Beer and food matching ... The Paddington Arms is part of the pub festival. Photo: Steve Lunam
NSW Wine Festival
The NSW Wine Festival is a month-long celebration of the state's 14 wine regions. It kicks off with Sydney Cellar Door where you can tour the wineries of NSW without a long drive. This year, it starts on Friday night, so head down to Hyde Park after work and enjoy a picnic and your favourite drop. Other events to look out for are the Tour of the Regions Dinner, a collaboration between Sydney's top restaurants and wine makers, who will provide a tasting menu to complement the best wines from NSW. If you prefer something light, bar snacks with tasting flights, or a dessert matched with a sticky will be offered at bars around Sydney for $20. The NSW Wine Festival is a Fairfax event.
Details: February 22 – March 31, nswwinefestival.com.au
The Larder is back
The pop-up restaurant within a restaurant is back for another season. Larder is a more laid-back version of Otto Ristorante, with a menu of share plates inspired by what's in the pantry. This week there are dishes like Asian style mussels, Wagyu minute steak and a selection of charcuterie and cheese. A number of rieslings by the glass are available or you can BYO for $6.50 per person.
Details: January 28 -March 27, 6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo, ottoristorante.com.au
Cakes Wines and Tropfest pop-up bar
The clever chaps at Cake Wines are at it again with another pop-up bar. This time, it's in conjunction with Tropfest and will feature a bunch of cultural nights, including a night of conversation with Tropfest founder John Polson. Housed in a sandstone basement in The Rocks, it could be a perfect first-date night if you're stuck for ideas. Most events are free but require registration, so don't wait.
Details: February 7 to March 2, 77 George Street, The Rocks, facebook.com/CakeWines
The real food forum
Interested in sustainable farming? Joel Salatin, from the 'real food' movement, will be talking about food policy, production and distribution at Sydney Town Hall, alongside Australian farmer Michael Croft. Salatin will also hold workshops on his farming methods in Kiama.
Talk: February 16, workshops: February 17-19, realfoodforum.com.au.
Organic wine festival
Rootstock is a new festival devoted to organic and artisan wine. About 30 Australian and international winemakers will be there for you to chat to and taste their wares. You won't be doing it on an empty stomach either. A food market with local produce and chef stalls by Billy Kwong, Kitchen by Mike, Three Blue Ducks and others will be there to cook you lunch, along with as producers such as Feather & Bone, Iggy's Bread and Patrice Newell Garlic. There are cooking classes on seafood and wine matching and local produce. The grand finale is a dinner cooked by five top chefs including Ben Greeno from Momofuku Seiobo and Luke Burgess from Garagistes in Tasmania who are cooking a five-course meal with flowing organic and artisan wines, of course.
Details: Italian Forum Cultural Centre, Norton Street, Leichhardt, 10am to 5pm, February 17. Tickets: $35 for the wine festival, $200 for the dinner, rootstocksydney.com
Celebrate Paddington pub culture
If you are partial to a pint check out the first Paddington Pub Fest, running from February 14 to 17. Nine pubs within (almost) walking distance from each other will be holding events throughout the festival. There will be a beer and food matching lunch at the Paddington Arms, designed and hosted by chef Colin Fassnidge and Matilda Bay brewer Chloe Lovatt. A menu crafted by Masterchef finalists Chris Badenoch and Aaron Harvie will be available at all pubs on the Sunday. Did someone say pub crawl?
Details: February 14 -17, visitpaddington.com.au
Pasta making classes for the romantic
Salt Meats Cheese in Alexandria is running two romance-inspired cooking classes. Learn how to prepare and cook a Valentine's Day Italian feast - including heart shaped pasta - at the class on February 12. Or reserve a place for two at the February 14 class, being run especially for couples. Includes prosecco and snacks on the night, and a goody bag to take home.
Details: February 12 and 14, $75 per person, saltmeatscheese.com.au
Chinese New Year
Lunar Feasts is a recent addition to the Sydney food calendar. Part of the City of Sydney's Chinese New Year Festival, Lunar Feasts offers set-price meals at some of the city's favourite Asian restaurants during February. Highlights include fresh spring rolls and snapper curry at Chat Thai for $20 per person, a sample menu at Din Tai Fung, including xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and wontons, for $20 per person, and the choice of two set menus, including wine, at Fat Noodle for $20 or $30 per person.
New Orleans comes to Sydney
The Island Bar at Cockatoo Island is getting a temporary makeover and will emerge looking much like New Orleans's famous Bourbon Street. For a weekend in February, bourbon and rum will be flowing, you can feast on Southern specialties like Creole pizza, spicy Cajun chicken strips and banana fritters for dessert. There’ll be blues and jazz performances and even a marching band.
Details: February 15 -17, theislandbar.com.au
For the diary
Movie night in the Hunter Valley
The outdoor cinema is a staple of Sydney summer. The good news: Movies in the Vineyard means you can enjoy it up to Easter as well. The sloping lawn in front of the vineyard at Hungerford Hill Wines is a good spot to lay a rug and enjoy the food and regional wine on offer while watching a recent release under the stars. Head up early and spend the day exploring the Hunter.
Details: March 28 -April 6, moviesinthevineyard.com.au
What's On: Sydney is compiled by Georgia Booth. Send contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org