Time Out Melbourne

Our guide to doing the festival on the cheap

Flavours Human Library

Oakleigh Public Library
Wed 13 Mar, free

Checking a real, live person out like a library book seems so year 2356. The future of cooking has arrived in Oakleigh, though, with four of Monash Uni’s ‘cultural cooks’ on the premises to dispense their culinary knowledge in 15-minute one-on-one sessions. Caveat emptor: you can’t take them home with you to prepare your dinner every night.

Urban Coffee & Brew Bar

Queensbridge Square
1 Mar-17 Mar, free entry

If you have a crush on your local barista, get thyself down to Southbank to the Brew Bar, where (almost) every coffeeshop in the city is in cahoots. With Seven Seeds, Proud Mary, Penny Farthing, The Auction Rooms, and a host of other cafes creating coffee flights and coffee cocktails amidst a temporary hillside of coffee plants, you’ll either see your coffee-making crush…or develop a new one. Maybe just on the coffee, but still.

Family Foodie Weekend: Garden Pizzeria

Queensbridge Square
2-3 Mar, free

A woodfired-oven right on the banks of the Yarra is the centrepiece for a weekend of pizza-making/eating for the family. Kiddies will be entranced and entertained as they get to harvest tomatoes and basil, and even mill their own pizza flour. All that unpaid hard work might sound like slave labour to an adult, but trust us – to kids, this is the best thing they’ll be doing all month.

Go West, ‘Mother Earth’

The Maribyrnong Boathouse
Fri 1 Mar, free

Meanwhile, down on the banks of the Maribyrnong, MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan will be kicking off this pop-up night market. It’s replete with tastings, cooking demos, organic food, wine and beer, and a general party-like atmosphere on the shoreline of Melbourne’s overlooked river.

Oodles of Noodles

Footscray Community Art Centre
Fri 1 Mar, free

Footscray’s Community Centre is pairing film to food – we think it’s a brilliant move to serve dumplings and noodle soup whilst screening Kung Fu Panda. Add pre-movie kids’ entertainment and you have yourself a recipe for one family-friendly night out. Did we mention it costs zilch?

Eat Drink Grow

The People's Market
Sat 2 Mar. $2 entry

With the coolest shipping containers this side of a space station on Mars, the People’s Market doesn’t need to up its hip factor. But it is, with an all-day festival of green. Think sustainable, vegan food; veggie gardening workshops; and bluegrass that’s probably played by vegan farmers. (We’re not serious with that last bit – it would make the cool radar implode.)

Bar Express

Various bars
1-14 Mar, $18

It’s as if the organisers flipped through Time Out’s Bar Guide 2013 and picked the best watering holes in the city. Bar Ampère, EDV, dozens of others – they’re all offering the same mind-blowing deal of a beverage of choice, plus a tasting plate, for $18. Time to grab a friend, a workmate, a random off the street, and drag them to all the bars you’ve been dying to try.

Burger Bash

Kings Domain Gardens
Sat 9 Mar, $10 entry

Those who cook and sell burgers: we salute you. Think you know your way around a meat sandwich? Your judgement will crown the ultimate winner of Best Burger. Ten local restaurants battle to the death for the coveted People’s Choice Award. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to devour each and every meat pattie until you can name the victorious with impunity.

World Street Food Festival

Queen Victoria Market
Sun 3 Mar, free entry

If you thought going to the Night Market was of an international food safari, get a load of this: an all-day international culinary extravaganza as only the Queen Vic Market can do. They’re showcasing cuisines from all the inhabitable continents. (Don’t worry, we’re sure next time Queen Vic Market will figure out how to represent Antarctica, too.)

From Plot to Plate

State Library of Victoria
Thu 14 Mar, free

It’s not exactly free food – it’s a free talk about food, from some of the gods of Australia’s gourmet world. The panel of speakers consists of Rohan Anderson, author of Whole Larder Love; restaurateur and author Stephanie Alexander; wine critic Max Allen; and journalist/host Indira Naidoo. Gourmands will be flocking to this in droves, so book in quickly before it fills up with fanatical foodies.

CWA State Fair: Plant to Plate

Umina CWA B&B
Sat 2 Mar, free entry

CWA are the undisputed Victoria sponge mafia, and they'll be out in force offering their baked goods. Take a look ‘round the other displays (everything from produce stalls to watching experts plating vegetables for judging), and don’t feel badly if your famous biscuits don’t live up to what’s on offer. These ladies don’t mess around.

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