Melbourne Food & Wine Festival returns with a huge weekend of pasta

A large plate of spaghetti in a tomato sauce sitting on a white tablecloth. A tumbler of red wine sits next to the plate.

Nicola Dowse

Posted March 24, 2022

A huge weekend pasta fair at Queen Victoria Market is just one of the events Melbourne Food and Wine Festival this March 25 to April 9. 

It’s normal to see queues of hungry people lining up at the That’s Amore Cheese stall during the Queen Victoria Night Market. They’re here for a bowl of the four-cheese spaghetti formaggi, known and loved for how That’s Amore serve the pasta straight from a 40kg wheel of Grana Padano cheese.

The Melbourne cheesemakers are bringing the dish back to the market (along with other cheese-laden offerings) for the Big Spaghetti, a weekend tribute to pasta, cheese and all things Italian food and wine happening from April 2 to 3. 

“Spaghetti in Italy brings the family back together,” says That’s Amore Cheese Founder, Giorgio Linguanti. “We've been serving 1,100 portions in five hours at the night market every Wednesday…we are ready for big numbers.”

Top local Italian restaurants like Agostino’s, Tipo 00, Marameo, Mister Bianco, Lagotto, Al Dente and Pastore are also signed on to the event, serving pasta dishes like spaghetti alla gricia, macaroni carbonara, pappardelle with ragù di cortile, and tortellini cacio e pepe. 

It’s all rounded out with Italian wine, music, fried Nutella toast and live demonstrations (including how to make burrata).

“We’re excited,” Linguanti says. “Melbourne has been, for a couple of years, away from events and gatherings.”

“Finally, we can get everyone back together for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.”

The Big Spaghetti is just one of many events taking place as part of Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (MFWF) 2022. An annual event on Melbourne’s social calendar since 1993, the 2022 festival is particularly momentous – not just because it’s the festival’s 30th year, but because it marks the event’s triumphant return to the city after being cancelled in 2021. 

Lennox Hastie, chef at Firedoor, stands with his arms crossed next to an open, fiery oven

Lennox Hastie of Sydney restaurant, Firedoor. Image: supplied

Major chefs locked in 

The festival is pulling out all the stops for its 30th birthday. The biggest of which is the news that the renowned cook and TV personality, Nigella Lawson, has signed on as festival ambassador. 

Speaking on MFWF, Lawson said: “I’m thrilled and honoured to be joining the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival in March – the 30th birthday of a great festival in a great food city deserves a great celebration, and that’s exactly what the festival will be.” 

Lawson is hosting a Sunday lunch and Q&A (hosted by Matt Preston) as part of the festival, the limited $285 per person tickets for which quickly sold out.  

In addition to Lawson, a suite of national and international chefs is also headed to Melbourne for the festival. 

Jowett Yu (Ho Lee Fook, Hong Kong), Isaac McHale (the Clove Club, London), Paul Carmichael (Momofuku Seibo, Sydney), Morgan McGlone (Belles Hot Chicken), Farida and Durkhanai Ayubi (Parwana, Adelaide), Skye Gyngell (Spring, London) and Lennox Hastie (Firedoor, Sydney) are all taking part in the Signature Chef Series, teaming up with Melbourne restaurants like Nomad, Cutler & Co, and Hazel for a series of dinners. 

New York comedian, food writer and winemaker, Eric Wareheim, is also presenting a four-course dinner plus wine talk at Hope St Radio, while Minyungbal food activist and educator, Arabella Douglas, is joining forces with chef Christine Mansfield for a five-course meal exploring First Nations and Asian ingredients.


Shannon Martinez shaking a cocktail shaker overhead while sitting on a bar counter surrounded by indoor plants

Shannon Martinez of Collingwood restaurant, Smith & Daughters. Image: supplied

Events for every taste and budget 

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s World’s Longest Lunch returns this year at Treasury Gardens, where the festival’s Middle Eastern-inspired World’s Longest Brunch is also taking place.  

Helmed by Melbourne locals Shane Delia (Maha), Joseph Abboud (Rumi) and Kirsty Chiaplias (Babajan), the brunch will serve dished like sumac-pickled tomatoes with green olives and almond hummus; eggs in tahini with chickpeas, lemon, parsley and red-pepper butter; and olive oil cake with apple and fig compote.  

The festival is catering to all palettes and budgets, showcasing the joys of casual dining as much as it is haute cuisine from the 2022 festival home at Queen Victoria Market.  

Fried potato fans will be delighted to hear Maximum Chips – the all-you-can-eat chip party first floated in 2021 – will finally get a run during this year’s festival.  

The casual event pays tribute to the versatile snack, with chips in all their forms (shoestring, crinkle cut and even potato gems) available in endless quantities alongside a selection of condiments. The Friday night event is rounded out with music and drinks from Australian boxed wine producer, Hey Tomorrow.  

Proving that the festival is on the pulse of the food and wine industry, Queen Victoria Market is also hosting a one-night-only event exploring plant-based dining.  

Led by Melbourne’s queen of vegan cuisine, Shannon Martinez of Smith & Daughters, Welcome to the Jungle is a night of decadent eating and drinking that just happens to be entirely animal-free. 

“Outside, inside, big or small, meat-based or plant-centric, top-dollar or free, wild, family-friendly or both, this festival has a food and drink adventure for you,” says MFWF creative director, Pat Nourse. “With Melbourne as the setting, and powered by this city’s passion for hospitality and good times, the sky’s the limit. Come on down.” 

Heading to Melbourne Food & Wine Festival?
Plan your trip there using arevo →