The Taste of the Region Festival was held last Saturday 5th of April as a part of the Rural Lifestyle Expo held at the Ballarat showgrounds. After quite a dark and wet week the weather in Ballarat was spectacular for the event. We had been working hard behind the scenes to ensure the day was filled with tasty offerings and foodie entertainment from the Ballarat region and our local Ballarat Food network did not disappoint.
It was a spectacular example of the variety of amazing things happening in our area. The entire day was wonderfully entertaining thanks to the MC Simon Beaton from Mr Beaton's Cookery and his sidekick, our very own Suzi Fitzpatrick. Between them they managed to get nearly all of the local food network on stage to talk about all things food throughout the day.
Stage guests included:
Marcus Downes from Charisma Coffee, they were offering free samples of their multi award winning coffee all day, and it was superb Marcus. Can I suggest next year you also sell some cups so I can order unlimited amounts with a guilt free conscience?
Tread Lightly Permaculture, the lovely Angela Enbom showing us her delightful bees that are responsible for some of the best honey in the region.
Giorgio Basilio shared his knowledge about sourdough baking from local organic and biodynamic ingredients, whilst Pauline Basilio sold an amazing amount of loaves and beautiful pastries from their stall in record time.
Rod Fraser from Mount Prospect Produce, talked about the variety of organic potatoes he was producing. Congratulations to Mount Prospect Produce who also won a Paddock to Plate award.
Colin Carter from Trufficulture shared his insight on growing truffles, an exciting newly developing industry.
Janet Clayton from Cheeselinks, gave a demonstration on how to make fetta.
Damien Jones from Catfish Thai demonstrated one of his amazing recipes, Massaman Curry with Chicken and Potatoes and roti, you can find his recipe here.
Goldy Brar from Curry Star demonstrated his tasty potato dish with cumin, recipe coming.
Rachael from Inglenook Dairy took to the stage to tell us about the magic they create on their dairy. We are pleased to announce that Inglenook took out the other Paddock to Plate award.
Michael Page from Thomas Catering showed us how to make the most sensational ice-cream with an ice cream making machine, using Embom Honey and Inglenook cream. You can find the recipe to his Honey Orange ice cream here.
The Forge's Michael Nunn talked to us about his new adventures in charcuterie, the Salt Kitchen. He also came third in the Gnocch Off with his own variant of potato gnocchi. Congratulations Mick.
David Tatman from Spring Creek Organics talked about his organic veggies. We are all in awe of the sheer quality, volume and variety he manages to produce. Produce like David's makes us so proud of our region.
The guys from the Meatroom teamed up with Sebastian Jurcan from Country Style Smallgoods to showcase their fine skills in sausage making and home preserving. Every time these guys did a demonstration a flurry of farmers surged into the pavilion to learn their secrets.
Judy Croagh from Western Plains Pork shared her inspirational story about becoming a successful producer of quality pork produce.
Christopher Haze Food and Wine writer graciously accepted the role as judge for the Gnocch Off, tasting and critiquing the local samples of gnocchi made by chefs from the Ballarat region. Taking out first prize was the team at Ballarat Grammar, second place Andy Beyerle formerly from Catfish Thai and third place was awarded to Michael Nunn.
Full of ideas and information we then eagerly watched on as Colin Wilkie from Nature's Cargo announced the Paddock to Plate awards. The award to the business under two years of operation went to Mount Prospect Produce and the award to the business operating for over two years went to Inglenook dairy.
There was fun for the kids, Harper Fitzpatrick held a fabulously fun Mr Potato Head activity station where children could build there very own Mr Potato Heads for free. There was free ice-cream for every body and some good old fashioned potato themed obstacle races. As five o'clock approached we wound down activities and all went home very tired and very happy. What a wonderful Taste of the Ballarat region.