The world's most liveable city is not only reputed be the best place for art, music, culture and sports in the Australia with its myriad world-class events, major festivals and ethnic celebrations. It is also a food and drink festival hub and popular foodie destination thanks to its extensive network of cafes, restaurants, bars, artisans and producers.
Whether you're looking for the biggest, gourmet, artisan, speciality or international food and drink event, Melbourne has got it all. These events collectively create a gastronomic destination for locals, interstate and international visitors every year. To help you time your visit and make the most of your culinary experiences, here are the top free and ticketed food and drink events in Melbourne that your palate won't want to miss.
Melbourne's love of food and drink can be summed up in 10 days of dining experiences at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. What started with only 12 events in 1993 is a cornucopia of over 300 food and wine activities across Victoria today. It assembles top chefs, winemakers, artisan producers and growers with Melbourne's eateries, restaurants, event halls and even basements, rooftops and gardens every year.
It may not be the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore but the Festival is an opportunity to meet, learn and dine with some of Melbourne's top chefs like Jacques Reymond, Ian Curley, Scott Pickett and visiting chefs from abroad like Jorge Vallejo from Mexico City, Wylie Dufresne from New York City and Gaston Acurio from Lima. There are also express lunch deals, longest lunches, masterclasses, wine-matched events, food and wine markets and even a sustainable and artisan food festival within the Festival. Visit the website for more information, venues and deals.
What originated as an idea over beers in 2011 has grown into a major food and drink festival with a robust program spanning 250 events across 180 venues in just nine days. Good Beer Week has grown in stature and popularity over the years that it contributes to Melbourne being considered the beer capital of Australia.
Taking place in May, the event draws brewers and beer enthusiasts together in a celebration of beer around Victoria. The variety of events are meant to educate, entertain, showcase the existing and emerging players of the contemporary beer scene and involve diverse dining and drinking venues. There is a Gala event and awards such as the Australian International Beer Awards, the Australian Craft Brewers Conference and TimeOut Melbourne Pub Awards.
You can look forward to the newest brews and favourites from brewers across the country accompanied by great food, live entertainment and interesting activities. Enjoy mead making, mountain biking with beer and Sunday brunches. There are even international visiting breweries and beers from USA, Belgium, New Zealand and Hong Kong who ship their kegs all the way to Melbourne. Visit the website for more information and the schedule of free and ticketed events.
The Beer Connoisseur (USA) described this event as 'one of the best beer festivals in the world'. Its humble beginnings as the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular dates back to 2011 at the Local Taphouse in St Kilda. Today, the event has grown out of Melbourne to Sydney and Auckland. Held annually in the Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne leg draws thousands of brewers and beer enthusiasts eager for a taste of more than 150 international and local beer and ciders brewed specifically for the event. There's even more to drink than at Oktoberfest.
In addition to the signature container bars pouring festival specials, you can enjoy hundreds more flavours to savour at participating craft brewery stands, masterclasses, live entertainment and gourmet food stalls. With concoctions like beer flavoured with pretzels, mango, chocolate and coffee, the GABS Beer, Cider and Food Festival is the best event to keep abreast of beer-making trends and flavours in Melbourne. Visit the website for more details and tickets.
You can look forward to countless tastings of artisan produce and products, and wines and beers from around the country with popular regions like Barossa, McLaren Vale and Margaret River well represented. There are masterclasses for wines, beers and cheeses. Another crowd puller are the live cooking demonstrations by a variety of popular and renowned chefs including Maggie Beer, George Calombaris, Luca Ciano and Miguel Maestre. Visit the website
for more information on this one-stop-shop for food and wine lovers and tickets.
Truffle Melbourne is the largest truffle festival weekend outside Europe. It was successfully launched in 2014 by truffle grower Nigel Wood as the biggest truffle festival in Melbourne. Today, the popular event in June continues to celebrate the winter black truffle season, truffle growers and producers and Australia as the fourth largest truffle growing nation in the world.
The availability of fresh aromatic black truffles, truffle-filled food experiences, cooking demonstrations and tastings of truffle products attracted large crowds to Prahran Market in 2016 and Queen Victoria Market in 2017 where the festival was held. Entry to the weekend festival is FREE.
Truffle Melbourne also collaborates with truffle growers, top chefs and gourmet food and beverage producers to serve up a program of ticketed experiences. There are truffle hunts; lunches and dinners that celebrate Australia's best truffles; masterclasses with tastings; cooking classes; and even weekends events in Red Hill. Visit the website for more information.
A more recent addition to the Melbourne food and drink event scene, the Italian Wine and Food Festival brings the best of Italy's food and drink culture to the city in June. Organised by events company Progetto Panevino, this all things Italian event is also held in Sydney. The Melbourne leg captures Italy's gastronomic culture and regional diversity under one roof at the Royal Exhibition Building.
