I’m going to put it out there.

I am a dog lover.

Sorry cat lovers. I do tolerate cats but ever since I tried to introduce one to my dog when I was 7 (yes, not the smartest idea), I haven’t felt completely comfortable around any animal with the propensity and desire to claw at my face. I make exceptions for my dear furry cat-friends, Roger, Ziggy, and Sarah Socks, but otherwise, cats and I unfortunately got off on the wrong foot.

Dogs however steal my heart, hands down. I am one of those people who will pat dogs I see waiting for their owners outside cafés. I love nothing more than cuddling up on the couch with Gina (our family dog). I have googled, “How to become a dog walker”.

I would own a dog but for the fact that I don’t live in a pet-friendly apartment. Boo!

So when my lovely friend Shani mentioned to me that she was going to an event in Centennial Park called “Dachshunds in the Park” with her boyfriend Kieren and their gorgeous dogs, Coco and Taco, I invited myself and Mark along and we came up with the genius idea of a “Sausage vs. Sausage Dog Picnic“*.

*No sausage dogs were harmed in the making of this picnic.

Here’s what we did:


Food:     Victor Churchill, Woollahra

Event:    “Dachshunds in the Park”, Centennial Park

Picnic:   A quaint spot near Musgrave Avenue, Centennial Park

Coffee:   Centennial Park Kiosk, Centennial Park

Let’s go!



 132 Queen Street, Woollahra

If you’re after swanky sausages (yes, there is such a thing), Victor Churchill is your place.


Victor Churchill has maintained its location as a butchery in the leafy suburb of Woollahra in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs since 1876 (!). It is now in the hands of father and son team, Vic and Anthony Puharich, the duo behind Vic’s Premium Quality Meat. Shall we go inside?


The door handle is modelled on a link of sausages and I was pleased to see this theme continued to the draw handles at the work bench where they wrap up your produce.

As you will see, the store is a work of art. Literally. It won the 2010 International Interior Design Award for retail stores and the window display when we visited had been commissioned by an artist and featured beautiful and intricate copper and brass autumn leaves which framed a huge cut of meat.


It is unfitting to describe Victor Churchill as a “butchery” in the traditional sense as it is the antithesis of your ordinary butcher shop with plastic door curtain, abrupt fluorescent lighting and astro turf grass display. Rather, Victor Churchill is a high-end meat boutique. It’s what you get if you crossed a butchery with a Louis Vuitton store (as it is oft described).

There is a glass-walled meat ageing room where specialty cuts of meat slowly travel along a cog gear and metal chain rack, infusing with the flavour of the Himalayan rock salt brick wall. You can also watch expert butchers deftly preparing meat behind floor-to-ceiling glass, as if it were theatre.


You can find all cuts and types of meat, house-made charcuterie, rotisserie chicken, and also salts, oils, French butter, duck fat, terrines…

My Djedo (grandfather) used to have his own smoke house and make this. I wish I loved prosciutto back then as much as I do now 😦

…and freshly baked bread and pastries



For our picnic, we ordered a selection of the house made sausages:  Lamb Merguez, Pork Apple & Cider and Pork Italian.



They were carefully wrapped up and packaged in a beautiful bag, equivalent to a designer shopping bag, and a fitting end to the Victor Churchill experience.



Note that if you stop into Victor Churchill between Monday and Saturday, you can purchase freshly cooked gourmet sausage rolls and hot dogs, so save yourself the cooking time and simply pick one up on your way to Centennial Park!

Check out the Victor Churchill website for more details. 




Federation Valley, near Loch Avenue, Centennial Park

From Victor Churchill, it is an easy drive or walk over to the beautiful Centennial Park, for our next stop, the “Dachshunds in the Park” event.

Firstly, a bit about Centennial Park as it has quite an interesting history. It opened on the first centenary, 26 January 1888, and at the opening, Sir Henry Parkes gave a rousing speech and said:

“It is emphatically the people’s park and you must always take as much interest in it as if by your own hands you had planted the flowers; and if you take this interest in it, and if you thus rise to the full appreciation of its great beauty, and your great privileges, the park will be one of the grandest adornments of this beautiful country”.

