I thought it was novel that I bought a salted caramel donut from Movida Bakery a few weeks ago. No jam. No chocolate. Salted caramel.

Then, just a few hundred meters and a few heartbeats away, still in South Yarra, the sweet scents from Burch & Purchese lured me in and hit me with salted caramel spread and a chocolate, mandarin and salted caramel cake. This is Adults Only sweets, kids, and they (and their cult following) take their salty caramel pretty damned seriously.

The triumvirate hit a week down the track, when I sauntered in to the northside’s new St Ali’s outpost, in the wilds of Carlton North. And there it was, except this time, the salted caramel appeared in a macaroon lurking on the side of its hit-me-between-the-eyes coffee. (Obvious note: salted caramel is the new macaroon.)

Laid back? You bet. St Ali North

I was caught off guard: I had only just finished mainlining what looks like your standard bacon-and-egg fry, but was in fact stone fruit halved and fried (that’s your ‘tomatoes’), and bacon ice cream, (the roll of white ice cream was doing a good poached egg impersonation, and the bacon was in the form of a scattering of tiny bacon chips on top), served on brioche. Yes, more salt-and-sweet: it was fabulous. I wish I’d photographed it for you, but reader, I hoovered it all up so fast, you would have had to use the ‘sports’ setting on your camera.

It’s not just me, check out seven (seven!) more Melbourne haunts to get the taste of 2012 in the excellent Broadsheet magazine.