Ballarat hospitality scene unlocked

Over two weekends in November, Ballarat will be home to the regional edition of the much-loved Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

The Ballarat Unlocked program will see some of the region’s best chefs in some of the city’s most historical buildings.

The festival is all about collaboration and unlocking spaces not commonly used for dining. Starting on 10 November 2023, the festival will showcase eight unique hospitality events.

City of Ballarat Councillor Samantha McIntosh said Ballarat’s food and wine scene continues to evolve.

“We have some excellent hospitality offerings, with acclaimed chefs and producers, making Ballarat a great place to be a foodie,” she said.

The flagship event, the World’s Longest Lunch, will be held outside The Goods Shed Ballarat on Saturday, 11 November. Making its Ballarat debut, the three-hour lunch will seat 150 in the forecourt of the historic bluestone building.

The lunch will be hosted by Ballarat’s very own MasterChef and toastie extraordinaire Tim Bone and will feature local produce from 1816 Bakehouse, Saltbush Kitchen, Inglenook Dairy, Mushroom Connection, Salt Kitchen Charcuterie and more.

Award-winning chef Konstantin Putkin will oversee the delicious long lunch and guests will be able to enjoy refreshments from Ballarat’s newest distillery and bar, Itinerant Spirits.

Why not continue the festivities, and join Renard’s Gin De Soif, only a short walk away for a cocktail takeover from local producers, such as Red Duck Brewery, Kilderkin Distillery and more. Local live music will set the scene, and delicious canapes will complement the gins.

Ballarat Unlocked Highlights

On Sunday 12 November, Mitchell Harris will host a lunch in partnership with Perridak Arts to showcase First Nations artists and creators. Food will feature Indigenous flavours and the artists will be in attendance to discuss their works.

New venue on the block, Grainery Lane will showcase what Ballarat’s craft beer scene has to offer with a four-course feast, paired with beers from local breweries. Brewers Dollar Bill Brewing, Aunty Jacks, Red Duck Brewery and Cubby Haus Brewing will showcase their beers over the afternoon of Saturday 18 November.

Hatted Chef, Damien Jones of Mr Jones will host a roaming dinner at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, on Saturday 11 November. Guests will be able to enjoy the collections while eating some of Ballarat’s best modern Asian food. The food will be paired with local wines from Attwoods, Bended Knee and Blue Pyrenees.

The full program includes:

  • Once upon a time with Peasant at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute, Friday 17 November.
  • Sunset on the Lake with Hotel Canberra at the Ballarat City Rowing Club, Saturday 18 November.
  • Dining in the Mines at Sovereign Hill, Friday 10 November.

There’s never been a better way to take in the rich history and charm of Ballarat.

Tickets are selling fast and can be purchased via the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival CEO Anthea Loucas Bosha said she is thrilled that the Regional Edition of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is coming to Ballarat

“Boasting a thriving hospitality scene, Ballarat is also one of the most vibrant food and drink producing regions in Victoria,” she said.

“There are awesome and delicious events running from November 10 to 18, from our flagship World’s Longest Lunch in the glorious bluestone surrounds of The Goods Shed to a celebration of the region’s craft beers and a modern Asian feast in the city’s celebrated art gallery. There’s something for every food and drink lover.”

Cr McIntosh said with so many great offerings, for her it will be hard to choose.

“I am looking forward to enjoying some of Ballarat’s incredible dishes from Mr Jones in the amazing Art Gallery of Ballarat, but will hopefully get to a few more events,” she said.

Invite some friends and family to join you in Ballarat and enjoy the festival, to make the most of the trip, they can plan their trip at Visit Ballarat. Or for a local’s guide on what to see and do in Ballarat, don’t miss Ballarat In The Know.

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