It's time to dedicate 17 days to eating and drinking at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival from Friday 28 February to Sunday 16 March 2014. Celebrating all things water, the 2014 program explores the bounty of lakes, ponds, waterways and oceans. There is an abundance of events on offer for all kinds of foodies, from long lunches to master classes, from watering haven tours to seafood journeys. Even the fussiest foodies will be in paradise.
The following pages show the most delectable culinary experiences, most of which require booking. If you like what you see, go on a booking spree.
There are plenty of feasting opportunities here at the Festival featuring rock stars of the food world. Be prepared to be blown away by the food and wine on offer. Gather your friends and start booking now.
Indulge in a long, long lunch at the riverbank of Alexandra Park on Friday 28 February. Begin your weekend extra early with Bank of Melbourne World's Longest Lunch from noon with 1499 others for a magnificent three-course menu by Stefano de Pieri, Adam D'Sylva and Jaques Reymond, paired with the finest libations from Seppelt.
Restaurant Express will make foodies from all over Melbourne fat and happy with its list of over 70 of Melbourne's best restaurants offering outstanding specials during the Festival. As all of the restaurants listed have made it to Victoria's dining Bible, The Age Good Food Guide 2014, I'm sure they will not disappoint even the most discerning foodies. Take this chance to revisit or find your absolute favourite.
Sign up for Crawl 'n' Bite between Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 March and allow this culinary journey to ignite your appetite. You'll visit three tremendous dining locations in one big night so bring your extra stomach!
Pop by the Flemington Race Course for a fabulous food experience at Flemington Frazing Trail and Cellar Door on Saturday 8 March. There will be a solid line-up of wines and frosty brews, tasty cuisine and children's activities. So don't leave your kids at home.
And secure your spot for a session of Perfect Match on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 March to sample mouth-watering food and its perfect wine companion. Why is it perfect? Just ask Victoria's beloved chefs and winemakers on the day.
Escape the City
Need a day out or a weekend away? Well, the Festival gives you the perfect excuse to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
For a nice day out, head to legendary country restaurants during the festival for a stunning two-course lunch accompanied by a glass of Victorian wine as part of Regional Restaurant Express. You won't go wrong here with the first-class restaurants from The Age Good Food Guide 2014. Soak up the views, savour the food, and sip on the wine.
Regional Weekend will spoil you with World's Longest Lunches taking place in various places across the state on Friday 14 March. Now you've just got to pick where.
Last but not least is the Water Masterclass. This is definitely the number one for me, not because it's the most expensive, but because it's a day of seafood indulgence. Apart from the four-course lunch, you'll learn about the mysterious mussel and the obscurer oyster, attempt fly fishing, and learn how to smoke fish. It's the perfect day if you ask me!
Explore and discover Melbourne's renowned laneways at Bar Express and sample some of the most deliciously crafted water-inspired cocktails at the city's most wanted watering sanctuaries. Download the Bar Express map now to start your exciting expedition between Friday 28 February to Thursday 13 March.
Wine connoisseurs will absolutely love Acqua Panna Global Wine Experience, lead by international and Australian wine specialists from Saturday 1 to Sunday 2 March. It's all about big ideas, tastings etched deeply in your mind and the exploration of flavours.
Allow Chef Masterclass to inspire and innovate you with their concepts and creations between Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 March. Chefs from all corners of the world are ready to share their stories and reveal their secrets. All you have to do is book and get ready to immerse yourself in these classes.
On Sunday 9 March, chefs will gather at Deakin Edge, Federation Square ready to inspire and innovate all who attend. Whether you're an enthusiastic cook, or work in the hospitality industry, Chef Jam is bound to impress you with an all-star line-up, demonstrations and discussions.
Of course, young foodies won't miss out as they have the chance to participate in various hands on workshops during the opening weekend with Little Foodies Corner on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 March. These completely free workshops will have the mini chefs cooking up a storm with culinary delights from Greece, Japan and Vietnam.