Well December is upon us again, which means its time to look back on the year of parmas that was, point out some highlights and at the end we'll award some golden chook trophies to the best of the best. Sound good? Good.
2017 was definitely an interesting year. It was the year of our 300th review, the year of the Parma Pie, The year of the Larmagiana, and (at quite a low point in the history of the website) the year I ate parma flavoured dog biscuits.
Looking back on the parmas we had this year there were quite a few stinkers, but between the stinkers there were some diamonds in the rough that are worth shining the spotlight on one more time before the year is out, so before we get to the main event I'm gonna hand out some honorary mentions for parmas that have impressed us in 2017...
It was our first review of 2017 way back in January when we wandered into Lygon Street's Bobo's Diner, and little did we know we were gonna kick off the year by nearly giving ourselves spontaneous stomach ruptures by trying to down this beast...
Being the first of the year, we didn't even have a chance to warm up beforehand. "Just a casual parma at an American themed diner" we thought, "nice easy way to start the year" - But Americans do things big. While it didn't blow us out of the water with its flavour, if you want a challenge then Bobo's is definitely one to check out.
Best Value Parma
If you don't care too much about quality and just want a feed to soak up some beers, then it's almost impossible to look past the parma at Forester's.
Five bucks. With chips and salad. Every day. Do I need to say any more?
It's not going to win awards but it wasn't offensive in any way, shape or form - And to be honest we had worse parmas this year that we paid over 5 times the price for.
Most Creative Parma
There was quite a bit of competition for most creative parma this year! We had the fantastic Chicken Cotoletta from the Baden Powell Hotel and some hilariously good options at the Australia Day Parmageddon the Skinny Dog Hotel - But the winner of Most Creative parma has to go to our very recent visit to The Duke and their Parma/Lasagne hybrid - The Chicken Larmagiana
I'm still amazed at how well this worked. After the first few bites you could forget you were eating a novelty parma and just enjoy it for what it was - A huge, pristine schnitzel with a tasty bolognese, delicious ham and perfectly melted cheese - the pasta sheets and white sauce were just a bonus. Congrats to the Duke and congrats to competition winner Gabby for coming up with the winning recipe and scoring a year's supply of free parmas!
Best Home Delivered Parma
Partly because there are so many take away parmas in Melbourne that were going sorely ignored, and partly because I'm getting lazy in my old age and have begun counting any time I can avoid putting on pants as a win -But 2017 saw the introduction of a new category of review at ParmaDaze - "Crossing the Road", a category dedicated to home delivered parmas. While a few of them were pretty mediocre - One stood out by far as the best we've had in 2017. Toto's Pizza House.
I could sit down at a pub and receive this exact parma and wouldn't bat an eyelid. Restaurant quality delivered to my door - Very impressed.
Most Improved Parma
From this -
To this -
Saint Kilda's The Fifth Province absolutely smashed it in the self improvement category this year. Every criticism we had of their parma in our 2015 review was addressed, and they improved in areas we didn't even think about. A great improvement, a great pub and a great parma.
Best New Parma
Alright! Now we're getting to the pointy end. For newcomers the Best New Parma is the first of two awards we give out every year. Simply put the Best New Parma award goes to the best parma we ate in 2017. The highest scoring new addition to the list in the last 12 months - and while this year's winner is a bit of a surprise, I proudly award Best New Parma 2017 to The Wandi Pub in Wandiligong, Victoria.
Part of October/November's whirlwind Alpine Week series of reviews, the Wandi Pub absolutely blew us out of the water. The Schnitzel, the toppings, the chips, even the pub itself... All absolutely phenomenal (I was going to have an honorary mention for Best Beer Garden, but the Wandi would have taken that as well, and after also winning Time Out Magazine's Best Regional Pub award this year I think they've had enough!)
It's about a 3 hour drive up to Wandiligong from Melbourne. A 6 hour round trip if you don't want to stay the night (although there is on site accommodation if you do). Even so I'd say its definitely worth the trip.
Parma of the Year
While the Best New Parma goes to the best parma we had of 2017, Parma of the Year goes to the best parma we've had since ParmaDaze.com started in 2010 - and as none of the parmas we had in 2017 knocked last year's king off their perch, the 2017 Parma of the Year award once again goes to the phenomenal parma at Fitzroy's Birmingham Hotel...
Look at that beast. Doesn't it make you hungry just looking at it?
Even the experience of the Birmy has improved a little since last year - The tap list has gotten a fair bit craftier with a bunch of new breweries getting space (Cavalier, Goose, 4 Pines, Sample to name a few). I'd even say the chips have gotten slightly better as well. They seemed a little less oily this time around.
Congratulations again to the Birmingham. An award well earned.
And with that another year is over! Massive thanks to all the readers for the support throughout the year, your comments, suggestions and abusive emails are what keep me going -
Also big thanks to the review team, When you drunkenly agreed to do a weekly parma with me after a filling meal at Mrs. Parmas I bet you didn't think we'd still be doing it 7 goddamn years later. Couldn't do it without you guys. Many thanks.
Have an awesome holiday season, I'll most likely be posting of my exploits on Instagram more than anywhere else so that's probably worth following if you aren't already.
Should be back in action mid-January 2018 ... Catch you then! (No dog biscuits next year... I promise).