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Seven Food Festivals Happing in Melbourne That Will Help You Eat and Drink Very Well This Spring

This spring you can spend a weekend winery hopping, eat dumplings from around the world or indulge at not one, but two cheese festivals.
By Concrete Playground
October 14, 2019

Seven Food Festivals Happing in Melbourne That Will Help You Eat and Drink Very Well This Spring

This spring you can spend a weekend winery hopping, eat dumplings from around the world or indulge at not one, but two cheese festivals.
By Concrete Playground
October 14, 2019


This spring you can spend a weekend winery hopping, eat dumplings from around the world or indulge at not one, but two cheese festivals.

They say everything in moderation, but not this month. How can you keep things in check when Melbourne's got a region-wide food celebration, 18 nights of noodle markets and not one, but two festivals dedicated to cheese? You can't. So lean in and get amongst it. Have your cake (and your camembert and chicken nuggets) and eat it, too.

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    There’s no better place to sample a region’s top drops than at the wineries, breweries and cideries making them. So lovers of Victorian booze will be very pleased to know that the Peninsula VineHop Festival is set to return for its third year, showcasing the best of the Mornington Peninsula this November 16 and 17.

    Imagine a local version of Rutherglen’s long-running Winery Walkabout, only with equal emphasis on craft beers and ciders, and it’s not hard to see why VineHop’s first two iterations have proved so darn popular. This year, the two-day event runs to the same concept, with both affordable tours and hop-on, hop-off shuttle buses allowing visitors to cruise between a stack of participating breweries and wineries, experiencing the best of each along the way. There’s even the option to opt for a private bus for you and your friends. Yes, that’s right — no designated drivers required.

    As well as the opportunity to sample premium libations just metres from where they were crafted, there’ll be food trucks, live music and lots of goings on at each location. Red Hill Estate will set up the festival hub at The Briars, and it’s worth checking out Hickinbotham of Dromana and Bayview Estate, among others.

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    Night Noodle Markets 2019

    This November, the bustling Night Noodle Markets will return to Birrarung Marr for 18 nights of tasty things on sticks, bowls of noodles, bao and extravagant frozen desserts. Taking over the riverside inner city park from November 7–24, the latest iteration of the fairy light-lit markets will see a slew of Australia’s favourite food stalls set up shop to serve a wide variety of street snacks.

    Crowd favourites — and NNM regulars — Hoy Pinoy will be back with its Filipino barbecue, and will Wonderbao’s fluffy buns and Puffle’s cheesy cone waffles. You can also expect to find dumplings, okonomiyaki and soba noodles, right through to pancakes and Korean-style shaved ice desserts. Gelato Messina will be back, too — its 2019 Sydney NNM menu includes Thai-style sweets like a milk tea banana cheesecake sandwich, a layered condensed milk pudding, and banana fritters with caramelised banana gelato and peanut crumble. Let’s hope these make their way down here, too.

    Naturally, there will be plenty of booze stations as well, including a Jacobs Creek tipi wine bar, a beer garden and a 20s-inspired diner serving beer floats and spiders. So start scheduling your visits the market — and cross your fingers for good weather.

    Image: Kimberley May Moore.

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    Melbourne International Dumpling Festival

    That most wonderful of foodstuffs is getting one day to call its own when Queen Vic Market dedicates a whole ten hours to the dumplings of the world. The market is celebrating tasty things in parcels from Italy, Nepal, India, Poland and Japan when it hosts the Melbourne International Dumpling Festival.

    Wander through the market’s stalls anytime from midday to 10pm on Monday, November 4, and you’ll find xiao long bao, pierogies, momos, matzah balls, gyoza and more to gorge. If you need a short break from stuffing your face with dumplings, you’ll be able to pause and enjoy roaming performers, face painting and DJs. If you want to eat even more, we suggest  joining the all-important dumpling eating competition. While entry is free, you will need to register online to get in — so hop to it over here.


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    Say Cheese Festival 2019

    On Sunday, October 20, Prahran Market will host its sixth annual Say Cheese Festival. For the uninitiated (or those who haven’t previously attended and devoured all the dairy they can), it’s essentially an entire day of eating cheese — and buying even more to eat later. From 10am–4pm, there’ll be free cheese tastings, cheesy dish demonstrations and stalls from cheese providores. Or, you can meet cheesemakers, wander along a market trail or tuck into fondue. If you’re not too full from all of that, a hefty lineup of traders will also be offering food to take home or eat there. Yes, there will be many, many cheese plates — and raclette, cheese-filled pastas, cheese toasties, blue cheese mussels, cheese dessert gelato and cheesecake.

    Plus, chefs will also take over the kitchen throughout the day to demonstrate cooking techniques — and take part in Melbourne’s second Grilled Cheese Invitational to determine who cooks up the best combo of grilled cheese on bread. If you’d like to expand your palate, you can sample your way through guided cheese flights as well, so you’ll be downing the gouda stuff with wine, sparkling, chocolate and beer in no time.

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    Macedon Ranges Wine and Food Budburst Festival 2019

    Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and discover the hidden wonders of the Macedon Ranges as it plays host to the Macedon Ranges Wine and Food Budburst Festival on November 9 and 10. Over the weekend, the 30 of the region’s best wineries will fling open their cellar doors and put more than 100 different wine styles up for the tasting. Most of them are small and family owned, and you’ll have the the chance to chat to the winemakers as you taste their drops.

    A festival pass will give you access to all of the wineries across the two days — and it’s $23 (or $25 on the day). Most of the venues will have live music and some kind of food offering — Cleveland Winery in Lancefield will be slinging its woodfired pizzas, and Shadowfax will be serving up cheese platters at its Trentham winery. And if no one wants to be the designated driver, the festival has hop-on, hop-off buses buses departing from Woodend Station on the Saturday.

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    Holey Cheese Festival 2019

    For five days in October, the Queen Victoria Market will become the cheesiest place in Melbourne, all thanks to its second ever Holey Cheese Festival. Running between Tuesday, October 22 and Sunday, October 27 (except on the Wednesday when the market is closed), this is the type fest that’ll fill your stomach with all of things fromage — so if you’re not fond of dairy, consider yourself warned.

    A good cheese fest is all about the tastings, and this one promises samples of the state’s best hard, soft, blue, white, fresh and aged rinds from both regular market traders (like Bill’s Farm) and local producers. When you’re not nabbing a bite of gouda, camembert or raclette, you can tuck into cheesy meals from food trucks, pop-up eateries, Melbourne chefs and, once again, the market’s regulars. Throw in live music, a wine bar, and cooking demonstrations — hopefully showing you how to whip up the cheesiest possible dishes at home — and you’ll be having cheese dreams for days.

    Image: Bill’s Farm at the Queen Victoria Market. 

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    Chicken Nugget Festival 2019

    If you often rue the day in your adolescence that chicken nuggets became an unacceptable item to eat for dinner, well, Christmas has come early. On Saturday, October 26, Welcome to Thornbury will take fried chicken back to junk food basics and throw another Chicken Nugget Festival.

    The permanent food truck park will dedicate another weekend to nuggets this spring, putting nuggets in a bao, with doughnuts and even on a pizza. There’ll be vegan nuggets, too, and Welcome to Thornbury will also be serving up a suitable range of dipping sauces and a slew of cocktails and beers. The full bite-sized fried chicken festival will be spread across two days, with the lineup starring Mr Burger, Donugs, Woking Amazing, Pizza Pony, Mamma Van and Sparrow’s Philly Cheesesteaks.

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