Truer words have not been spoken and you will fully appreciate the great beauty of Centennial Park when you come across views like this one:


Here’s a bit of trivia: Did you know Centennial Park was also where they proclaimed the Federal Constitution of Australia on 1 January 1901?  Apparently, 250,000 people (I’m guessing all of Sydney at the time) gathered in Centennial Park to celebrate the joining of six formerly independent colonies as one Commonwealth of Australia. The highlight of the festivities was a ceremony which took place in what is now known as Federation Valley, which has rising slopes that afforded the crowd and members of the press good views.

Federation Valley is now an off-leash dog area and the meeting point for the “Dachshunds in the Park” event, created by a dedicated group of dachshund lovers who meet around 10:30am on the last Sunday of every month.

I once read in awe about the popularity of “cat cafes” in Tokyo, where people who do not have the space for a pet can pay to spend time patting cats. For me, the “Dachshunds in the Park” event was kind of like that, but less creepy as it was consensual and all doggy cuddles were given to me out of free will. All I needed to do was sit on the grass and wait for gorgeous little dachshunds to jump in my lap, like this one:


Here are some friends I made:



We nicknamed the dapper dachshund in the bow-tie, “Lord Nelson”, but we’re sure he might have a cooler name. Please let us know what it is!


I believe this pretty girl was named “Bettina”

It was funny to watch the confidence of the dachshunds en masse. They definitely have a pack mentality and worked together to drive away other breeds that dared to gatecrash their party. This little guy was brave enough to sneak through – look how happy we are!

If you have a dachshund, sign up to the “Dachshunds in the Park” group on Facebook to stay up to date on events. Below is a map of the Federation Valley off-leash area which you may want to visit at other times if you’re ever in need of a quick dog cuddle – just try to act normal, and if anyone asks, pretend one of the dogs is yours:




Near Musgrave Avenue BBQ area, Centennial Park

We found a really quaint picnic spot just off Musgrave Avenue and in close proximity to the BBQ area and bathrooms. It was also in walking distance of Federation Valley.

Time to meet our friends, Coco and Taco:


Coco (pink collar) and Taco (blue collar) are best buddies and as you can see, they are super, super cute. They both have their own distinct personalities. Coco can be described as a princess with a diva attitude. She is a bit aloof around strangers and standoffish to the other dogs, but deep down behind that ‘mean girl’ exterior is a very sweet girl just looking for some attention.


Taco, on the other hand, is a friendly, laid back and chilled dude (surprisingly, a bit like his owner, Kieren). He’s the counterbalance to Coco and the two are inseparable. Even with all the other dachshunds around at the “Dachshunds in the Park” event, they didn’t want to leave each other out and stuck together, like all BFFs do.

We set up our picnic rug and Mark got to cooking up the sausages on the BBQ nearby. I sliced up our baguette and we filled these with our sausages and “Sataraš”, the Croatian equivalent of tomato relish, made with tomato, onion and capsicum (get the recipe here).



Our Victor Churchill sausages were juicy and flavourful. Combined with the Sataraš and our crispy baguette, it made for a delicious and satisfying lunch.


Thanks to Shani, Kieren, Coco and Taco for joining The Picnic Press. We had so much fun!



→  Parking: There is plenty of parking within Centennial Park and its free.

→  BBQs: There are free BBQ sites in Centennial Park which operate on a first-in basis. BBQs are located in picnic areas near Model Yacht Road, Musgrave Avenue (where we went), Ash Paddock, Learner’s Cycleway, Paperbark Grove and adjacent to the playground near Paddington Gates. Don’t forget to be considerate and clean the hotplate after use. You can also bring your own portable BBQs with legs (provided there are no total fire bans in operation). You cannot use BBQs that sit on the grass and it goes without saying that you must not dump hot coals or any other rubbish.

