Eating out is typically at the very top of to-do lists when visiting Melbourne. The Victorian capital’s dining scene is quick to evolve and most of its greatest longstanding restaurants never seem to lose their grip on what’s good – making a visit worthwhile at any time of year. But the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF), hosted in the first week of April each year, promises an explosive experience of Melbourne’s best eats and treats.
Alongside a packed program of strictly Melburnian and Victorian events and experiences, this year they’ve even borrowed a little of the best from us too. The festival will include the first Melbourne iteration of Rootstock – our sprawling biodynamic and sustainable wine and produce fair. There’s also an Italian street party slash disco hosted by Icebergs’ Maurice Terzini and 10 William Street’s Giovanni Paradiso.
Here’s our top picks for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in 2017.
Crawl n Bite – 10 Years and Counting
One of the greatest anomalies of Melbourne’s saturated, fast-paced food scene is the brilliant longstanding restaurants that never seem to skip a beat. On this restaurant and bar crawl, a part of the festival’s broader Crawl n Bite series, you’ll visit three essential venues that are still going strong after 10 years. Pit stops include Bar Lourinha, an iconic rooftop spot with an Alice in Wonderland vibe; kitsch garden bar Madame Brussels, and Italian-fusion restaurant Sarti.
Masterclass: Celebrating 15 Years of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants
We were lucky enough to sample a little of Rene Redzepi’s Noma last year, but generally, a brush with the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (W50B) is a rare treat. You can see Jorge Vallejo from Mexico City’s Restaurante Quintonil (number 12 on list in 2016) at this year’s MFWF for the super sweet price of $35. Other stars on the Masterclass line-up include David Thompson, and Heston Blumenthal’s right hand man, Ashley Palmer-Watts.
April 1–2, from $35
To Hive or Not … Hobby Beekeeping
On the more practical side (or at least, to fill in the time between many meals), learn about bees and beekeeping from Beechworth Honey. Bees are a pivotal part of the ecosystem and many species are sadly verging on being endangered. According to Beechworth, hobby beekeepers can help the cause. In this hands-on class, you’ll learn to manage honeybees, how to collect and bottle your very own honey, as well as some of the science of how bees help to make our gardens, fruit and veggie patches flourish.
April 1, $250
Regional World’s Longest Lunch – Echuca
The Regional World’s Longest Lunch series allows you to step outside the city centre and sample local fare, outdoors, at a long table with a whole lot of strangers. Locations this year include Ballarat, Mornington, Grampian and more. At the Echuca edition, you’ll dine at the picturesque Port Echuca Wharf. Local foods will include nearby Murray River cod and yabbies, saltbush lamb, local cheeses and indigenous foods and spices. You’ll be drinking local too, with wines and craft beers from the Echuca and Heathcote regions.
Burger Block Party
If you’ve still got room for more by the end of the week why not wrap it all up with a big burger bash? The closing party for the festival will feature the best buns from almost every state. You’ll find Raph Rashid of Melbourne’s Beatbox Kitchen and Casey Wall from Rockwell & Sons. Representing Perth is Simon Kony from Short Order Burger Co., and fronting up for Adelaide is Victoria Hillier from Nordburger. Christian Ryan and Sam Chang of Hobart’s The Standard will also feature. And if you’re feeling homesick, you’ll also find Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham from Mary’s.
The full program is now available online.