With its iconic tree-lined streets bleeding vibrant hues of brown, orange and red, the fall season provides the perfect excuse for Melbourne foodies to getaway to Ballarat. The autumn months are renowned for their celebration of food and drink in this beautiful city, located less than an hour and a half away in the Grampians region of Victoria
As part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Ballarat will be hosting its own Regional World’s Longest Lunch down one of its iconic laneways, providing guests with the chance to explore exactly why the city is fast-becoming a must-visit food destination.
Here are five reasons why you should make time for an autumn food escape to Ballarat, according to the city’s leading chefs, winemakers and brewers.
A CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
“The best thing about food and produce here is the easy access to a vast variety of fresh produce and dry ingredients influenced by the demand of a multicultural population and the beauty of being part of the Australian food and beverage golden age.”
– Chef Donatello Pietrantuono, Carboni’s
AN EVER-EVOLVING FOOD SCENE
“The food scene has grown so much. There are more places to eat out than ever before, and they’re all doing interesting food in great spaces. “
– Damien Jones, hatted restaurant Catfish Thai
A REGION OF FINE WINE
“The Ballarat offering is increasing steadily. I love The Mallow for great craft beer and an interesting Victorian wine selection, and The Forge for a fantastic family feast. For the big night out Catfish is a must, and on a quiet weekend I love heading out to Eastern Peake winery or a little further up the road to the Pyrenees wine region. We have so many great spots for eating and drinking opening up all the time. There’s never been a better time to wine and dine in Ballarat.”
– John Harris, James Halliday rated winery Mitchell Harris Wines
A PADDOCK TO PLATE EXPERIENCE
“My favourite thing about this region is the paddock to plate experience. There is an exceptional quality of meat available in Western Victoria and we have the ability to source ingredients locally. The expanding foodie scene in Ballarat is also great as it is better for diners but also makes chefs want to work harder to become better at what they do.”
– Pete Morrissey, The George Hotel
A CRAFT BEER SCENE
“Ballarat has had a strong history in beer brewing for quite some time and I think we are starting to see a resurgence in the interest in getting back to a local product and it has been great to see. The region has had a good acceptance as a quality provider of wine and food for some time now and now with beer alongside to compliment food and a strong alternative to wine at the table, I feel that Ballarat provides a high quality experience for not only its local residents but a reason to attract others to our region.
– Peter Parry, Athletic Club Brewery
The above chefs and winemakers/brewers are all being featured as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Regional World’s Longest Lunch, taking place on March 31 at The George laneway.
For tickets and more information, visit www.mfwf.com.au