A tour of Melany Dairy.

During our holiday in the Gold Coast, we had a chance to visit Melany Diary in Melany, Queensland.  We drove down from Nambour, where we were staying in an Airbnb. It was 31 km and it took us a half an hour to drive through the beautiful Queensland countryside. We joined a Group tour lead by a proud local lad, Che, who was really good at his work. Although being from India, I vaguely knew how dairies operate but this was a unique experience and I really learned a lot.

Melany Dairy Farms.
Melany Dairy farms
Children with calves.

Maleny Dairies is a premium milk company of Sunshine Coast owned by the Hooper family since 1948. Currently, it is the third generation of Hoopers, Ross and Sally Hopper,  who are running the show. The Dairy has seen many ups and downs including a really bad time in 2000. The industry was deregulated at that time so thousands of Australian farmers were forced to close their farms. Hoopers, on the other hand, decided to fight back by building their our own processing and bottling plant and like they say rest is history.

In 1948, when Great Grandfather Hooper purchased the land it was for a Cream only farm. However, now Melany Dairy buys milk from other local farmers on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. This benefits both parties with local farmers getting a better price than before.  The present Melany Diary commenced operations in 2002 and has always received a very positive response from its customers.

A kid feeding the Calf.
A Guernsey Cow
Milk vans
Cows are milked here
Milk storage container
Cows being feed

They have Guernsey cows (bred on the Channel Island of Guernsey), which are known to produce the highest percentage of A2 protein in their milk and a high level of butterfat. It has a creamy golden appearance and taste. One of their cows ‘Belladonna’ was a World champion, breaking the records in milk, butterfat and protein production, when she produced an amazing 70.5 litres of milk in one day. An average cow gives only about 15 litres in a day.

Apart from milk, they also sell flavoured milk Yoghurts, Custard and Cream. I really loved their Apricot Yoghurt.

I would definitely recommend this tour for families with young children as they would love the experience.

It all started with a cup of tea.

The story of Yewale Chaha started with a cup of tea, when 16-year-old Dashrath Yewale came to Pune from Purandar and started selling milk. He often dreamt of setting up a tea stall.

The Yewale mascot.

That dream, which started in 1983 from Salisbury Park, Camp, Pune finally blossomed into a full fledged business spread across many outlets. It not only involves his son, Navnath but all Yewale brothers. Sadly Dashrath is not there to enjoy his dream.

After labouring extensively over five months, the Yewale brothers finally standardised their tea, by using the same proportion of milk, tea and sugar. They boil the tea over seven minutes while milk is boiled twice before being used for tea. This simple formula ensures that their tea tastes the same across all their branches in the city.

They use about 1,000 kgs of sugar and 300kgs of tea powder in a month to churn out countless cups of tea across all their branches in the city. This Wadgon Sheri outlet alone sells about 2000 cups of tea daily priced at Rupees 10.

The Wadgaon Sheri outlet.

The humble tea cup.

They now have a mega plan of opening 100 branches in the country and going international soon.

Having two cups of this magical tea last night, I can safely say that it is a must try for all tea lovers.

Introduction to Chinese Hot Pot. Hong Kong Diary 6

We all love Chinese food but what I am talking about is real authentic Chinese food. It is know by the way it is cooked, Hot Pot. I tried this meal on my recent visit to Hong Kong and I instantly fell in love with it.

Hot Pot is actually of Mongolian origin and was started about 800-900 years ago. The primary ingredient in their pot was mutton and horse meat and their broth was not spicy. However, when it spread in China, it underwent a slight change.

The Chinese way of cooking is to place a simmering pot of Soup stock at your table, which also contains a variety of foodstuff and condiments. While the hot pot is kept simmering on your table, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. You can choose what you want, like sliced beef, lamb, goat, pork, chicken and seafood or vegetables like bok choy, choy sum, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, carrots, winter melon, bean sprouts etc. Additionally you are given condiments like sesame butter, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, vinegar (both black & white), coriander, garlic, scallions, sesame oil, pickled tofu, chili oil etc. You leave them for a few seconds there, till they cooks and then you take them out in your bowl and eat it.

It is also called Chinese fondue and contrary to popular belief, even vegetarians can enjoy this meal as there is a huge variety of vegetables and other stuff like mushrooms, tofu and corn.

You can imagine its popularity in China by the fact that last year Chinese spend over 3.5 billion Yuan (over USD 500 million) eating out.

I tried it in a restaurant called Top Grade Hot Pot in Tin Hau area of Hong Kong. Their Soup base was good and the Australian Angus Beef served to us was awesome. We also tried the Chicken which was also nice. We were a group of four, with me being the only meat eater. Being the first experience we ended up ordering a bit more. The server’s English was not good so he was not of great help. But we have no regrets as we really enjoyed our dinner. Next time for sure I will not make a mistake of ordering both Beef and Chicken together.

