10 foodie events in Melbourne to book now

Don’t give up on your vax hot summer just yet: Melbourne is getting some of its groove back. You can see it in the number of events and festivals vying for space on your agenda between now and Easter: beer festivals, talks with celebrity chefs, intimate lunches and more. Could hot vax fall be the new hot vax summer?

Cumulus Inc. hosts Tom Sarafian for a two-week residency upstairs in March, the former Bar Saracen chef showcasing generous flavors through signatures such as kofte nayeh and seasonal specialties such as lamb-stuffed zucchini. Friendly menus for Sunday lunchtime feasts include rainbow trout fatteh and duck fesenjan. March 2-13. Tickets from $85, cumulusinc.com.au

Abbotsford Brewery Bodriggy sours your long Labor Day weekend, but in the best possible way. For three days, Electric Kool-Aid sees breweries such as Sailors Grave, Dollar Bill and Garage Project pour new sour beers of all varieties, while DJs like Jnett and Ben Fester spin sunny tunes. March 11-13. Tickets from $24 per day, bodriggybrewing.com.au

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Stephanie Alexander speaks at a festival in Castlemaine. Photo: Eddie Jim

Stephanie Alexander appears not once but twice at the Dialogues weekend at the Castlemaine State Festival in April. One event is already sold out, but catch her in conversation with leading cookbook editor Julie Gibbs and fellow chef Annie Smithers (Du Fermier) in a 60-minute talk about the role of food in sustaining communities and relationships. You can’t do it? Live streaming is also available. 7 p.m., April 9. Tickets from $45, castlemainefestival.com.au

The women who feed our restaurants are at the center of a International Women’s Day dinner at Mister Bianco, led by Barragunda chef and farmer Simone Watts. It will feature producers and artisans like Jody Clarke (Great Ocean Ducks) and Monika Frkovic (Boca Gelato) across the five-course dinner, with wines from Angela Brown (All Saints Estate) and MC features by Dani Valent. 7 p.m., March 8. Tickets $125, trybooking.com

New season hops, the freshest beers and a mix of sounds are on the menu this year High Country Hop. Celebrating the hop harvest, craft breweries such as Bridge Road, Billson’s and Love Shack will create unique beers for the event, pair beers with bands like Emma Donovan and The Putbacks, and show you why the High Country is the dream of a beer lover. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., April 2. Tickets from $69, thehighcountryshop.com.au

Freshly hopped beers will be available to try at High Country Hop on March 27 and 28. Photo: Supplied

The whiskey spills on the plate at Typical when the restaurant Windsor joins forces with Starward distillery next week, slipping the good stuff into a glaze for aged duck breast or bisque with crab tortellini. Each course is accompanied by a whiskey cocktail, ranging from a Bellini-based thirst quencher to an alcoholic and bitter drink with main courses. 7:30 p.m., February 24. Tickets from $159, eventbrite.com.au

Future food system, Joost Bakker’s ambitious zero-waste home in Federation Square, is welcoming diners again this month. Fermentation guru Adam James of Rough Rice is on the pans on Friday and Saturday nights, with guest chefs such as Helly Raichura and Thi Le cooking Sunday lunch. Move quickly though: tickets sell out fast. Until March 6. Tickets from $264, fedsquare.com/events

The summer ritual of dinner at Queen Victoria Market on Wednesdays is back after two years. The night market has over 30 stalls offering Jamaican street food (The Real Jerk), arepas and empanadas (Colombiantojos), Bboy’s Filipino BBQ and more. 5-10 p.m. Wednesday until April 6. Free entrance. Details at qvm.com.au

Bodriggy Brew Pub at 245 Johnston Street, Abbotsford.  Picture by Wayne Taylor 19 September 2019. Age.

Bodriggy Brew Pub at 245 Johnston Street, Abbotsford. Picture by Wayne Taylor 19 September 2019. Age. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Plan your own event and support a good cause with the annual party for freedom Fundraising. Organized by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, you host a dinner at home using recipes provided by this year’s guest chefs. In the evening, you can sample dishes from different cultures, share conversations with friends and family, and help raise funds for the work of the ASRC. March 25-27. Full details at festinforfreedom.org.au

March in Melbourne means it’s time for the city’s food festival to flex – and this year, being the 30th edition, the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival has pulled out all the stops. British TV star and writer Nigella Lawson, Hong Kong chef Jowett Yu, Sichuan culinary expert Fuchsia Dunlop and Australian Skye Gyngell (ex-Petersham Nurseries, Spring) are all in attendance, while Ben Shewry is at the head of the longest lunch in the world.

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