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Ela Carte's guide to the 2013 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
As promised, here’s some of the Melbourne Food and Wine events I think propose great value, great tastes, great fun... or all of the above!
For more info – go to www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au
Earth Masterclass – a recent enough addition are the themed full day on site masterclasses. The Fire Masterclass at Abbotsford Childrens Farm last year was fascinating, entertaining and delicious – featuring pitmasters, butchers, and tattooed barbecuers.
This year, the Earth Masterclass will (obviously) centre around the ground – from a Ben Shewry-style NZ hangi, to a Hawaiian underground cooking pit, baking in clay, and getting the most if you’re growing your own. It’s not cheap, but it features top chefs from around the world and is certainly exclusive.
The Urban Coffee Farm: Last year the Greenhouse adorned the banks of the Yarra, reminding Melburnians of the importance of and benefits in avoiding waste when it comes to cooking and eating. This year the Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar will celebrate Melbourne’s absolute dominance when it comes to making a decent coffee. There’ll be a terraced coffee farm of sorts, demonstrations from top baristas, coffee flights and nightly coffee themed cocktails.
The best thing is, entry is free – you just pay for the stuff you’d like to try. Check it out on Monday 4th March, when the entrants from the Australian Barista Championships will be having a bit more of a lighthearted competition to find Melbourne’s best.
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival attracts some huge names from overseas, giving you the chance to try their wares for the price of a Myki pass rather than a long haul flight, here are some names/events to look out for:
Ed Kenney (Hawaii) – This tattooed Hawaiian is passionate about local, organic food, full of energy this lunch is bound to be as entertaining as it is delectable. (Huxtable - 10th March – Lunch - $120 set menu with drinks)
Hokusetsu Sake Dinner with Chef Nobu – He da man, the main man Nobu will be in town for this eight course omakase (chef’s menu) paired with a unique sake. This will be fabulous, if a little pricey. (Nobu – 6th March – Dinner - $250)
Sammy D and G Mac (USA) – yes, that’s their names, well pretty much. They’re the guys between The Merrywell at Crown and they make a mean burger. This even will see share plates based on earth driven fare & old school faves, paired with craft beer. I just think these blokes will be fabulously entertaining (and the food will be pretty good too!). (The Merrywell – 6th March – Dinner - $150 dinner and matching beers)
Enrique Olvera (Mexico SOLD OUT) – Mexican is so hot right now, and in Mexico – Olvera is so hot right now; his restaurant Pujol is currently sitting at number 36 in the World’s 50 best. they’re calling this an “edgy Mexican feast”. (Pei Modern – 11th March)
Virgilio Martinez (Peru SOLD OUT) – he’s be cooking at the Aylesbury in the city, I said only last week that this city hasn’t yet been introduced to the wonder that is modern Peruvian. (The Aylesbury - 7th March – Dinner - $120 set menu with drinks)
Chan’s Dumpling Fesitval – Seriously, who doesn’t love a dumpling? These guys are going for a world record dumpling eating event (which you’ll need to register for if you want to help out), otherwise, head along, hand over a $20 and eat your heart out. (Treasury Gardens – 3rd March – Lunch - $20 Yum cha and goodie bag).
Redheads BBQ Festival – What more is there to say? A terrific weekend down at the St Kilda Foreshore celebrating everything that sizzles, grills and smokes. There’ll be demonstration cook-off competitions, and some masterclasses on offer with some serious international talent for an extra fee. But other than that $15 entry then buy whatever you want to try from the exhibitors on display. (South Beach Reserve – 2nd & 3rd March – Lunch - $15 entry plus tastings).
Sunshine Pho Fever – Touted as the “ultimate pho degustation” you’ll get three different bowls of the good stuff, plus the inside word on how it’s made. (Sunshine Town Centre – 6, 7, & 8 March - $30)
Hook Lunch & Sinker – For the anglers among us, this sounds like a pearler – morning fishing on Port Phillip Bay before enjoying your own catch of the day back at the Stokehouse. (Stokehouse – 3rd March – Lunch - $190 fishing trip, lunch and wine)
Rickshaw Run – The only way to experience Vietnamese food and culture in Footscray, this one sounds like a right hoot – visiting restaurants and markets for education and eating. (Footscray - Various dates - $89 food, drink and creative transport)
Kayak me a River – That’s right, it’s BYO transport here, you’ll row yourself up the river for a a three course riverside feast at the Wharf Hotel. (2nd & 9th March – Wharf Hotel – Dinner - $150 – Dinner and matched wines)
From Carcass to Coals – Pricey, but really a money-can’t-buy, full day experience. You’ll see a whole pig butchered from nose to tail by butcher Tony Wheeler, while Hobba owner and chef Josh Powell sets about cooking it among coals and earth. You’ll help choose the organic goodies to cook it with, enjoy Bress cider and regional wine, sit down to eat the port, and get some goodies to take away. (Rada Yarraville – 10th March – Full day - $280 incl butchery, cooking, feast, drinks)
It’s not all about the bustling CBD – there is plenty to crow about in Melbourne suburbs, and here are just a few options you can try on the city’s edges:
A Humble Vegetable Feast – A leafy courtyard in bayside Hampton is the setting for this vegetable themed dinner at Sebastian’s. (Sebastian’s Food and Wine – 9th March – Dinner - $120)
Pura Tierra – Mauro Callerguri has made Black Rock brewery True South a serious bayside food destination. His Argentinian menu is authentic, generous and exciting, and for this event he brings one of his great cooking mates all the way from Argentina for your choice of four evening dinners at a great price. (True South – 5, 6, 7, & 14 March – Dinner - $85 incl drinks).
Asian Garden Market Graze – A grazing tour of the fabulous Fresh Food Market at Centro Box Hill, you’ve have tastings, meet the traders, have a noodle and dumpling lunch AND get a goodie bag. (3rd March – Centro Box Hill – Lunch - $30)
Vermentino and Sardines – Enough of the Marlborough Sauv Blancs already, let’s try a different variety … and here’s your chance. Australia’s Vermentino producers are putting on a show at the Queen Vic Market, they’ll be pairing this Italian grape with some sustainable sardines. (Queen Vic Market – 7th March - Night - $30 for tastings and BBQ)
Speakeasy Cocktail Tram Car – Need I say more? How much fun will this be? Hot Melbourne bar The Everleigh is pairing with the people at Colonial Tramcar restaurant for their version of the modern-day speakeasy. (11th March – two evening sittings - $120 for three courses, $180 for five courses, both with matching cocktails)
Gifts from the Soil of Mexico – The biggest new thing in tequila is Tromba, and these guys are partnering with Chingon Cantina in Richmond to ring you the best of food and drink from the Jalisco Highlands of central Mexico – bound to be a lot of fun. (Chingon Cantina y Taqueria – 2, 3, 9 & 10 March – Afternoon - $65.00).