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Now that we have been here a year, we are beginning to see the circularity of events on the city’s calendar. The offerings are considerable, appealing to everyone from race car fanatics to horse jockey junkies to book lovers. The Fashion Festival is drawing to a close with the Comedy Festival hard on its heels, separated briefly by the Moomba Waterfest. The one that appeals to the masses, of course, is the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Everyone likes to eat.

This year’s festival began on the 22nd of February and lasts until the 8th of March. If I had had sufficient time and resources to properly indulge by taste buds, I could have enjoyed a river cruise followed by a glass of sparkling wine, an education in coffee, a food lover’s guide to seduction, a master class in Australian cheese, a duck crawl and an introduction to the world of chips.

There were arts inspired food events, slow food events, food films, and the world’s longest lunch at any of 24 locations across the State of Victoria. And that’s not counting the master classes in recipe writing, low temperature cooking, seafood preparation, finding ingredients and preparing Kashmiri food, Greek food, cuisine Quebecois, souffles and Thai street food.

My Last Supper– the dinner was sold out at $165 a person for four courses with cocktails and wine. The countryside offered even more temptations: high tea at a sensory garden, around the world in eighty mushrooms, amphora euphoria, harvest picnic at Hanging Rock, bubbles and brunch at Chandon, and dinners at the vineyards. A virtual cornucopia for foodies.
The catalog came in plenty of time to book the most sought after event, but I had Tasmania on my mind, so it slipped to the bottom of the pile only to resurface last weekend. At what event could we indulge ourselves without advance reservations? What else, the most democratic of Australian institutions, the barbecue– beef, chicken, goat, lamb, pork, salmon and scallops, with mushrooms and salad as a sop to the vegetarians.

And Sunday afternoon, in complete contrast, a genteel tea at the colonial mansion called Como House. Tasteful little sandwiches on soft white bread and pastries. Croquet and badminton. Surrounded by five acres in the center of the bustling city, it is easy to imagine yourself in the Armytage family, circa 1880, gazing out over the vast expanse of green lawn. The horses clopping up the drive with the elegant carriage in tow.

You’ll be dining out this evening. Champagne, oysters, idle conversation. Perhaps the latest theatrical production. It does one good to be out and about in the City. Melbourne is the place to be, after all.

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