Friday sees the start of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, a festival that spans from the 27th Feb to the 15th of March and includes over 300 different events both in Melbourne and in Regional Victoria. While there are amazing events which all provide brilliant value for money, I wanted to focus on some of the festivals, galas and masterclasses that don’t cost a thing. Alright, so you need to buy your food and drinks but all the entertainment and learnings that are happening? They’re free!
To start with, lets talk about the Open Kitchen, a huge event taking place on 28th Feb-1st March and runs from Birrarung Marr to South Wharf, playing host to 10 different events including Crowns Alfresco Kitchen where Crowns restaurants open their doors for you to sample some of their signature dishes, MCEC Food Truck Jam where the Exhibition Centres lawn will be covered with some of Melbournes finest food trucks, South Wharf which will be transformed into a Hawker style market for a family friendly day of food, music and entertainment and Sweet Alley with treats from Lux Bites, Burch and Purchase, N2 Gelato and more.
If you’re looking to stay out of the city, Richmond’s Bridge Rd are hosting a Global Gathering on the 1st March. A great chance to check out some of the fabulous multicultural dining experiences from one end of the rd to the other. With tasting plates starting at only $5 plus masterclass, cooking demos, tuk-tuks and even dance classes. Don;t forget to get your passport stamped to go into the running to win a $3000 Smeg kitchen prize.
South Melbourne Market are once again playing host to the Port Phillip Mussel Festival, a fabulous seafood themed street party running the weekend of the 7th-8th March. There will more mussels than your muscles can carry, mussel paella, drunken mussels, plus an array of sangria and craft beer, artisanal ice cream and fun for the kids.
Out west, you can head to the Seddon Festival on the 7th March, with entertainment spread over three stages, food, wine and beer tastings and the infamous waiters’ race the day promises great fun for locals and visitors.
Head back into the CBD on the 8th March as the laneways of Duckboard Place and AC/DC Lane open up into a mix of music, art and food for the MARCS festival. With food stalls from Terra Rossa, Pastuso and Papa Goose, music from Cherry Bar and drinks from Mary Fortune and Eau de Vie it’s the place to be.
Speaking of amazingly fun free things to do, a reminder that Saturday 28th February is Craft Beer Rising Day, a day to celebrate all things craft beer. With over 25 events taking happening all over Victoria, its a great chance to meet the brewers, the enthusiasts, learn more about the burgeoning craft beer scene and make new drinking buddies.
What’s happening this week
Don’t forget there is still so much going on this week heading up to the Food and Wine Festival. I’m personally checking out Slipsmith Gin at the Everleigh with the Gin Queen in what will be Slipsmiths only consumer tasting in Melbourne. I’m also heading to the Windsor to find out more about my newest love, Italian wine at Gambero Rosso. This event will showcase Italian wine, some of which have not been seen in Melbourne before. Staying with the wine, I’ll also be attending (and by attending I mean working) at Return to Terroir, a Biodynamic wine showcase happening on the 28th Feb and 1st March at the Town Hall with more than 50 wines on show from some of the worlds leading Biodynamic wine experts.