Christmas elves at work

Things are getting busy at Togninis. The pudding elves have been in store busy , scraping , trimming and wrapping Tognini's delicious handmade puddings ready for your Christmas table.

The fruit has been marinating in juices and grog for the past three months - now it is almost time to eat! Each pudding is hand made, lovingly hugged and then boiled for eight hours - hung overnight - rested - scraped and retied to look perfect. On Christmas Day you simply reheat and the job is done. Don't forget to pop in some silver sixpences for the children and young at heart. Serve with Tognini's Brandy Cream or Vanilla Bean Anglaise.

Order yours now for a special treat on Christmas day - 1.5 kg puddings are $60.00

Pictured are Narelle's Auntie Myrl, a Christmas pudding elf of longstanding, and her friend Lynda (not sure that this elf wants to come back next year).

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Christmas Cheese Box

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We've had a few requests for our fabulous Christmas Cheese box so here it is again! A great selection of delicious cheeses delivered straight to your door, plus some extras that will make Christmas even more special. We've included our new Tognini's carrot marmalade, which goes exceptionally well with cheese - just wait till you try it!

Here's the list:
1 kg Australian Farmhouse Brie
150 g La Roche Blue
100 g English Red Leicester
41deg South Tasmanian baby Salmon
12 x Tognini Blini's
Tognini's carrot marmalade
Tognini's Fennel , fruit + nut log
6 x fruit mince pies

Cost $110.00 + delivery or pick up (Spring Hill store) on December 23.
Orders close December 15

Call Tognini's on 3851 5300 to place your order.

Champagne tasting night

To start off the festive season the right way, we hosted a Champagne Degustation night at our Spring Hill venue in last week. A great night was had by all and copious amount of beautiful champagne was consumed. We must thank all of those in attendance, our host David Cross from Moet Hennessy and our wonderful team of staff at Tognini’s for an exceptional evening . In all, six fine champagnes were tasted from the Champagne houses of Moet et Chandon , Veuve Cliquot and Ruinart. We finished the evening with my personal favourite, the 1996 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blanc. This will certainly be an annual event for us. Stay tuned to the email newsletter and blog site as we will certainly have a few more evenings of food and wine events in 2009.

Tapas time

If you love tapas, you'll be pleased that Tognini's at Spring Hill now offers a tapas menu from 10am - 3pm on Saturdays. The line up includes herb crumbed 'arancini' balls with bocconcini, poached quail meat balls filled with pancetta and green olives and Italian meat balls with spicy tomato relish.

Try the dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in san daniel prosciutto.

Seafood offerings include bacalao cigars (crusty fried salted cod) with lemon and aioli, seared Hervey Bay Scallops in the shell with fennel and anchovy butter and calamari ripieni stuffed with farro and chorizo. Yum!

You can enjoy a Mezza Platter like the one above, for two or a pizza big enough for two - proscuitto and buffalo mozzarella or grilled sweet potato and caramelised onion and fetta.

Find it all at Tognini's Spring Hill in Turbot Street.

Cheese please - Fleur du marquis

This flavoursome French cheese has been absent for a while because of a ban on unpasteurised milk products, but is once again in store. Made from sheep’s milk, it has an exterior crust that is coated with dried rosemary, thyme, coriander seeds, juniper berries and pepper. You can eat the crust, but it’s bitter. The inside of the cheese is snowy white, cream moist and soft when it’s young and gets whiter and runnier as it ages.

Mark says:
The first bite shows the creamy silky texture and then it explodes in the back of your mouth and you can taste the dried rosemary flavour. The robust flavours of the sheep’s milk linger in the mouth. It’s great as a snack, with a salad or on a cheese platter because it looks spectacular. Ben says: Match it with a glass of the prunotto barbera d’alba, a fragrant, fruity red with hints of flowers.

There are several other new cheeses in the cheese room at Spring Hill and the cheese cabinet at Milton. Drop in and have a look.We also have a new cheese club offer with three classic cheese boxes available all year round.
>View our website for more details about our cheese boxes

Champagne degustation night

Have we got a treat for you! Tognini’s and Moet Hennessy invite you to an evening of fine champagne with exquisite accompanying food. We will be tasting the latest releases from the houses of Veuve Clicquot, Moet & Chandon and Ruinart, finishing with a 1996 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blanc. These are special champagnes that you won’t find at your local bottle shop.
• Ruinart Blanc de Blanc NV
• Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label NV
• Moet et Chandon Grand Vintage 2000
• Veuve Clicquot Vintage Brut 2002
• Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blanc 1996
• Moet et Chandon Rose NV

David Cross from Moet Hennessy will take you on a journey through the champagnes while Mark will talk about matching champagne and food. You’ll have some delightful tastes matched with each champagne. Expect zuchinni flowers with crab mouse, blinis with smoked salmon, caramelised onion tart, scallops and fruit with mascarpone to finish. Limited releases will also be available for purchase. They’ll add the perfect touch to your Christmas celebrations.

