Wednesday 16 February 2011

The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival is almost upon us

MFWF media launch

The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (4-14 March) this year is shaping up to be a big one, if my experience last year is any indication. Detox starts the week afterwards. Oh yes. Seeing as it's just around the corner, I thought I'd put up a blog post asking what your festival tips are and giving a few of mine (plus it gives me the opportunity to use the nice photos I took at the festival's media launch that I was invited to when the program first came out!).

Asparagus, broccoli, pickled strawberries, coriander, honey

The media launch was held at Arteveneta, the kooky venue where the Pierre Roelofs/Raúl Moreno Yagüe event was held at last year's festival.

At the lunch, Adrian Richardson (La Luna) took care of the meats, Nic Poelaert (Embrasse) did the vegetables and the big cheese himself, Will Studd, picked out some very very nice cheeses. I've gotta say, it was pretty special. I was particularly pleased to master the tricky art of serving up the aligot (a delicious, elastic, cheesy potato mash), based on how I'd seen Camm serve it at Embrasse, and I did so for my whole table.

Free-range crispy pig's faceOrganic beetroots baked on curry and eucalyptus
Cauliflower, pickled cherries, black mustard dressing, organic carrotsHoly Goat La Luna, Cave-aged Talleggio, Carles Roquefort

So anyway, MFWF 2011: what to choose? The program is intimidatingly big and the MFWF website difficult to navigate, but don't think it's all fancy-pants degustations (that said, *cough*, I'm very excited about the Roy Choi dinner, the Der Raum/Burch & Purchese event and the Sommeliers Australia Long Lunch!). I've tried to pick out a few of the more unusual events.

Several MFWF events are free, eg a cooking demo and film screening of 'Eat Drink Man Woman' in Fed Square, spectating at AASCA's Victorian syphon brewing competition at Auction Rooms, cooking demos in the edible garden planted by The Digger's Club (I went last year, it was impressive), dumpling-folding and bun-making in Chinatown and the West African cultural festival at the Immigration Museum (free with museum entry). And there are some interesting-sounding events for those foodies with a social conscience: a tour, talk and meal at VicRelief Food Bank (Victoria’s largest food rescue charity), a seminar on social or environmental entrepreneurship in retail food and hospitality, and of course the Front of House Allstars dinner (all proceeds of which go to StreetSmart).

I'm also curious to check out Broadsheet's temporary cafe, taste medlar and shadberry at Southpaw's Forgotten Fruits High Tea and maybe - just maybe - psych myself up to try lobster brain sashimi.

MFWF media launch

Which events are you planning on attending, or would you recommend?

MFWF media launch


Temasek said...

I can feel my arteries clogging just from looking at these photos!!!

Matt C said...


I am excited about the Roy Choi dinner.

Ashley said...

I seem to be cursed when it comes to the MFWF :c Every year I've been overseas and this year is no exception!

Am looking forward to lots of photos and reports from all the bloggers though! :)

Desci said...

I'm crazy excited about the reinterpreting dessert night at Der Raum. Never been there, but thanks to you am DYING to go! Can't wait.

Eatnik said...

I'm going to hang (or should that be wobble?) with the Jelly Miesters Bompas & Parr at the Espy - very excited!

I'm in two minds about the Footscray events. On the one hand, it's awesome to see the MFWF stretching their borders beyond the inner-city and I want to support their efforts. But on the other, there's a huge price mark up and I can head to Footscray for the same food the week before or the week after at a quarter of the price. Conflicted.

However lobster brain sashimi *does* sound tempting, if only because I was unaware they had brains!

Kitchit said...

Gosh, the "Reinterpreting dessert" event looks fantastic. The the ol' fiancé and I will be attending the Texicana Taste Degustation at Fog this year and maybe one or two other events...If we can decide.

Blair said...

I'm kinda disappointed that the best they could come up with for Roy Choi is a $120 dinner at Coda. They guy runs a Korean taco truck and a rice bowl restaurant. I'm sure it'll be amazing, but it's disappointing the festival organisers haven't thought of another way to showcase his food, maybe in an environment or at a price point closer to what you'd find in LA. For instance, they could have set up a temporary taco van for a couple of days of the festival and given hundreds of people a taste of his famous tacos. That said, I'm still jealous that you're going!

claire said...

Temasek: Ha! Those meats Mr Richardson prepared were just insane.

Matt C: YESSSSSSSS. Hoorah!

I'm sure there'll be plenty of photos Ashley :)

Oooh, hope you like your first time Desci, I'll look out for you...

Eatnik, maybe we can get some of the twitter posse together for a bit of lobster brain sashimi?

Hi Kitchit, I'm sorely tempted to go along to that Fog dinner (a friend of mine LOVES Texicana), but thinking I might have to have ONE night off... but let me know what you think! :)

Blair, I've spoken to a few of the people involved and they would LOVE to set up a taco truck while Choi's in town, but are in large part prevented from doing so by ridiculous local council laws. But keep your ears open - I wouldn't be surprised to hear of something vaguely along those lines happening...

Tamara said...

Melbourne surely never runs out of cool events! There's never a lull in Melbourne.

Paul said...

I'm booked in for the Indian dinner with matching wines on the 4th - I'll be interested to see what pairings they come up with.
I've also booked in to the Return to Terroir wine session and Cellar door and farm gate.
There are plenty of other things I'd love to go to but I'm just not that organised so I suspect that many of them have sold out.

Unknown said...

Hey, what about the Voyage of Marco Polo, Claire?

Foodie said...

I'm going to the Afghan Spice Banquet on Sunday - pulled together a table for the camels, dancers and music - and the amazing afghan food.
Did the food tour in Dandenong at last year's festival and that popped the Zone 2 cherry.
Flavours are incredible - will tweet the day's proceedings.