→  Toilets: The public toilets are actually, well, nice. In fact, a respected UK design firm voted them one of the top 10 amenities in the world. Yeah, tweet that.

→  Reserved picnic spots: You can reserve picnic sites for large groups on payment of a fee – see the Picnics bookings page for more details. Note, you cannot reserve BBQ areas.

→  Playground: There are a couple of playgrounds for kids at Paddington Gates and near the Centennial Park Kiosk, our next stop.

→  Bicycle hire: Centennial Park is very popular with cyclists who like to tear through the inner loop. There is a good area for kids called Learners Cycleway with an off-road bike track, so that they are not exposed to cars or other cyclists. You can hire bicycles from Centennial Park Cycles, 7 days. There’s also some pedal cars for a fun experience.

→  Horse riding: You can ride horses in Centennial Park and there are pony rides available for kids on the weekends.

→  Dog-grooming: Get this, Centennial Park has its own dog grooming service, available 7 days. See details here. Handy!

→  Alcohol: Alcohol is permitted within most of Centennial Park, but there may be declared alcohol-free zones, so take note of any signs near your picnic spot.

Check out the Centennial Parklands website for more details about Centennial Park, including upcoming events and activities!




Corner Grand Drive and Parkes Drive, Centennial Park

The Centennial Park Kiosk is in the middle of Centennial Park and a great spot to grab a coffee or tea to recharge.

The Kiosk serves light meals and takeaway treats, including brownies (that I barely resisted) and some healthier snacks as well, such as muesli bars, fruit, and popcorn.


If you want to take a seat at the Kiosk, it’s in a pretty, shaded spot (just behind me, below). Keeping with the picnic theme, we took our coffee and enjoyed it on our blanket on the grass in the sun. Ah, bliss!




Here is a bonus this week – our list of packing essentials! As this picnic involved some cooking, we needed to prepare ahead and pack a little extra this time. The below list may be handy as a checklist for your next BBQ picnic!

The Picnic Press essentials:

♦   Picnic blanket

♦   Plates

♦   Napkins / paper towel

♦   Drinks (with optional lemon and mint garnish)

♦   BBQ scraper

   BBQ tongs

♦   Cooking oil

♦   Salt (to clean the BBQ)

♦   Hand sanitiser (a good idea around dogs, and great for cleaning sticky hands)

♦   Lunchbox / container with lid to easily transport cooked sausages and keep warm

♦   Home made Sataraš (click here for the recipe!)

AND if you’re planning to visit Centennial Park, make sure you bring your best friend!


 Coming to The Picnic Press: Next week, we reveal where to find delicious food and a gorgeous spot to visit in South West Sydney!

Your Suggestions: We’re on the hunt for a great picnic spot in South Sydney (e.g. Cronulla, Sans Souci, Brighton Le Sands, Dolls Point, etc…). Where is your favourite place for good takeaway, coffee and a picnic in South Sydney?

See you next week!


P.S If you love Mark’s photos, check out his other work at Mark Jay Photography and on Facebook.




There are no rules that say you have to picnic on a Sunday. So, last weekend, instead of doing boring Saturday stuff (like ironing clothes for the week), we decided to kick-start the blog instead.

We settled on a light brunch picnic as we only had a few hours spare in the morning and we decided to keep it local by staying around the East.  We came up with the following itinerary:


Food:     Eveleigh Market, Eveleigh

Coffee:   Crate Bar & Pizza, Oxford Street, Paddington

Picnic:   Paddington Reservoir Gardens, Paddington

 Because of where we are going, we didn’t need to take much so we left with a bag containing the following:

  • Picnic blanket
  • Knife
  • Wooden chopping board
  • Napkins
  • Water bottle (because water is free that way)
  • Crackers (because there are good cheese stalls)
  • Home made berry sauce (because it was delicious)

So, are you packed? Yes? Let’s go!



