Melbourne is known for a lot of things, and most of those things are food or drink. We’re not a beach city, a harbour city, or even a city where the sun shines more than three days a week. Sure, we have culture, but we all know that our theatre, music and dance scene thrives mainly because it offers us convenient digestion time between dinner and dessert.
The majority of Melbourne’s cultural capital can be drunk, chewed and swallowed. We are a coffee city. We are a red wine city. We have whole suburbs known for different types of food worship, whether it’s pho in Richmond, injera and stew in Footscray, pizza in Carlton or chia pods with coconut pith in Armadale.
But, over the last few years, Melbourne has also morphed into a doughnut city. Doughnuts are no longer the domain of television cops and Homer Simpson. In recent years, this doughnut enthusiast has witnessed flavours like maple bacon, lychee, and Earl Grey crème brulee, and that’s just within the Melbourne CBD.
Doughnut shops are popping up all over our city. There’s Doughboys and Shortstop in the CBD, All Day in Brunswick, and a Doughnut Time for roughly every second shop front. There’s the trendiest of cronuts hitting every café from Collingwood to Coburg, as well as tried and true classics like the Hot Jam Donuts van at Preston Markets and American Doughnut Kitchen at Queen Victoria Markets.
Someone smart has got wind of the doughpocalypse (try saying that fast with a donut in your mouth) and has done something that all of us should have thought of a long time ago. That’s right, doughnut-lovers: there’s a doughnut festival coming to our town.
Stop shaking and crying, get out your diary and block out the afternoon of Sunday March 12 for Melbourne’s inaugural Donut Fest. Held in the massive beer garden of St Kilda Road’s The Village, the festival will host vendors from some of the most delicious doughnut holes in town: Nieuw Amsterdam, Goldeluck’s Bakeshop, Dip’d and, confusingly, is-it-or-isn’t-it-a-donut Cupcake Central. If you’re vegan or gluten free (or both, lucky you), you’ll be delighted to hear that Cocomama’s and Simply Gluten Free are also on board. There will also be coffee and beers available on the day, making your food and drink coma complete.
You might think six solid hours of scoffing doughnuts will leave you feeling a little overwhelmed and a little embarrassed at the end of the day. Luckily, the organisers are all over this, too. Donut Fest is collecting gold coin donations from everyone who attends to raise funds for Eat Up, an organisation which donates school lunches to kids in need across Australia. There you go: all that scoffing is actually for a good cause.
Doughnuts have come a long way since they were the oily cake of choice by Dutch settlers travelling to America. Doughnuts have finally been Melburnised, and there’s no going back.