This year’s community-minded theme of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival extends well beyond the limits of the CBD. A range of events peppered throughout Victoria aim to lure guests north to the state’s border, down the peninsula, west along the coast, or inland to the Yarra Valley.
Wherever you find yourself, there’s a range of regional events celebrating the surrounding communities and their produce. Here’s our guide to getting out of town during the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
Hive to Home Field Trip
Saturday March 24
A hive-to-home experience in the historic town of Beechworth; you’ll be fitted and dressed as a beekeeper for the day, trek to an active beehive site and experience honey-extraction first hand. Learn about the inner workings of a hive and the facts from your Bee School teachers at Beechworth Honey. Finish up with a honey-driven catered picnic. Tip: Don’t forget your closed-toe shoes.
Food for Thought
Sunday March 25
Take a day-trip up to Echuca to Junction Moama for a three-course shared menu by head chef Dave Palmer. The event is in partnership with Murray Human Services who support over 290 adults with disabilities.
Palmer will serve local produce, regional beverages, and the MHS Creative Kitchens team will be on hand during the day to help prepare the feast. Proceeds from your ticket will go on to support MHS and the work they do.
The Peninsula Picnic
Saturday March 17
Pack the picnic blanket for this one, but don’t bother bringing food or drink. The Peninsula Picnic unites local stars like Montalto, Merricks General Store and Polperro to provide sustenance, while entertainment comes in the form of John Butler Trio, Angie McMahon, Vikki Thorn of The Waifs, and Harry James from The Cat Empire. Held at the Mornington Racecourse, it all kicks off from 11.30am and runs until early evening, so book yourself in for a full weekend exploring the peninsula’s culinary and produce gems.
Wine & Curds? No Whey!
Sunday March 18
Get to know the ins and outs of the cheese-making process – including the difference between curd and whey – with help from the Yarra Valley Dairy team.
Hosted at Innocent Bystander in Healesville, (which used to house the former White Rabbit brewery), your cheeseboard and nibbles will be expertly matched to wine poured from the team’s temperature-controlled kegs. Learn exactly which variety goes best with the region’s most famous drops.
Regional World’s Longest Lunch – Coldstream: Oakridge Wines
Friday March 16
Oakridge is home to chefs Matt Stone and Jo Barrett, the team behind this year’s curated menus at the House of Food and Wine Hotel at the Hotel Lindrum.
Head to the pair’s long lunch in Coldstream on Friday March 16 to sample their craft in its true element. Taste the single vineyard wines from chief winemaker David Bicknell, alongside produce from the kitchen garden and local sources of ethically grown and foraged ingredients. Stone and Barrett have made a name for themselves in the Australian food community with their sustainable approach, making this long lunch one not to be missed.
The lunch is just one of 24 lunches taking place across the state.
Saturday March 17
Pastuso executive Chef Alejandro Saravia is again teaming up with Gippsland Natural beef producer Paul Crock to host Renascence Gippsland. Guests will dine al fresco in the paddock at Crocks’ Biran Biran farm overlooking the rolling hills of Wilsons Promontory while feasting on the Peruvian flavours of Saravia’s open-fire cooking. The five-course menu will feature locally sourced produce paired with premium local wines from Bass Phillip.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival presented by Bank of Melbourne.