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Over the past few months I have had the pleasure of getting to know Ballarat’s finest artisan producer, Giorgio Basilio . Every Friday Giorgio goes into lockdown and works from 9am til 5pm to bring us truly fresh authentic sourdough bread. I have been popping in to help individually weigh each loaf and learn a tiny aspect of this historical craft.

The Basilio family moved to Ballarat around six years ago from Bendigo, Pauline Basilio’s hometown. Giorgio had been working as the head chef for Luigi Bissani and wanted to put high quality bread on the menu. While most chefs would have ordered in some crusty pre-bakes, Giorgio went to learn the traditional methods from Red Beard baker in Trentham. I have heard from many wise old chefs that when a true baker kneads and shapes their first loaf they are immediately hooked and that was the case with Giorgio, who soon enough became Red Beard’s head baker.

I can still remember the day that Giorgio walked into the kitchen at Eclectic Tastes and told us he was planning to make sourdough in Ballarat. I believe I did a little dance during service while I pumped out ham and cheese toasties made with inferior quality, not-local bread.

Ballaratfood basilio bread

Basilio sourdough is hand crafted right here in Ballarat. The bakery, set amongst many fine producers including Goldfields Cheese and Sovereign Hill produce at Hempco in Learmonth Road. If you miss the weekly local farmers markets where Pauline and the beautiful Basilio girls Isabella and Chiara sell the incredible bounty of traditional French style sourdough, there’s always other options for picking up a high top or a grain and seeds loaf.

Basilio sourdough is stocked at Wilsons in Lucas, Stockade Cellars or Campana’s on the corner of Mair and Armstrong Street, The Ballarat Wholefood Collective and the Espresso depot in Buninyong, Goldfields Cheese in Creswick, The Clunes General Store, Cliffy’s Emporium, and Tonna’s Fruit and Vegetable in King Street Daylesford.

For Giorgio Basilio with 25 plus years of experience as a chef and now a master bread maker, everything is about slow food. Everything takes time, the natural sourdough culture (the mother), the slow proving and hand shaping of each loaf. All ingredients are local organic and biodynamic, grown as nature intended, free from preservatives and additives.

One young lady is only too proud to boast of the high quality of Basilio bread, my daughter Frankie Page. Fondly she calls the 6.5ft French Italian baker Jo Jo Sillio. Give her any other bread and she will quickly turn up her nose. As an infant and up to the age of two Frankie was severely allergic to dairy, eggs and soy. Basilio bread was a godsend and remains her favourite food. The fluffy white bread that comes in plastic will hopefully never grace our table. Is it really bread at all? It’s more like a donut or cake with its highly processed, nutrient devoid flour, spoons full of white sugar and enough preservatives and soy flour to help it remain soft for up to 10 days.

This weekend and every third Saturday, Basilio sourdough is available at the Jiggity Jig Farmers Market where all the food is slow, regional and big on taste. It’s also available at the Creswick market where you can try Giorgio’s incredible pastries. So before you grab a trolley full of plastic bread, or inferior sourdough made elsewhere, possibly even imported from Ireland or perhaps soured with vinegar and not produced using time honoured traditional methods, think about how lucky we are to have Victoria’s best artisan sourdough baker, baking 5 days a week in our own backyard, hand crafted, using the best ingredients. Please support Basilio sourdough and maybe ask your local store or provider “Where is the Basilio sourdough? And why is it not on the shelf?”

For more information go to or email or call 0457 347 185 0r 5334 3401


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Tuesday, 28 March 2017