Melbourne Food & Wine Festival
Lovers of fine food and wine are truly in their element this month with the staging of the 25th Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. By Jenny Burns.
THIS YEAR’S MELBOURNE Food and Wine Festival (MFWF), on until 9 April, features over 300 events both around Melbourne and in country Victoria which highlight the State’s world renowned food and wine.
Many of this year’s events take advantage of the international chefs in Melbourne for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 awards (4 to 6 April).
The series “Masterclass” (1 and 2 April), for example, features eight chefs whose restaurants have featured on the best restaurant list.
Several international chefs are also joining forces with Melbourne’s own homegrown culinary legends to offer never-to-be-repeated dining experiences in the MFWF International Chef Collaborations program.
A number of the festival’s activities are based at the purpose built House of Food and Wine.
Tucked down a laneway off Little Lonsdale Street in the heart of the CBD, the house is the venue for creative collaborations and curated food and wine experiences. It’s reflective of a true home, complete with a dining room (event space), a lounge room (the house bar), a garden (laneway) and even a gallery.
The house’s bar is open from noon and is offering Victorian wines from artisan producers and small plates inspired by chefs from past festivals. Two of Patrick Sullivan’s minimalintervention wines, made especially for MFWF 2017, are available on tap.
Events at the house include “Fine Dining Lovers Present A Celebration of Master Class” (1 April), “The Breakfast Club” (2 April), “Fire 2.0” (2 April), “Rootstock Sydney x MFWF” (7 April) and “Makers & Muses”(8 and 9 April) and the “Burger Block Party” (9 April).
Other festival highlights include “Crawl’n’bite” which offers 13 bar, restaurant and neighbourhood crawls. Each ‘crawl’ takes in three of the city’s finest venues in one night for a signature dish and matched drink. The Smith and Johnston Street Fitzroy and Collingwood crawl, for example, takes in the stylish French-inspired Hell of the North, ‘70s-inspired taqueria’ Hotel Jesus and revamped gastropub Fitzroy Town Hall Hotel.
“Restaurant Express” offers the chance to enjoy a two-course express lunch with matching Victorian beverage for $40 at restaurants all over Melbourne and across the state.
While most of the ticketed events of the festival sell out very quickly, there are also a number of free non-ticketed activities on offer.
These include River Graze (1 and 2 April) which sees the Yarra River transformed into a culinary playground for both big and little foodies alike. Producers, winemakers, chefs and food trucks abound while there’s also plenty of entertainment on offer.
The Dandenong World Fare (2 April) hosted by Dandenong Market features 40 multicultural food trucks and street stalls celebrating the flavours of Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.
The South East Asia Festival (8 April) features community projects involving ASEAN communities around Victoria. Authentic foods from Melbourne restaurants are on offer while dance and traditional music performances are other highlights.