The latest news from the Ballarat Food Network

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The last market for Spring this year was a bumper showcase of beautiful fresh local produce and what started as a cold, windy and overcast morning turned into a beautiful sunny day and people came from far and wide to taste some authentic local fare.

The stars of the show were the Eat Ballarat inspired gourmet creations of Georgio Basilio and Sebastian Jurcan. We were so excited when Georgio first shared with us his plans to create a roasted potato sourdough loaf for the event. Likewise Sebastian from Country Style Smallgoods using Saltbush Kitchen’s native pepperberry spice in a gourmet sausage creation to compliment Suzi Fitzpatrick’s onion thyme jus (gravy) and the crusty potato sourdough.

Interest in this tasty collaboration took us by surprise, only last week it was still an idea. Made swiftly by experienced makers using the freshest ingredients the night before they launched to the public.

Saturday morning crates of oven warm roast potato sourdough were delivered to the Ballarat Showgrounds pavilion and the sausages arrived in the back of the Country Style Smallgoods refrigerated trailer. Minutes after their arrival the snags were sizzling and the loaves were being snapped up whole by locals before we could get them sliced to serve with the sausages.

It was a sizzling sausage serving marathon, over three hours until we ran out of product, just after midday. It was at this moment I thought, “Drat!” I did not even get a chance to take a photograph of this tasty sensation that tempted people from far and wide.

Perhaps the roasted potato sourdough and pepperberry banger with onion thyme gravy will be remembered only by those who were there, who took the time to come and support our little foodie experiment. It’s enough to get us thinking about the December 19th Jiggety-Jig Farmer’s Market.

We are already brainstorming the next localised dish we can collaborate with producers to have ready for our Ballarat foodies next month. It will be the first market for summer a week before Christmas, it’s going to be tasty.

We welcome suggestions in the comments below about what you think would be a great food idea for the next Jiggety, we’re open to ideas as long as it’s fresh and local. Thankyou to everyone who has supported the Jiggety- Jig, it's a regular tribute to the amazing food in our area made possible by the people supporting Ballaratfood. 




mel preserverspot



jono brooklands



Save the Date Jiggety -Jig Saturday December 19th 9am-1pm at the Ballarat Showgrounds.

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ballaratfood jiggety gang

The Ballarat Food Jiggety Jig Farmers market began in June 2015. Held on the third Saturday of every month at the Ballarat Showgrounds, in the Cattle Pavilion, Creswick Road entrance. The impetus to create this regular monthly market was twofold, to offer an outlet for local producers to sell their quality produce in the community where it is grown and produced and to give local families the chance to access some of the very best quality fresh produce at reasonable prices.

Ballarat families want to know more about the food they eat. Eating habits are changing across the country. Sales of processed, prepackaged foods are declining, sales of soft drink are falling. A lot of us are seeking more nutritionally balanced diets and we’re looking for fresh local, seasonal produce to make more tasty family meals from scratch. In doing this we are becoming more connected with our community.

The Jiggety-Jig Saturday November 21st is a part of the Good Food Ballarat Festival, a showcase of our region’s best quality produce. It’s all about the food. The local producers include; Basilio Sourdough, Goldfields Farmhouse Cheese, Country Style Smallgoods, Tarna Valley Pork, Brooklands Free Range Farm, Enbom Honey, Yendon Tomatoes, The Gardenologist’s herbs and seedlings, The Preserver’s Pot, Mt Egerton Vegetable Produce, The Pomegranate Tree gourmet cordials, Granate Hills Produce duck eggs, chicken eggs and vegetables, Drewslie Muesli and biscuits, Enga Coffee, Red Rock Olives, Bean Me Up Coffee, Sultana Girl sultanas and oranges, Truffleberry Farm truffles and eggs, Michael Unwin Wines, Cornish Cream Fudge, Chaplin Apples, Sweet Cake Love, Kittelty’s Cakes, Tea Harvest and Fresh Flowers.

ballaratfood GFB

To celebrate Good Food Ballarat Month we will be serving a tasty gourmet treat that will perfectly reflect the favourite flavours of Ballarat. Based on two key ingredients that are a perenial Ballarat favourite, potatoes and sausages.

