It’s hard to construct a list of things to do in April without mentioning Easter, as naturally chocolate is constantly at the forefront of everyone’s minds. But for those of you who perhaps consider themselves beyond the Easter egg hunt stage of their lives, why not go on a different hunt this month for Melbourne’s hidden gems. We are all bombarded with information about the Comedy Festival and the Alliance Française French Film Festival (both running through March and April), yet perhaps you need a few clues to get you started on this genuine treasure hunt.
At this time of year, it’s really starting to feel like Summer is behind us, but that’s not without its perks. Woollen trenches, leather boots, cashmere, beanies, blankets, soup, comfort food and drinks to warm your insides. We now take a break from fruity cocktails and delve into the lowest barrels in the cellar for whisky and wine.

Whisky Pop-Up Bar at Old Melbourne Gaol

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 3.02.35 pmWhisky is often an under-appreciated and subdued gem, but for the night of April 24th, the Old Melbourne Gaol will make it sparkle. Ward off the chill of one of Melbourne’s oldest (and perhaps haunted?) buildings with a whisky cocktail or three. Intimate masterclasses will run for those of you wishing to sound like you know what you’re talking about, and don’t fret, there’ll be food too so you can keep on drinking.

For more information and bookings, visit the National Trust website.

“Perfect Match” Wine and Cheese Evening at Milk The Cow

If you like bold and pungent, but are more pinot noir than single malt, wine and cheese might be right up your alley. Milk The Cow in St Kilda and Carlton are keeping it local with two nights (April 6 & 7) in Melbourne celebrating Australian wine, cheese and this match made in heaven. Pacha Mama Wines are teaming up with Meredith Dairy for a night of kindred artisan products. Tell your soulmate that you’re a more perfect match than the paired wine and cheese in front of you and they’ll be yours forever.

For more information visit the Milk The Cow website. 

Lûmé in South Melbourne

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Need some food to soak up all that booze? We’ve got you covered. New restaurant venture Lûmé, by Shaun Quade, John Paul Fiechtner and Sommelier Sally Humble, is set to open mid-April on Coventry Street. Letting in the light on a revamped old bordello, Lûmé aims epitomise contemporary Melbourne food. Foodies warning, menu may cause swoons. Quade and Fiechtner will offer up an utterly inspiring and memorable 18-course modern degustation delectation for $140 -$180. Under $10 per course – well worth it I’d say. Yet for those of you saving up for whisky masterclasses at the Old Melbourne Gaol, perhaps a food festival is more economically viable.

For more information, visit the Lûmé website.

Chilli Fest

Melbourne and Melburnians have a bit of a food festival fetish at the moment, which will be spurred this month by North South Feast West at the Immigration Museum. On April 19th, no matter the weather outside, it’ll be hot at the Chilli Fest. Inspired by central American cuisine, Chilli Fest will transform the Museum courtyard into a hot, smokey, firey, hot, mouth-watering, hot melting pot of spicy multicultural foods and chilli cocktails. Yeah, it’ll be hot.

For more information, visit the Immigation Museum website, or the North South Feast West Facebook page. 

Melbourne Latin Festival

Before gorging yourself silly on all the food Melbourne has to offer, it may be wise to get a little more active. Over the Easter weekend (April 3-5), don’t bother with the boring ol’ treadmills and weights. Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance is hosting the 7th annual Melbourne Latin Festival: a celebration of Latin dance. Whether you’re a novice or a Tango expert; keen to dance or are an avid sitter and watcher, the festivals offers shows, DJs, workshops and best of all, lots of Latin dancers. Work off all those Lindt Bunnies!

For more information, visit the Melbourne Latin Festival website. 

Expert Insight: art, fashion and photography at Inspiration by Design exhibition

Cool down after a weekend of non-stop Salsa-ing with a museum-paced amble. Running right through March to June, the State Library of Victoria is holding a free exhibition showcasing some of the world’s finest book art, graphics, photography and illustration. Straight out of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Inspiration by Design celebrates 150 of graphic art, from rare original hand-drawn illustrations from Picasso, to fashion sketches from Comme des Garçons and Dior. On April 9th, the State Library will reveal highlights from the collection in their Expert Insight session, providing expert insight on artist’ books, with works ranging from French Modernists and American photographers to Australian artists.

For more information, visit the State Library Victoria website.

There are countless gems to discover in Melbourne and this is merely running our fingertips along the surface. These six events are your first clues on your non-egg hunt this month, and provided you’re not in hospital after burning off your taste buds at Chilli Fest, go out and explore this magnificent city for more hidden treasure.

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