Last Sunday kicked off the Immigration Museum‘s ‘North South Feast West’, a six-month journey of festivals, workshops and events that celebrate immigrant culture and food. The first of the festivals was the Chocolate Festival, which filled the museum with a bustling crowd enjoying tasting tables, workshops — and even chocolate-flavoured beer.
Being a life-long chocolate lover meant this was my kind of festival, but I was surprised to find that the array of chocolate goodness available wasn’t the highlight of the day. Rather, the huge courtyard came to life with Central American food and music that had the entire crowd cheering. I indulged in delicious nachos for brunch and was completely awestruck by the energy of Maracatu Estrela do Mar, an Afro-Brazilian percussion group.
Of course the chocolate was pretty impressive too. Inside the beautiful old museum building was an array of display stalls filled with tasting tables and all the goods for sale. For those wanting to learn a little more there were Chocolate Tours, Belgian Beer and Chocolate Workshops, and information on the journey of cacao.
I personally revelled in Belgian waffles drizzled in deliciousness from the mouth-watering chocolate fountain and the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted from 2Pocket Fair Trade. It’s safe to say all my chocolate dreams came true.
From January to June the museum will host a range of events that focus on the exploration of culture through food. After all, it’s the easiest way to our hearts. Pop-up bars, street food stalls and DJs will make up the Courtyard Cantina held every Friday night in February. For the spice lovers there’s a Chilli Fest in March, and almost any Melburnian will froth over the coffee fest in June.
Ruby Brown is a freelance journalist who left sunny Byron Bay for the big smoke (Melbourne) four years ago and now happily calls this cultural hub home.