Melbourne is already known as Australia’s food capital.
But for two weeks in March it will go next level as chefs and food-lovers fly in from around the globe for the biggest celebration of eating and drinking in Victoria.
The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival is back for its 27th year between 8 and 24 March, with more than 250 events taking place all over Victoria.
There’s the World’s Longest Lunch held simultaneously in 19 different locations; a series of restaurant crawls in emerging culinary destinations Ballarat, Kyneton and Healseville; and restaurants throughout the city are joining the festivities with special dishes, speakers and events.
Most of Melbourne’s best-loved restaurants are hosting special dinners and events as part of the two-week celebration. Tipo 00 is holding a pasta degusation on 10 March; Asian hawker-style restaurant Gingerboy recreating signature dishes from the past 12 years as part of a retrospective on 12 March; and there’s a three-course lunch at Stokehouse in St Kilda featuring Donna Hay as a speaker.
That’s not to mention all the bars putting on tastings, demonstrations and events, including Transit Rooftop Bar, Le Bon Ton, Kirk’s Wine Bar and Four Pillars Gin.
It all begins with one key dining destination, though. For three days, Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre (which is, fittingly, a renovated brewery) will transform into The House of Food and Wine.
Inside its walls you’ll spot chefs such as Paul Carmichael from Momofuku Seibo, Masterchef alumnus Adam Liaw and Curtis Stone demonstrating how to create their favourite dishes (and hopefully snag a sneaky taste) and have the chance to hear some of the biggest names in food discuss pressing topics in the food industry today. Brae’s Dan Hunter, Quay’s Peter Gilmore, Kate Reid from Lune Croissanterie and Canada’s top sommelier Vanya Filipovic will discuss issues as varied as sustainability, our obsession with cult foods, how to drink wine and gender issues in restaurants.
Image credit: Parker Blain
Though the cooking demos and chats change each day, premium food trucks will proffer dishes especially created for the festival across the entire weekend, including plates from Belles Hot Chicken and Mamasita, and a pop-up bar will serve rare natural wines.
After dark, the House transforms again. Friday night is all about chicken as connoisseurs from Belles Hot Chicken, Chat Thai, 10 William St and Momofuku Seiobo turn out their takes on the bird; while Saturday is all about Canadian gastronomy as Montreal institution Joe’s Beef plates up dinner.
The best way to explore this dedicated space is with a $65 day pass, which provides access to all the masterclass demonstrations and panels on offer for a single day at Malthouse.
Image credit: Daniel Mahon
If you want to get hands-on, you can also buy tickets for $40 to one of the workshops, which cover skills such as using a whole plant in your cooking and how to make cocktails with homemade ingredients and all-natural processes.
The House of Food and Wine is on between 8 and 11 March.
Top image credit: Parker Blain