From humble beginnings with a few events in 1993, The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (MFWF) has flourished into Australia’s most influential and respected food & wine event, bolstering Melbourne place as the world’s most livable city. The festival has previously hosted international chefs such as Nigella Lawson (UK), Jamie Oliver (UK), René Redzepi (Denmark), Heston Blumenthal (UK), Andoni Luis Aduriz (Spain) and Thomas Keller (USA), ensuring that Victoria is right up there with the international greats, and continues to be a world leader in food trends and creativity.
[su_quote cite=”Michael Harden”]An idea conceived to help a city lift itself from the doldrums has exceeded its wildest expectations and has helped to engender a sense of confidence, purpose and place. It has shown Melbourne to be a city that leads, reflects and listens to what is happening in the world of food and wine because food and wine are part of its lifeblood. And with no shortage of tenacity and vision, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival will continue to be a place where the world gathers to show how truly powerful the simple act of eating and drinking together can be. [/su_quote]
This year’s Melbourne Food & Wine Festival is chock full of unmissable events, and even though a lot of our top picks are already sold out, there are still a huge number of top-notch events for you to head along to. We’ve split up the offerings (available as of the 30th) into price ranges from under $50 right up to the $300 dollarydoo mark.
Up to $49 Dollarydoos
07/04 from 6pm @ Soi 38, Melbourne. $28
Clever Polly’s Sam Stafford serves up a different kind of broth at Soi 38 for a once-off pop-up in celebration of Japan’s favourite dish. A list of wines made and curated by Lou Chalmer will ensure that your thirst is quenched even after your soup bowl is empty.
06/04 from 5pm @ Dr Morse Bar & Eatery, Abbotsford. $38
In true Dr. Morse style, Tyler Preston and Adam Trengrove will flex their Asian flair, showcasing their mastery of cuisine and cellar among hot woks, natural wines and disco beats. All in the great outdoors of Abbotsford’s greenest beer garden.
$50 – $99 Dollarydoos
01/04 from 12pm @ Plough Hotel, Footscray. $53
Chef Scott Thomas and the team at the Plough are putting together a menu of porky goodness: Western Plains pigs, pots from Footscray’s own West City Brewers and pinot from Shadowfax, all set to the soundtrack of local bands. Pigs, pots and pinot – we defy anyone to come up with a better combination.
06/04 from 6.30pm @ Raw Materials, Footscray. $58
International chef Laila El-Haddad will demonstrate a unique recipe exploring the exquisite flavours of Gaza, while taking us on a journey through a region which may be geographically tiny but is home to culinary traditions as rich as the resilience and culture of the Gazan people.
02 & 09/04 from 12pm @ San Antone, Southbank. $60
Featuring unique smokehouse flavours, Crown invites you to experience smoked meats like no other at San Antone by Bludso’s BBQ. Sample our unique American barbecue with third-generation pit master Kevin Bludso at San Antone by Bludso’s BBQ – bringing the taste of Texas to Melbourne.
03 & 04/04 from 7pm @ Milk the Cow Licensed Fromagerie Carlton, Carlton. $72
Celebrate the best of Victorian produce with an epic guided cheese and booze flight by Milk the Cow. We’ll bring together eight of the very best cheeses from our favourite local producers and perfectly match each with regional wines, beers and ciders to elevate the flavours to dizzying new heights.
01/04 from 11.30am @ Fratelli Fresh, Melbourne. $78
Some say Italians are best known for their traditional delicious and flavoursome dishes, to be enjoyed with their amazingly bold wines. We agree wholeheartedly, and our abundant Italian feast will show why. Two hours of feasting on antipasti, pizza, pasta and more, plus free flowing Fratelli Fresh wines.
01/04 from 2pm @ Terra Rossa Restaurant & Bar, Melbourne. $83
Join pizza chef extraordinaire Frankie for a class with a twist – and a throw! Learn the three essential T’s of pizza making – tossing, toppings and tasting. Follow the class with a two-course lunch and matched drinks, plus a goodie bag to take home.
04/04 from 7pm @ David’s, Prahran. $83
Culinary adventurers are invited to dig a little deeper into Chinese cuisine and feast on ten original dishes that we guarantee you won’t find at your local Chinese restaurant. Inspired by traditional ingredients and cooking methods from all corners of China, it’s our way of celebrating home and sharing joy.
