This corridor of Cartlon consists of fancy clothing boutiques and stores sandwiched between distinctly Italian gelatarias and bistros and selections of fine meats and cheeses. Generally the price bracket here is quite high.
I’ve been through this part of Melbourne several times. Almost every time, it has been part of a search for good Italian food and dessert, including an end of year dinner I had with my chemistry class at Gemma’s.
Having no Italian ancestry, I often feel a little lost around here, especially when it comes to the specialty produce stores (I love cheese, but I’m no expert). This feeling, paired with the expensive clothing stores (where I do a lot of window shopping), often makes me feel a bit out of place. However, my memories of times spent with friends in these cafes and restaurants have given me a couple of favourite establishments that I still love to visit, and I am always in the mood for strawberry gelato, my favourite dessert as a kid that always brings me joy.
Having interrogated the foodscape here along northern Lygon street, I feel that I have a clearer understanding of what can be labelled ‘authentic’ Italian food, and this gives me greater confidence to try new things. Because there is no real standard for authenticity, the idea of authentic Italian food is very subjective. I think that I am now more comfortable to enjoy great food, whether it is perceived as authentic or not, and I feel equipped to make my own judgement as to how European food is marketed and presented in Melbourne.