One for the diaries later this month is the foodie extravaganza the Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival 2017, running from Monday May 29th to Sunday June 4th.
The festival features a week-long program of more than 35 events including dinners, seminars and hands-on workshops, and the unique event sees it tap into the food traditions and sustainable food philosophies of the culturally rich residents of Melbourne’s inner north!
Amongst the events, there is a focus celebrating the wellbeing power of community. Thornbury-based social enterprise ‘free to feed’ presents the ‘Sri Lankan Pop Up Dinner’ with asylum seeker and former chef/restaurateur Charu creating authentic heart (and belly) warming dishes from her family kitchen. The ‘Syrian Supper’ sees fellow ‘free to feed’ chef Nayran recreate dishes from the menu of her former bustling Damascus restaurant. Grab your grandma and nosh with the Nonnas of the North with a morning tea filled with scones and food-story sharing at the ‘Grandmas of Melbourne Talk Food’. ‘Come, Eat II: The Art of Homemade Sambal’ uncovers the web of social histories that come with each differing recipe of this beloved Asian hot sauce, through an exhibition, or stories told over a meal.
Sustainability and self-sufficiency remain a key tenet of the festival, and DIYers can sharpen their skills with Workshops on quail-keeping, vegie garden optimisation, olive preserving, wine and beer crafting, backyard trout rearing and smoking, and the very on-trend yet ancient art of vegetable fermentation.
Ahead of the festival itself, local residents are encouraged to submit their homemade red wine, white wine, country wines (grain, mead, fruit), tomato passata, preserved olives and ajvar into the festival’s annual competition, with winners announced at the Meet the Makers Showcase. The showcase, held on the final weekend, champions the home-grown produce created in the garages and kitchens of Darebin, and features homemade wine tastings, alongside cooking demonstrations, information stalls, coffee and music. The Meet the Maker competition entries are due Wednesday May 24th, so get in quick!
The festival ends with a welcome – The Welcome Dinner Project will connect newly arrived migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and international students with established Australians over a shared meal; a wonderful bookend to a festival that heartily embraces the importance of food in and of community.