Melbourne Food & Wine Festival will once again catapult the city’s restaurant and cultural scene into overdrive. For just over two weeks, the festival hosts an array of culinary experiences including, but not limited to, kitchen masterclasses and cooking workshops; chef appearances and chef collaborations; express lunches or World’s Longest Lunches; whisky tasting; and gin making. It’s quite a lot to digest – so here are some of our top picks.

FOR THE DAILY GRIND

Festival Artisan Bakery and Bar

A pop-up serving coffee, wine and baked goods – that’s what we call a hub. Each day stop in for a coffee and some fresh bread or a buttery pastry or a coffee –baked daily by a rotating roster of local and international bakers.
Queensbridge Square
February 27 to March 15
Free

SOMETHING DIFFERENT

The Best Fondue Party Ever

Do you enjoy cheese? Do you enjoy wine? Pots of molten Swiss cheese will be involved as well as platters of charcuterie for dipping, cocktails, chocolate gateau cake as well as ’70s music and a quiz with prizes.
Duke of Wellington
Multiple dates
$30–$85

Pottery and Dinner in the Studio

Learn how to craft a palm-sized salt dish using stoneware clay with Shelley Panton followed by a four-course dinner hosted by chef Dave Verheul of The Town Mouse, paired with wines selected by Yarra Valley winemaker, Ben Haines.
The Shelley Panton Store
March 3
$150

Designer Bites

An evening where fine dining fuses with high fashion. Renowned fashion designer Richard Nylon, with Prix Fixe head chef Philippa Sibley, will coordinate the occasion at which each dish will be matched with wines and a fashion parade between courses.
Prix Fixe
March 4
$150

Celebrate French Cheese and Wine

An homage to fromage. Be greeted with a French 75 cocktail on arrival, enjoy a guided tasting tour of French artisan cheeses and wines by the in-house cheesemongers and sommeliers, then end the night with a farm-style supper of house-made terrine, field frittata and French onion soup.
Milk the Cow Licensed Fromagerie
Multiple dates
$70

Jamie Bissonnette at Bomba

It’s a modern-day romance – Melbourne chef Jesse Gerner (Bomba) has never met renowned American chef Jamie Bissonnette (Coppa and Toro, Boston and NYC) but for one night only, they’re going cook together.
Bomba
March 4
$125

St Crispin St Kilda Pop-Up

It’s your everyday lawn bowls, but gourmet. Saint Crispin head chef Joe Grbac and dessert master Pierre Roelofs will be popping into the St Kilda Sports Club to host a five-course degustation lunch and dinner. Guests are welcome to play bowls after dinner too.
St Kilda Bowling Club
March 6, 12pm–5pm or 6pm–11pm
$160

Rodney Scott at Rockwell and Sons

Hailing from South Carolina, Rodney Scott is a barbeque legend and pit-master and he’s taking on North Carolina’s Casey Wall of Rockwell and Sons in what will be the ultimate slow-cook-off.
Rockwell and Sons
March 1, (no bookings)

A CULINARY EDUCATION

Gin Masterclass

This is an experimental class which involves infusing gin from your chosen region (Scandinavia, Asia or Australia), creating and bottling the distilled concoction (which is tailored to your taste) and then it being labelled and sent to you.
Bass & Flinders Distillery
Multiple dates
$120

The Smoker & The Butcher

Southern barbeque has firmly rooted itself in the Melbourne culinary scene – but it’s time for you to get smoky in your kitchen, too. Learn the ultimate craft of butchery and barbeque from pit-master Andy Groneman (USA), master butcher Gary McBean and Gary Mehigan (MasterChef).
64 Sutton
February 27–March 3
$125

The Taste of Italia@Home

Want to learn to make authentic Italian sausages at home? Mister Bianco chef Joseph Vargetto is going to perform a master class in sausage making, cheese making and wine making. Everyone goes home with an apron, some goodies, recipes and all of the skills.
Mister Bianco
March 1
$180

The Essentials

This is for those who just want to master a basic skill such as how to pickle, how to roll sushi, what cheese should go on what pizza or just how to win friends with salad. All of your questions can and will be answered by some of Melbourne’s leading chefs and bartenders, at very affordable prices.
Langham Hotel Melbourne
Multiple dates
$50

Moroccan Street Food

Sometimes (all the time) it’s hard to replicate that balance of spice, sweetness and saltiness discovered on your delicious travels. Chef Jason Jones is hosting a masterclass in Moroccan street food and how to get that authenticity from the curb to the kitchen.
B’Stilla
March 7
$110

POWER LUNCH

Restaurant Express Signature Series

Quick – pick up the phone, because throughout the festival, an array of Melbourne and regional restaurants with highly sought-after seats are offering an express lunch at a very affordable price. $40 includes a two-course meal (with its specialty dish) and a matched beverage. See the list of venues here and make a reservation.
Various venues
February 27–March 15

BOOZE IT UP

Return to Terroir

Smell, swirl and swish the afternoon away tasting and sampling wine from more than 50 of the world’s leading biodynamic winemakers. Learn to recognise the flavours from different terroirs to learn what natural environmental factors create the distinctive tastes of each vineyard.
Melbourne Town Hall
February 28 to March 1
$65

Crawl ‘n’ Bite – Bars

From whisky crawls to mystery crawls, find the bar quest for you. Meet the chef or mixologist and indulge in a tasting plate paired with the appropriate wine or cocktail.
Various venues
Multiple dates
$66

GET OUT OF TOWN

Regional World’s Longest Lunch

Escape the city on Friday March 13 and lunch on the long tables positioned in gardens and vineyards scattered throughout regional and coastal Victoria. All you have to do is pull up a chair.
Various venues
$95

Dine From Melba’s Garden

Enjoy a selection of canapés and glass of Blanc de Blanc while wondering through the vegetable gardens of Dame Nellie Melba’s Coombe Cottage. Then settle in for a three-course feast showcasing ingredients and wine from the Estate.
Coombe – The Melba Estate
February 27 & 28
$150

ONE FOR THE KIDS

Kids Cooking Workshop

This way, the kids learn, the kids cook and you don’t have to do anything anymore. This workshop will have the future chefs picking fresh produce from the garden, then preparing and cooking veggie pizzas and sweet treats. And they get to dress up like chefs.
Rivers Lifestyle Centre, The Gallery
Multiple dates
$20

Dandenong World Fare

A giant outdoor food market showcasing a variety of global cuisines and authentic flavours as well as live entertainment and a Kids Zone with rides, face painting and craft workshops.
Dandenong Market
March 1
Free

The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival runs from February 27 to March 15 at various locations around Melbourne and Victoria.

melbournefoodandwine.com.au