Pick your own at the Spring Hill Peony Farm.

Pick your own blooms at the Spring Hill Peony Farm.

Food & wine


FEAST on the produce of Peppermint Ridge Farm's organic native garden at its Bush Food Lunch tomorrow. The two-course spread highlights the intense flavours of indigenous plants and features a revolving menu including rice paper rolls with lemon myrtle and mountain pepper, pesto made with native spinach and macadamia nuts, and tomato cooked with strawberry gum. Desserts include the anise myrtle and pear upside-down cake. Bookings essential.
Tomorrow noon, Peppermint Ridge Farm, 540 Tynong North Road, Tynong North, $30, 5942 8580,

One of the ArtPlay Christmas lights.

One of the ArtPlay Christmas lights.


PUDDING is as essential to Christmas dinner as bad jokes, paper hats and backyard cricket. Anyone can knock down stumps but it takes practice to make the perfect pudding. Green Renters is running two workshops this weekend in Kensington (today 3pm-5pm) and Melton South (tomorrow 10am-noon) passing on the secrets of production, from choosing the best recipe and sourcing ingredients to making the perfect pud to take home. Today and tomorrow, various times and venues, $10, greenrenters.org


Beci orpin's wooden mushrooms will appear at the Big Design Market next weekend.

Beci Orpin's wooden mushrooms will appear at the Big Design Market next weekend.

UNWRAP the sweet history of Melbourne's inner north on a chocolate tour of Fitzroy tomorrow. Professor Howard Frederick leads the walking tour, which focuses on the career of MacPherson Robertson, inventor of Freddo Frog and Cherry Ripe as well as the proprietor of White City, the confectionery factory that once employed 3000 workers. The tour concludes with a chocolate tasting and high tea at Collingwood's Mamor Chocolates.
Tomorrow 1.50pm for 2pm start, meeting location to be advised, $55,



PLACE your Christmas turkey order with Milawa Free Range Poultry at Kingston Farmers' Market today. Smiths of Taminick has new-season cherries and stone fruit grown in north-east Victoria, Gippsland's Weyhill Farm will be serving up new-season garlic and Sea Bay Mussels will have fresh, plump Port Phillip Bay specimens on offer.
Today 8am-12.30pm, Sir William Fry Reserve, corner Nepean Highway and Bay Street, Highett, $2 entry,


CENTRAL Victoria's finest will be on hand for the Castlemaine Farmers' Market tomorrow including Sutton Grange producers Holy Goat Cheese, Plains Paddock lamb and fresh-made pasta courtesy of Spaghetti Engineering. Home gardeners are encouraged to join the produce exchange on the day and shoppers are also invited to collect a recipe card from the Castlemaine Secondary College Food Group.
Tomorrow 9am-1pm, Victory Park, Castlemaine, gold coin donation, vicfarmersmarkets.org.au


A FAVOURITE of shoppers with discerning tastes, the Melbourne Design Market takes over the car park at Federation Square twice a year with an ever-replenished line-up of designers showcasing original fashion, homewares, furniture, lighting and design.Tomorrow's highlights include lighting from Boot, eyewear by Bailey Nelson, ceramics from urban cartel and the hanging gardens of Glasshaus. Designer Musik will entertain and Bean, Ground and Drunk's organic coffee will kick-start the crowd.
Tomorrow 10am-5pm, Federation Square car park, corner Flinders and Swanston streets, city, free, melbournedesignmarket.com.au


MELBOURNE'S independent publishers join forces for Papertrail. In what is to become a quarterly event, publishers including Hard Workers Press, Motto Melbourne and Perimeter Books will offer their printed wares of art and photography zines, books and miscellany. Also on hand will be the self-explanatory Black Coffee Shop.
Today and tomorrow 10am-4pm, Magic Johnston, 27-29 Johnston Street, Collingwood, free, magicjohnston.com


IT'S no picnic choosing from the craft and produce on offer at the Hanging Rock Christmas Market. Gift ideas include handmade wooden kitchenware from Australian Wattle Woodcraft, colourful art smocks and aprons from Get Smocked and glamorous pet beds and dishes from Lyrebird Pet Furniture, as well as food and fresh produce courtesy of local producers. Just don't let the kids wander too far.
Tomorrow 10am-3pm, Hanging Rock Recreation Reserve, South Rock Road, Woodend, $5 per car,

