Held from 31 March – 9 April, the upcoming 2017 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (MFWF) sounds as if it will be the long-standing festival’s biggest yet. Currently in its 25th year, the annual festival has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a small 12 event program back in 1993. Nowadays, the MFWF consists of more than 200 events, featuring world renowned food and wine experts including award-winning chefs, winemakers, authors, critics, fresh food producers, and more.
So which of these 200+ events should you attend? Below are our top ten highlights from the 2017 MFWF program that we reckon are definitely worth checking out.
10. Mister Bianco’s Summer Series
Over the years, Mister Bianco has made a name for itself as one of Melbourne’s must-try restaurants when it comes to authentic Sicilian flavours. And this year, the beloved Sicilian restaurant will be paying homage to the seaside town of San Vito Lo Capo, by hosting a series of three, five, or seven course seafood lunch and dinner sessions, from 3 – 8 April.
In order to truly reflect the atmosphere of sunny San Vito Lo Capo, the Kew favourite will be covering their whole interior floor surface with soft mounds of golden sand throughout the special six-day event. Ticket prices for the relaxed culinary experience will range from $68 – $148 per person, depending on the number of courses and whether guests choose to have matching wines or not.
Furthermore, on Sunday 9 April 12pm, Mister Bianco will be celebrating the end of the 2017 MWFW with a “Stand Up Sand Party”, featuring a variety of Sicilian canapés and cocktails for you to enjoy.
Tickets can be purchased here.
9. Crawl ‘n’ Bite series by Victoria Harbour
Considered an MWFW cult classic, the “Crawl ‘n’ Bite” series is back again for another year. Featuring 13 different guided tours around some of Melbourne’s best hospitality hotspots, the “Crawl ‘n’ Bite” series give guests the chance to sip, snack and stroll their way through three different restaurants or bars in one night.
Each tour is individually designed around a single theme such as late night bars, local wine, laneways, Hawker-style, and more. The basic framework for each “Crawl ‘n’ Bite” tour will be the same. Depending on the theme they’ve chosen, guests will be guided through three different dining venues, all located within one postcode, where they will be presented with a signature tasting plater and matching beverages upon arrival.
One such example is the new “Waterside Wander” tour through Victoria Harbour, Melbourne’s freshly regenerated dining precinct. Scheduled for Thursday 6 April, “Waterside Wander” will start a 11:30am porchetta cooking demonstration at Saluministi, followed by a quick food and drink tasting session. Then guests will walk on over to Library at the Dock, where they will have the chance to enjoy a variety of locally produced wines with host and wine expert, Max Allen, who will also do a short presentation about the indigenous history of Victoria Harbour and the Yarra River. Last but not least, attendees of the “Waterside Wander” tour will wrap up the afternoon with an Italian gourmet lunch at A25 Pizzeria, with head chef Raymond Capaldi.
Tickets and more information on each of the “Crawl ‘n’ Bite” tours can be found here.
8. Kids in the Kitchen – Healthy Burgers
Got a budding young chef-to-be running around your kitchen? Then the Grosvenor Hotel’s “Healthy Burgers” class, taught by Head Chef and beef expert Paul Tyas, is the perfect event to attend at the 2017 MWFW. Held from Tuesday 4 April – Thursday 6 April, the interactive cooking class will focus on teaching children how to make the classic burger using wholesome and fresh nutritious ingredients.
In addition to the fun and hands-on learning experience, the $35 ticket price will also include a burger and healthy sides for lunch, as well as a take-home St Kilda Burger Bar goodie bag filled with tools to help the kids practice their newfound cooking skills back at home.
Ticket information for the cooking class can be found here.
7. Restaurant Express
One of the most beloved events at MWFW, the long running “Restaurant Express” series gives the public a chance to enjoy an exclusive two-course lunch and matching beverages at some of the most popular restaurants around Victoria, for an average price of only $40. One of the stand out participating venues of the 2017 “Restaurant Express”, is the scenic seaside The Baths Middle Brighton, whose menu includes exquisite dishes such as the “confit pork croquettes with seeded mustard mayonnaise and rocket” and more.
