This post is in collaboration with The Good Xmas Trail and Charcoal Lane
We’re officially in that time of the year where everyone wants to ‘catch up before Christmas’ and the new year is filled with late lunches and summer nights out with friends. This is great news for foodies like me because that sentence directly translates to ‘lets go eat delicious food together somewhere’.
If you are in the same situation, I am putting a call out – spend your dollars and leave a trail of good this silly season by buying from businesses that are dedicated to tackling social issues. How, you may ask? Well, The Good Xmas Trail is giving us an opportunity to eat all the delicious food and help people at the same time. They believe in the power of your decisions and actions helping those for whom Christmas isn’t such a positive time.
I did just this – I caught up with a friend for dinner at Charcoal Lane in Fitzroy which is a social enterprise of Mission Australia. Charcoal Lane provides guidance and opportunity to young people, many of whom are Aboriginal, and in need of a fresh start in life.
Charcoal Lane serves up a delicious menu with a unique story to tell. They believe stories have always been shared over a good meal, so Charcoal Lane offers native Australian flavours that are inextricably linked with memory and emotion, inspired by the land that produced them. Our time there was not only was a wonderful, delicious experience but we supported a business that uses their influence and profits for good. Now let’s get to the exciting part – the food!
We started with freshly-baked-and-still-toasty-warm bread with mustard seeds and a crunchy crust, baked that afternoon by the trainee chefs.
Our entree’s swiftly arrived and we shared some char grilled Summer vegetables with roasted tomatoes, Yarra valley goat curd, karkalla and a sunrise lime salsa. The karkalla (green cactus looking thing) is a succulent leaf native to South Australia and was our first introduction to the native Australian flavours that were weaved throughout the meal.
We shared some lemon tea tree and garlic prawns with pickled ginger, basmati + wild rice pilaf and coastal succulents. The prawns were fresh, tender and there were these floral lemon thyme aromatic flavours paired with a green curry type sauce and earthy tones from the wild rice pilaf. We paired the entree’s with a Jeanneret Clare Valley Riesling which was the perfect partner for the veggie and seafood dishes.
The restaurant itself is in an old Victorian building on Gertrude St in Collingwood and is bright, airy and a minimalist modern interior.
For mains I ordered a crispy skin grilled barramundi with local sweet potato and desert lime. It was so tasty I forgot to take a photo of it :s We shared some roasted baby chat potatoes with coastal succulents (my new favourite) and they were cooked to crispy perfection.
My friend ordered the eucalyptus glazed leg ham, roasted turkey breast, macadamia pesto stuffing, roast root vegetables, native currant jus. She was a fan and it was the perfect Australian Christmas meal.
There are many other delicious spots to eat whilst supporting a social cause – cue everyone’s favourite Feast Of Merit, Crepes for Change, Wheelly Good Coffee, Lentil as Anything and The Bridge. You can even get chocolate that helps support and employ people with disabilities and beer that helps preserve the Great Barrier Reef.
To help other people this season, spend some of what you were going to anyway on food and gifts companies with social causes like social enterprise and not for profits. There are some people out there doing really cool things, let’s support them.