Another week, another excuse to eat yourself sick.
If the Queen Vic Summer Night Market and the Night Noodle Market weren’t enough, this week we’ve got Taste of Melbourne landing in its new home: Yarra Park by the MCG. The food and event line-up is looking pretty nuts—we recommend planning ahead. Draw up a strategy, tick off your favourite foodie stops, and don’t skimp on the Mamasita margaritas...
Here you go guys. Everything to see, eat and do at Taste of Melbourne this year.
Things To See
Taste kicks off on Thursday, and the organisers have put together a sweet line-up for opening night. Gazi will be bringing the Greek-themed canapés, and there’s gonna be a sugar-stuffed treat from dessert queen (and founder of Glacé) Christy Tania. DJ Miss Goldie will be spinning the tunes, and the wine, bubbles and beer are gonna be flowing all night. It all kicks off at 5:30pm in Yarra Park. Be there or be square.
Make Your Own Gin
Yep, Archie Rose’s famous Sydney gin masterclasses are (finally) launching in Melbourne. If you’re curious about what a ‘botanical’ actually is, or why you always end up crying on the stairs after six G&Ts, this is the class for you. Your ticket gets you a hands-on gin blending class, a cocktail on arrival, and a 700ml bottle to take home. Tasty as. Book your classes over here.
Everything’s better in a tipi. That’s the thinking behind the ‘Taste Tipis’—a collection of luxury private degustation tents that you can book out with your mates. Basically, you sit around on expensive pillows while a personal waiter brings you plate after plate of food, hand-picked from some of the best restaurants in Melbourne. Up to 10 people per tipi.
After Dark Party
If Taste’s opening night gala is a classy socialite, this is its younger, grungier cousin...with body piercings and motorbike Ps. It’s called The After Dark Party and it’ll be running on Friday and Saturday evening during the festival. Think sets from funk-tronic duo GL and balladeer Fraser A Gorman, plus free-flowing booze and late night munchies from The Pie Shop, Movida and Jimmy Grants.
Table Talks With Smith Journal
The legends over at Smith are joining the fun this year, launching a series of short talks, designed to give you an insight into the hospo industry. Melbourne’s best chefs, bartenders, baristas and sommeliers will be shooting the sh*t, and you’ll have a chance for some interactive Q&A. Our picks? Absinthe Salon on Friday, and How To Make Your Own Kimchi on Saturday. Get the line-up here.
If you’re an old Taste pro, you’ll know the Marketplace is where the bulk of the action happens. It’s a massive collection of artisan producers from all over the country, dishing out tasting of everything from cheese and chocolate to cured meats and cupcakes. You can check out all the exhibitors over here.
A new one for Taste this year. Lurpak (the butter guys) are hosting a series of baking classes, run by pro bakers (and probably featuring 2 x the recommended amount of butter). You can work on your lemon curd recipe, perfect the ultimate apple Tarte Tatin or whip up a mean hazelnut ganache. Best of all? You get to eat your creations at the end of the class. Book quick, these ones are gonna sell out fast.
Things To Eat
The Pie Shop
Matt Wilkinson and the lads from The Pie Shop will be on site, and they’re bringing a few new tricks. Pie Shop fans will recognize ‘The Shazza’ (caramelised onion and cauliflower cheese), but make sure to try The Jack (stuffed with Jack’s Creek Wagyu and Estrella Damm). Wash it all down with a jalapeno Bloody Mary.
Big Green Egg
Robin Wickens from The Royal Mail is going BBQ this year, teaming up with Big Green Egg to produce a Jack’s Creek sirloin with black garlic butter and salt-baked beetroot (not bad for $12). Veggos can tuck into the BBQ cabbage (only Robin Wickens could make us salivate at the thought of BBQ cabbage).
Definitely hit this one up. Shadowboxer is South Yarra’s fave date night haunt, and they’re bringing Paroo Kangaroo Croquettes with pepper berry aioli, not to mention what sounds like the dessert of the year: a gin and lemon curd tart, doused in custard and Davidson Plum gel. Sweet Jesus...
Wouldn’t be a Melbourne event without Movida, right? Frank and the team are back again, and the menu’s looking spiffy, as usual. Chargrilled Flinders Island lamb skewers, marinated in Moorish spices. Slow-cooked brisket with chickpeas and onions. Even a Crema Catalan: baked citrus and cinnamon custard, flamed and served with fresh fruit.
Aww yeah, we’re excited about this one. Christy Tania’s brand new dessert bar—a first for Taste Of Melbourne. If you haven’t checked out Glace yet, this is your chance. They’re serving their trademark ice-cream push-pops (go the pomegranate and pale ale sorbet) PLUS a Gold Maxibon: a chewy dark choc cookie sandwich with double chocolate chip cookie ice-cream. Yep, really.
Melbourne Battle Restaurant
A Masterchef-style cook-off between Peter Gunn (IDES) and Charlie Carrington (Atlas). Two of the hottest chefs in town. Charlie is serving an octopus, avocado and orange tostada (umm...yum?!) while Peter is dishing up baked barramundi with sweet corn and black garlic. Can’t decide? There’s also a Reuben jaffle on the cards...
Heads up: Nike are launching a brand new range of AF-1s in Melbourne. We've got the deets over here.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White | Shadowboxer