Every year we look forward to the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. For a glorious fortnight, hundreds of events elevate Melbourne from culinary capital of Australia to — we daresay — the culinary capital of the world. (Yeah, you heard us.)
Sifting through the MFWF events is a herculean task, but we’ve narrowed it down to the top eight events that you should be pencilling into your diaries immediately.
- Port Phillip Mussel Festival (Sat. 7 & Sun. 8 March, free): Ruki and I went to this last year, and boy oh boy was it worth it. The South Melbourne Market (which we love) turns into a seafood street festival. Wander around and stuff your face full of paella as you listen to live music — and don’t forget to visit Ruki’s favourite seafood restaurant in all of Melbourne, Claypots.
- Open Kitchen Weekend (Sat. 28 February & Sun. 1 March, free): Up and down the shores of the Yarra, from Birrarung Marr to South Wharf, there are activities galore for foodies. Southgate has a food fiesta ($15 tasting plates); visit the Polly Woodside — which we love — and have Pimm’s ($16); or check out the food trucks. It’s all happening as you stroll around.
- Fromage A Trois Cheese & Cider Festival (Sun. 15 March, $35): One of the best parts of the MFWF are all of the stellar events out of town. Get yourself a friend with a car and hightail it out to Werribee Park for an all-day mashup between two of the best things on earth: cheese and cider. Is there anything better? I doubt it.
- Global Gathering (Sun. 1 March, free): We love to see an entire street get into it. Over 30 businesses along Bridge Road in Richmond are throwing their doors open for the day. Tasting plates start from $4 (bargain!), and you can do beer tastings, take a dance class, and more. Definitely worth the trip to Richmond for an afternoon.
- Breakfast Around the Tan (Sun. 15 March, $35): The only way I’d actually have fun on the Tan, Melbourne’s infamous running path, is if I’m sitting and eating. This event is tailor-made for non-athletes like me, plus it’s family-friendly. Yes, you can finally catch up with that one friend who has a baby without feeling like you’re bothering other brunch-goers.
- Drunken Dinner (Wed. 11 March, $55-$85): How could I not pick this? I hosted a ‘Dipsomaniac’s Dinner’ for EatWithMe, a social dining site, with the same theme: Eating food that’s made with alcohol. David’s Restaurant will no doubt pull out all the stops, just as David Zhang did at the opening of Zhou Zhou when I went last year. The man knows how to do things.
- Festival Artisan Bakery & Bar (Fri. 27 February–Wed. 18 March, free): Running the span of the MFWF, the Queensbridge Square location in Southbank sees famous bakers showcasing their wares. Not for the gluten-phobes among us,
- Eat, Drink, Tea (Sat. 28 February, $50): Apparently I love events where drinks go inside food, because this afternoon high tea at Collins Quarter has a twist: all of the cocktails and canapes have various teas hidden inside them. Larsen & Thompson Teas, to be exact, and one of the founders will be on hand to take you through a tea journey as you nosh.
In a city known for its gourmet atmosphere, the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival is truly something spectacular. If you do one thing in March, let it be going to one of these many fine events. Eat your hearts out, Melbourne!
Melbourne Food & Wine Festival
27 February to 15 March 2015