery a few metres away – all great reasons to pay the new tenants a visit.

Finally, with the footy back, and the much awaited completion of the grandstand at the Cats’ home ground, comes the surprise news of Melbourne icon Chin Chin opening their doors within the stadium. In a few weeks’ time, fans of both the chic restaurant brand and our local team will be able to enjoy the two simultaneously. The broadly South-East Asian accent menu at this CBD hotspot has continued to remain one of the most visited venues in the Melbourne food scene for well over a decade now, and was once able to boast being Australia’s highest grossing restaurant per square metre. Think about that for a second in terms of takeover and numbers! The man behind the brand, Chris Lucas, is Geelong bred (and probably close to one of the biggest Cats fans out there) so what will probably be deemed a kind of homecoming for him will no doubt make a huge splash. More to come.

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