For many Melbournians, the fast approaching month of September means but one thing – AFL football finals. The footy finals are the culmination of an unpredictable year, which saw as many shameful off-field incidents as celebrated on-field successes. Coaches have been sacked for their team’s under achievements, players suspended for self-reported gambling quandaries, squeaky clean players racking up three reportable incidents in a month, players deciding to climb goal posts during the game and others having to suffer reprehensible online comments instead of being celebrated for their athleticism. Whether you love or hate the AFL, it’s hard to escape the fever that grips the city in September .
Of course, the other passion of Melbournians is food. Food, glorious food! Long gone are the days of watching the football at home with a table filled with hot pies, sausage rolls, hotdogs and chips and sauce. Now I’m not saying these foods don’t have their place in AFL rhetoric, but as a society, we Aussies have become a little more sophisticated when it comes to food choices and eating. With TV shows like Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules proving so popular, (arguably for the drama and infighting) the unpretentious hot pies and sausage rolls just don’t cut the mustard.
We now enjoy watching our footy in the comfort of our own home, on our cinema-like couches complete with cup holders, eating more refined gastronomic delights such as antipasto platters, lamb sliders, sticky sesame chicken drumsticks, texas style smoked beef ribs accompanied by our favourite cheeses & bread. Those who are lucky enough to get a ticket to the game can still purchase the great Australian Four’n Twenty pie, hot dogs and hot chips. However, this season has seen the launch of some more refined options such as butter chicken and lamb saagwala, served with rice, raita, mango chutney and naan bread, cheesy meatballs with spaghetti and slow-cooked pork ribs served with garlic mash and corn on the cob. Let’s not forget, those sitting up in the members who get to indulge in a mouth-watering a-la-carte menu featuring premium rump, scotch fillet and porterhouse steak cuts, oven-roasted Tasmanian salmon, slow braised lamb shoulder, confit duck and vegetarian options. All of this in addition to behind-glass, theatre-style seating from which to view the match. Now let’s be honest, this is not how the majority of us experience eating at or viewing the footy, so how about buying some ethically and sustainably farmed, grass fed and free range produce from us so you can prepare a game day spread that will impress even the toughest critic?
If you want to keep it simple we have grass fed beef, veal and lamb mince, outdoor bred pork mince, free range chicken and turkey mince. Mince is Mr Versatile when it comes to what you can create and is most often a favourite with the kids. Make your own hamburgers, sausage rolls, meatballs and koftas, paired with some salad, assorted condiments and bread and you have an amazing yet simple footy spread. Maybe some chicken/beef/veal schnitzels sliced up as finger food or some mini sliders? More options that are always popular with both young and old are BBQ chicken drumsticks, drumettes, spare ribs, wings and tenderloins.
Whatever food you decide to prepare for the footy finals, make sure it’s delicious and fun! If you are lost for ideas or have some fussy eaters in the mix, just ask one of our friendly members of staff and they’ll give you some pointers! Now, those who know me, know that I am a die-hard Collingwood supporter. Last year was disappointing but in true Collingwood fashion, I’m optimistic about our chances of winning the 2019 flag. Who’s with me?? GO PIES!!