The latest news from the Ballarat Food Network

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ballaratfood jiggety gang

The Ballarat Food Jiggety Jig Farmers market began in June 2015. Held on the third Saturday of every month at the Ballarat Showgrounds, in the Cattle Pavilion, Creswick Road entrance. The impetus to create this regular monthly market was twofold, to offer an outlet for local producers to sell their quality produce in the community where it is grown and produced and to give local families the chance to access some of the very best quality fresh produce at reasonable prices.

Ballarat families want to know more about the food they eat. Eating habits are changing across the country. Sales of processed, prepackaged foods are declining, sales of soft drink are falling. A lot of us are seeking more nutritionally balanced diets and we’re looking for fresh local, seasonal produce to make more tasty family meals from scratch. In doing this we are becoming more connected with our community.

The Jiggety-Jig Saturday November 21st is a part of the Good Food Ballarat Festival, a showcase of our region’s best quality produce. It’s all about the food. The local producers include; Basilio Sourdough, Goldfields Farmhouse Cheese, Country Style Smallgoods, Tarna Valley Pork, Brooklands Free Range Farm, Enbom Honey, Yendon Tomatoes, The Gardenologist’s herbs and seedlings, The Preserver’s Pot, Mt Egerton Vegetable Produce, The Pomegranate Tree gourmet cordials, Granate Hills Produce duck eggs, chicken eggs and vegetables, Drewslie Muesli and biscuits, Enga Coffee, Red Rock Olives, Bean Me Up Coffee, Sultana Girl sultanas and oranges, Truffleberry Farm truffles and eggs, Michael Unwin Wines, Cornish Cream Fudge, Chaplin Apples, Sweet Cake Love, Kittelty’s Cakes, Tea Harvest and Fresh Flowers.

ballaratfood GFB

To celebrate Good Food Ballarat Month we will be serving a tasty gourmet treat that will perfectly reflect the favourite flavours of Ballarat. Based on two key ingredients that are a perenial Ballarat favourite, potatoes and sausages.

We briefed local artisans Georgio Basilio from Basilio Sourdough and Sebastian Jurcan from Country Style Smallgoods to create a unique Ballarat variation of the humble sausage in bread. Inspired by Ballarat’s produce icon the potato, Georgio will be baking fresh potato sourdough loaves for the base. To a thick and crusty slice of Georgio’s potato bread we will add a gourmet pepperberry pork sausage made by Sebastian.

Inspired by the unique native flavours of Saltbush Kitchen’s most popular pepperberry spice mix, he will add this to his secret family recipe along with fresh free range pork from Tarna Valley to create succulent (nitrate and preservative free) sausages. Topped with onions caramelised in a thyme jus, or as we prefer to call it in Ballarat - gravy, made by our very own Ballarat chef Suzi Fitzpatrick. We are so excited to showcase traditional Ballarat fare infused with fresh native flavours, made from quality produce ethically grown in Ballarat. For $5 we think this will be a very tasty lunch for locals.

We will also be serving smaller Country Style Smallgoods chipolatas in slices of Basilio traditional sourdough bread with The Preserver’s Pot tomato sauce for $2. Guaranteed to please the kids and completely free of preservatives and nitrates. Come along to Jiggety-Jig check out the variety of great tasting food being made and grown in our own local food bowl. Meet the producers and find out why Jiggety-Jig is shopped by Ballarat’s best chefs. The quality is top notch and you will be surprised at how affordable it is to buy fresh local food. The event kicks off at 9am and entry is free.

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ballaratfood gfb mastersRyan Pearce, Suzi Fitzpatrick and Chrissy De Deugd

Good Food Ballarat Festival 2015 provides a month of spectacular dining opportunities in Ballarat. A hawkers market, farmers market, brunches, lunches, suppers and degustations. What’s set to be the most talked about event to mark the end of the festival is the Masters & Apprentices six course degustation. The star studded degustation will be matched with Mitchell Harris Wines, at Federation University’s Prospects Restaurant, November 30th at 6pm.

