Loosen those belts Melbourne, because The Italian Wine and Food Festival is making a one-day return to the Royal Exhibition Building! On June 25, be prepared to sip on FREE espresso, imbibe on over 200 wines and indulge in one-off menu items from Melbourne’s best Italian restaurants. We also know how tricky it can be to squeeze everything in so we’ve planned out the best way to experience the festival whether you go in the morning session, afternoon session or both.
ON THE MORNING LIST
11am – 4pm
Kick off your morning with a FREE coffee from Espresso di Manfredi. If you’re going full Italian, trade your usual flat white for a cappuccino. But remember, grabbing this frothy and milky drink past noon is frowned upon!
From there, head to Pasta Adagio and order a gianduja. A hazelnut praline with dark chocolate olive oil, it’s the perfect accompaniment for your coffee.
Now that you’re all perked-up head to the Barolo Bar to sample over 200 Italian wines and Italian-centric Aussie wines. Chat to the winemakers and importers and learn more about your favorite vino.
Keen to learn more? Make your way to the SMEG Main Stage and join the noon ‘Wines with Altitude’ Masterclass hosted by wine expert, Max Allen as he talks you through the best of Mount Etna wines.
For lunch, grab an aperitif from the Festival Bar. While they’re serving up a range of Italian cocktails, we’re partial to a good Negroni and Spritz.
As you sip on your drink of choice, head over to Caterina’s Cucina for their famous Vitello Tonnato. Tuna mayonnaise is lightly dabbed onto thinly sliced seared and steamed veal then topped with crispy Sicilian capers. We promise you won’t want to share.
The next course up is the world’s best pizza –and no, we’re not exaggerating. Grab a classic Margherita pizza from 400 Gradi. Topped with San Marzano pomodori, fior di latter and extra virgin olive oil, it’s simplicity at it’s finest.
Finish off lunch with a bombolone from Trattoria Emilia. Their baked doughnuts filled with custard and Nutella is delish!
At 1:30pm, head back to the SMEG Main Stage to catch Melbourne’s best pizza makers throw, flip and catch dough as they create the perfect pizza base. You’ve never seen Pizza Acrobatics like this!
For an afternoon snack, head to Small Axe Kitchen to soak up all the alcohol with a mouthwatering Mozzarella in Corrozza aka a fried cheese sandwich. Paired with an ice-cold Moretti beer from the Festival Bar, it’s the perfect combination.
More of a sweet tooth? Enjoy a layered ricotta cake from Bar Idda. It’s the perfect way to end the day on a sweet note.
ON THE AFTERNOON LIST
4pm – 9pm
Make a beeline to the good stuff. Head to the Barolo Bar to sample over 200 Italian wines and Italian-centric Aussie wines. Chat to the winemakers and importers and learn more about your favorite vino. Plus, it’s the perfect way to build up an appetite for dinner.
Keen to learn more? Make your way to the SMEG Main Stage and join the 5pm ‘I Ate His Liver with Some Fava Beans and a Nice Glass of…’ Masterclass with, wine expert, Max Allen. Don’t let the title scare you off, there’s no offal here. Instead expect a Tuscan Valley vino experience packed with all your favourite Chianti wines.
Once you’re feeling peckish, line up at Vaporetto Venetian Bar and Eatery for your first course. They’re serving up a special baccala. This one comes with squid ink and parmesan polenta topped with dill pollen and green chilli. Yum!
From there, make your way to La Bonta for their pumpkin gnocchi with duck in cider, sage brown butter and roasted leek. Vegetarians can go to Pasta Classica instead for a pea, mint and burrata ravioli served with leek, burnt butter and chilli.
But no matter what your dietary preferences are, you can’t leave without indulging in Vaporetto Venetian Bar and Eatery’s Tiramisu ‘Our Way’. Made with espresso, mulberries, honeycomb, bee pollen and malted milk crumb, it’s just the thing to nibble on while drinking a FREE americano from Espresso di Manfredi.
Whether you decide to come for the morning or afternoon session, be sure to pass by the Marketplace before heading off.
Enjoy prosciutto tastings guided by experts at Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma. Die-hard prosciutto lovers can also order a prosciutto cone (or two!).
Continue your educational experience at Consorzio del Parmiggiano Reggiano as you discuss and taste different ages of everyone’s favourite Bolognese topping with the cheese experts.
Finally, pass by the Truffle Traders to see and smell some fresh Australian truffles. Avid chefs can also purchase truffles for their next culinary masterpiece. Other products on offer include: truffle paste, truffle oil, truffle vinegar and glaze, truffle honey and truffle salt.
WHAT: Italian Wine and Food Festival
WHERE: Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton
WHEN: June 25, 2017
HOW MUCH: from $40 (includes entry, all wine tasting, food sampling, coffee, mineral water, cooking demonstrations and entertainment)
MORE EVENT INFO: www.italianwinefoodfestival.com.au
Nadine is a freelance writer and PR girl. In her spare time, you’ll typically catch her reading a good book, hitting up Melbourne’s coolest restaurants and bars, or finding her next adrenaline rush. She also can’t say no to a good scoop of gelato or pizza slice. See what else she gets up to on her Instagram.