The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is back for its 27th year and there are over 250 events happening all over Melbourne and Victoria from March 8th until the 24th. The choices are overwhelming and some are quite expensive, so if you’re not the kind of person that can fork out $425 for a fancy alumni dinner at Vue De Monde then you’re in the right place, because we’re going to tell you all about the top FREE events happening throughout the festival.
Note that whilst some of the best things in life are free, you may have to purchase some food at these events if you want the full experience but hey, it should still be a cheap day out and that’s what we’re all about here.
San Antone Smokehouse Festival
Crown Riverwalk, Southbank
If you’re not one of the lucky ones jetting off and out of Melbourne for the long weekend then you should definitely check out this mini festival on the Crown Riverwalk. Experience Texan BBQ with 14 hour slow cooked meats, tastings, and masterclasses, as well as blues music to set the vibe. Serving up this deliciousness is Kevin Bludso, crowned “The King of BBQ”. Bludso’s restaurant in Los Angeles has been named both LA’s best BBQ as well as top BBQ in all of America, so you’re really in for a treat with this one.
Labour Day Weekend Friday 8th – Monday 11th March | Fri – Sun 12 – 11pm, Mon 12 – 9pm
Mercato Vucciria – Palermo Street Food Party
Osteria Ilaria, Melbourne CBD
This laneway party is inspired by the famous Sicilian market Mercato Vicciria and will showcase food by Osteria Ilaria and That’s Amore, as well as all the music, dancing and street snacks to keep everyone satisfied and wine will be provided by Giorgio de Maria. Think Melbourne party vibes mixed in with Italian culture.
Sunday 10th March 2pm – 11pm
Gradi Italian Festival
Crown Riverbank, Southbank
Everyone’s favourite pizzeria is serving up a mini fiesta where you can indulge in all the deliciousness that is Gradi pizza. You’re also spoilt for choice with pasta, a salumi e fromaggi station (meats and cheese yes please), a Cannoli bar and gelato stand! There’s live entertainment and plenty of activities for the kiddies, as well as pop up bars to get your drink on.
Friday 15th – Sunday 17th March | Friday & Saturday 12 – 11pm, Sunday 12 – 9pm
Long Chim Full Moon Party
Crown Riverwalk, Southbank
Also on Crown’s Riverwalk is this authentic Thai Full Moon Party to close off the festival, hosted by Crown restaurant Long Chim. During the day you can expect all the incredible Thai street food from a unique menu curated by David Thompson. When the sun goes down the party truly begins with DJ’s, neon lights, Bangkok inspired cocktails and of course all the amazing food in a setting that will make you feel like you’re living it up on the streets of Bangkok.
Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th March | 12pm – late
Scrumptious St Albans – Twilight Market
Big Sams Market, St Albans
Head out to the west and dip into the multicultural haven that is St Albans, with a vast array of European and Asian cuisines and live local music for all to enjoy. You can even join a food tour and explore some of the suburb’s hidden secrets. This one is a great event for the whole family or even a cute catch up with your gal pals over some delicious street food.
Friday 22nd March 5 – 9pm
Dandenong World Fare
Dandenong Market, Dandenong
Locals to the south-east of Melbourne and surrounding areas need to check out this Dandenong market. It’s going to be an epic day with 50 food trucks and stalls in a street food showcase of international proportions. There will also be music and dance performances showcasing many different cultures, which just celebrates the beauty and diversity that is abundant in Melbourne.
Sunday 24th March 10am – 4pm
Grab your diaries, clear your schedules, message your mates and prepare yourself for a two week straight food coma, as the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is not to be missed.
Head here for more information about the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
By Julia Dicconson