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Melbourne Tomato Festival

Mar 3, 2017  ·  3 min read

words by niall roeder

You may have heard of La Tomatina, a Valencian festival which sees the small town of Buñol turn into a tomato throwing free for all. The cobblestone streets run passata red in the every-man-for-himself tomato war zone and soldiers are left not wanting anything tomato related for months. Our local, more civilised version is the Melbourne Tomato Festival, and since we’re a nation that cannot get enough of Italian food, instead of throwing tomatoes, festival-goers squash them and eat them.

Australia and specifically Melbourne has a huge Italian population. Most of us have a couple of Italian mates whose family garage doubles as a salami, wine and tomato sauce factory – it’s a defining part of Italian tradition. If you haven’t been to authentic backyard pork mincing, grape squishing or passata making session, you’ve been missing out. The Melbourne Tomato Festival gives you the chance to at least do the latter.

2017 will see the third instalment of the festival that brings this cultural experience to the wider community. Not just the making of passata, the Melbourne Tomato Festival is a gathering of local farmers selling produce, speakers, agriculturalists, cooking demonstrations, Italian food, artisan producers, special guests, history, workshops and entertainment.

We look at the best bits of the Melbourne Tomato Festival…

Make passata
This is what the festival is all about. 14 stations will be ready for those wanting to get saucy, with each partaker taking home a bottle of the good stuff.

How to make mozzarella
Giorgio Linguanti from That’s Amore! Cheese will be spilling the cheesy secrets on how to make a quality batch of stringy, melty goodness.

Gnocchi making
Gnocchi, everyone’s favourite doughy lumps will be made from scratch and cooked live by the team at Woodstock – this is an impressive life skill to have, so take note.

Backyard pizza ovens
Backyard pizza – need we say more? Polito Wood Fired Ovens are giving the run down on how to get your own pizza oven fired up. Gather round.

Melbourne Tomato Festival is a ticketed event and is on March 19.


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