31/03, 07 & 08/04 from 10.30am @ Sydney Road, Coburg. $83
Race around Coburg, competing against other teams in search of key ingredients before a shared lunch at the end of the race. You will be darting in and out of shops, solving clues and facing challenges based on cultural cuisines, general ‘world’ knowledge and Coburg itself.
06/04 from 6.30pm @ Allora Cucina, McKinnon. $85
A celebration of the life and career of Frank Sinatra. The music, the movies and the man himself are taking over Allora Cucina for one night! “Dinner with Frank” pays homage to one of history’s greatest performers. Take a step back in time with Allora and Frank as our talented chefs present a 4 course sharing menu inspired by Little Italy New York City, and the hearty rustic cuisine brought to America by Italian Immigrants in the 19th century.
09/04 from 12pm @ Saigon Sally, Windsor. $88
Having established Windsor as one of Melbourne’s culinary hotspots, famous foodie destinations Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina and Saigon Sally will host a progressive lunch where guests can experience the best of the three venues in one day.
06/04 from 6.30pm @ Kaiju Brewery, Dandenong South. $88
Learn from the experts when Uncle’s Smallgoods and Kaiju Brewery team up for a night of artisan smoked meaty masterpieces matched with devastatingly good craft beer and cider.
07/04 from 6.30pm @ Hellenic Republic Brunswick, Brunswick East. $95
The first and original Hellenic Republic in Brunswick is celebrating nine wonderful years the only way Greeks know how – with an epic Hellenic Block Party! Join us for this special night where we bring back your old favourites with our chefs manning live cooking stations, Greek wine and cocktails flowing and some cracking music to match.
01/04 from 4pm @ Collins Quarter, Melbourne. $98
An afternoon of curated canapés, charcuterie and a succulent spit roast in our Magnolia Courtyard. We welcome ex-Head Chef Michael Nunn and his Salt Kitchen in Ballarat, who will partner with our Head Chef Samuel Wilson to create local culinary treats enjoyed with plentiful wines, sourced and matched from the same region.
01/04 from 12pm @ Dutchess, Melbourne. $98
Dutchess celebrates provenance and the relationships with local producers for a special Melbourne Food and Wine Festival event featuring produce from the land and the sea. Two-hatted Head Chef, Dylan Kemp (Royal Mail Hotel, The Point), will create four delectable courses using produce from providores Sher Wagyu, Ocean Made Seafood, Signature Oysters and Yarra Valley Farms.
$100 – $149 Dollarydoos
08/04 from 11.15am @ Ales on Rails, Castlemaine. $110
We’re recreating the golden age of travel. Jump on board our historic steam train at Castlemaine then sit back in the luxury of 1920s club and lounge carriages while sampling some of Central Victoria’s finest craft beers. Lunch at Maldon’s Kangaroo Hotel (with more beer) before returning to Castlemaine.
03/04 from 6.30pm @ Fancy Hanks, Melbourne. $113
Grown & Gathered will raise a pig at their farm in Central Victoria, to be prepared by Fancy Hank’s. In keeping with our zero waste and sustainable practices, the entire pig will be used, served with salads and sides, natural wines from the same farm, and a new beer from our local brewery.
01/04 from 4.30pm @ Junction Moama, Moama. $115
Rich in heritage and abundant in local produce, Junction is a gathering place celebrating the region’s finest. Meet The Makers is your chance to get up close and personal with our local producers in the picturesque Murray River towns of Echuca Moama.
07/04 from 7pm @ Jack Rabbit Vineyard, Bellarine. $120
Celebrating the Bellarine Peninsula’s rich and diverse bounty, every morsel of food and every drop of wine will be grown or crafted within 10k of our Jack Rabbit Vineyard. Five divine courses – from just-caught seafood to succulent lamb, local goats cheese to our cool-climate wines – the Bellarine just keeps getting better.
05/04 from 6.30pm @ Northern Git, Thornbury. $120
Five rounds. Ten courses. Prime cuts vs the rest. Matching wines. Round for round, which will dominate? You be the judge. Join Michael and his team for a banquet of five prime cuts and five offal dishes using – and celebrating – every part of the animal. You, our guests, will judge which dish tops the evening. Includes matched wines.
02/04 from 11am @ Spice Bazaar Cooking School, Seddon. $123
Starting at Footscray Market in Melbourne’s West, learn about Balinese ingredients, visiting seafood, meat, vegetable stalls and an Asian supermarket before being transported to the Spice Bazaar Cooking School. Then it’s hands on to prepare five authentic dishes before sitting down to enjoy them with Wood Park wines or Bintang.
