Palate-fest … Melbourne’s Food and Wine Festival

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Presented by Bank of Melbourne (2-21 March) invites foodies to ‘prep’ their taste buds and clear their diaries for 20 days of fun and feasting to celebrate the 20th year of Australia’s favourite celebration of food and wine. With events from Melbourne to Mornington; South Yarra to Swan Hill, the 20th year promises to be the biggest yet.
A sold-out IGA World’s Longest Lunch kicked off the Fes

Marathon feast …. the World’s Longest Lunch. Pictures: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

tival in the leafy surrounds of Alexandra Park celebrated regional Victorian produce, while 29 Regional World’s Longest Lunches will do the same in spectacular locations across the state, with seats still available.
Festival celebrations will continue with the new Riverside Opening Weekend (3 – 4 March) with over 30 events along the Yarra River and Docklands.

Make a beeline for the Festival’s Hub at Queensbridge Square to start your promenading journey and catch top chefs sharing barbecue tips and secrets on stage; mosey down to South Wharf for boutique wine tasting and provedore picnics at Cellar Door & Farm Gate; enjoy a seafood feast at Docklands; get grilling at barbecue workshops; or grab the kids for a lively program designed for little bellies at Foodie Family Weekend at ArtPlay – and that’s just for starters!

Langham Melbourne MasterClass weekend (10 – 11 March) will feature a roll-call of the global visionaries currently shaping the future of gastronomy.

Listen to the inspirations and aspirations of the game-changers of gastronomy including world’s number one chef René Redzepi (noma, Copenhagen) and three Michelin star Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana, Italy) at Theatre of Ideas (10 & 11 March). Join trailblazing chefs Meir Adoni (Catit & Mizala, Tel Aviv), exuberant Ms Vy (Morning Glory, Hoi An) and supernatural Claus Henriksen (Dragsholm, Horve), among other white-hot stars for a hyper-stimulating day or weekend of talking, eating, drinking, tasting and learning.

Celebrate the flavour of the Festival at a range of events heroing fire as the ultimate way to add flavour – head to Fire, Smoke and Beer at Josie Bones (10 March), Game On a BBQ of Australia’s
native meats at Ponyfish Island (17 & 18 March) or a three course celebration of roast pig at Estelle Bar & Kitchen’s Labour Day Long Lunch (12 March).

Take your taste buds on a tour around the globe including an exploration of regional Chinese cuisine with The Best of Hong Kong at Spice Temple (6 March); search for culinary treasures with Rickshaw

Run, a fast-paced rickshaw ride uncovering the best Vietnamese food Footscray has to offer (2 – 18 March) or transport yourself to Cambodia on the Cambodian Lunch and Tour, Springvale (15 March).

Elsewhere, foodies with a yearn to learn can uncover prized recipes at hands-on classes…. Make Passata with Mangia! Mangia! at Museo Italiano (3 & 10 March) or learn the distinctly parisien art of crafting the perfect macaron at Macaron Making with Pierrick, le Petit Gateau (2, 10 & 20 March).

With 80 events under $50 across the Festival, foodies can make the most of the whole 20 days. Visit the World Street Fare at Queen Victoria Market (18 March) or sample farm fresh produce at Twilight Farmers Market, Footscray (8 March); enjoy honey scented delicacies at Rooftop Garden Honey Afternoon Tea (15 – 18 March); sample local and international ciders at South Wharf with Along Came a Cider (10 March) or indulge in Spain’s famous paella at Paella in the Park in Coburg (4 March).

Finally, with more than 100 regional events across the festival celebrating the state’s bountiful produce why not make a weekend of it and take your pick from family friendly festivals and markets, alfresco lunches and dinners, local cooking classes and wine tastings. Explore the 1860’s underground cellars of the High Country’s Tahblik Winery at Plonk in the Cellars (10 & 17
March); or indulge in a long table feast in the olive groves at the Mount Zero Dryland Feast (17 March).

Don’t miss the celebration – 20th Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2 – 21 March 2012

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