The full list of participating venues and their exclusive lunch menus can be found here.
6. The Duck Crawl
Another MWFW cult classic that has been running for the past 20 years, “The Duck Crawl” is a definite must-try for fans of traditional Chinese cuisine. Running from Monday 3 – Wednesday 5 April, host and series creator Roy Moorfield will take eager foodies on a tour through three of the best Chinatown restaurants; Bamboo House, Tea House, and Shark Fin House, to taste their signature duck dishes with matched glasses of Victorian pinot noir.
With tickets costing $183 per person, the event is not cheap but is sure to be worth the price.
5. To Hive or Not…Hobby Beekeeping
We may not realise it, but honeybees play a seriously important role in our food chain by pollinating around ⅔ of our agricultural produce. However, they’re more well-known for their role as the natural producers of edible honey, a staple ingredient in almost every household kitchen. This year, in partnership with Beechworth Honey, the MWFW are hosting a one off in-depth and hands-on beekeeping class on Saturday 1 April, for those who are interested in harvesting their very own honey at home.
In the $250 ticketed class, honey enthusiasts will learn everything from the inner workings of a honeybee hive, right down to harvesting and bottling your very own honey, from a professional beekeeper. The day will also include a light lunch, detailed take-home instructional notes, and transportation to and from Beechworth Honey Experience.
More information on the special event can be found here.
4. Italo Dining & Disco Club
Who doesn’t love a good street party full of funky throwback tunes, an open bar, and delicious Italian food? On Friday 31 March, the official 2017 MWFW opening night, Sydney’s famed hospitality masterminds Maurice Terzini and Giovanni Paradiso are bringing their iconic “Italo Dining & Disco Club” event to Melbourne for the first time ever.
Hosted by The House of Food & Wine on Little Lonsdale St, the culinary party will celebrate all things Italian and blur the line between restaurant, club and bar. Starting from 7pm, a lineup of various local Melbourne DJs will be providing upbeat disco tunes throughout the night, while guests enjoy a series of classic Italian dishes such as porchetta panini, “backyard pizza”, “Dixie” tiramisu and more. Drink-wise, Terzini and Paradiso have chosen to focus on a variety of natural wines, as well as suburban Italo signatures such as Rosso Antico, Cynar and spritzes.
The $150 party tickets can be purchased here.
3. The Golden Triangle
On Sunday 9 April, three of Windsor’s most sought-after dining venues; Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina, and Saigon Sally are teaming up to close off the 2017 MWFW with a progressive lunch highlighting the best of each respective venue. Priced at $88 per person, the event will start off with Vietnamese canapes and matching cocktails at Hanoi Hannah. Then guests can enjoy a two-course Hawker-style meal and matched wine on Chapel St at Tokyo Tina. Finally, the lunch will wrap up on Duke St, with signature desserts and cocktails served at Saigon Sally.
Tickets and more information on the progressive lunch can be found here.
2. For the Love of Sake
On Thursday 6 April, sake enthusiasts have the opportunity to delve deeper into the rich history of the traditional Japanese drink at Kumo Izakaya. Hosted by Andre Bishop, the Official Australian Sake Ambassador, and Matt Young, the owner of boutique sake importer Blackmarket, the evening will consist of an eight course Japanese meal expertly matched with premium hand-crafted sake sourced from the archives of Blackmarket.
Tickets ($128 per person) and more information about the event can be found here.
1. Top Chefs at the Table
Targeted at die-hard fans of Australian fine-dining, “Top Chefs at the Table” gives foodies the unique opportunity to rub shoulders with three of the country’s best chefs; Jacques Reymond, Ian Curley, and Scott Pickett. Scheduled for Friday 31 March and priced at $268 per person, the one-night only event will consist of an in-depth conversation with all three chefs, over a formal three-course dinner designed and prepared by the culinary legends themselves.
Tickets for the exclusive event can be found here.
Feature Image: supplied.