Melbourne Tomato Festival celebrates Italian culture and passata making

Red hot: The inaugural Melbourne Tomato Festival will be held on March 1.
Red hot: The inaugural Melbourne Tomato Festival will be held on March 1. 

Always dreamed of gatecrashing a backyard Italian passata day but never managed to score an invitation? Good news –thanks to the imminent arrival of the inaugural Melbourne Tomato Festival you've now got an "in". Taking place at the picturesque Farm Vigano in South Morang, the festival aims to bring together local producers, the community and "champions of all things Italian" for a day-long pomodoro love-in of epic proportions.

According to organiser Liz Grossi-Rodriguez, inspiration for the festival sprang from  "the desire to preserve Italian culture in our region of Melbourne". She adds that "it's about diversity, not only within our customs but in how we grow our food, prepare our ingredients and cook our food".

With hands-on workshops, talks on food ethics and sustainability, gardening tutorials and cooking demonstrations from chefs including Karen Martini, Rosa Mitchell, Frank Camorra and Guy Grossi, there's plenty lined up to fill the day. On that point, filling your belly won't be a stretch either, with the likes of Enoteca Sileno, 400 Gradi, Elyros and That's Amore cheese in charge of the catering.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the farm's scenic grounds and buy from a range of produce, so be sure to pack a picnic rug and shopping bag to make a day of it.

Melbourne Tomato Festival, March 1 at Farm Vigano, 10 Bushmans Way, South Morang. Tickets (presale only): melbournetomatofestival.com