Melbourne on show to foodies

MELBOURNE will be put on show as one of the world's top food destinations if a bid to recreate the city's laneways and markets at Disney World in Florida is successful.

Tourism Victoria confirmed Melbourne was vying for the right to be featured as one of the world's four great food cities when the biggest food festival on the planet kicks off in September.

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival attracts more than 1.3 million visitors to Florida's Walt Disney World Resort each year.

Tourism Victoria marketing director Don Richter said Disney had invited Victoria to bid because of its reputation as a food and wine destination.

"This is a great way to showcase Melbourne and Victoria to the world," he said.

The bid includes a plan to recreate Melbourne's laneways at the festival, according to a report to Melbourne councillors.

The laneways would lead visitors past displays of street art and into a main exhibition area where a food and wine tasting area would give visitors a Queen Victoria Market experience.

While the final four great food cities of the world would not be known until the end of this month, the report to council said frontrunners included New Orleans, Copenhagen and Rio de Janeiro.

Other festival highlights will include more than 2000 food and wine seminars and dining events that would feature Melbourne chefs, winemakers and products.

The festival will cost state and federal governments and Victorian food and wine producers nearly $1 million if the bid is successful, according to the report.

Melbourne councillors two weeks ago rejected a request by Tourism Victoria to tip $100,000 into the project.

Cr Fiona Sneddon, the only councillor to vote in favour of the council supporting the bid, said she hoped Melbourne would not miss out because of the decision.

"It's disappointing that my colleagues didn't support the proposal because this type of event is what we need to put Melbourne's hospitality offer on the world stage," Cr Sneddon said.

"It is a known fact that Melbourne breeds innovation in food styles and creativity and we need to keep our eyes on the ball to retain that recognition."

The festival runs from September 26 to November 9.



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