 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh (near Redfern)

Eveleigh Market comes alive every Saturday between 8am and 1pm. Market stalls are set up in an old heritage listed railway workshop known as the Blacksmith’s Workshop (adjacent to Carriageworks) in Eveleigh, a tiny suburb near Redfern.

I need to make a confession upfront, as it is likely to be something you see in this blog a lot. I have a thing for old walls. It’s weird. I know it. Mark knows it. But I can’t help it! The more flaky, decrepit, crumbled, or worn out the wall looks, the more I love it. Eveleigh Market has great walls.

Apart from that, you can find all kinds of local fresh produce here. There’s everything from gourmet meats (organic grass-fed lamb anyone?), handmade pasta, free-range eggs, artisan cheese, smoked fish, delicious baked goods, boutique wines and vibrant flowers. And of course, a great range of organic fruits and vegetables.

The Saturday morning hustle

So much choice!

Multi-tasking Saturday grocery shopping with our brunch picnic date. See, efficient!

Yes, it’s not exactly cheaper than Coles or Woolies for your fruit and veg, but you do get a chance to chat to the owners and find out where your produce is coming from. And for some things, like the massive bunch of organic purple kale we got, its freshness can’t be beaten. If you normally save your grocery shopping for Saturday, then this is the perfect opportunity to multi-task. The bonus is that most of the stallholders offer free samples so you can see what takes your fancy. And, you can do it all with a coffee in hand!

It’s a good idea to bring a spare bag for your goodies!

So for our picnic brunch menu, we tried amazing goats curd from a stall called Willowbrae Chevre Cheese and decided this had to feature. We paired that with some delicious fresh figs from G & M Putrino, which we were informed may be the last of the season, and which would go perfectly with the goats curd and our pre-packed crackers.

Yes, that’s me making a beeline for Sonoma

And because of the way those damn cinnamon scrolls were deliciously stacked at the Sonoma stand – I swear if you stood close enough you could hear them whisper “Eat me! Eat me!” – we picked up a croissant and a cinnamon scroll to round it out.

“Eat me! Eat me!” they said

Sonoma croissants – the best in Sydney!

As you can see, deciding on our picnic menu was an unplanned but very inspired process. If you make the Eveleigh Market your picnic produce stop, then we simply encourage you to go in hungry and see what you feel like on the day!

Mark chose kale over flowers. What a romantic!

The Picnic Press Tips

→  Bring cash to save time lining up for it. There is an ATM in Carriageworks across the Markets if you need more.

→  Bring a spare bag for your produce, or if you have it, a ‘granny trolley’ (there’s probably a proper name for this). Never fear, there is a stall selling these in cute prints if you decide you need one.

→  Chat to the growers about what’s in season and what to do with your produce. For example, I didn’t know that you could use beetroot leaves instead of kale in salad or that you could freeze goats curd and defrost as needed to make it last longer. It makes for less waste and a good learning experience.

→  Get up early and enjoy breakfast there. There is great coffee to get you started (and for while you’re looking around) and the guys at Bird Cow Fish do unbelievably good lookin’ bacon and egg sandwiches with melted cheese (which Mark already knows we need to come back for).

→  If you head over later or are peckish for a light lunch instead, check out the very popular Billy Kwong stall which serves up pork dumplings and egg pancakes. Kylie Kwong is often spotted there behind the steamers and by the way those people stand around devouring those pork buns, you just know it’s good.

→  Keep an eye on the prices or just ask if you’re unsure. For example, I got said massive bunch of organic purple kale plus a large head of organic broccoli for $7 which I thought wasn’t too bad as it most likely will last us the week. A small bag of organic green beans at another stall was $5 so perhaps less of a bargain.

→  And most importantly, try stuff you haven’t tried before if a tasting is on offer.

Getting there

Train: It’s about a 7-minute walk from Redfern train station.

Bike: If you’re local and have a bicycle with a basket (seems mandatory here), then you can park it in the bike rack out front.

