The Good Food & Wine Show is essentially what happens when you give Australia’s foodie community permission to create whatever the hell they want. It’s like letting the kids run Willie Wonka’s factory for a couple of days. There are wine ice-creams and smelly cheese tastings, oyster bars and cocktail masterclasses – if it can be eaten, it will be eaten. And it’s all happening this weekend at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.
Now you can show up with a show bag and a smile, but if you want to get a bit more strategic about it (and start booking in the hot ticket items), here’s our roundup of all the cool things going down at Melbourne’s Good Food & Wine Show in 2017.
Wine Ice Cream At The Vinomofo Adventure Park
Vinomofo are an online wine merchant that’s taking the snobbery out of wine (and replacing it with more ball-busting swagger). This year they’ve got their first EVER ‘Adventure Park’ at the Good Food & Wine Show, and it’s going to be a doozy. Boutique tastings, virtual reality tours of the Yarra Valley, giant swings and...wine ice cream! Yep, they went and invented two types of wine soft serve (one made from GSM, the other from Riesling). Even better, they’ll be dishing out the cones 100% FREE. Shut up and take our gratitude.
Chef’s Lunch Series
These are pretty cool: an exclusive series of private dinners, hosted (and cooked) by some of the country’s biggest celebrity chefs. You’ll actually get to sit down at a table with Marion Gadsby, Manu Feildel, Matt Moran, Matt Stone & Matt Wilkinson, and Miguel Maestre—they’re all throwing exclusive Chef’s Lunches, to be held in EAT, the festival’s new pop-up dining precinct. Tickets are strictly limited (and in the case of Miguel, probably coveted by every woman in the country). Get in quick to secure a spot.
Taittinger Lounge & Oyster Bar
Now we’re talking! Taittinger describes this as an ‘elegant pit stop’ (probably because ‘bubbles-and-oyster orgy’ sounded a bit weird). It’s your classic champagne and oyster bar, for those who want to experience a little culinary pampering. Pick your bubbles, grab fresh-shucked oysters from a wide variety of Australian providers, or get in early for Taittinger’s special High Tea (kicking off every day at 10am). Finger sandwiches, French pastries, and scones by the bucket load. Bring it on.
Reidel Drinks Lab
Want to say things like ‘Hmm, yes, a jammy, oaky little offering with an excellent body’ and actually know what you’re talking about? You need the Reidel Drinks Lab: a free wine tasting class run in conjunction with Spiegelau. You’ll get to try a bunch of different grape varieties from around the country, and listen as the experts use words like ‘terroir’. If wine taxonomy isn’t your thing, just show up and slug down a few glasses of the good stuff. For those wanting to step things up a notch, Riedel are offering an advanced, Glass Tasting course for $99 too.
The Smelly Cheese Project
If you’re love of cheese only extends as far as bubbling Coon on a slice of white bread, this might not be the course for you (although big props, because cheese toasties are delicious). The Smelly Cheese Club is a Melbourne-based cheese shop, and to celebrate the Good Food & Wine Show they’re offering cheese appreciation ‘journeys’. Specifically the smelly kind. If it helps, most experts agree that the worse the smell, the better the taste. Just pinch your nose and go for it. Tickets are $40 a pop, and you get matched wines to boot.
Pro Chefs At The Good Food Theatre
Presented by Ilve, this is exactly what it sounds like: an amphitheater where you sit and watch people who are very good at cooking, cook things in front of you. The Good Food Theatre is included in your standard entry ticket, but seating isn’t allocated. So if you want to be close enough to actually smell the things being cooked (although this might just be an even crueler form of torture) you’ll need to jump in early and guard your spot with the aggressiveness of German tourists at a hotel pool. Check here for the schedule: there are four classes running each day.
Tucker’s Natural Cheese Alley
A cheese alley. It sounds almost magical. This one is brought to you by Tuckers, and features a sort of tasting-gauntlet: stallholders will be flinging buffalo mozzarella, sharp cheddar, camembert and goat’s cheese into your mouth as you wander down the Cheese Alley. Just try and stop them. The Good Food & Wine Show has assembled some of the country’s best local producers all in one spot. You can browse, have a chat, settle the brie vs camembert debate, and pick up some cheesy souvenirs for home.
Ribs And Reds
Exactly what it says on the tin: a tasting masterclass of Australia’s finest reds...and its stickiest ribs. It’s all taking place at the Wine Selector’s Cellar Door, and tickets will set you back $25. That gets you a few glasses of top-notch Shiraz, and plenty of glazed beef and pork ribs to gnaw and chew like some sort of demented wild animal. It’s a little bit classy, a little bit messy, all at the same time.
Pizza Classes At The Italian Way
Pizza-lovers can probably just set up camp right here for a few days. The Italian Way is the festival’s pizza hub: a place to try the latest slice from city favourites, 400 Gradi, and learn the secrets to making the perfect dough at home. The world’s best pizza maker, Johnny Di Francesco will be holding masterclasses on dough technique, spinning, flour ratios and all that other nerdy pizza stuff. There’ll also be gin-spiked cocktails...need we say more?
The food porn doesn't start on Saturday. Lukumades are giving away FREE DOUGHNUTS on Friday night. Sorted.
Image credit: Vinomofo