There’s no questioning it – you need to eat and drink to survive. So that means the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (March 19 to 29) is the perfect opportunity to celebrate life itself. Or at the very least, eat some really yum stuff and pop a few corks.

Queen Victoria Market will be the festival’s new hub for 2020, and most feature events will be hosted there. Highlights include: The Big Spaghetti pasta party with food from Tipo 00, Capitano, Rosetta, Caterina’s, and drinks by Bar Americano and Giorgio De Maria; the Welcome to the Jungle party – hosted by Shannon Martinez of Smith & Daughters, with support from Matt Wilkinson (Crofter) and Jerry Mai (Annam) – will celebrate plants in all forms, from vegan dishes to living-room decor; and Maximum Chips – a playful, casual night with all-you-can-eat shoestrings, French fries, crinkle-cuts and even wedges. Another highlight: “Attica Presents”, a full afternoon of talks, performances and music hosted by chef Ben Shewry around the theme of hope and community – entry is free with pre-registration.

Back again is the World’s Longest Lunch, this year hosted by Stephanie Alexander, Philippe Mouchel and Jacques Reymond. 1600 guests will sit down for an outdoor feast in Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens.

There are over 100 more events happening all around the city, too. Best-selling New York Times food writer Alison Roman is hosting an intimate Brooklyn-inspired party with Martinis and minimal-stress snacks at Half Acre; Sydney fish butcher Josh Niland of Saint Peter is teaming up with Andrew McConnell for a four-course lunch at Cumulus Inc; there’s an eight-course after-hours dinner at Lune Croissanterie; and an augmented-reality tasting of wine from Italy’s volcanic regions at Marameo.

But the festival isn’t just about eating and drinking. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the first edition of the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. The book’s contents and recipes have been embedded into the childhood memories of generations of Australians, and they’ll be celebrated in an exhibition at the NGV’s Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square.

The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival runs from March 19 to 29, 2020. Full program and tickets here.