What's On

The Best of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival

By Stephen A Russell
28th Jan 2014

With the city's biggest and finest celebration of all things yummy, the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (MFWF), returning at the end of February, tickets to some of the best events are already selling out fast. Just so you don't miss out, we've compiled a list of the best events of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, so you can secure your spot and get ready for this year's flavour odyssey.

The cream of the international crop are in town to present a series of wine-matched dinners at some of Melbourne's finest eateries. Two Michelin-starred chef Mauro Uliass at Grossi Florentino has already sold out, as have Dan Hong and Casey Wall at Rockwell and Sons. You can still catch Spanish superstar Ángel León at MoVida, Singapore's Damian D'Silva at Adam D'Sylva's Tonka, and the UK's seafood champion Mitch Tonks on Siglo's roof terrace, amongst others.

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival has teamed up with the National Gallery of Victoria's fantastic Melbourne Now exhibition, showcasing the work of the city's art and design leaders, to create a series of magical dinners hosted in the grand gallery itself, with the opportunity for some of Melbourne's best chefs to create dishes inspired by the great works around them. The first session has sold out already, but there are three more options to lock in.

Embracing Melbourne's laneway culture, McKillop Street will be transformed into a South East Asian open-air banquet during the Food & Wine Festival, as Red Spice Road's executive chef, John McLeay, dishes up an eight-course seafood extravaganza, pairing Asian flavours with Victoria's finest wines.

As always, there are some epic tag teams on show during the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival's just over two-week run, with this Gertrude Street party one of our top tips. Cutler & Co's Andrew McConnell has forged an unholy alliance with wine importer, The Spanish Acquisition, to deliver a blood-themed feast paired with Spanish wines that starts in Cutler, spills out onto the street and then tipsily saunters into his brother Matt's restaurant Casa Ciuccio.

Lygon Street's Rumi will draw on the heady flavours of the restaurants crowding along the banks of the Bardouni River in Lebanon's verdant Bekaa Valley. Laying on a traditional mezze spread, matched with varietals sourced from wineries located on the Bardouni, it's sure to be an enticingly exotic experience and one of the festival's best.

In keeping with the finger food theme, Bomba's rooftop terrace in the heart of the CBD will play host to a celebration of Jerez, located in south eastern Spain – the ancestral home of sherry and flamenco dancing. Traditional Andalucían seafood tapas cooked on the charcoal grill will be washed down with a spot of said sherry, with beer and cava on hand, too, for a hopefully sunny turn.

3RRR's Eat It presenter, Cam Smith, joins Australian Bartender of the Year, Sebastian Reaburn, in the intimate surrounds of Gertrude Street's The Everleigh for a masterclass in Martini that would leave Mr Bond shaken, but not stirred. Whisking you through the elaborate history of the classiest of all cocktails, providing plenty of trivia-winning facts along the way, they'll showcase several styles so you can select which is your favourite tipple.

MFWF isn't all city-centric either, with the final weekend hosted in regional hot spots, so if you want to get away from it all for a flavour experience outside the norm, head to Black Cat Truffles in Wattle Flat, near Ballarat. Set loose in a 1000-tree trufferie (Editor's note: trufferie is so my new favourite word), you'll learn how to uncover, cook and taste truffles guided by local chef Peter Ford, and you'll receive a little picnic box of truffley goodies too. BYO vino.

Make out like you're in The Great Gatsby as you dine the grounds of Werribee Mansion as part of a select group of sixty guests, with canapés and cocktails on arrival, before being treated to an intimate lunch by the river, accompanied by the sweet sounds of a string quartet. Lindenderry are supplying the wines.

TarraWarra Estate throws open the door of their spectacular Yarra valley winery for a twilight dinner for 20 hosted by chef Robin Sutcliffe, drawing on his kitchen garden and, of course, matched with Clare Halloran's award winning wines. Now that is worth heading out of town for.

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival
28th February - 16th March
View events & book tickets here

Main Image Credit: Mowielicious

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