When we decided to create a comprehensive guide to all the events taking place at one of the world’s most exciting Food and Wine festivals, we didn’t realise there was going to be quite so much on offer.
We found over 200 food and drink related activities on Melbourne Food and Wine Festivals website; tours, master classes, tasting sessions, fashion-cum-food shows and more are all taking place in and around Melbourne’s cosmopolitan and needless to say culinary city between the 1-17 March 2013. But then, we figured, that’s what to expect from a Festival which attracts more than 300,000 people each year, some who fly there in an hour, and others who take 24, but who all leave with a real sense of the unique food and wine that Australia has to offer.
So if you belong in the category of people whose pilgrimage to Melbourne’s Food and Drink Festival would take a whole day and night - a minor inconvenience which is inhibiting your visit - then indulge yourself, instead, with our selection of the festival’s must-see events, handpicked just for you.
1 potato, 2 potato, 3 potato more
To spark off all the usual fireworks of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival this year is, um, a spud tour. Don’t be alarmed, besides having a lovely ring to it, the 1 potato, 2 potato, 3 potato more’ tour takes place in one of the trendiest areas in Melbourne – Brunswick – and gives potato lovers the chance to meet local chefs and taste and learn about a variety of potato dishes prepared in different ways. And if that doesn’t sell you then perhaps comedy will – the event is articulately led by Monica Dullard who we’ve heard is a bit of a “hot potato” in Australia’s comedy scene of late…
Worlds Longest Lunch
On the first day of the festival and for one day only, enjoy a three course earth-inspired menu with local ingredients at a signature made 500 metre long table to toast the bounty of Australia’s sun-drenched land. The event takes place on the first day of the festival and is lovingly designed by Australia’s cooking notables, Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer, brought to life by Peter Rowland Catering and matched to wines from one of Victoria’s finest vineyards,Yering Station.
AASCA coffee championship
Know your flat whites from your caps or are you left bumbling over the difference between a long black and short one? Either way, you’ll learn heaps and be jaw-droppingly impressed with the coffee professionals from all over Australia who congregate to take part in this three day AASCA Coffee Championship, kicking off on the 1st of March. On the final day, winners will be crowned Australia's Barista Champion, Latte Art Champion, and Brewer’s Cup Champion.
Fashion and Food is art
When, and how, does fashion and food become art - apart from when you drop ketchup on your shirt and someone takes a picture of you… Fashionistas and foodies will join chefs, food and fashion writers to discuss the natural synergy between our two great loves at this one day event. You are sure to take home some interesting food facts or stylish fashion tips to impress at your next dinner!
For two whole weeks from the very start of the festival, goers can gather the gang at the end of the day for a toast and a tipple at one of many of Melbourne’s famed bars during Bar Express. Pick from one of 53 bars and enjoy a signature cocktail, premium wine or craft brew - along with a tasting plate.
Cooking from the Book
This event also takes place on the first day of the Melbourne Food and Wine festival and involves some of Melbourne's leading chefs, including Daniel Wilson from Huxtable and Nick Bennett from Trocadero, who have been inspired and trained by chefs from around the globe and will host an intimate cooking demonstration for six people by recreating a recipe from their favourite cookbook.
Great Shiraz from planet earth
Held in an underground cellar at Armadale Cellars, ‘Great Shiraz from Planet Earth’ is a celebration of the best shiraz from around the world, all of which is tried and tasted by guests, blindfolded. After tasting, participants are invited to vote for the best shiraz/syrah, before enjoying a light supper.
La Terre Sucree High tea
Held at the National Gallery of Victoria, this special high tea event will draw in foodies and art-lovers alike. Guests will sample flowers, fruits and other earthly delights from an edible garden designed as part of the table decoration, while gazing in awe at some of the brilliant neo-impressionist art on display in The Tea Room at the gallery.
One good thing about the Red-heads BBQ is that it’s a free event, along with many others during the two-week span of the festival. The other gazillion good things about it - too many to mention - include its dedication to everything BBQ - every style, every technique, local and organic, food that sizzles, flames, smokes and grills, the chance to be awarded the Melbourne Pit Master title, BBQ guru’s secrets and techniques, Victorian craft beer, chilled blues music, and more.
‘the craziest way to sample authentic Vietnamese food and culture without the flying time’ is the blurb to event Rickshaw Run. Although I’m not sure it does come without ‘flying’. Jump on board your personal, traditional rickshaw which will take you on a fast and furious tour, winding through some of the best restaurants and markets Footscray has to offer, sampling food at the bustling, noisy Vietnamese market, full of unusual fruits and veg. Those daring enough to sign up will be rewarded for their courage with a more chilled out session mid frenzy, where they will be shown how to make rice paper rolls from experts.
Vietnam on a plate
For those who are less daring, but who still want to sample some authentic Vietnamese culture and cuisine, there is always the ‘Vietnam on a plate’ event. Starting in the bustle and flurry of Footscray’s famous markets, punters will learn how to select, use and store authentic Vietnamese herbs, vegetables, fruits and exotic ingredients and discover how to shop locally and eat globally with the fresh, affordable and unique produce – the stuff that makes Footscray’s markets the ultimate foodlovers' haven.