Melbourne Food & Wine Festival kicks off

The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, organised by Bank of Melbourne and Visit Victoria, recently returned with a blockbuster 2021 calendar across Melbourne and regional Victoria. The newly expanded festival year kicked off with a suite of signature and new events in March.

This will be followed in winter by the festival’s core programming for the year, a two-week festival all about Melbourne, and then in the spring the food and drink of regional Victoria will for the first time have a festival all its own.

March sees the return of some of the festival’s best-loved signature events, which were postponed in 2020. The Bank of Melbourne World’s Longest Lunch, one of the city’s most anticipated annual events, returns with an all-star line-up of culinary legends, and newcomer the Bank of Melbourne World’s Longest Brunch will celebrate the city’s renowned breakfast culture the next morning. There will be special events across the city, and for the first time, Melbourne’s western suburbs will be the hero of 12 Westside Crawl events.

“Coming hot on the heels of the success of the New Year Street Feasts program, we’re thrilled to join in the roaring recovery of the city with a full calendar of great Melbourne Food & Wine Festival events,” said Anthea Loucas Bosha, CEO, Food and Wine Victoria.

“Kicking off with the festival’s blockbuster, the World’s Longest Lunch, along with what we hope is a new Melbourne signature event in the making, the World’s Longest Brunch, it’s the first of three big tentpoles for the festival across 2021. We can’t wait,” she said.

Brendan McClements, CEO, Visit Victoria  said,  “Victoria’s renowned restaurants and bars are enthusiastically welcoming visitors in 2021 and launching the iconic Melbourne and Food & Wine Festival is a great milestone for our hospitality industry”.

“This year, the festival extends beyond the signature World’s Longest Lunch to include a World’s Longest Brunch as well as a winter festival and regional showcase in spring so there’s something for every palate,” he added.

The World’s Longest Lunch beginning from March 12, will bring together three of Melbourne’s culinary masters – Stephanie Alexander, Philippe Mouchel and Jacques Reymond – to deliver an outdoor feast for more than a thousand guests in Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens set against the backdrop of the city skyline.

Bank of Melbourne Chief Executive Mark Melvin said,  “The Bank of Melbourne World’s Longest Lunch is always a highlight on the epicurean calendar and we’re excited to see the addition of The Bank of Melbourne World’s Longest Brunch with Kate Reid and Nathan Toleman, to the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival program.”

World’s Longest Lunch attendees will also be given a hit-list of great Melbourne CBD bars to kick on to following lunch, continuing Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s commitment to drive business to venues in a part of the state hit hardest by the pandemic. Make it a glass at City Wine Shop or Embla, a pot at the Cricketer’s or Garden State, or something a bit higher up the shelf from the likes of Gimlet or Nick & Nora’s.

In a first for Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, Bank of Melbourne World’s Longest Brunch will take place in Treasury Gardens on March 13. The menu at this new event is designed by Lune Croissant’s Kate Reid in collaboration with Melbourne’s café king Nathan Toleman, whose midas touch at venues such as Apte, Three Bags Full, Two Birds One Stone, Top Paddock, Higher Ground, Kettle Black and Liminal has shaped the way Victoria breakfasts.

The March 2021 program also includes more than 50 events designed in partnership with restaurants, bars and cafes around the city that had been set to run before the pandemic.

Highlights of the 2021 Special Events Program include:

  • Lankan Lourinha | O Tama Carey of Sydney’s Lankan Filling Station collaborating with Matt McConnell at Bar Lourinha on a Sri Lankan-Portuguese spectacular
  • Black Star x Rain Room | Melbourne’s most atmospheric immersive installation meets the world’s favourite watermelon cake
  • Conveniently Tokyo at Toyko Tina  | You might not get to Japan this year but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the wonder that is Japanese convenience-store eats
  • Adrian Richardson’s suckling pig feast | The La Luna chef’s wildly popular festival signature expands to Bouvier
  • Cheese Dreams | Maker & Monger goes no-holds-barred in a cheese extravaganza at Prahran Market
  • Yum cha at the Flower Drum | Spin the lazy Susan in style at Australia’s most celebrated Cantonese restaurant

Westside Crawls, a collaboration between Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, Eat Drink Westside and six western Melbourne councils, is another addition to the 2021 March program. The 12 Crawls go through western Melbourne suburbs including, West Footscray, Seddon, Moonee Ponds, Ascot Vale, Spotswood, Altona, Caroline Springs, Melton, Sunshine, St Albans, Werribee and Wyndham Harbour.

Highlights of the 2021 Westside Crawl program include:

●Sunshine Crawl – An exploration through Melbourne’s Vietnamese heartland, stopping in at Xuan Banh Cuon, Gojo Café, Café Sunshine and SalamaTea.

●West Footscray Crawl – An adventure in one of Melbourne’s most dynamic culinary neighbourhoods, visiting Zymurgy, Harley and Rose, and Chibog.

Event dates: 12 -31 March 2021

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