Out of town


IT'S peony season! Pick your own this weekend at the Spring Hill Peony Farm (pictured). Bring your gum boots, secateurs and sun protection, then roam free in the peony paddock. Dogs are welcome, but keep your pooch on a lead so they are not tempted to bother the free-ranging chooks. Flowers are paid for by the armful, and the entry fee is redeemable on purchases.
Today and tomorrow 11am-5pm, 1385 Kyneton Spring Hill Road, Spring Hill, $5, 5424 8470, springhillpeonyfarm.com.au


THE Geelong Welsh Women's Choir have been harmonising their way around the world for many years, touring Wales in 2004 and eight New Zealand cities in 2010. They perform a special home Christmas show this weekend featuring traditional Welsh and Australian sacred, popular and inspirational songs in four-part harmonies with a seasonal twist. Celtic finger food is included with admission.
Tomorrow 4pm, Uniting Church, Corner Hesse and Stokes streets, Queenscliff, $20, unitingqueenscliff.org.au


IT'S like a scene from Back to the Future: '80s stadium-rockers Simple Minds and innovative new wave punks Devo headline an afternoon concert together at a winery. It's just crazy enough to work, particularly with fellow '80s alumni Australian acts The Church and Models in support. Those who opt for the (pricier) concert and dining package also get a three-course meal, matched with wines from Rochford's cellar.
Today 3pm, Rochford Wines, 878-880 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream, $104.50-$440 (including optional extra for bus transfer), 136 100, ticketmaster.com.au


THE Tarrawarra Bienniel 2012, the third of its kind at the gallery, collects works from artists engaged with sound, music and voice. Sonic Spheres features drawing, scores, sculptures, videos and other mediums in works from artists such as Lauren Brincat, Dylan Martorell and Victor Meertens. The final of a series of live performances takes place tomorrow with the shimmering cymbals and phasing synthesisers of Snawklor and a performance by Victor Meertens and Alexis Ensor on the one-of-a-kind string and wind instrument the Goatafone.
Tomorrow 2pm, TarraWarra Museum of Art, 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Healesville, free with admission, 5957 3100, twma.com.au



USING motion-triggered surveillance photography of animals in national parks around Victoria, a group of artists from The Centre for Creative Arts at La Trobe University has created a series of films entitled Nature in the Dark. While the photos were originally gathered for research purposes, the films examine our relationship with the unseen natural world. On daily rotation until December 22.
Today and tomorrow, various times, Federation Square, city, free, centreforcreativearts.org.au


WIGGLES offsider Dorothy the Dinosaur stars in her own musical Christmas Spectacular, which is waggling its way around the country. The show, written by Blue Wiggle Anthony Field, features familiar characters Captain Feathersword, Wags the dog and Henry the octopus, as well as a couple of special guests from the North Pole.
Tomorrow 10am, South Barwon Civic Centre, 2 Colac Road, Belmont, $26, 1300 762 545, oztix.com.au


ARTIST Sue Davis has been working with children at ArtPlay creating Christmas lights (pictured) with digital photos, colourful transparent film and recycled City of Melbourne decorations, including stars that once hung over the city streets. A group exhibition of more than 150 lights has been created outside ArtPlay. Visit tonight as they flick the switch and illuminate the stars for the first time. Refreshments provided.
Today 8pm, ArtPlay, Birrarung Marr, behind Federation Square, city, free, 9664 7900, melbourne.vic.gov.au/artplay

Coming up


TOUTED as the biggest of its kind in Australia, the Big Design Market has set the bar high. Fortunately it has the entire Royal Exhibition Building to fill with independent Australian and international designers, including Beci Orpin, Emily Green and High Tea with Mrs Woo. Expect homewares, fashion, textiles, children's products, books and more. Held over three days next week, the market also offers food and coffee and a kids' play space.
December 7-9, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson Street, Carlton, free entry,


VICTORIAN Opera's Sleeping Beauty is an all-singing, all-dancing pantomime that will appeal to audiences of all ages. Under conductor (and VO music director) Richard Gill and with the same team behind last year's Cinderella, the 70-minute production tells the story of Tickety Boo the fairy godmother, Darcy the court jester, the Jollies, young Princess Aurora and the evil fairy who places a curse on her.
January 17-19, Her Majesty's Theatre, 219 Exhibition Street, city, $32.50-$140, 1300 795 012, ticketek.com.au