“Melbourne’s favourite movable feast”

One of the most anticipated events on the city’s culinary calendar will take place between 25 March and 9 April, 2022. The 30th edition of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival invites one and all to partake in the celebration of what the Victorian capital does best – food, drink and getting together with the various communities to enjoy them. In fact, as all Melburnians know and appreciate, the very heartbeat of the CBD and surrounds is audible throughout a thriving hospitality scene. Think cosy cafés, world-class restaurants and fabulous bars. This heartbeat is supported and perpetuated by a core of creative, talented, passionate, resilient and hardworking hospitality operators and has given life to a brand – call it simply Brand Melbourne – that is recognised and lauded the world over. Furthermore, the centrality of the food-and-drink scene to the Brand Melbourne story has contributed immeasurably to the city being an ideal place to live and visit, work, stay and play. The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, generally speaking, exists to showcase and support the myriad of local producers, winemakers, chefs and restaurateurs. Specifically, it celebrates Melbourne as one of the great food-and-drink destinations of the world. You are encouraged to explore the varied and spectacular program of events on offer this year and, most importantly, to share a meal or two as a means to reconnect with the importance of community.

Of the more than 100 events over the 10-day festival, the following few are of particular note. Presented by Brick Lane Brewing, Crawl and Bite – or Bite and Crawl depending on your particular preference for order – is what can be described as “Melbourne’s favourite movable feasts”. Crawl and Bite is one of the festival’s best-loved traditions, taking intimate groups of food lovers among a handful of great venues and enjoying a bite, drink and/or a taste at each. These progressive food-drink adventures are the equivalent of a full meal with drinks and are spread over 3-4 venues and include short neighbourhood walks that encourage – you guessed it – more consumption. This is the perfect balance, would you not agree?! Crawl and Bite is the very embodiment of Melbourne’s world-renowned hospitality culture. As a side note, it is also a very effective way to familiarise yourself with lesser-known parts of the city.

For the diehard carnivores in the audience, do not give a second thought to indulging in Australian Good Meat’s High Steaks program. In doing so, you shall boldly declare, “The Friday long lunch is back!” The autumnal vibration of April will help to rekindle the lost art of the long Friday lunch by unabashedly celebrating one of the great joys of big-city life. All that is required is to gather round a piece of prime Australian beef – grilled to perfection, carved to share and, ultimately, ready and willing to make your week. Some of the CBD’s favourite lunching spots, both established and new, will come alive with special menus featuring choice cuts, 3608 Nagambie Gin martinis upon arrival, plus fine wine and a multitude of other reasons preventing you from returning to the office. Venues participating in High Steaks include Bar Lourinha, Bar Margaux, Chancery Lane, Grill Americano, Kisume, La Luna, Lillian Terrace, Prince Dining Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Society and Victor Churchill, “the most beautiful butcher shop in the world,” according to the late Anthony Bourdain.

Finally, if you fancy yourself one who appreciates the tried-and-true and who is equally – if not more so – excited by the up-and-comers, then the Rising Stars installment is a required attendance. Local whisky distiller Starward describes the experience as follows: “Get your taste of tomorrow today,” which is precisely what Rising Stars offers its audience. Four of Victoria’s most promising new chef talents – Scott Lord, Lorena Corso, Rosheen Kaul and Nabil Ansari – will give demonstrations over two weekends at the purpose-built bar at Queen Victoria Market to provide a flavour-packed piece of their culinary action alongside some delicious cocktails. In the event that your taste buds are experiencing any sort of trepidation, rest assured that all of the Rising Stars’ food will match seamlessly with whisky and all of its nuanced representations. And considering the state of affairs of the past two years, whisky just might be the very elixir required to return the Melbourne hospitality heartbeat to the intensity of its former glory. Bookings for all programs are recommended. Go forth and be merry. 

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

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