Car: If like us, you’ve taken the car, there is street parking which is free for a certain period, but you may need to (kindly) stalk someone for it. Apparently, you can also park at Australian Technology Park and take a free shuttle service to Eveleigh from 8.15am to 12.30pm from Bay 8.

See the Eveleigh Market website for more details.



393 Oxford Street, Paddington

So we’ve chosen this cute little coffee spot as:

  1. It’s within easy walking distance of the Paddington Reservoir Garden; and
  2. They brew Campos (hoorah).

Love our Campos!

On Saturdays, the Paddington Markets are held next door from 10am, so if you’re not in a rush, you might want to check that out too.



Corner of Oxford Street and Oatley Road, Paddington

So maybe you’ve spent the day shopping on Oxford Street in Paddington and walked right past it, but in between Country Road and the Paddington Chauvel Cinema is a beautifully landscaped underground garden known as Paddington Reservoir. If you have read “About Us”, you’d have found out that this place kicked off the blog and is also affectionately termed “Ritual” (as in, “Shall we do Ritual today?”).

In its former life (and as its name hints), it used to be a vital source of water to Sydney up until 1899. The water was emptied and the site was then repurposed a couple of times including as a garage and petrol station which was later abandoned. It opened again in 2009 after having been restored and re-imagined in a new way. There are two levels – the upper street level has a lawn with permanent concrete seating and which has displays showing the history of the site.

But, for a picnic, we suggest heading down to the lower level to relax in the garden, away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street.

Here’s how we set up our delicious market fare:

The lower level has various chambers with beautiful Romanesque brick archways, a hanging garden canopy around a pool in the centre.

I would describe it as Sydney’s answer to the High Line in New York – not as big obviously – but with a similar concept of lovingly transforming an industrial, abandoned space into an urban oasis.

Photographers love this space as there are many architectural features that give off great light and shadows, so you’ll often see some sort of photo shoot taking place here. One of the chambers is used for various art installations and community events but is not always open to the public. You can still take a peek in though.

There is a great feeling of calm and it is surprisingly quiet, given the main street is just above. You don’t have to just come for a picnic – it’s also a wonderful place to rest your legs (and credit card) if you’ve spent the day shopping on Oxford Street, or to simply take some time out with a book. It really is a hidden gem.


To read & sit: There are FREE library books to read and FREE gorgeous striped deck chairs to sit on while you are there. There are newsagents for more reading materials nearby.

Toilets: There are no public toilets in the Reservoir but nearby are some pubs. If you’re cheeky like us, there is the Australian Centre for Photography on Oxford Street (walk past the Country Road side) which may have a bathroom with Aesop hand-wash BUT if you visit them it is only fair that you also check out the amazing photography as well.

Kids: The Reservoir is a great option for little kids as they can run about in the underground section and play hide and seek without you having to worry about them running onto the road.

Getting there

Located on the corner of Oxford Street and Oatley Road, Paddington. In between Country Road and the Chauvel Cinema, and across from the Imperial Hotel pub.

Car: We have always been lucky to get parking out front which is free all day on weekends (but make sure you check the signs)

Bus: Bus routes 378, 382 and 380 stop nearby.

Bike: Of course you can ride your bicycle there too. There is wheelchair and pram access to the lower level as well.


We had a car with us so we were happy to drive between destinations. If you don’t feel like travelling between Redfern and Paddington (about a 10 minute drive, but longer by public transport) you may want to mix and match this itinerary. For example, if the Eveleigh Market takes your fancy, head there instead and find a more local park for your picnic, like Australian Technology Park (which we’ll write up in a later issue). Or if you like the look of Paddington Reservoir Gardens, the coffee stop at Crate Bar & Pizza is walkable and you can pick up lunch / snacks there or along the way.

Be flexible and go with the flow.

It’s more enjoyable that way.


P.S. If you like Mark’s photos, check out his professional page, Mark Jay Photography and on Facebook, for more!