We love a long lunch, yes we do! And we love it even more when it’s long (three hours) and a long table (half-kilometer long table that seated 1200 guests.

The Long Lunch marks the beginning of Melbourne’s Food & Wine festival, from 2-21 March, and there were 30 lunches going on all across Victoria to mark the occasion.

After days of wild winds and rain, the weather gods took pity on us and turned on a day of warm, autumnal sunshine, and the white-clothed tables lined the banks of the Yarra River.

The logistics of the event are frightening – but it ran like clockwork, the waiters were students from the William Angliss catering college.

Three hours does seem a tad excessive for a Friday lunch in these post-GFC days, but I’ve always been a big-80s-shoulder-pads chardonnay fan and the long lunch is another 80s iconic event that I’d like to see come back.

I pushed through to finish dessert, and what a dessert: thank you, Annie Smithers, for your heart-attack-in-a-glass – a sensational cream and rhubarb confection that had me vowing to take up some sport that requires lots of sweating. 

More food and wine in the pipeline. Oh, come on, then.

Entree: Salad of Harrietville smoked trout and autumn fruits by Patrizia Simone, Simone’s, Bright (NE Victoria)
2010 Yering Station Village Chardonnay – sensational.

Main: Free range turkey thighs, tomatoes and tomatillos from George’s garden (which must be a bloody big garden, to produce for 1200 people), and Mexican flavours (natch) with a salad of avocado and succulents (love a good succulent) by George Biron, Sunnybrae-Birregurra, Bellarine Peninsula
2010 Yering Station Village Pinot Noir

Dessert: Rhubarb vacherin (pictured, a meringue-based recipe, though Annie seems to have replaced meringues with cream, a LOT of cream), Annie Smithers, Annie Smithers Bistrot, Kyneton.