March into Merivale Food & Wine Festival
It’s no secret that Sydney’s culinary/wine options have been multiplying like wildfire over the past few years, very much to the pleasure of every foodie’s gluttonous delight. We sent Jemma Cole to the fantastic launch of the sixth annual March into Merivale Food and Wine Festival within the opulent confines of The Ivy where we witnessed the perilous choices that the hospo giant contributes to Sydney’s newly enhanced gastronomical paradise:
Merivale, incase you don’t already know, have an impressive portfolio of restaurants, bars and pubs among many many other things around Sydney including the recently hatted Est. and Mr Wong, to more chilled-out trendy foodie hangouts like Papi Chulo and The Fish Shop. This launch party was literally set up like a culinary playground, exhibiting 20 of the group’s best food and wine venues in various stalls and situated in every orifice of the building and spilling out wonderfully into the surrounding alleyways.
I felt like one of those crazy housewives who wins the minute shopping trolley challenges but instead of Kmart it was some insanely amazing food and wine fairyland that I only thought existed in my dreams. I was equipped with 8 token cards which you can also buy before you go for the well-worth-it price of $35, and literally ran from stall to stall trying to gobble up everything in sight. It was all just too good. From delicious crab salad to seared scallops marinated in garlic and other spicy buttery deliciousness brought to us by The Beresford. Simply heaven.
The inspiration for this whole event, ‘Born to Cook’, draws on the chefs’ first, favourite and funniest food experiences, inviting all of us on a delectable trip down memory lane. Thankfully for you (and me as I’m going to have to go in for seconds and maybe thirds), March Into Merivale will be running until the 11th of April. Over this period they will be hosting over 60 events and specials at their delicious array of venues.
Highlights include: ‘Around the World with Eighty Whites,’ which will take guests on a global expedition of white wine discovery, curated by Master Sommelier, Franck Moreau, on Wednesday 5 March. Dessert lovers can keep their sweet tooth sugary with ‘Just Desserts presented by Foxtel’s LifeStyle FOOD’, a dessert extravaganza at The Establishment on Monday 10 March. Manly’s hotly-tipped Papi Chulo crosses the bridge for the ultimate urban barbeque party ‘Where There’s Smoke’ at The Ivy on Wednesday 19 March before Ash Street is again transformed into a twilight street fair for ‘European Laneway’ on Wednesday 9 April. Est. is ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ with an elegant high tea, Uccello embraces Frank Sinatra with a special ‘mafioso’ dinner and London’s Brick Lane comes to Bistrode CBD for a one-off Indian feast.
Cocktail devotees can be taught how to shake and stir by Merivale’s Group Bar’s Manager, Paul Mant, with ‘Mixology 101’ at Palmer & Co throughout March. Beer enthusiasts can indulge their love for a ‘cold one’ at ‘Beer at Beresford’ on Saturday 8 March and those with a penchant for Pinot can taste eight international Pinots in a master class at ivy Bottle Shop on Tuesday 8 April.
But wait there’s more! What I am most excited for is the $33 meal deals where I can pretend that I can afford fancy dinners even if Dad is out of town. You can join me in the deliciously convincing charade, lunch and dinner, Monday to Friday and a glass of wine or beer at 11 of Merivales restaurants throughout the festival. Merivale pubs are also getting on this crisy 33 dorra bandwagon and offering two meals and two drinks for the same amount of clams.
March into Merivale continues until 11th of April. For more details, tickets and bookings check out the website and eat your lovely little your hearts out.
Words by Jemma Cole