Not for the faint hearted.... / by Mario Mirabile

The Block Arcade is a heritage listed shopping arcade connecting Collins and Elizabeth Streets in central Melbourne. L-shaped with a domed central atrium, it is lined with beautifully restored retail spaces, and at the Collins Street end you'll find one of the best places to get a sugar fix - the Hopetoun Tea Rooms.

Opened in 1891 for the Victorian Ladies Work Association and named for the founder Lady Hopetoun, it has become a Melbourne institution. It's not unusual to see a queue of eager customers lined up along the arcade waiting patiently for their chance to take a seat and sample the fare in an atmosphere of refined elegance. Although you can get a proper meal there, it has become justly famous for its high tea and remarkable selection of cakes and pastries. The window display, seen here early in the morning before hungry customers take their toll, is breathtaking in its decadence and an attraction in itself. 

It's certainly not something you'd attempt every day, but as a special treat, tackling the window display would be a noble effort. Just make sure you're not on a diet.