Food paradise Melbourne turns into the seventh level of heaven during the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. Running 31 March to 9 April 2017, there's something for everyone: express lunches for the CBD workers, nighttime cocktail excursions, all-day free festivals, and regional events to get you exploring Victoria.
We've picked the top eight events you should book into. Think about buying yourself some stretchy pants first.
Fed in French (Fri. March 31-2 April | until 9pm | free)
From Paris to Provence's founder comes the very first French food event at MFWF. Fed Square and the banks of the Yarra become a Francophone's delight. Macaroons, crepes, croissants for your sweet tooth; terrines, escargots, charcuterie for the carnivores. Wear a beret and Breton striped top to blend in.
Carnaval: A Celebration of Peruvian Culture (Sat. 1 April | 12pm | $110)
Pastuso is our go-to restaurant at The Plus Ones for all things Peruvian, and they're pulling out all the stops to showcase this amazing cuisine. Get a dose of the Andes with entrees including pastel de choclo, or charred sweet corn, and desserts that involve deep-fried Andean pastry stuffed with caramel, aka huargueros de manjarblanco.
The Flowing Bowl punch and cocktail-making party (Sat. 1 April | 5-8pm | $65)
Doesn't this sound divine? Enoteca Sileno in Carlton hosts Shaun Byrne, the co-founder of Maidenii vermouth. Learn how to make the perfect modern-day concoction thanks to Italian liqueur brands Varnelli, Beppi Tosolini, Lucrezio R. and Rossa Sicily, all the while enjoying antipasti. Be inspired for your next party.
South Wharf Craft Beer Weekend (Sat 1-Sun 2 April | all day |$20-$35)
We love craft beer at The Plus Ones, so hearing about a weekend-long craft beer fest has us all excited. Part of River Graze, just like Fed in French, the banks of the Yarra in front of the Melbourne Convention Centre play host to some of the best beer in Australia. Live music and food will help the beer go down a treat.
Smorgasburb by Sand Hill Road (Sun. 2 April | 12-7pm | $29)
One of the best-value events, Smorgasburb celebrates Melbourne's iconic pubs. Seven pubs (Garden State Hotel, Bridge Hotel, Terminus Hotel, Prahran Hotel, Richmond Club Hotel, The Posty, and Holliava) will be scattered throughout Bridge Road, serving up their famous fare. Includes six $5 food tokens to be redeemed on the day.
Balinese ‘Market Tour to Plate' Cooking Class (Sun. 2 & Sun. 9 April | 11am | $123)
The Spice Bazaar Cooking School in Seddon will lead you on a culinary adventure. You'll head to Little Saigon Market before returning to whip up five ‘traditional celebratory dishes', including Balinese spiced pork crispy tempeh
and rendang lamb, plus papaya salad. Pair it with wine or Bintang.
Why Did We Ever Stop Drinking These? (Wed. 5 April | 6-11pm | $48)
The 90s are back with a vengeance, with 90s music tours — and now, 90s food and drinks. Transit hosts a night that the girls from Sex and the City would find fabulous. Order a Cosmo and channel your inner Carrie or Samantha. There's a whole section of the MFWF website devoted to cocktails, too, so get your drink on.
Heritage & Heirlooms on a Plate (Sat. 8 April | 12.30-3.30pm | $90)
This isn't just a dinner: it's a tour. Go further afield, all the way out to the Werribee Park Heritage Orchard and Community Gardens, for a one-of-a-kind experience. Horticulturalist Craig Castree guides you through an orchard from the 1870s before you three-course meal paired with wines.
No matter what you choose to do during Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, you're bound to have a tasty time. Look through the full program and indulge and challenge yourself with some fun and interesting events.
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, Theresa wishes she could go to all the events in the program.
The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival runs 31 March to 9 April 2017.
Many venues are accessible.