This event, created by chef-whiz Ryan Pearce. He tantalized our tastebuds at his sellout six course degustation event at Aureate Restaurant last week. An experienced chef Ryan has attained a standard of culinary excellence working in many hatted restaurants across Melbourne. Now Ryan is bringing his skills to our region and teaching the next generation of chefs at Federation University in the Commercial Cookery school, whilst also commanding the role of executive chef at Aureate Restaurant as the team embark on bringing fine dining experiences to Ballarat.

Ryan put out the challenge to some of his talented celebrity colleagues to recruit the awesome talent to cast as the Masters of the Good Food finale. Each master is to produce a designated course and will be assigned with two apprentices by drawing straws. The dinner will be the final hurrah this year for the commercial cookery students.


Course 1 Canapés: Suzi Fitzpatrick
Course 2 Seafood signature salad: Damien Jones
Course 3 Meat/Game signature entree: Matt Dempsey
Course 4 Signature dish: Luigi Bazzani

Course 5 Signature main: Matt Germanchis

Course 6 Dessert double team: Phiilpa Sibley Cook and Daniel Southern

This collaboration will include top industry culinary skills and experience teamed with the enthusiasm and talent of Australia’s next generation of creative food professionals.

Ryan is still to learn of the dishes his masters are planning to create with their apprentices. Suzi gave us a heads up on her plans for canapés for the evening and all I can say is, this is going to be a foodie event, the likes of which you will not find anywhere else. The master chefs, each with one course to focus on, will be at the top of their creative game when it comes to composing their signature dishes for the six course degustation.

The courses will be matched with wines by John Harris from Mitchell Harris Wines. The night will be MC’d by Federation Uni’s John Hayes and Chrissy De Deugd will be managing the front of house.

Masters Apprentices

Tickets for the six course degustation event are $150 per person. To book contact 5336 8263 or email 
Starting at 6pm, Monday 30th of November 2015 at Prospects Training restaurant FedUni TAFE-SMB Campus, Lydiard Street South Ballarat.

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ballaratfood yoyo

Little Bird sisters and co-owners Jill Bingham and Susan Anderson have created one of Ballarat’s sweetest spots to stop for breakfast, lunch or cake and a cuppa in a bright and cheery setting with a quirky retro vibe. As a part of the Good Food Ballarat festival they have aptly decided to hold a kitchen tea event, called Fancy Nancy’s Kitchen Tea, Saturday November 7th at 3:30pm.

SUZI What are your best sellers?

JILL It’s hard to say what sells best, breakfast is really popular. Lunch is also really busy, especially popular is bahn mai, chilli beef waffle and chicken pie.
The cakes and biscuits are very popular and people really appreciate that all the food is made here, especially the biscuits and cakes. We have a lot of people from Melbourne to see the Archibald and they are very surprised and impressed with our cakes and biscuits.

SUZI Tell us about your Good Food Ballarat event Fancy Nancy’s Kitchen Tea.

JILL We wanted to create something similar to what you ate at your Aunty’s kitchen tea many decades ago, macaroons, cakes, laminations, vol-au-vents, beautiful biscuits. Somethings look pretty, some daggy but it’s all about getting the conversation going and taking a trip down memory lane.

ballaratfood lemonmeringuepie

SUZI Where have you drawn you inspiration for Fancy Nancy’s Kitchen Tea?

JILL We have sought inspiration from old cook books from Susan’s collection, some recipes that have been handed down in our family. Some we have tried to forget!

SUZI Who is Fancy Nancy?

JILL Nancy is an expectant bride who can’t wait to marry Nev. We hope that Nev can live up to Nance’s expectations and prove Nance’s Father wrong. She would have worn her best frock for church on Sunday or a dance at St Pat’s Hall.

SUZI What are the future plans for Little Bird?

JILL We are just trying to get through this weekend! We really just want to be somewhere people love to come to for great tasting food, that’s not too serious.

Fancy Nancy’s Kitchen Tea, at Little Bird Cafe, 205 Sturt Street Ballarat. Saturday November 7th at 3:30pm. Tickets are selling fast, $55 per person, phone 5331 1255.