07/04 from 7pm @ The House of Food & Wine, Melbourne. $125
Rootstock Sydney is coming to Melbourne for an all-out party of natural wine, sustainable seafood, and artisan drinks. They’re thinking BIG and will be serving everything magnum-style. There will be natural wine. Things from the ocean. Wild fermented beers. Music. Magic. A touch of mayhem.
03/04 from 6.30pm @ The House of Food & Wine, Melbourne. $125
The most sought-after dinner invitation in Sydney is not at a three-hat restaurant, it’s Monday night at Angie Hong’s place. Hong Family Dinners are coming to our home for the night alongside Australia’s first families of hospitality. This is a rare chance to enjoy the dishes that chefs cook for the ones they love.
31/03 from 2pm @ Rich Glen Olive Estate. $123
Enjoy a unique dining experience surrounded by 36,000 olive trees, overlooking the picturesque Murray River in sunny Yarrawonga. We’re calling it “hay bale dining”, with a tractor ride into the olive grove, and a relaxed long table lunch of local artisanal food with wines to suit.
$150 Dollarydoos And Up
31/05 from 7pm @ The House of Food & Wine. $150
Legendary on the Sydney-scene, Maurice Terzini (Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, and Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta) and Giovanni Paradiso (Fratelli Paradiso, 10 William Street) are bringing their famed Italo Dining & Disco Club to Melbourne for the first time. The boys are throwing an Italian street party in homage to the hallowed culinary outpost of migrant Italian Australians – the humble suburban garage.
02/04 from 10am @ All Saints Estate, Wahgunyah. $163
We’re celebrating the abundance of wine and food produced at All Saints Estate. Choose from one of two interactive culinary workshops – butchery or preserving – before a four-course lunch with matched wines served in our Terrace Restaurant (one chef’s hat) overlooking the vines of our historic Estate.
05/04 from 6pm @ Gingerboy, Melbourne. $168
Gingerboy is no stranger to a party, but this time it’s personal – he’s turning ten – and doing what he does best – throwing a big ol’ hawker-style bash. Crossley Street will be transformed from the laneway we all know and love into a neon jungle, taking cues from the bustling hawker markets that first inspired him over a decade ago.
03/04 from 6.30pm @ Ladro TAP, Prahran. $175
For one night only eight of Melbourne’s top Front of House exponents treat you to the best of hospitality, presenting matching favourite dishes and wines from their restaurants. All proceeds go to fund the work of homeless charity StreetSmart.
03/04 from 12pm @ Bamboo House, Melbourne. $183
Explore Melbourne’s famous Chinatown on The Duck Crawl, created and hosted by Roy Moorfield. Bamboo House, Tea House and Shark Fin House will each present traditional duck dishes, matched with Victorian pinot noir.
06/04 from 6pm @ EZARD, Melbourne
After 17 years, EZARD is entering a new phase, steered by Head Chef Jarrod Di Blasi and guided by the experienced hand of eponymous Chef-owner Teage Ezard. We’ll be revisiting the inimitable EZARD concept with a fresh set of eyes fresh heading into 2017. The menu will offer Jarrod’s interpretation of the reconstructed Asian flavours that EZARD and its namesake have become synonymous with.
01, 06 & 09/04 from 8.30am @ Sandridge Beach, Port Melbourne. $195
Doggy Winery Tours are the pawfect way to spend a day absorbed in food, wine and walks with your pooch. Explore the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula or Dandenong Ranges with your best friend.
04/04 from 7pm @ Philippe, Melbourne. $198
Don’t miss this opportunity to dine at Collins Street’s French eatery, Philippe Restaurant. Invite your taste buds to explore refined French flavours over five courses, paired with matching Rhone-inspired wines from Tahbilk. Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Legends Philippe Mouchel and Alister Purbrick guarantee to transport you straight to culinary heaven.
01/04 from 3pm @ Bouvier, Brunswick East. $200
Covering the breadth of the Caspian Sea to the fertile vineyards of Champagne, this exceptional champagne tasting with The Champagne Dame will feature Maison Bollinger, paired with Beluga and other fruits of the sea, hosted at the eclectic new Bar Bouvier.
Which Melbourne Food & Wine Festival events are you heading along to? Let us know below!