Friday 27 January 2012

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival turns 20

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Celebrate all things culinary at the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival this year as it celebrates its 20th birthday with a host of gastronomic extravaganzas. Boasting more than 300 events across Melbourne and Victoria, there is something for every gourmand including 80 events under $50.

Visitors can share in Melbourne’s obsession with food and wine with over 20 days of eating and drinking, comprising gastronomic delights from one-off dinners, whirlwind tours and crawls to hands-on learning, regional adventures and riverside parties.

The Festival kicks off with the brand new Riverside Opening Weekend on 3-4 March when the Yarra River transforms into a food and wine lover’s paradise. There’ll be plenty of activity including the Cellar Door & Farmgate at South Wharf, which will bring together craft brewers, artisan products and boutique cellar doors complemented by restaurants and bars along the promenade once the sun goes down.

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A firm Festival favourite, the IGA World’s Longest Lunch will snake itself along the banks of the Yarra River on Friday 2 March inviting guests to enjoy a three course seasonal feast under the tree line of Alexandra Park. Designed by hatted regional star chefs Patrizia Simone (Simone’s of Bright), Annie Smithers (Annie Smithers Bistrot, Kyneton) and George Biron (Sunnybrae, Birregurra), each course will be matched by the finest drops from Yering Station. Complementing all this feasting will be 29 Regional World’s Longest Lunches taking place across Victoria.

The Langham Melbourne Masterclass stage will be a hive of activity with world-class culinary whizzes over the weekend of 10 and 11 March including world number one chef Rene Redzepi (Noma, Copenhagen), three star Michelin chef Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana, Italy) and Claus Henriksen (Dragsholm, Horve), who will each provide inspiration and insights into their clever creations.

And for those keen to get their hands dirty, there are plenty of hands-on cooking classes to get involved in from making macaroons and passata to learning the art of porchetta.

Further afield, North East Victoria plays host to the Tastes of Rutherglen festival, which begins with a regional showcase dinner on 10 March highlighting the best produce from across the region. Visitors to the region over the following two weekends can continue to enjoy perfectly matched food and wine combined with culinary experiences and activities at participating venues.

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