WARNING: This is not your standard Mother's Day listicle. You won't find flowers, or candles, or spa treatments here. They are all great, of course, but this one is dedicated to the straight-talking, bad-ass woman whose preferred botanical bouquet is the one in her (small-batch) gin.
She'd hate the crowds and the stuffy surrounds of the tea room you're thinking of booking for that Sunday afternoon tea, so let's do something out of the ordinary, shall we? Let's pack a fall picnic. Remember to dress warmly and bring blankets if you live in a place where winter has already arrived (like Victoria); other states, you're good.
Autumn is, in a lot of places, the perfect season to have a picnic; the flies and incessant mosquitoes are gone, fruits are in abundance, and the cooler wind is just perfect for a rich cheese platter and that chocolate tart with a molten centre, served with a side of ginger-roasted toffee pears, wouldn't you say?
So we've put together a non-definitive list of what we think should be in your picnic basket. Warning: Indulgence ahead.
- Cheese. This one needs no explaining, of course, but fall seems like the perfect time to indulge in a cheese platter. A strong, crumbly French blue; a rich, creamy wedge of Fromager d'Affinois or Delice de Bourgogne; and a sharp, mature cheddar, paired with roasted pears, grapes and quince paste. Our preferred cheese provider is Spring Street Grocer in Melbourne CBD, where a journey down the spiral staircase brings you to a special temperature-controlled cheese room, with its own maturing chambers.
- Chocolate. Not just any chocolate, specifically Wawa Chocolatier chocolate. If you think you know chocolate, prepare to be surprised. Wawa does flavours like an 80% dark chocolate with toasted sourdough crumbs, a caramelised white chocolate with dried blueberries and blue corn; or an espresso laced milk AND dark chocolate (in the same bar!) for that perfect balance of sweet and bitter.
- Gin. There are so many high-quality, uniquely-flavoured Australian gins, it was very hard to settle with one. We've picked South Australia-based Applewood gin for this year's Mother's Day, because a) we love their innovative flavours; b) they make other cool booze like espressocellos, Chai-tea Eau de Vie, and a Green Ant gin made using, you read correctly, native Australian green ants.
- Tonic Syrup. If you're going all out on the gin, you might as well treat it right. Melbourne-based Sinkonah makes cinchona-based tonic syrups with minimal sugar and fresh fruit juice, and no nasties. Your gin (and your mum) will thank you for it.
- Wondersnacks (PLUG). We are hoping that if you're still reading up until this point, that we wouldn't have to say much else to convince you of why this would be a great idea. But in case you want to make us work for it, our nut mixes are THE perfect snacks to start your unconventional Mother's Day picnic, because if the call of (free range) duck-fat roasted maple salty peanuts do not move you, nothing will.
And in case you got all the way down here for the recipe for those molten chocolate cakes with ginger-roast pears, it can be found here, courtesy of Australian Gourmet Traveller.