Numbers are limited. Please contact us to book your place:
Price: $85; Time: 6.45pm for 7.00pm start; Date: Wednesday, 12 November 2008 Place: Tognini’s BistroCaféDeli, Cnr Turbot & Boundary Streets, Spring Hill 07 3831 5300;;

Melbourne Cup

If you are expecting a crowd for Melbourne Cup or organising the office function this year, we’ve devised a special menu for Melbourne Cup.

Try our special office "meal deal" - spicy marinated bbq chicken with cous cous + summer slaw for $12.50 per person. Whole butterflied marinated chicken (size 14), quartered for your convenience, with homemade barbecue sauce $14.50. Delivery can be arranged between 10am - 1pm to CBD.

Tognini’s marinated chicken has been prepared using Mark’s special recipe. The accompanying salads will be made fresh on the day - all delivered to you for a no fuss Melbourne Cup function. Also on offer are freshly prepared sandwiches, rolls and wraps - fillings include chicken, mayo and rocket; turkey, swiss and cranberry; ham, avocado and salad and many more. Antipasto and cheese platters from our catering menu are also available on request. Check out our catering menu or download the Melbourne Cup order form from

Don’t forget Melbourne Cup is a big day around town. Please get your orders in early! 07 3831 5300;

Mark’s tip for Melbourne Cup is get your order in early so you don’t miss the race!

Narelle’s tip is be nice to your mother!

Viva Italia! New menus

We’ve been around the world with our menus but it’s time to come home to our favourite place, Italy! We’re also keen to get back to the source of cooking and we are moving towards slow food – think delicious slowly braised beef cheek in red wine with carrot and turnip mash or twice baked pork belly with fennel, shallots and apple compote.

Breakfast is available until 11.30am weekdays and 2.30pm on Saturdays for those of you who are late risers. New additions include spicy shredded wagyu beef with poached eggs on crusty ciabatta and home made baked beans with ham hock and poached eggs. If you like your breakfast on the sweet side, French toast with caramelised banana and cinnamon mascarpone is for you.

The lunch menu at Spring Hill is filled with dishes that you won’t be able to resist. How about grilled sardine fillets w squid ink spaghetti, chilli + fresh herbs or grilled Atlantic salmon on potato rosti w herb + coddled egg dressing. Other meals to try include house made crab and courgette ravioli with champagne foam and chervil and wild porcini mushroom risotto with porcini cream using snap frozen mushrooms from Italy – delish. Hope this list has made your mouth water! Come in and try it all soon.

Pictured – Top: Twice baked pork belly w fennel, shallot + apple compote; Middle: Slow cooked beef cheek in red wine w carrot + turnip mash; Bottom: Clams + black mussels w orange, chilli + saffron broth.

Eating out in Melbourne

One of the best things about visiting Sydney and Melbourne is the chance to try out a whole new bunch of restaurants every time. Here’s the news from our recent Melbourne trip:

Best breakfast:
The European, 161 Spring Street, CBD. It’s classy, classic, always good with an Italian feel and the coffee is great. Despite the fact that it’s always crowded the service is great. Best dish - smoked trout frittata with avocado salsa.

Best new place:
Cumulus Inc, 45 Flinders Lane, CBD [opened 2 months ago] Has an open kitchen with a huge bar and offers share plates. There’s a huge selection of oysters. We ate lunch at 4pm and the staff were very accommodating. It’s open from 7am - 11pm, Monday to Friday. We finished off our meal with freshly baked madeleines that were filled with lemon curd that were still warm - was so yummy! Best dish: braised wagyu, artichokes, green olive and nettle or baked gnocchi with taleggio and truffle vinaigrette.

Best asian:
Gingerboy, Crossley Lane, CBD. Best dish: deep fried whole snapper.

Photos – Top: Cumulus Inc; Middle: Baked gnocchi with taleggio and truffle vinaigrette; Right: Freshly baked madelines oozing lemon curd.