Learn something new in the kitchen this year

Photo: Grazing in the Greenhouse

‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. Whether you love them or hate them, here at Melbourne Food & Wine Festival we reckon there’s nothing wrong with trying something new, particularly where your tastebuds are concerned. And with the 2019 Festival happening in March, there are plenty of opportunities just around the corner to push yourself out of your comfort zone, learn a new skill or visit somewhere you’ve never been before. Here are the best hands-on events, chef demonstrations or thought-provoking sessions to book if you’re keen to challenge yourself in 2019.

A workshop at The House of Food and Wine

Workshops are running all day, every day at The House of Food and Wine, the three-day takeover of the Malthouse Theatre featuring extraordinary food, wine, ideas and fun. See Adam James of Hobart’s Rough Rice demonstrate what he’s learned about fermentation over his career, which included a Churchill Fellowship to study fermentation in countries from Italy to Japan. Find out about the ‘root to bloom’ approach to growing and cooking vegetables, as Mat Pember and Jocelyn Cross show you how to ensure no part of the plant is wasted. Or make your own cocktails using more sustainable ingredients. There’s something for everyone.

Great Cheese is Made in the Maturing Room

You’ve had your fair share of cheeseboards, but have you ever stopped to think about how great cheese is made? This tasting gives you the chance to see how cheese-maturing dramatically affects the final product. You’ll try batches of the same cheese that have been matured in different ways and in different places, guided by Bruny Island Cheese Co’s Nick Haddow and Yarra Valley Dairy’s Jack Holman.

Bruny Island cheese

MasterQuiz

Wine-tastings and guess-the-cured-meat competitions are just the start at this sensory quiz night for all the gourmands out there who want to strut their stuff. Hosts Max Allen and Richard Cooke (The Hungry Gentlemen) will put your knowledge to the test over several rounds of mystery drinks and delicious treats. The prize? The Golden Tongue Award. And if you miss out, you’re sure to walk away knowing something you didn’t before.

Grazing in the Greenhouse

Spend a Saturday or Sunday morning picking produce in the Yarra Valley, before learning how to turn it in into a condiment under the watchful eye of Yarra Valley Gourmet Foods. Then, get a taste of everything this region has to offer at a leisurely lunch featuring beef from Little Creek Cattle, cheese from Yarra Valley Dairy, Hargreaves Hill beer, Whispering Hills wine and local berries and stone fruit. It doesn’t get much fresher than this.

Are We Running Out of Coffee? at Theatre of Ideas supported by The New York Times

Some of the pioneers of Melbourne’s coffee scene will sit down to talk about one of the most serious problems facing the industry: a worldwide coffee shortage. A real possibility if no action is taken, a global shortfall could mean that our favourite cup becomes a rarity rather than a routine. Hear what Elika Rowell (Square One Coffee Roasters), Fleur Studd (Market Lane Coffee) and Mark Dundon (Seven Seeds Coffee) have to say – you could walk away with a whole new appreciation for your morning cup of joe.

Twilight Tastings and Workshop Series

Learn the secrets of sausage, cheese or pasta-making in this hands-on series of workshops in the stunning grounds of All Saints Estate. If those don’t float your boat, how about a session on muscat blending, mushroom growing, bee keeping or preserving and fermenting? There’s a smorgasbord of workshops on offer, all of them offering cooking skills that are bound to stay with you in the kitchen for years to come.

Whisky Experience

Travel the world one dram at a time and get to know some of the premier whisky-producing regions, from Speyside to Campbeltown and even Australia. You’ll learn about the history, distillation processes and regional diversity of whisky at this fun and informative tasting session in the cosy surrounds of Bendigo laneway bar The Dispensary.

Feral Forage and Feast

What do venison, sea urchin, blackberries and rabbit have in common? They’re all classified as pests in Victoria. And they make for excellent eating. This unusual event will show the inherent deliciousness in Victoria's pest problem and how we can deal with it in a creative way. Get ready for workshops, demonstrations and more.

The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, 8-24 March 2019, is on sale now. More events to come on 30 January.