The Legend of Din Tai Fung – Hong Kong Dairy 5

We all love dumplings but how long are you willing to wait for them? Well, if you are at Din Tai Fung (DTF) your wait can be for even one hour. This one Star Michelin restaurant attracts food lovers from all over the world.

The story of Din Tai Fung started during the Chinese Civil War in 1948, when Yang Bingy left China and moved to Taiwan.

After working for an oil retailer for ten years, he suddenly found himself unemployed as his employer shut shop. So he along with his wife Lai Penmei started a new company Din Tai Fung and started retailing oil.

Things went fine till 1970, when oil started being sold in tins. His business suffered immensely and he had to shut half of his shop in 1972.

People waiting both inside and outside the restaurant.

He hired some chefs from Shanghai and started selling buns (Xiaolongbao). The buns were so good that he finally shut his oil business and set up a restaurant, Din Tai Fung on Xinyi Road, Taipei.

With these buns getting popular he open his first international store in Tokyo in 1996 followed by a US store in Arcadia in 2000.

Standard items on each table.

Spring roles.

Legendary Pork filled Steamed dumplings, the Signature dish.

Fried rice.

Michelin Star.

The Bill, I could not comprehend.

Since then there has been no looking back and DTF now operates in Australia, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, US, Thailand and UAE.

DTF is listed as one of the top 10 restaurants in the world. Their steamed Pork Dumplings with 18 intricate folds is now a legend in the world and they have been awarded One Michelin Star for their Hong Kong restaurant. Simply put, their steamed pork dumplings contain minced pork wrapped in a delicate dough which is pleated, twisted at the top and steamed. They have a minimum of 18 exquisite folds and each weighs exactly 21 gms.

It is now a must visit for people visiting Hong Kong.






If you have never been to Brunetti, you don’t know what you have missed.



(picture from the internet)

Yes, absolutely, if you have never been to Brunetti you don’t know what you have missed in sweeter things in life. Whenever I am in Melbourne, I have to make at least one visit to this iconic shop on Lygon Street.


The history of Brunetti started in 1985 when the family started trading in Faraday Street.  They set up an authentic  Roman Pasticceria. The founder, Giorgio Angele had started really young at the age of 10 and thus had tremendous knowledge of cakes and pastries.

When he was 23 years old, he came to Australia with the Italian Olympic Team as their Pastry Chef in 1956. After working for some time he got an opportunity to permanently migrate to Australia. Since then he has been behind this iconic brand.

Be it Italian coffee from the Bar, or Cakes from Pasticceria or Gelato or tempting savoury, Melbournians have been loving his creations. In 2005 they opened another cafe in City Square and now they have three more in the city at Camberwell, in Myer’s and in the Domestic Terminal at the Melbourne Airport.

This rich Melbourne experience has helped them expand internationally. Tanglin Mall in Singapore opened with a Brunetti in 2011.  Honestly, it is really difficult to choose what to eat here since each of their creations are masterpieces.

Highly recommended for a visit, next time you are in Melbourne. If you live there, what are you waiting for?






The best Greek food I ever had.

Over the years Melbourne has become a multi-cultural city and now boasts of third largest Greek population after Athens and Thessaloniki. So now you can find some of the best Greek food money can buy in the city.

One such place is Jim’s Greek Tavern in Collingwood which has been serving authentic Greek Food as you would find in Greece. It is very simply done up with white walls and their focus is on simplicity. It is quite noisy, unlike any place you would have seen.

However, Melbournians simply love the classic dishes this place serves so you have to book in advance. It operates without a written Menu so you have to have faith in your server even though he may not be Greek.

Just let him take you through the pan fried Saganaki, or Calamari, slow cooked lamb before you make a selection. If you can’t choose he will help you in making the right choice of meat or seafood paired with the right dip. Let him suggest the wine too, I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Be assured whether it is the seafood or beetroot or Zucchini chips or even a warm loaf of bread you can be sure of an authentic Greek taste.


If you are in Melbourne or visiting it, don’t miss it for anything in the world.







We struck gold at Rutheglen again.

While driving to Canberra from Melbourne, we happen to stop at Rutherglen and strike gold again at Campbell’s Wines. It is a winery with 145 years of history, five generations of knowledge and their dedication to innovation.

History of Campbells.

Rutherglen dates back to the Gold Rush when during the mid 19th century Australia, people from all over rushed to the north east of Victoria in search of Gold.

Some struck it rich,  some didn’t. Some of those who didn’t started to look at their options in tilling the land and making their living in agriculture. They found that the soil was good for crops, livestock and vines.

According to a legend, John Campbell, a Scottish immigrant was told by the first person who grew grapes in the region, to dig deeper but not more than six inches as there is more gold in the first six inches than it is below it.

