Best of the Fest

Photo: Coffee cocktails at The Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar

Seventeen days, three weekends, more than 200 events and an overflowing spread of fun food and wine times.  Here are a handful of highlights we’d like to share with you.  Roll on March 2014!

THE URBAN COFFEE FARM & BREW BAR

It’s a jungle out there - 175 Australian coffee trees, 1,400 Victorian-grown tropical plants from Warner’s Nurseries, 1,500 wooden pallets from CMTP and three shipping containers from Melbourne’s port created the centrepiece of the 2013 Festival – a mini-jungle in the heart of the city to celebrate the Festival’s theme of earth and our city’s love affair with coffee.  Read more about the Farm here.

17 cafes and roasters served almost 20,000 cups of coffee and more than 1,000 tasting flights over 17 days.

88 ingredients, from Mozart Black Chocolate Liqueur to Yellow Chartreuse, were used to make 29 different coffee-inspired tipples as the Farm turned to a cocktail bar by night with thanks to some of our city’s best bars crafting their coffee inspired cocktails.

FAST FACTS

450 venues and food and wine businesses participated in the Festival handcrafting more than 200 events celebrating the theme of earth.

At Bank of Melbourne World’s Longest Lunch 1,200 revellers joined the 500 metre-long table complete with 3,690 glasses, 6,150 pieces of cutlery and 1,404 bottles of wine.  An Australiana menu designed by cooking doyennes Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer and brought to life by Peter Rowland Catering featured 5,000 cherry tomatoes, 1,200 lamb rump and 650 figs, among other local ingredients.

Put Victoria on Your Table: Cellar Door & Artisan Market at Como House and Garden gathered more than 90 of Victoria’s finest wineries, breweries and producers for two days of celebrating the bounty of our state, not-to-mention some cracking live music, cooking demos and kids’ cooking classes.

LANGHAM MELBOURNE MASTERCLASS WEEKEND

Almost 6,000 tasting dishes were served at Langham Melbourne MasterClass8 – 10 March, Australia’s preeminent global celebration of food and wine, sharing dishes from some of the world’s most exciting chefs and cooks alongside our local leading lights.  

76 chefs, cooks, chef assistants and wine experts from ten countries descended on our city to share their food, wine and philosophies.

Food fans enjoyed dishes including Sean Brock’s Shrimp and Grits with Crispy Pig Ear, Dan Lepard’s Black Olive Sesame Roll, Virgilio Martinez’s Maca Root, Canihua, Muña Powder, Aji Amarillo Tiger's Milk, Bertrand Grebaut’s Tomato Water, Mackerel and Redcurrant, and Alistair Wise’s Wigwam and a Gooseberry Trifle.

52 remarkable wines from 11 countries were tasted and debated at Acqua Panna Global Wine Experience over two days.

A day-long celebration cooking with earth at CERES Environmental Park for Earth MasterClass – Attica’s Ben Shewry showed us how to make a New Zealand hangi sharing his childhood stories; guests joined hands as Ed Kenney demonstrated the Hawaiian imu; and Massimo Spigaroli’s signature cooking in clay took centre stage, among other earthly delights.

Slipped into the country

A spread of weird and wacky ingredients were brought to Australia including:

Overheard in the hallway

Why not mark a visit to Melbourne by getting a tattoo? That’s what Enrique Olvera did while he was here.

International chefs enjoyed some of the city’s most-loved restaurants including Attica, Huxtaburger (more than once for some!), Dainty Sichuan, Rockwell & Sons, Golden Fields and Hutong, to name a few.

Kiwi presenters kicked off the Australia versus New Zealand pinot battle at Acqua Panna Global Wine Experience with a rousing rendition of the haka.

INDUSTRY DAY – CHEF JAM

Industry only event Chef Jam returned for a second year gathering 18 chefs, cooks, authors, wine experts and food and wine writers, many from the Langham Melbourne MasterClass line-up, for an open forum on ‘Being Global’. The audience got social sharing more than 300 tweets at the event reaching more than 88,000 followers.

Find out more Festival highlights - check out a wrap up from The Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar plus a snappy video from Schiavello.

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