Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2017: 15 unmissable events

Tiger prawns will be served as part of the Taste of the Ocean event at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
Tiger prawns will be served as part of the Taste of the Ocean event at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Photo: Mark O'Meara

Look closely at that drinker on the next bar stool, or that shopper poking the produce at a Melbourne market, this week: chances are it's a celebrated chef, because right now the city is a virtual culinary red carpet.

International chefs have gathered here for the restaurant world's equivalent of the Oscars – The World's 50 Best – which this year sits slap bang in the middle of the 25th Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

That's a recipe for one big food-loving party, from classes with the world's best to a bash for burger lovers.

Eat

1. The CBD's Crossley Street will be transformed into a neon-bedecked take on a hawker market by the team from Gingerboy. Eat to the beat of a DJ, sip Tanqueray gin and jungle juice cocktails, seek out the palm reader and dine on street food. April 5, 6-9pm, $168.

2. Expect a fin-to-tail feast of all things fishy, from sashimi to spanner crab, when seafood expert John Susman, and chefs including Sydney's Brent Savage and Josh Niland, collaborate on five courses with matched wines, April 5, 7pm, at the festival's Melbourne pop-up House of Food and Wine, $195.

3. Taxi chef Tony Twitchett turns on the wayback machine to take diners to 1992 – the festival's birth year – when Paul Lynch, Paul Bocuse and Stephanie Alexander ruled our restaurant scene. Expect dishes (and wine) from that year. Taxi Kitchen, Melbourne, April 6, 6.30pm-10.30pm, $153.

Sydney's Rootstock is coming atcha, Melbourne.

Sydney's Rootstock is coming 'atcha, Melbourne. Photo: Supplied

Drink

4. Sydney, thank you for sharing. Rootstock, our northern neighbour's much-loved festival of edible, artisan and sustainable drinking and eating, comes south for one night only. Drinks from some of Australia's most interesting producers; cooking by Africola, Igni, Franklin and friends. Melbourne, April 7, 7pm, $125 (including five dishes and six drinks).

5. Start with coffee at 10am (develop your palate and knowledge; with pastries) and move onto beer at 12.30pm (tastings, tour, talk, charcuterie and cheese) at The Craft and Co's Collingwood lecture series. Still hungry? Finish with a session on prosciutto. April 9, each lecture $33.

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6. Take a winery tour without leaving town when more than 20 of Australia's most influential winemakers gather to pour everything from the traditional to the experimental at the festival's House of Food and Wine, Melbourne, and its atmospheric adjacent laneway. April 9, noon, $55.

Vladimir Mukhin from White Rabbit will cook at Lake House for MFWF.

Vladimir Mukhin from White Rabbit will cook at Lake House for MFWF. Photo: Supplied

Learn

7. Explore an Asian food market through a series of cooking classes at Box Hill Central, using its produce to teach home cooks the secrets of dumplings, sushi, Japanese, Taiwanese and vegan dishes. April 8 and 9, 10.30am, noon, 1.30pm, $33 a class.

8. Ever yearned to make your own flaky-pastry borek and baklava? That's one (Friday, 5.30pm) of five weekend classes at Yarraville Community Centre. If dumplings and doughnuts, macarons, or pork are your thing, they've a class for that too. April 7, 8 and 9, $62 a class.

9. He's a fifth-generation chef whose restaurant White Rabbit is in the world's top 50 and one of Moscow's most luxe. Hers, Lake House, is one of Victoria's finest. Vladimir Mukhin and Alla Wolf-Tasker talk, teach, demonstrate and offer tastings, April 9, 11am, $195. Stay on for a collaborative dinner, $320.

The Alps will be the final stop on RN 72, part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

The Alps will be the final stop on RN 72, part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Photo: Supplied

Explore

10. Wander the waterfront of Victoria Harbour with wine buff Max Allen, stopping for snacks, drinks and chat, including a porchetta cooking demonstration, some history and lunch at A25 pizzeria with chef Ray Capaldi. April 6, 11.30am, $98 for snacks, lunch and wines.

11. Tram-hop between three great wine bars along route 72. Start your journey with burgundy and buns at Milton Wine Shop, stop over for oysters and champagne at Toorak Cellars, finish with riesling and raclette at The Alps. Departs Malvern, April 8 from noon. $153.

12. Start a weekend away on the Bellarine Peninsula, where chef Dwayne Bourke matches pork and cider (wine, too) in a four-course April 7 dinner at the Flying Brick Cider Company in Wallington ($113). Hungry for more? Tour nearby Oakdene Vineyard's quirky gardens by mini-train, with lunch, on April 8 and 9 ($62).

Sweet treats at The Langham

Sweet treats at the Langham Photo: Shellie Froidevaux

Family friendly

13. Take the cuisines of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, put them in a park, add music, some dancing and kids' activities and you have a family friendly food lovers' festival. Argyle Square, Carlton, Saturday, Sunday from April 8, 11am, free.

14. The Langham Hotel's bringing out the silverware (and the Wedgwood) for the festival's silver anniversary, serving a towering stand of scones, sweets and ribbon sandwiches with a historic high tea that will not only tide you over till dinner, but maybe replace it, too. Saturday, Sunday, noon and 2.30, adults $79, children $39.50. 1800 641 107.

15. Australia's best burger-meisters gather for the festival's closing Burger Block Party in the festival's city laneway hub, House of Food and Wine. Names on the marquee include Beatbox Kitchen and Rockwell and Sons. $25 gets you in, a drink and music. Burgers are PAYG. Sunday 5.30pm-10pm.

For information melbournefoodandwine.com.au; phone 9823 6100, email tickets@foodfest.com.au