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Good food ballarat

As part of Ballarat’s Good Food Month celebrations in November, The Lane and Hop Temple will be joining forces to host the Lane International Food Fest event. This event will be held on Friday 6 November from 4pm, taking place along The Lane (Ballarat’s vibrant al-­‐fresco dining and entertainment meeting hub) and extending through to Hop Temple (Ballarat’s newest and funkiest laneway bar).

Kesh Manton the LaneThe Lane's Marketing & Events Manager Kesh Manton

The International Food Fest will include musicians, international food stalls including tacos at Hop Temple, Spanish Churros at The Lane Cider Bar and wood-­‐fired pizzas at The Lane's pizza window, as well as refreshing beverages available at both The Lane Cider Bar and Hop Temple. Western Victoria's quirky Spanish Latin band Los Locos will perform live at the Fest from 6pm. David Anderson will also perform live acoustic entertainment in The Lane Cider Bar from 9.30pm till late.

The Lane International Food Fest will kick off at 4pm Friday 6 November and entry is free.

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Good food ballarat

It’s very fitting indeed that today in Ballarat we will be celebrating with a breakfast of champions. I can’t imagine there weren’t many local residents who didn’t raise a glass or two to celebrate Michelle Payne and Darren Weir’s winning combination yesterday. So as you wake up feeling extra fuzzy from all the champagne, head on down Sturt Street to Yellow Espresso from 9 till 12 and sharpen your day with sensational coffee tweaked by Ballarat’s best baristas and toting Axle beans.

Santina and Leo

Super foods are on the menu with Santina and Leo’s signature acai berry bowls and organic green-tea powder lattes known as matcha lattes. Turmeric as well will surprise brunchers and will undeniably be the order of the day as curcumin a natural ingredient of the spice is being heavily researched for its potential powers to reboot and regenerate brain cells, especially in need after bubbles and beer.

Yellow espresso

Yellow Espresso’s Superfood Brunch will be held today between 9am-12noon. To book your seat phone
5332 3050, or perhaps just gather on Sturt Street and soak up the joy that exudes from this happy yellow café, raise your espresso cups and revel in Ballarat’s wash of comradery and pride for the Payne family and all the team at Darren Weir's stables.

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ballaratfood aureate

One of the premier events of 2015 Good Food Ballarat is the launch of Aureate restaurant bringing Ballarat a new level of fine dining with a six course wine matched degustation 'Terra Firma' Saturday October 31st at 6pm. A modern European style event which sold out a week ago is set to set the standard for this month long showcase of Ballarat's finest food.

We caught up with Aureate team in the busy lead up to their launch event to give us an indication of the type of food and wine locals can expect to try at Mid City's new establishment.  We also hope that if we can get enough requests from locals we could convince Ryan Pearce to hold another six course seafood degustation matched with fine wines. This has to be one of the best value, high quality seafood degustations ever.

Suzi the foodie sleuth extraordinaire had the following questions to the Aureate owner Mark Finch and executive chef Ryan Pearce.

SUZI Where does the name of the Aureate come from. What is inspiration?

MARK Aureate is Latin for 'is made of gold' is, something we feel reflects the quality of effort and abilities used to create dishes. We’re inspired by the desire to bring Ballarat a cosmopolitan dining experience. We want to bring an opulent Melbourne fine dining experience with the best and most extensive wine list that Ballarat has ever seen. We're not there yet, but to use a phrase everyone seems to use at the moment, ‘we have begun our journey’.

SUZI How long have you been working towards the goal of relaunching the mid city and what can we look forward to as changes slowly take place?

MARK Kylie and I purchased the business in September 2014 and were initially stunned at how rundown the facilities were. We spent the first year and a substantial amount of money on lifting the back of house facilities to modern standard.

Three months ago, Ryan came on board as head chef at which time Josh (our food and beverage manager) and Ryan were charged with making our restaurant dreams become a reality.

Ballaratfood chef ryan pearceAureate Executive Chef Ryan Pearce

SUZI What type of cuisine would you be serving and will you be focusing in the food in our region?

RYAN A style of cuisine will be predominantly modern European with nod to Australia here and there. A decision to bring fresh seafood to the Ballarat dining scene does mean that most of our menu focus for local produce will be aimed at sourcing fruits, vegetables, dairy products and game items. Every product that we choose to showcase and give our efforts to will be judged from an international standpoint, so as to ascertain that it meets our expectations.

