Melbourne’s Food & Wine Festival has grown to Lion King proportions: everything the light touches is part of its kingdom. This includes Town Square at Eastland, which for one day only is hosting the foodie equivalent of that moment when the Power Rangers fuse into an unstoppable super warrior.
A free food and wine festival with a focus on all things Eastern Victoria, Harveast (let the pun times roll) will feature masterclass sessions from some of Melbourne’s biggest food names. Chefs from Huxtaburger, Bar Liberty, MoVida, 400 Gradi and culinary legend Stephanie Alexander will be joining forces to teach you —the hungry public—some of their kitchen secrets.
Curated by Stephanie Alexander, food writer Richard Cornish and ex-Attica’s Banjo Harris Plane, there’ll be over 80 local producers spruiking their stuff with a big focus on artisanal, small batch products (basically anything where the secret ingredient is listed as ‘love’).
Vino fans will want to camp out at Take A Sip in Civic Place, where up to 20 of the state’s best winemakers will be offering tastings and using words like ‘robust’ and ‘terroir’. There’s also a Beer & Cider Garden on site by the folks at The Cellar Door, on site, hosting some of the best craft beer and cider brewers in the Yarra Valley (think Empire Cider Co, Napoleone and Hargreaves). Matt Wilkinson of Pope Joan will be cooking up a BBQ storm featuring Warialda beef, to pair with your favourite cold one.
Hunky Dory will be on hand with some cheeky champers and an oyster bar, while MoVida will be bringing their obligatory open-air paella station, with a pan so big you could dive in and have a swim (please, control yourself). Jimmy Grants is even wheeling out their spits and serving up crisp-roasted pork belly souvlakis, served with apple sauce and pickles. And if there’s a better sentence in English than that we’d like to hear it.
Harveast masterclasses kick off from 10am, but here’s our pick of the bunch: start with elbowing your way through MoVida obsessives to catch Frank Camora’s taco teachings at 12.30pm then have An Hour with Stephanie Alexander at 1pm. If you’re bringing the kids, Dan Wilson from Huxtaburger is running junior burger-making classes from 11am to 2.20pm (actually, it might be worth trying to eavesdrop on that one). Johnny Di Francesco from 400 Gradi is taking the stage at 2pm to talk all things Italian, and as long as that includes the recipe to his legendary pizza base, we’ll be happy. Lastly, if you don’t know your spelt from your sourdough, make sure to catch a Meet the Baker session with the good people from Shannon Bennetts Burnham Bakery in the Dandenong Ranges. If you’ve ever ordered toast at The Piggery Café, near Olinda, you’ll know they know their stuff.
It’s not a market day without live music, right? Bands will be rocking the Town Square stage at Eastland from 2pm until 8pm, and there’ll be seating available if you need to nap off that supersized paella from earlier.
Once you’ve recharged your (foodie) batteries, dive straight back in with the Sisko Chocolate Connoisseur Tasting Experience, a 45-minute chocolate extravaganza where you’ll learn about the ‘bean to bar process’ (yep, that’s now a thing) and taste 12 different cacao combos. It’ll set you back $10 a person and runs on the hour from 11am to 4pm. Finish up the day with a 2pm Food Photography Workshop, run by the guys from Camera House and Eastland’s Hunter & Barrel. A good one for the budding food bloggers out there, because everyone knows the only thing better than eating food is making other people wish they were eating it.
When: Sunday 9th April from 10am to 8pm (market stalls will finish up at 5pm)
Where: Eastland, in Ringwood
Website: Check out Eastland for all the details and a full festival program
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Image credit: 400 Gradi, Huxtaburger, Simon Shiff for The Urban List, MoVida.