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Melbourne Cup Carnival 2020 – The great tradition celebrated from your home! Part 3 – EAT & DRINK Words by Shiva Singam

The heart of any celebration is of course what you eat and drink and how you theme your party….

In the grand old days, Flemington’s famed Birdcage thrived with VRC Member race-goers and our city’s elite who would simply with bucolic elegance serve you chicken sandwiches and champagne from the family silver using their best Limoges china, Wedgwood crystal ware, and Irish linen. The marvellous cornucopia all set on dressed card-tables or from the boots of their Rolls-Royces and Range Rovers. This writer even remembers one Eastern Suburbs social maven who utilised a well-worn Louis Vuitton trunk groaning with the weight of icy-cold bottles of Champagne. 

Nowadays of course the Birdcage has evolved into a temporary metropolis of glamourous and glittering multi-level marquees and pavilions, where lucky invitees are lavishly entertained, fed, and watered.

The Club Stand, the VRC’s now two-year-old members facility, takes the art of eating and drinking during race days to heightened levels of excellence. A word-class offering of food and beverage, in a coterie of restaurants and bars, sets Flemington apart as a dining and event destination from its global counterparts.

Now you can experience the fabulous flavours of Flemington in the comforts of your own home as affiliated caterers deliver specially curated Melbourne Cup Carnival themed hampers direct to your door. Choose from iconic caterer, Peter Rowland, whose unctuous Famous Chicken Sandwiches are synonymous with the Carnival, or the wantonly fabulous Neil Perry x Lexus picnic hamper. 

Satisfy your sweet cravings with a tantalising array of all things decadent from The Big Group and of course don’t forget the little ones who have treats specially designed for them by Food & Desire. Simply choose the hamper that appeals to you from the multitude of choices, select your beverage of choice, place your order, and presto! 

Explore your Carnival catering choices at the VRC’s newly created Marketplace at the 2020 Melbourne Cup Carnival Official Website!


Trying to emulate the look of Flemington’s famed Birdcage at home? 

We have consulted our friends, the internationally renowned event maestros at Giannarelli International and Lusso Event Hire who have delivered events around the world for brands such as AQUAZURRA and Giuseppe Zanotti as well as a coterie of European Aristocracy. 

Maryanne, Priscilla, and Chantel Giannarelli, the dynamic and perennially elegant mother and daughter trio of Directors and creative forces at Giannarelli International and Lusso Event Hire, offer their expert styling tips for your racing celebration:

Whether it be our team organising a grand wedding of 300 guests or an intimate dinner party of 6 guests, our main focus is to always create super chic, luxurious, and unique experiences for our guests.

This is very important to our brand image as we aim to create the perception of the event taking place anywhere around the globe, transporting our guests through the use of incredible craftsmanship, artistry, and visually decadent elements throughout our table-scapes. 

Try to use beautiful quality and unique, detailed pieces amongst your essentials to portray a contrast and that stand out amongst others. These pieces will always catch the guests’ attention and will be a fun talking piece at the table!

The Giannarelli’s Tip: Take out your best china, silverware, crystal, and any special pieces that you have tucked away that you don’t get to use every day! This is your opportunity to have fun and be extravagant!

Theme your table setting to the style of the day and once you have your base, accessorise each setting with a difference of colour, contrast, and texture. 

Consider changing your standard wine glass with a fun coloured wine goblet, which can accessorise beautifully with a coloured, fabric napkin and tablecloth, as well as some statement florals which you can literally pick out from your own garden!

The Giannarelli’s Tip: You can use an abundance of fresh fruits, of all shapes and sizes, amongst your greenery and florals which adds another layer of texture to the table setting as well. 

Styling the food and beverage depending on the theme of the day is great to take into consideration as well. It’s always so satisfying to see similar colourings used within the presentation of the food and beverage so that everything looks uniform and ties into the theme.

The Giannarelli’s Tip: When it comes to creating ambience, add in a variety of candles at different heights using tea lights, tapers, candelabras, or whatever type of candle holders you may have. Candles always work wonders when it comes to creating that elegant, lounge atmosphere. 

Be it a simple, clean, and bold monochromatic setting for Derby Day or a delicate and pretty feminine Oaks Day setting, it’s always important to create a fun and relaxed atmosphere where your guests can enjoy and appreciate those beautiful bespoke elements that are set before them.

The main objective is to want your guests to walk away from your party with a distinct memory of those stunning fabrics, vibrant colours, textures, and styling tools that you used so that they are inspired to create something beautiful, personalised and epic themselves!

The Giannarelli’s Tip: If you need a luxury table setting for your Carnival celebration, simply get in touch with us at


Girlfriends, Besties, Family, or just your Loved One, the biggest tip here is to celebrate the Carnival with the people that put the biggest smiles on your face!


With all the excitement don’t forget to tune in and watch the races themselves with broadcast partner Network Ten!

Happy Carnival and Happy Racing!



Giannarelli International is a Worldwide Design and Production agency specialising in Luxury Weddings and Events. 

Based between Melbourne, Australia and Florence, Italy.




Lusso Event Hire specialises in Luxury Wedding & Event Tableware sourced from around the globe. 

Based in Melbourne, Australia


IG: @lussoeventhire

Photo credit for Giannarelli International and Lusso Event Hire: 

APL Photography, @aplphotography

Floral styling for Giannarelli International and Lusso Event Hire: 

Ascha Jolie, @aschajolie

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