River Graze, which sprawls along the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River on Southbank Promenade, is a celebration of food and wine, from across the Australian state of Victoria. Launched on Friday night and running through to Sunday evening, it’s one of 200 events on the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival calendar.

We might have landed in Melbourne to drizzly rain and grey skies, but by the time we woke from our nap to make up for sleep lost on the overnight flight from Saigon, sunshine and gorgeous blue skies greeted us at River Graze. What a way to kick off the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

Sprawling along the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River on the Southbank Promenade, River Graze is essentially a celebration of Victorian food and wine that launched on Friday night and runs through to Sunday evening.

There are buskers and live bands peppered along the riverbank to entertain you as you stroll between different areas dedicated to food (Culinary Village and Food Truck Stop), wine (City Cellar), cider (Southgate Cider Orchard), and beer (South Wharf Craft Beer).

There’s also a Sweet Alley, where you’ll find some of Australia’s finest pastry and dessert makers, and there’s an interactive space at Little Foodies on Riverside Quay, where kids can get hands-on and pick their own veggies and strawberries and water the garden. There are healthy snacks available, gourmet lunch boxes and face painting.

Events are free or you purchase a festival glass for tastings and can then buy a range of glasses or bottles of wine, cider or beer, and of course you can just purchase your food as you please. There are plenty of comfy chairs and tables and benches, or you can bring your own picnic blanket.

Highlights for us were an aromatic paella from the Melbourne Paella Company and the bao burgers and mini banh mi from Nem’n’Nem, the food truck of a young Hanoi sister and brother team, along with the wonderful wines of the many vineyards at City Cellar, most notable of which were Dal Zotto and Mandala Wines.

Don’t miss it if you’re in Melbourne and if you’re not, make a note for next year.

We’re off to our second day of Chef Masterclasses, which we’ll report on soon!

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