Learn like a Local: Melbourne’s best masterclasses & workshops

Melbourne Editorial - Paul Philipson

Melbourne Editorial - Paul Philipson

One of the best ways for visitors to get under the skin of Melbourne is to soak up the knowledge and expertise of the city’s dedicated industry leaders and passionate experts. Home to an array of specialist masterclasses and hands-on workshops spanning the culinary, artistic, practical and intellectual worlds, visitors of all ages and life stages will love learning while in Melbourne.

Food

As a bona fide foodie hotspot, Melbourne is a city filled with inventive chefs, butchers, chocolatiers, cheesemakers, fermenters and bakers – all ready, willing and able to share their knowledge with curious visitors from around the world.

Melbourne has plenty of classes to satiate the appetites of meat lovers, including butchery classes at Hagen’s Organics, barbecue classes at Queen Victoria Market’s Whack it on the Barbie and salami and sausage making workshops with Melbourne’s own “Sausage Queen” Sara Grazia at Sausages Made Simple.

Workshop participants can get their Willy Wonka on at South Yarra’s Ganache Chocolate School. Truffle making, dessert creation, perfecting macarons and creating unique chocolate bars are just some of the workshops offered by this much-loved chocolate maker responsible for seriously delectable creations.

While most people don’t need a class to appreciate cheese, Melbourne provedore Spring Street Grocer is committed to spreading the word about all things cheese from its subterranean cheese cave (Australia’s first underground cheese maturation cellar). Holding cheese workshops led by Spring Street Grocer’s head cheesemonger, this is the place for visitors to brush up on their cheese knowledge while tasting some of the best cheese from near and far.

Once the favoured pastime of grandmothers around the globe, the art of fermenting food is now catching on with the younger crowd. Located in the beachside suburb of Sandringham, Wild Ferments runs several fermenting classes designed to demystify the process of fermenting vegetables and making foodie favourites like kimchi and sauerkraut.

Known for running cooking classes hosted by some of Melbourne’s top cooks, the Neff Market Kitchen has an impressive range of classes to choose from. From assembling a Greek banquet with Alex Xinis from The Press Club to learning the ins and outs of putting together a killer burger with Daniel Wilson from Melbourne’s lauded Huxtaburger, Neff Market Kitchen has classes for all skill levels and interests.

Nothing compares to slicing into a hot loaf of bread fresh from the oven and the bread making classes at the historic Convent Bakery enable attendees to capture this feeling at home by providing the skills to bake artisanal loaves.

Drinks

From cool cocktails to single origin coffee, bold wines and artisanal spirits, Melbourne is a city that loves to drink. Visitors can easily slip into a city wine bar, suburban pub, moody whisky joint or neighbourhood coffee spot to partake in Melbourne’s brews but attending a masterclass is a top way to tap into the minds of some of Melbourne’s most marvellous drinks experts.

Learning the art of mixing fine cocktails is a life skill that will stand the test of time and there’s no better place to learn about cocktail making than in Melbourne. Visitors can get the lowdown from award winning cocktail waiters at classes held at acclaimed bars 1806 and Eau De Vie.

Whisky is currently enjoying a worldwide renaissance and Melbourne’s Whisky & Alement School of Whisky runs several whisky appreciation classes for both people new to whisky drinking and hard core single malt aficionados. Sake, wine, whisky and gin masterclasses run by The Humble Tumbler almost always sell out in advance, demonstrating Melbourne’s unquenchable thirst for learning about fine wine and spirits.

There’s no doubt about it, Melbourne elevates coffee drinking to cult status, so it’s unsurprising that coffee roasting, tasting, blending, brewing and filtering masterclasses are offered by some of Melbourne’s best roasters: St Ali, Proud Mary and Market Lane. Coffee-obsessed visitors interested in learning about latte art, roasting and more can do no better than learning from Melbourne’s internationally recognised roasters.

Art, Life & Style

Beyond brushing up on food and wine knowledge and techniques, Melbourne offers many other learning experiences aimed at expanding the mind and adding fresh skills to the mix. From the artistic to the cerebral, Melbourne’s expert-led workshops and classes are a great way for visitors to engage with the city on a deeper level.

With more than 20 years’ experience working in the beauty industry, Samantha Taylor knows a thing or two about fragrance. At The Powder Room attendees get the chance to sit down with Samantha and learn how to create their own signature scent. Some classes include cocktails too!

As a creative hub, Melbourne is a top place for visitors to brush up on their arts and crafts skills. Casual life drawing classes are popular at Footscray’s The Art Room, screen printing and lampshade making workshops often sell out at Seddon’s Handmaker’s Factory and weekend hat making workshops with Melbourne milliner Serena Lindeman are a hit with fashionistas keen on creating their next statement accessory to wear to the races.

Tackling life’s biggest challenges and mysteries, The School of Life runs popular courses for people who like to think deeply and want to improve themselves. From learning how to be more confident to finding ways to tackle social anxiety, and exploring techniques to foster resilience, The School of Life’s courses allow participants to dip into complex subjects in a thoughtful way. School of Life instructors and facilitators come from all walks of life with philosophers, authors, psychologists, scientists, teachers and musicians all hosting courses.

Offering a diverse range of classes from the practical to the outlandish, Laneway Learning is a fun Melbourne institution open to all casual learners. With chapters in the heart of the city (down a laneway no less), Fitzroy, St Kilda, Newport and Brunswick, Laneway Learning’s low-cost, accessible classes cover broad territory including photography, dance, storytelling, nutrition, science, literature, finance and small business.

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