Melbourne hosts a Food and Wine Festival in March

Food Miles

The global foodie calendar has no truck with post-festive self denial.

In the first quarter of 2012, there are more festivals, special events, and restaurant openings than you can shake a diet plan at.

Tom Aikens, who relaunches his eponymous Chelsea restaurant (020-7349 0161; on Thursday, will also be "chef in residence" at Coco Palm Bodu Hithi, Maldives (00 960 334 5555; from 19 to 26 March. Aikens will serve specially created dishes in the resort's oceanside Aqua restaurant, hold masterclasses and demonstrations, and share recipes and tips with guests.

New York-based chef Marcus Samuelsson goes back to his Swedish roots at Norda Grill and Bar in the Clarion Hotel Post, Gothenburg (00 46 31 61 90 00;, opening on 26 January. Housed in a former post office, the display kitchen will feature rotisseries, open grills and barbecues.

From 23 to 25 March, California's sixth annual Artisan Cheese Festival, at the Sheraton Sonoma County, Petaluma (001 707 283 2888;, offers the chance to meet some of America's leading cheese-makers, including Cowgirl Creamery and Sierra Nevada Cheese Company.

There are two gastronomic reasons to visit Abu Dhabi in February. From Valentine's Day, Gary Rhodes will serve his take on British cuisine at the new Rhodes 44 restaurant at the St Regis Hotel (00 971 2 658 12 88;; and Gourmet Abu Dhabi ( will be staged at a number of venues from 8-23 February. Events include a masterclass and gala dinner by three-Michelin-starred German chef Juan Amador.

From 2 to 21 March, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (00 61 39 823 6100; will be the gastronomic epicentre of Australia. More than 300 events will take place, including lectures by some of the world's most progressive chefs, among them David Chang and Massimo Bottura. Meanwhile, the Cellar Door and Farm Gate artisan produce market will bring together Victoria's best regional wineries, craft brewers, and food producers.

Since its modest beginnings in 1979, the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival (001 604 872 6623; has grown into one of the largest events of its kind in the world. Between 27 February and 4 March, 1,700 wines produced by 81 wineries from 15 countries – including 35 wineries from the focus nation Chile – will be featured in wine tastings, gourmet dinners, seminars, and culinary competitions.