Whatever we choose to put on a menu was governed by a belief that we only use the best, and only the best is used.

SUZI Tell us a little about the Good Food Ballarat six course dinner with matched wines? What local produce will you be using?

RYAN Heirloom vegetables, goose, wild baby fennel. Being a seafood degustation we can't exactly say that stuff is "local" but it's Australian and bloody good!

SUZI Ryan where and what is inspiring your cooking at the moment?

RYAN To be honest at the moment I’m drawing most inspiration from my colleagues in their excitement about “Aureate”. That being said, I'm also trying to look around the things that are "not" being done in the Ballarat.

Working really closely with my suppliers and asking them "a lot" of questions is also giving me a really good insight into the market at the moment so as to know what's good and what's upcoming is really doing it for me at the moment.

aureate tuna side 

Ryan has shared one of his signature dish seafood recipes with us - pdf SEARED TUNA LOIN WITH PICKLED VEGETABLES & LABNA  (313 KB)

SUZI Also can we have the details of Aureate restaurant?


Facebook: Aureate Restaurant

Twitter: @AureateBallarat

Instagram: aureate_restaurant

As the Aureate six course degustation event is sold out, we are encouraging any interested foodies to leave a comment below if you would like to attend such an event. If we can get the numbers we think we could twist Ryan's arm to put on another one.

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GFB Hawkers Market

Of all the event at last year’s Courier Good Food Month, the Friday afternoon Hawker’s Market reigned supreme. From the moment I squeezed into the Mining Exchange I couldn’t really wipe the smile off my face.

Surrounded by thousands of hungry locals all salivating and queuing for a taste of our finest signature street food. Hawkers markets began in the 1950’s in Asia, Malaysian and Singaporean icons were made affordable and sold on the street, back then they were pretty dodgey and you would find all sorts of things to share your pork buns with; animals, pests and bad hygiene.

Not so these days. Hawkers are eclectic markets and pretty glam with lots of good things going on. Choice is right up there and so is price, everything at a hawkers market should be affordable. That way you can eat your way around the room. This weekend beginning at 5pm Friday, bring your appetite and loads of change, you might even want to bring a bib!

The team at the Courier, our local Fairfax publication, and the very swank Kate Burrows from Pink Flamingo events have used their experience from last year’s event and ironed out the issues. There was really only one and that was the fact that everyone in Ballarat wanted to be there and we couldn’t all fit. So this year the event will run over two delicious sessions. Pace yourselves peeps and maybe don’t expect to get in straight away, organise to meet friends at the surrounding bars, pubs and cafes and don’t be miffed if you have to knock back a couple of local icy brewskies before you get your Catfish curry and a lick of coconut ice cream.

Ditto with Saturday, loads of time to indulge starting at 10am and finishing at 3pm, so make a date with your friends and get your slow food groove on. There will be plenty of time to try this amazing snap shot of foodie Balhalla .

More good news is that this event is free! Yummy offerings begin at just $5.00 and include entertainment for the whole family. My only other advice is this. Don’t eat all day, and then once you arrive at the Hawker’s Market, eat everything.

Ballarat Steak House southern style bbq ribs washed down with Andrew Lavery’s champion local beer, chef Donatello from Billy’s Bistro with be singing Amore as he shares Italian treasures from his hometown. If churros is your thing Zaragosa have that covered and Im really hoping Mitchell Harris will be there with their fruity sexy sangria.

Chris Watt head chef at Seymour’s and Freight (and one of our favourites because like all Ballarat’s best chefs, he shops at the Jiggety-Jig) will make Mexican mayhem and we can’t forget the usual street food suspects. The Forgie boys pizza flipping antics and the smooth as fine peanut butter, bagel boys from Around the Way Bagel.

I’ll be there too, working alongside the talented Danielle Jones of Catfish Thai and together we will try and bring you a curry in a hurry. If we create too much fire on your palette you’ll have to scoot over to Sara Kittelty and stick your tongue in one of her fluffy frosted sugarland treats from her CWA style cake cornucopia. Sovereign Hill, think pies and pastries, Japanese favourite Asahi and Fu Man Lou complete with Dumpling Rickshaw and a little Chinese tea that will hopefully help to cure our indigestion after such an incredible indulgence.

