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8 ways to support Melbourne hospo when you can’t dine in

It’s more important than ever to spend local right now. You may not be able to eat out, but there are plenty of other ways to get behind your favourite café, restaurant, coffee roaster, bar or other small business. Here are some tips from the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

Get a box of vegetables

Keep local farmers in business and buy a box of fresh produce as close to the source as possible. While the University of Melbourne Farmers Market is on pause, you can order produce online from the newly launched Melbourne Farmers Marketplace.

Queen Victoria Market is still open for business as usual with extra hygiene and social distancing measures in place. The market has also just added a click-and-collect option.

A fresh produce stall in a market

You can now pre-order produce from the Vic Market

Skip the supermarket

Many restaurants and cafes have transformed into pop-up providores, selling staples as well as a few fancier items. Think cheese, artisan bread, charcuterie, meat and more. Some chefs, including Andreas Papadakis at Tipo 00, have started selling fresh pasta direct to customers. Seek out essentials at Heart Attack and Vine and King & Godfree in Carlton, Di Stasio Città in the city or Saluministi in Docklands. Find more small businesses that sell pantry essentials.

Get a special delivery

If there was ever a time to indulge a little, self-isolation is surely it. After some beautiful cheese? Order a care pack online from Milk The Cow, or from any of these Melbourne cheesemongers. Looking for wine, beer or spirits? Order from your local bottle shop, request a flight of whisky in the post or support a restaurant that’s switched to doing takeaway booze. Explore the guide to bars that deliver for libation inspiration.

Coffee beans, charcuterie, cocktails and even sandwich care packs are also available for delivery. If you have a favourite providore, chances are they need your business right now and will deliver to you. Find a few on the What’s On blog.

Buy a cookbook

Keep yourself busy in the kitchen and stock up on a new cookbook or two. Culinary specialist Books for Cooks is open for business with strict social distancing rules in place. For those shopping from home, you can now find the store’s entire range online. The team is shipping books daily with free postage to select suburbs in Melbourne. Other bookstores operating or offering delivery include Readings, Paperback Bookshop, Metropolis Bookshop and Wayward Books.

Find more bookshops that deliver.

The extrerior of an old fashioned bookshop on a busy street

The Paperback Bookshop is still selling the goods online

Buy a gift voucher

Many businesses need cash flow right now so they can keep paying their bills and staff. Gift vouchers are a great way to help with this. Buy one for yourself and have something to look forward to in a few months’ time, buy one for your mum and leave it in her letterbox, or buy a stack to give as birthday gifts in the coming months. Head to your favourite restaurant’s website or give them a call to find out if they sell vouchers.

Take it away

If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy moussaka from Stalactites’ or spiced chickpeas from Bar Lourinhã with a side of Netflix, your time has come. Dozens of Melbourne restaurants are adding special takeaway menus to their regular offer, featuring dishes that will travel well. Some are delivering, but for many it’s a pick-up situation, so check each restaurant’s details before you order. See Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s Instagram stories or Dani Valent’s #savehospo Instagram highlights for the latest. Plus, plenty of cafes, bakeries and other dine-in spots have switched to takeaway only. Keep supporting them – a quick visit is a visit all the same. More takeaway options on the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s website.

A bowl of fries on a table with a red drink and a souvlaki on a plate next to it

Stalactites is offering delivery from their Lonsdale Street dining institution

Buy some merch

Did you know that between Market Lane’s tote bags and Seven Seeds socks, you could almost go head-to-toe in Melbourne restaurant merch? That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Rep your favourite local businesses and show them their community is there for them.

Give a tip

If there was ever a time to leave a tip, it’s now. Tipjar is making it simple and easy to help as many people as possible.

Please note that due to current circumstances, businesses may close, run out of stock or encounter delivery delays at short notice. Check with individual retailers for more information.