The best of Melbourne Food and Wine Fest under $50

Last night I innocently popped on to the MFWF website to quickly check out what I might like to go to.  7 hours and 312 events later I thought I would share with you my best picks under $50, to save you from going cross eyed and drooling all over yourself. I’m just that type a gal.  Now it’s not hard to tell you that of course it’s going to be absolutely fabulous to drop $250 to attend the Champagne Delight at nobu.  I know, I’ve been there but it’s also pretty fabulous to find hidden gems and bask in the glory of food greatness meeting value for money.  It’s totally possible.  Please enjoy. 

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival on now until March 15, 2015                                                                                                       Photo by MFWF

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival on now until March 15, 2015                                                                                                       Photo by MFWF

Festival Artisan Bakery and Bar, no ticket required

Daily throughout the festival, Queensbridge Square

Oh, this is going to be heaven, with bakers from Paris, London, NZ with local favourites Tivoli Road and Baker D Chirico pairing up with Melbourne’s best baristas.  Each baker and barista team will be in residence for a few days so be sure to catch your favourites before they are gone.  Importantly, wine is also available.  I think I may just set up camp at this one.

Hopefully Tivoli Road bring these with them, Bombe Alaska, salted caramel & lemon curd doughnuts                                   Photo by Tivoli Road

Hopefully Tivoli Road bring these with them, Bombe Alaska, salted caramel & lemon curd doughnuts                                   Photo by Tivoli Road

Restaurant Express Signature Series, $40

Daily throughout the festival, multiple locations

This has been my favourite event of festivals past.  Savour a 2 course lunch with a paired beverage for $40 at over 80 of the finest establishments in Victoria.  Most offer this deal Monday-Friday but it is wise to check the guide to see what your chosen restaurant is doing, as some will have weekend sittings.  So many restaurants, so little time.  Help me!

Exciting Italian restaurant Fatto is taking part this year.  This masterpiece is their crab spaghettini.                                                Photo by MFWF

Exciting Italian restaurant Fatto is taking part this year.  This masterpiece is their crab spaghettini.                                                Photo by MFWF

Melbourne International Coffee Expo, $25

March 13-15, Melbourne Showgrounds

This event is serious business for serious caffeine devotees.  I attended last year and the world barista championships had everyone in an absolute frenzy.  Or that just may have been the 17 free cups of coffee they had knocked back.  Either way, drink your way through every coffee bean known to man and learn a thing or to from the various vendors.  Food and tea also available.  Bring cash for parking.

coffee patch.jpg

Breakfast around the Tan, $15 kids & $35 adults

March 15, 2015 from 730am to 12pm at The Tan

This event is the ideal combination of location, fitness, food and charity.  Bring the family down to walk around the Tan, eating at the 5 healthy food stations as you go.  A big improvement from the humble water station! With everything from fresh fruit to muesli and a breakfast burrito you will need to hustle to burn off enough calories between each feeding trough!  Feel extra good doing it as 5% of the entry fee goes to Diabetes Australia.

Melbourne's iconic Tan Track

Melbourne's iconic Tan Track

Port Phillip Mussel Festival, no ticket required

March 7-8, 2015 at South Melbourne Market

Hugely popular last year, I expect the same again.  If you love mussels, not the ones you get at the gym, but the ones you find in woks, buckets and paella then head on down to the South Melbourne Market.  All prepared by amazing chefs from the market, St Ali, Acland Street Cantina and Dandelion.  Mussels can be washed down with sangria, beer or even ice cream! Bring cash.

Mussels aplenty at the Port Phillip Mussel Festival                                                                                                 Photo by South Melbourne Market

Mussels aplenty at the Port Phillip Mussel Festival                                                                                                 Photo by South Melbourne Market

Day Tripping, $40

March 7, 2015 from 12 -5pm at St Hotel, St Kilda

Wow, this is a real bargain.  Having eaten at most of these restaurants, I know that the 5 asian dishes on offer from St Hotel, Hanoi Hannah, Saigon Sally, Tokyo Tina and Ba Noi are going to be amaze balls. Super cool venue too.  This will sell out.

The newly renovated and relaunched, multi level St Hotel                                                                                                             Photo by St Hotel

The newly renovated and relaunched, multi level St Hotel                                                                                                             Photo by St Hotel

Collins Kitchen Master Classes, $25 per session

March 2 - 5, 2015 at Grand Hyatt Melbourne

If time is of the essence and you only have 30min to spare, choose a Deli, Sushi, Wok or Patisserie interactive session with a glass of sparkling.  Speed cooking and drinking, sounds like skills that could come in handy when rustling up dinner after work!

Collins Kitchen Masterclasses for the time poor                                                                                                                    Photo by Grand Hyatt

Collins Kitchen Masterclasses for the time poor                                                                                                                    Photo by Grand Hyatt

MARCS Laneway Festival, no ticket required

March 8, 2015 from 12-7pm at ACDC Lane & Duckboard Place

MARCS stands for Melbourne Art Restaurant Cocktail Sound

There will be plenty of all 5 with the highlights for me being fine British food from Papa Goose, the "so hot right now" Peruvian food from Pastuso and cocktails from Eau di Vie.  Local street artists will be doing their thing live as will bands and DJs.  This one is the pick of the free festivals for me.  Sounds ultra cool. Com early, bring cash.

ACDC Lane and Duckboard Place will be closed to traffic for the MARCS Laneway Festival                                                     Photo by MARCS

ACDC Lane and Duckboard Place will be closed to traffic for the MARCS Laneway Festival                                                     Photo by MARCS

Fish out of water, $45 for 3 dishes

March 14, 2015 at Rocks on Rosalind, Bendigo

It is normally the rule of many to not eat seafood if you are in a town that is more than 100km from the sea.  In this case you can make an exception, having eaten the fish at Rocks, I can assure you it is fresh and delicious.  Signature dishes will be on offer at this inland seafood festival being held in the courtyard. I recommend a stroll through the beautiful Bendigo Art gallery afterwards.

Seafood festival Bendigo style coming up at Rocks on Rosalind

Seafood festival Bendigo style coming up at Rocks on Rosalind

Fromage a trois - Cheese and cider festival, $35

March 15, 2015 from 11am-5pm at Werribee Mansion

If the sun is shining lounging on the lawn at Werribee mansion with a slab of cheese and a flagon* of cider could be pretty damn magical.  I know some friends who would die happy this way. 

*I just like the word flagon, I am sure they will have glasses or plastic cups even

Cheese. Cider. Sunshine.                                                                                                                                               Photo by Experience Wyndham

Cheese. Cider. Sunshine.                                                                                                                                               Photo by Experience Wyndham

Food for thought, absolutely, positively free

March 11, 2015 from 6pm at Swinburne University in Hawthorn 

My last recommendation doesn't involve consuming anything but it does involve food for the brain. Professor Andrew Scholey will discuss the impact food and nutrition has on memory and brain function.  A timely topic considering the increasing focus on how sugar impacts our brains adversely. 


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