Melbourne Food and Wine Festival presented by Bank of Melbourne will reel in more than 200 events for a global celebration of the bounty of water, 28 February – 16 March 2014.
Over 17 days food and wine lovers are invited to celebrate the world’s ocean and river fare guided by the best seafood chefs, join exclusive behind-the-scenes tours both on and off the water, get amongst it at lively street parties, secure a spot at never-to-be-repeated dinners with Michelin-starred chefs, and much more. Launched as one single program, tickets to all Festival events go on sale since 3 December 2013.
The Festival’s hub project and centrepiece of the 2014 program is a bold expression of the Festival theme exploring the cycle of water with a temporary bar, restaurant and raingarden, popping up in the city’s Queensbridge Square.
Following on from the Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar in 2013, this ambitious project designed for the second year by HASSELL, anchors three levels to the Yarra’s edge featuring a riverside bar, an open-kitchen restaurant on the concourse and a top-level verdant raingarden. Melbourne chefs including Florent Gerardin (Silo), Jesse Gerner (Anada & Bomba), Adam Liston (Borrowed Space) and Daniel Wilson (Huxtable & Huxtaburger) will bring their take on dishes inspired by the three states of water – liquid, solid and gas – to the restaurant, and by night, the country’s boundary-pushing bartenders will craft one-off cocktails and drinks that celebrate the cycle of water.
Festival favourite Bank of Melbourne World’s Longest Lunch (28 February) gathers 1,500 lunching revellers at one 500 metre-long table to kick off the first day of the Festival along the banks of the Yarra in Alexandra Park. The three-course menu will be designed by Jacques Reymond, Adam D’Sylva, and Stefano de Pieri and brought to life by Peter Rowland Catering. Celebrating the world’s waterways as the lifeblood of food and wine, each chef will draw on personal connections to the Amazon, Mekong, and Murray-Darling rivers respectively to create a menu made with Victorian produce.
New for 2014, the Flemington Grazing Trail & Cellar Door combines the best of Victoria’s wineries, craft breweries and artisan producers with Group 1 racing on Flemington’s Super Saturday race meeting. The event at the iconic racecourse offers trackside wine tasting and gourmet produce picnics just outside of the city.
Back in Melbourne, budding cooks can learn from Melbourne’s favourite chefs about our city’s diverse culinary heritage at Festival Foodies, an event for kids in Queensbridge Square. For those seeking to explore and debate the social and environmental issues connected with water, the Festival is collaborating with The Wheeler Centre for a one-off talkfest featuring a broad spectrum of speakers on 6 March.
At the hotly anticipated Langham Melbourne MasterClass, 8 – 9 March, learn from and taste the creations of the new wave of young gun chefs alongside global greats of the kitchen as they share their connection with the world’s most precious resource, water. Chilean food forager Rodolfo Guzman (Borago, Santiago), seafood crusader and Spain’s Best Chef Angel Leon (Aponiente, Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain), and Lummi Island locavore Blaine Wetzel (Willows Inn, USA), are among the star-studded line up.
Now at the core of the new dedicated wine weekend, 1 – 2 March, Acqua Panna Global Wine Experience returns with benchmark wine tasting guided by a panel of Australia’s most influential winemakers, writers and sommeliers including Rick Kinzbrunner (Giaconda, Beechworth) and Guill de Pury (Yeringberg, Yarra Valley).
Melbourne’s hottest restaurants will pull out all the stops to bring you dining experiences exclusive to the Festival. Brothers Matt and Andrew McConnell join forces for Blood is Thicker than Water, a street party between Casa Ciuccio and Cutler & Co with water and blood-inspired dishes; Darren Purchese (Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio) takes over the historic Johnston Collection for decadent desserts at Swan Lake’s Sweet Seduction; and chef Frank Camorra and food writer Richard Cornish will talk foodies through a gastronomic tour of southern Spain, from the secrets of Spanish seafood to tales of nuns making moreish doughnuts (A Gastro-Tour of Spain, MoVida Aqui).
Learn about and taste our state’s outstanding seafood at events on and off the water. Hook, Lunch & Sinker returns with a fishing trip and lunch at Stokehouse Upstairs lead by The Age Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year Ollie Gould, or at Melbourne’s Fish Mongrels at Sanford Australia, Melbourne’s wholesale fish hub, take a tour and a first-hand look at wild-caught seafood.
Foodies are invited to tour through Victoria over Regional Weekend (14 – 16 March) with all Festival events taking place out in the regions. The weekend kicks off with 20 Regional World’s Longest Lunches at spectacular locations across the state including Queenscliff Harbour on the Bellarine Peninsula, among the vines at Elgee Park vineyard in the Mornington Peninsula and overlooking the ocean in Inverloch, Gippsland.
Also over Regional Weekend, join the ultimate ‘60s themed cocktail party at The Dispensary Enoteca (Bendigo), H2007 James Bond vs. Don Draper, as they pit the signature drinks of the two smooth operators against each other. Feast at regional events embracing Victoria’s waterways, from floating down the King River ‘river sledding’ on lilos followed by lunch at Dal Zotto Winery (High Country) for Lilos & Prosecco; to dinner with Ovens River produce in the Alpine Valley at Tani Eat & Drink’s Down by the River.
Union Dining’s Nicky Riemer will bring her provincial style cooking to Bress in the Goldfields for Raining Produce at Bress, and in the High Country, get back to the core of outstanding produce at Philip Lobely Wines’ Water, Wheat and Wine, learning about the role of sun, water and earth in creating wine and artisan bread.
This is just a small taste of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014. The full program can be viewed at melbournefoodandwine.com.au.