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This Week in Food: Cocktail tours + a Sicilian Sunday Feast

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ATE-Y COLLINS – It was huge news when Sydney dynamic duo Martin Benn and Vicki Wild announced in 2017 they’d be closing their acclaimed restaurant Sepia, and defecting to Melbourne for a project with prolific local restaurateur Chris Lucas. There hasn’t been much detail since … until this week! Their home will be 80 Collins – a huge new development that’ll be home to a boutique hotel; luxury, beauty and lifestyle brands; co-working spaces; and of course, food offerings. It’s set to be finished in 2020. This is bound to be the first of a number of announcements for the hospitality aspects of this project, but there’s little doubt it is the biggest, and most anticipated.

THIS BOOZE WAS MADE FOR WALKING – It’s been a while, but I finally tagged along on another of Allan Campion’s iconic Melbourne tours. This one was the Progressive Cocktail Bar Tour, led by Melbourne drinks legend Sebastian Raeburn. Four stops, four cocktails, plenty of snacks, and lots of Melbourne cocktail history pointed out along the way on this walking tour of the great booze haunts of Melbourne, it was a lotta fun!

TIME TO TUMBLE – Still looking for a Food & Wine Fest event to commit to? Well, one of the most adventurous has to be “Tipples, Tucker and Tumbling” at the Melba Spiegeltent on March 22. It’s a one-off creative mash-up of food, wine and performing arts with Innocent Bystander collaborating with Charcoal Lane and Circus Oz – and somehow I don’t think we’re talkin’ your average dinner and a show. The menu is matched to seven different Innocent Bystander wines, expect things like Wallaby carpaccio & emu crĂ©pinette. Needless to say it is bound tobe as entertaining as it is tasty! Tix here.

SI, SI, SICILIAN – Kew favourite Mr Bianco will open on Sundays from March 3rd for a Sicilian Sunday Feast. Options will include a roast that changes according to seasonal produce on offer and will be perfect for the whole family or a group of friends to enjoy. Think starting with abundant antipasti like burrata, salumi & bruschetta; your roast could be porchetta, scotch fillet, or snapper; and you might finish with tiramisu or bombe Alaska. The shared three courses will set you back just $59 per person.

GETTING AWAY FOR THE WINES – I’ve got mates that NEVER miss the “Tastes of Rutherglen” over the Labour Day long weekend. So what’s the attraction? Well with 19 Rutherglen wineries offering something to taste, sip and savour behind every cellar door, plus special menus, outdoor sports, play equipment, & quirky activities for the kids – there’s something for the whole family. There are twilight dinners, special cocktails, pop-up bars and live music at some wineries, or just grab your $20 ticket and get access to each of the 19 wineries (plus free entry, coffees & soft drinks for designated drivers).

WINEMAKER FOR A DAY – Hundreds of Victorians will descend on Healesville’s TarraWarra Estate on the 2nd of March to become a winemaker for the day and pick grapes to create a wine that will support Melbourne’s homeless community. A partnership between online wine seller Vinomofo, TarraWarra and Rob Dolan Wines, you’ll help to create a beautiful and iconic Yarra Valley Chardonnay and all proceeds from the sale of the wine (every last cent) will be donated to Fitzroy’s St Mary’s House. To head along (it’s free, but byo secateurs), secure your tix here.