Early February, when tickets go on sale for March’s Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, isn’t often the best time for our wallets. In the wake of Christmas and the summer holidays, we’re often a little scant in the cash department. Sure, we’d love to see international chefs talk food, get our hands dirty at cooking master classes, eat at the longest lunches and drink some weird new brew, but there’s only so much we can get to. So to keep tabs on our pennies, we’ve chosen 10 events from this year’s program that you can check out for under $50 (some are even free). We’re talking outdoor yum cha, a burger cook off, a cactus dinner and more. Book your tickets today!

Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar
You know we love coffee, so the Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar is right up our alley. An installation that reinterprets a terraced coffee farm – including shipping containers from Melbourne's own port, timber pallets and packing crates – in the middle of our bustling city, the Farm will see a rotating daily roster of coffee operators (sound familiar?): 5 Senses, Three Bags Full, Auction Rooms, Deadman Espresso, Brother Baba Budan, Proud Mary, Market Lane, De Clieu, St ALi, Duchess of Spotswood and Penny Farthing Espresso, while coffee inspired cocktails will be served in the evening from bars including Lui Bar, Polly, Eau De Vie and Seamstress.
Queensbridge Square, March 1–17, free

Put Victoria On Your Table: Cellar Door & Artisan Market
Explore regional Victoria in the heart of Melbourne in the grand surrounds of Como House and Garden as winemakers, brewers and producers from all corners of the state come together for a festive garden party.
Como House and Garden, March 2 & 3, adult general admission, $20

Melbourne Burger Bash
The best of the best from Melbourne's almighty burger scene come together for the ultimate cook off.
Kings Domain Gardens, March 9, $10

Earth Vision
A late night outdoor projection of curated imagery and VJing tracing the theme of Earth, viewed from the outdoor balcony or second level bar with some ‘earthy’ food and drinks to be purchased.
Ferdydurke, March 1, free

Eat, Drink, Grow
Rock along to PM and discover how to bring sustainable, local, organic or vegan options into your everyday meals, plus learn how to plant and tend your own veggie patch.
People’s Market, March 2, $2 entry

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Explorar Nopales
Senoritas champions the forgotten fruit, cactus. Known as the perfect accompaniment, in this case the cactus will be the hero ingredient in five different dishes.
Senoritas, March 3, $45

The Festival of Hochkirch
A farmer, a lamb and a barrel of wine. Gertrude Street Enoteca will host a mini ‘homegrown’ festival devoted to produce and wines from Tarrington and Hochkirch.
Gertrude Street Enoteca, March 3, $45

Vermentino & Sardines
Join Australia's vermentino producers and Sarti’s Riccardo Momesso to celebrate this most sustainable and delicious of food and wine matches. Meet the winemakers and throw a sardine on the barbie.
Queen Victoria Market, March 7, $30

Earthly Activation
Get into the mood with a local beer at Earthly Activation, an informal lecture on reclaiming and reinventing spaces through re-purpose and sustainable consideration. Presented by Melbourne’s architectural and design community.
Section 8, March 9, free

High Tea from the ‘Hood
Straight from street food stalls of South America comes our high tea from the ‘hood, combining flavours from the favelas with the Victorian charm of a high tea ceremony.
Southpaw, Fitzroy, March 9–10, $40 to $50

Hip, Hops & Drops
Take a walking taste-tour through Windsor. Explore the earth inspired bites, hip hops and drops on this unconventional, behind-the-scenes experience usually reserved for kitchen staff only.
Railway Hotel, Windsor, March 7, $39

Chan’s Dumpling Festival
Our first-of-its-kind Dumpling Festival will honour traditional Cantonese cuisine with delicious handmade delicacies drawing in dumpling lovers from around the globe to share the World’s Biggest Outdoor Yum Cha.
Treasury Gardens, March 3, free entry, $20 for five-course yum cha

Redheads BBQ Festival
A festival dedicated to everything BBQ. We’re talking local organic food that sizzles, grills and smokes; awesome Victorian beer and wine; plus live local blues bands. Just like your backyard barbie, only bigger.
South Reserve, March 1–10, $15