John started growing grapes and called his selection “Bobbie Burns” after the nearby goldmine he had worked for. In 1870 he established Campbell Rutherglen Wines. The later generations of the Campbells added parts to the original structure, the Cellar, which still stands today.

Immediately after the winery was built, disaster struck and the entire plants were destroyed. David Campbell, son of John was first to start the replanting by grafting European wine grapes which were resistant to the disease which wiped out the first crops.

Like the say rest is history. Today David’s grandchildren produce one of the finest wines of Rutherglen.




Andrew’s Burgers

Part of my family lives in Australia so I go there often to meet them. The moment I land, the first thing which comes to my mind is Burgers. What better place to have a good traditional burger than Melbourne, which is kind of Australia’s food capital.

Good Aussie Beef patties cooked in the traditional way, make the best burgers and what better place than Andrews’s Burgers at Bridport Street in Albert Park.

For the last over 100 years,  they have been selling their burgers made the traditional way using home cooked recipes. Recently they opened their second store in Franklin Street to serve their customers in CBD area.

What makes their burgers so good is the inside story. The onions are cooked & the bread bun is lightly toasted, the lettuce is a crunchy iceberg-cabbage mix, and the fried egg is often cooked through. The patty is made up of grilled beef mixed with cooked onions.

The team at Andrew’s has turned cooking the burgers into an art form and it is pleasure watching them work together like dancers who have had their entire moves choreographed. They don’t back into each other or step on each other’s toes. They side-step, take orders, place eggs, tomatoes, bacon and onions on the grill, toast the buns, fill the buns and put the finished product in their greaseproof-lined bags, handing them over without making a single false move.

No matter which burger you choose, I promise you will not be disappointed. Their burgers are far more traditional than the average American burgers being sold everywhere. According To Greg Pappas, the owner, the greatest thing about Andrew’s is we’ve become a niche now. Also with Melbourne getting more Americanised people now crave for something more original and traditional.

Who knows Burgers better than Greg as he has been working in their store since he was a young boy of 12 years.





Why Melbourne is the Coffee capital of Australia?

A Gaggia Coffee Machine. (Pic from the internet).

Mr and Mrs Giovanni Achille Gaggia. He was born in 1895 in Milan. (Pic from the internet).

A Gaggia Coffee machine in Club Astoria, a legendary night club of ’50s in Milan. (Pic from the internet).

Australia really knows it’s Coffee, whatever your style is, black, espresso or flat, only a good brew would make an Australian happy. His day starts with a cup of Coffee and it better be good.

The World, specially the Americans swoon over Starbucks but here in Australia all Starbucks has managed to do is to manage its losses for the last 14 years. While the brand grows around the World, in Australia they had to close down a total of 60 of its stores and are now down to 22 stores across Australia. One of the biggest mistake Starbucks made was to introduce the Coffee they serve in America which Australians found it weak and tasteless.

According to Paul Patterson, a marketing guru, the road ahead of Starbucks is a difficult one.

(Pic from the internet).

The story of Coffee in Australia started in mid 20th century when after the World War II a number of Italians and Greek made Australia their home, particularly Melbourne.  Around this time, another thing happened which helped this cause more. Achilles Gaggio, a bartender in Milan, patented his piston driven espresso Coffee machine in 1945. Italians bought this machine to Australia.

Immediately after this, happened the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 and like they say, rest is history.

Hotel Windsor, the 1st Coffee Palace in Australia.

The Windsor Hotel on Bourke Hill on Spring Street in Melbourne has also played a key role in the history of Coffee in Australia. Today it is the only surviving hotel of the 19th century. It was built by George Nipper, in 1883 and was later sold it to James Munro, a politician and leader of the temperance movement. After acquiring the hotel he tore the hotel’s liquor license in public and started a Coffee Palace here.

On an average an Australian drink 3-4 cups of Coffee every day and they are spoilt for choices as far as the availability of Coffee is concerned with shops all round the city. The standard of Coffee is really high and no wonder the American Coffee found it difficult to make its mark in the country.

Some of the well known names in Coffee are Brother Baba Budan on Little Bourke Street, Proud Mary on Oxford Street, Manchester Street on Rankins lane, Everyday Coffee on Johnston Street and market Lane Coffee on Collins Street.

So next time you are in Melbourne you know where to head the moment you think of Coffee.




Best Fish n Chips

We were in Mornington Peninsula and found this real Gem of a place to eat, David Prosser Seafoods. In fact when you next to the seashore what can be better than eating the fresh catch from the sea.

David Prosser uses best fresh fish and thin batter as a result the final Fish n Chips are delicious tasting, light and non greasy even though they are fried.

Calamari rings

Fresh salad and dips.

Their Calamari rings are awesome too. My wife tried the Fish Burger and fresh Salads too and found them to be really tasty as well.

Fish Burger

My only regret is that since we were returning the same day, I could not have it again. May be some other time on my next visit to Australia.