There can be no better way to kick off a month of foodie mayhem. look forward to keeping you up to date with our favourite events. So throw your skinny jeans to the back of the wardrobe it’s officially time to “Get fat in the rat!” 

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GFB 72dpi

Here at Ballarat Food we have picked our twelve favourite events for this year’s Good Food Ballarat Festival presented by The Courier and sponsored by Ballarat Regional Tourism, Ryan’s Super IGA and Mecure Ballarat Hotel and Convention Centre. We are looking forward to catching up with the event organisers and sharing with you the finer details of each event.

Last week we caught up with Mitchell Harris Wines’ John Harris, head chef Di Ray and Grounded Pleasures' chocolatier Craig McKenzie. Together this dynamic team will present an indulgent workshop and dining experience. Pairing two things that the majority of foodies just can’t resist, chocolate and wine. John Harris and Craig McKenzie have been great mates since meeting years ago at a local Ballarat playground one Saturday morning with their kids. A friendship was forged between two of the best palettes in our region and immediately they spurred each other on sharing wines, chocolate and ideas.

Ballaratfood wine choc goodfood eventWinemaker John Harris, Chocolatier Craig McKenzie and Chef Di Ray

John and Craig shortly after meeting began working on a project. The creation of a unique wine, an aperitif made in the unique French style of a Mistelle. Now five years in the making this sensational fortified white wine, aptly named Blanche 1, will be released on November the 10th at the wine and chocolate workshop as a part of the Good Food Ballarat celebrations.

For those of you attending the chocolate and wine workshop you are in for an incredible treat. There will be nothing dry or humdrum about this educational session. “It’s about good things, in their natural state. Thinking a little bit outside the square, exotic wines that many people haven’t had a chance to try, on their own or paired with different flavours.” said John. 

Ballaratfood mitchell harris 1

So what makes chocolate and wine such good bed fellows? Grounded Pleasures Chocolate’s Craig McKenzie eloquently tells the story. “Chemically Chocolate has over 700 different individual components that the palette can distinguish and enjoy. Good wine has 300 to 400 chemical components that the senses appreciate. Our workshop will present and interplay these compounds, they will work together and create an ethereal effect, an indulgent pleasure”

Wine and chocolate are both fermented products they have complex characteristics from fruitiness to spiciness, it is only natural that they work well together. John says “Tasting wine and chocolate together gives both products more dimension. It’s a play of fruit, acid, structure, tannins, mouth feel and aftertaste all echoing. It creates a synergy, two beautiful things, together, wonderful, fun substances.”

matale chocolate

Never before in Ballarat have we had the opportunity to indulge in such a bountiful pairing. Talented local chef Di Ray brings yet another layer to this sensory-rich event. Di will prepare five small courses demystifying wine and dessert food pairings. One such pairing that is sure to delight food and wine connoisseurs is the starter, white chocolate, salmon roe and chestnut. “This combination produces an incredible balance of sweetness and salt with texture and smoothness from the high content of cocoa butter in white chocolate. The cocoa butter gives length to the flavours and an incredible mouth feel from the delicious explosion of chocolate and caviar.” It’s this attention to detail that puts Di Ray on Ballarat Foods radar as a chef to follow and support.

cocoa beans

Throughout the evening Craig will share the process of chocolate making from raw to finished, Di will present small courses and John will match wine from the MH Cellar. If an origin chocolate tasting plate, the knowledge of chocolate from cocoa bean, fermentation to dark truffle-like flavours and a Mitchell Harris 2012 Sangiovese is your idea of heaven (it’s definately mine) I advise you to book now!

mitchellharris groundedpleasures

Chocolate & Wine The Ultimate Pairing is on Tuesday the 10th of November at Mitchell Harris Wines, Doveton Street north, right next to the Peter Lalor in the beautiful old Electric Motors Building. For bookings go to pop in to Mitchell Harris Cellar Door in Doveton Street or call 53318931 $65 per head and begins at 7pm.

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