Today, TripAdvisor released their annual list of the “Best Food & Wine Destinations” in the world, and for the South Pacific region, Melbourne was #1. This follows Melbourne’s recent ranking as the world’s most liveable city, as judged by The Economist Intelligence Unit on August 30th. For good reason. I have rarely traveled to a major wine capital where I returned with a high that lasted for days for the vibrant food and wine scene, the cultural diversity and most of all, the warmth of the people I came across. Not the scary or politically-correct type, just genuine warmth, probably a result of the great climate and great food and wine.
Australia was never high on my list of places to go – after all, wasn’t it just another New World wine country except with an Institutional style and Corporate image? Wasn’t it just San Francisco and Napa Valley without the fog? But a friend asked me to go, and it doesn’t take much for me to hop on a plane for an adventure of any type, like driving on the other side of the road.
Visiting Melbourne and nearby wine regions of Heathcote, Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula forever changed the way I view Australia in terms of authenticity of place and the quality of the food and wine, and I’m glad the region’s getting the recognition it deserves.
More reasons to travel there? Daily direct flights from the U.S. and everyone speaks English! Next time, South Australia (via Melbourne).