You and your family can explore different Italian wine regions, sample over 200 wines, attend masterclasses and workshops and feast on authentic Italian food and drinks. You can also meet renowned artisans and chefs like Rosa Mitchell of Rosa's Canteen, Johnny Di Francesco of 400 Gradi and Andrea Papadakis and Alberto Fava of Tipo 00. Your ticket include entry, all wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and entertainment. Visit the website for more information and tickets.
Some of Melbourne's popular cafes, caterers, food trucks and artisans gather in the historic sheds of Queen Victoria Market during the Winter Night Market. It started in 2012 as Luna 1878 and entry is FREE to the public every Wednesday in June, July and August. The event has grown into a winter tradition with crackling braziers and gas heaters, heady aroma of hot cooked food from over 30 stalls, handmade artisan products and a schedule of live music and roving entertainers. Remember to check out the popular food that draw large crowds every year. Visit the website for more information.
The coldest region in Australia, Tasmania is popular for its cool climate wines including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling. Now you don't have to travel to Hobart or Launceston to enjoy these wines thanks to VIN Diemen. Presented by Wine Tasmania with support from Tourism Tasmania and Bottle Shop Concepts, this 2-day ticketed event in August gathers the best of the island's wines as well as produce and boutique beverages under one roof.
You can sample all the varieties available from producers like Jansz, Pipers Brook, Barringwood, House of Arras, Bream Creek Vineyard, Tolpuddle, Bay of Fires, Josef Chromy and many more. Your two days of eating and drinking also include food, cider and spirits from some of the island's leading vintners and providores such as Abel Gin Co., Strait vodka and gin, Willie Smith's Organic Cider, Rober Farm Goat Dairy offerings, Bruny Island Cheese Co., Shima Wasabi, Meander Valley and Nichols Poultry. Visit the website for more information and tickets.
Frankston and South Eastern Wine Show (August)
Photo courtesy of Frankston Amateur Winemakers Guild Inc
Melbourne is not just home to commercial food and wine events. Thanks to the Frankston Amateur Winemakers Guild, you can savour small batch wines and liqueurs crafted by enthusiasts in August. The Guild organises an annual open amateur wine making competition with judging and winners in categories including still, sparkling, fortified wines and liqueurs. Entries are made available for tastings in the Frankston and South Eastern Wine Show.
This is an opportunity to sample home-made wines from fruit, vegetables, flowers, herbs and red white grape wines. You will find wines derived from citrus fruits, stone fruits, berries, guavas, carrots, parsnips, herbs and exotic ingredients. Red and white wines such as Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay and Muscat are available. You can also meet the winemakers and pick up information on making your own wine. Visit the website for more information and tickets.
Junipalooza is the event for lovers of gin. It was created in London by Gin Foundry, a company that educates customers about the spirits including distillers, industry news and cocktail recipes. The Melbourne version in October is a Meet-the-Maker show running since 2016 in collaboration with Gin Queen Caroline Childerley,
You can look forward to meeting a whole host of ginsmiths from Europe and Australia and buying directly from them. These makers gathered under one roof will be showcasing their spirits and sharing their processes and flavour journeys. Your ticket also provides the opportunity to sample the large selection of juniper-laced spirits and botanical blends and access to masterclasses. Visit the website for more information and tickets.
The world's greatest restaurant festival draws restaurant-lovers, chef groupies and foodies together in 22 different cities around the world such as Amsterdam, Milan, Munich, Toronto, Dubai, Auckland, Hong Kong, Paris, Sydney, Moscow and London, where the event originated over 10 years ago.
Taste of Melbourne is no different. Held in November, It transforms the concept of pop-ups and small plates into 4 days of world famous chefs, live entertainment, superb beverages and food served by some of Melbourne's most popular and renowned restaurants in the lakeside alfresco surrounds of Pelican Lawn in Albert Park.
You can choose from 6 sessions of lunch or dinner. Each session runs for 4 to 5 hours and provides ample time to taste test over 50 restaurant dishes, participate in masterclasses, watch cooking demonstrations and browse artisan produce. Some of restaurant line-up include Gazi, MoVida, Estelle Bistro, Cumulus Inc, Supernormal and Royal Mail Hotel. Visit the website for more information and tickets. You might just snap up some discounted tickets to this foodie mecca.
The Good Food Month presented by Citi takes over Melbourne and regional Victoria every November with 30 days of dining-related events and activities. It is the largest food festival in Australia with similar programs in Sydney. Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra.
Favourites include 'Let's Do Lunch' which serves up quick, fun and long lunches at local restaurants, and 'Hats Off Dinners' with some of industry's top chefs and producers. There are also pop-ups and bar hops with some of the best Melbourne cafes and bars. Some of the popular eateries include Longrain, Bistro Guillaume, Chin Chin, Hoy Pinoy and Gelato Messina.
A highlight includes the Melbourne Night Noodle Markets, which transforms Birrarung Marr on the banks of the Yarra into an Asian hawker-style market. For 18 nights, you can enjoy a wide selection of food and drinks from over 30 stalls and nightly live entertainment. Entry to the Market is FREE. Visit the website for more information.