The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) has announced its program for 2017 — and, well, we hope you're hungry. Come March 31, the festival will take over the city for ten days of delicious dinners, long lunches, wine weekends, parties, masterclasses and more. And while it's their 25th year, they haven't just rolled out a program of the same old thing.
For the first time ever, MFWF will have their own House of Food and Wine, a more concrete answer to the pop-up hub they've had down at Queensbridge Square in the past. When they call it a house, they mean that very literally — the CBD space will be styled to feel like a home, featuring a dining room (the main event space), a lounge room (the bar) and garden in the laneway. Deviating slightly from your average house, it will also feature a gallery of illustrations by Anna Vu (from Good Food Crap Drawing) of some of the city's favourite MFWF dishes from the last 25 years.
The lounge room bar will be open every day of the festival and feature a curated list of artisan Victorian wines, while the dining room will play host to a number of special events. Spend opening night (Friday, March 31) at an Italian disco and dining party and closing night (Sunday, April 9) at the Burger Block Party, which will bring together Australia's best burger-makers — think Marys from Sydney, Short Order Burger Company from Perth, and Rockwell & Sons and Beatbox Kitchen from Melbourne.
There's also a whole host of exciting events happening outside the House. This year MFWF will coincide with the World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards, which are being hosted by Melbourne for the very first time. They've managed to nab some of the world's best chefs to run some masterclasses at the festival — which is a pretty big deal. Among them will be classes from sensory chef Grant Achatz from Chicago restaurant Alinea (ranked #15), Jorge Vallego from Mexico City's Quintonil (ranked #12) and Australia's David Thompson, who runs Bangkok's Nahm (ranked #37) and is set to open Long Chim in Melbourne next year.
On Friday, March 31 the Bank of Melbourne is hosting the annual world's longest lunch on Melbourne's iconic Lygon Street. 1600 diners will sit along a 580-metre tables to enjoy an autumnal Italian menu from Antonio Carluccio. Unfortunately it's already sold out, but if you still want to enjoy a long lunch and don't mind spending it in a vineyard or along a riverbank, there are another 20 happening in regional Victoria. On Saturday, April 8, get armed with a myki and take tram route 72, which will become Melbourne's answer to Burgundy's Route Nationale 74 for the day. It will take you on a tram-crawl of three of the southeast's best wine bars: Milton in Malvern, Toorak Cellars in Armadale and The Alps in Prahran. On Friday, April 7, they're also hosting a culinary tour of the Melbourne General Cemetery. With many of Melbourne's best chefs and wine makers and merchants buried here, chef Allan Koh — from Springvale Botanical Cemetery's cafe-flower shop hybrid Cafe Vita et Flores — will recreate the deceased's signature dishes for guests to sample at notable grave sites.
The festival will also host usual favourites like their Crawl 'n' Bite food tours, lunch specials, wine tastings and masterclasses. You can check out — and buy tickets for — the full program here.