Dine in unique settings across Ballarat with the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s ‘Ballarat Unlocked’

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Dine in unique settings across Ballarat with the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s ‘Ballarat Unlocked’

Words by Staff Writer

The City of Ballarat is handing the keys to the city over to the region’s best chefs, throwing open some of its most historic buildings in a Festival dining series full of intrigue and wonder.

The countdown has begun for a foodie celebration like no other! Ballarat is set to host the regional edition of the renowned Melbourne Food and Wine Festival over two exciting weekends in November.

The Ballarat Unlocked program promises to be a culinary journey like never before, bringing together some of the region’s finest chefs in some of the city’s most historically significant buildings. The heart of the festival lies in collaboration and reimagining spaces that aren’t typically associated with dining. Starting on November 10, 2023, the festival will treat its guests to a total of eight unique hospitality events that will tantalize taste buds and excite the senses.

Keep up with the latest food and booze news across the region here.

The flagship event, the “World’s Longest Lunch,” will be held outside The Goods Shed Ballarat on Saturday, November 11. Making its Ballarat debut, this three-hour lunch will host 150 guests in the forecourt of the historic bluestone building. The event will be hosted by none other than Ballarat’s own MasterChef and toastie extraordinaire, Tim Bone. Guests can expect a delightful array of local produce from 1816 Bakehouse, Saltbush Kitchen, Inglenook Dairy, Mushroom Connection, Salt Kitchen Charcuterie, and more.

The culinary extravaganza will be overseen by award-winning chef Konstantin Putkin, ensuring a memorable gastronomic experience. To quench your thirst, Ballarat’s newest distillery and bar, Itinerant Spirits, will be on hand to provide refreshments.

Why not extend the celebration? A short walk away, Renard’s Gin De Soif invites you to a cocktail takeover featuring local producers such as Red Duck Brewery, Kilderkin Distillery, and more. Local live music will provide the perfect backdrop, and delicious canapés will complement the diverse selection of gins.

Ballarat Unlocked Highlights

On Sunday, November 12, Mitchell Harris will host a lunch in partnership with Perridak Arts to showcase First Nations artists and creators. Food inspired by Indigenous flavours will take center stage, with the artists present to discuss their work.

The new venue in town, Grainery Lane, will explore Ballarat’s craft beer scene with a four-course feast paired with beers from local breweries. Brewers such as Dollar Bill Brewing, Aunty Jacks, Red Duck Brewery, and Cubby Haus Brewing will showcase their offerings on Saturday, November 18.

Hatted Chef Damien Jones of Mr. Jones will host a roaming dinner at the Art Gallery of Ballarat on Saturday, November 11. Guests can enjoy the art collections while indulging in some of Ballarat’s best modern Asian cuisine, paired with local wines from Attwoods, Bended Knee, and Blue Pyrenees.

The full program is a diverse feast for the senses, including unique experiences like “Once Upon a Time” with Peasant at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute and “Sunset on the Lake” with Hotel Canberra at the Ballarat City Rowing Club.

For history buffs, “Dining in the Mines” at Sovereign Hill on Friday, November 10, offers a chance to dine underground and hear tales from the 1850s gold rush. This three-course feast includes a gold-smelting demonstration, followed by a meal at the historic Charlie Napier Hotel, surrounded by Sovereign Hill’s cherished museum pieces.

This festival is not just about food; it’s a journey through history and charm in Ballarat.

From November 10 to 18, the Regional Edition of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival will take Ballarat by storm, promising a delightful mix of eating, drinking, and celebrating in this charming regional city.

Get your tickets now at mfwf.com.au.