The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival celebrates 30 years in 2022 and after a couple of cancelled programs, it’s back – bigger and better than ever. Of the jam-packed lineup (25 March – 9 April), the festival’s creative director Pat Nourse says: “There’s chef dinners, food fairs, wine parties, moving feasts and eats and drinks inside and out.”
Highlights include a sell-out Sunday lunch with Nigella Lawson, collabs between international chefs and beloved Melbourne restaurants (think Skye Gyngell x Hazel), and a bunch of drop-in events. “Queen Victoria Market hosts some of the most spectacular parts of the program,” says Nourse. So, if you miss out on tickets, here’s our pick of the coolest events you don’t need to book for…
A Melbourne food safari in one spot? Sign us up. Held across two days (26-27 March) at the festival's Queen Victoria Market HQ, this is a celebration of culinary diversity – from the Philippines to Nigeria, Seoul to the Torres Strait Islands. Sample delicious morsels (damper, dumplings, onigiri and more) with the state’s best drinks, boozy and zero-proof. Nourse calls it “the best of a dozen of the city’s cult grassroots eateries under one roof”.
The Big Spaghetti
Ten stalls, 20 pasta dishes and two days (2-3 April) to try them all. Wear your stretchy pants and taste your way through plates by Melbourne’s pasta masters – Tipo 00, Agostino and Mister Bianco among them – as well as Victoria’s finest pinot grigio, prosecco and nebbiolo, plus gelato from Pidapipo. There are also live demos and music, a playground for the kids and a four-cheese spaghetti formaggi, tossed in a 40-kilogram wheel of grana padano. Now that’s amore.
The Convenient Store
Part gourmet grab-and-go, part tribute to the Japanese convenience store, this spin on the local shop doesn’t stock any out-of-date counter snacks or regrettable sausage rolls. Instead, there’s neenish tarts from Falco, hot cross buns from To Be Frank, prawn cocktail-flavoured Chappy’s chips and doughnut-flavoured ice-cream from Luther’s Scoops in the freezer. Plus, you can pick up take-home treats by local favourites, such as Sarafian hummus and toum, mortadella mousse from Emilia and bottled cocktails from the city’s best bars. Open 4pm-6pm daily at Queen Victoria Market.