FOODIES across central Victoria will be licking their lips in March, as several Bendigo and district restaurateurs prepare to take part in the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
This year’s theme is Earth, and events across the region will use this to create unique food experiences for diners.
Rosalind Park will be the scene for Bendigo’s World’s Longest Lunch, in which 150 people will dine out at one long table.
Organiser Mark Coffey, of Wine Bank on View, said he hoped the event, to be held on March 15, would attract visitors from Melbourne.
“What we want is a lot of people from Melbourne to come to the event,” he said.
“It is not just a day out for Bendigo people, as much as they are welcome.
“The whole idea of the event is to show people from, say, Melbourne what an amazing city Bendigo is for wine making, our beautiful food and wonderful park.
“It is about putting Bendigo on the map.”
Bendigo’s Goldmines Hotel will be hosting a six-course degustation featuring food from the forest.
Organiser Justin McPhail of Dejustation said chefs would use locally sourced produce to create the feast on March 16.
An underground food event titled Fossick Under the Earth will also be held, giving food-lovers the chance to experience Bendigo in a new light.
The City of Greater Bendigo’s Bradd Worrell said the March 16 event would be a progressive lunch in which a guide would take participants on a tour of Bendigo.
“We realised that there aren’t many places in Victoria that have heritage buildings where you can go underground,” he said.
“We will be starting at the Basement Bar and have entree there, then main will be served underneath the Bendigo Visitor Centre, and then the final location is underneath at the Hotel Shamrock.” The Dispensary Enoteca will turn back the clock with its event – owner Tim Baxter will transform the Chancery Lane restaurant into a 1968-themed culinary experience.
Mr Baxter said 1968 was an incredible year.
“It was an amazing period of time, so we are going to dinner where people have to dress up in that late 1960s period and all the drinks will be from that era,” he said.
Back in 1968, Mr Baxter said, most Australian kitchens would have owned a Margaret Fulton recipe book.
He said he would reinvent some of the dishes from her book.
Bridgeward Grove in Goornong will also host a family-friendly event.
Organiser Julie Howard said it was the first time she had taken part in the prestigious Melbourne festival.
“We will have our own lamb, we will have our olives and local wineries to take part,” she said.
“There will be activities for the children – it is a family focused event.”
Events will also be held in Castlemaine, Echuca and Kyneton. Tickets for the events go on sale today and can be bought via www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au