We briefed local artisans Georgio Basilio from Basilio Sourdough and Sebastian Jurcan from Country Style Smallgoods to create a unique Ballarat variation of the humble sausage in bread. Inspired by Ballarat’s produce icon the potato, Georgio will be baking fresh potato sourdough loaves for the base. To a thick and crusty slice of Georgio’s potato bread we will add a gourmet pepperberry pork sausage made by Sebastian.

Inspired by the unique native flavours of Saltbush Kitchen’s most popular pepperberry spice mix, he will add this to his secret family recipe along with fresh free range pork from Tarna Valley to create succulent (nitrate and preservative free) sausages. Topped with onions caramelised in a thyme jus, or as we prefer to call it in Ballarat - gravy, made by our very own Ballarat chef Suzi Fitzpatrick. We are so excited to showcase traditional Ballarat fare infused with fresh native flavours, made from quality produce ethically grown in Ballarat. For $5 we think this will be a very tasty lunch for locals.

We will also be serving smaller Country Style Smallgoods chipolatas in slices of Basilio traditional sourdough bread with The Preserver’s Pot tomato sauce for $2. Guaranteed to please the kids and completely free of preservatives and nitrates. Come along to Jiggety-Jig check out the variety of great tasting food being made and grown in our own local food bowl. Meet the producers and find out why Jiggety-Jig is shopped by Ballarat’s best chefs. The quality is top notch and you will be surprised at how affordable it is to buy fresh local food. The event kicks off at 9am and entry is free.

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ballaratfood gfb mastersRyan Pearce, Suzi Fitzpatrick and Chrissy De Deugd

Good Food Ballarat Festival 2015 provides a month of spectacular dining opportunities in Ballarat. A hawkers market, farmers market, brunches, lunches, suppers and degustations. What’s set to be the most talked about event to mark the end of the festival is the Masters & Apprentices six course degustation. The star studded degustation will be matched with Mitchell Harris Wines, at Federation University’s Prospects Restaurant, November 30th at 6pm.

This event, created by chef-whiz Ryan Pearce. He tantalized our tastebuds at his sellout six course degustation event at Aureate Restaurant last week. An experienced chef Ryan has attained a standard of culinary excellence working in many hatted restaurants across Melbourne. Now Ryan is bringing his skills to our region and teaching the next generation of chefs at Federation University in the Commercial Cookery school, whilst also commanding the role of executive chef at Aureate Restaurant as the team embark on bringing fine dining experiences to Ballarat.

Ryan put out the challenge to some of his talented celebrity colleagues to recruit the awesome talent to cast as the Masters of the Good Food finale. Each master is to produce a designated course and will be assigned with two apprentices by drawing straws. The dinner will be the final hurrah this year for the commercial cookery students.


Course 1 Canapés: Suzi Fitzpatrick
Course 2 Seafood signature salad: Damien Jones
Course 3 Meat/Game signature entree: Matt Dempsey
Course 4 Signature dish: Luigi Bazzani

Course 5 Signature main: Matt Germanchis

Course 6 Dessert double team: Phiilpa Sibley Cook and Daniel Southern

This collaboration will include top industry culinary skills and experience teamed with the enthusiasm and talent of Australia’s next generation of creative food professionals.

Ryan is still to learn of the dishes his masters are planning to create with their apprentices. Suzi gave us a heads up on her plans for canapés for the evening and all I can say is, this is going to be a foodie event, the likes of which you will not find anywhere else. The master chefs, each with one course to focus on, will be at the top of their creative game when it comes to composing their signature dishes for the six course degustation.

The courses will be matched with wines by John Harris from Mitchell Harris Wines. The night will be MC’d by Federation Uni’s John Hayes and Chrissy De Deugd will be managing the front of house.

Masters Apprentices

Tickets for the six course degustation event are $150 per person. To book contact 5336 8263 or email 
Starting at 6pm, Monday 30th of November 2015 at Prospects Training restaurant FedUni TAFE-SMB Campus, Lydiard Street South Ballarat.

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ballaratfood yoyo

Little Bird sisters and co-owners Jill Bingham and Susan Anderson have created one of Ballarat’s sweetest spots to stop for breakfast, lunch or cake and a cuppa in a bright and cheery setting with a quirky retro vibe. As a part of the Good Food Ballarat festival they have aptly decided to hold a kitchen tea event, called Fancy Nancy’s Kitchen Tea, Saturday November 7th at 3:30pm.

SUZI What are your best sellers?

JILL It’s hard to say what sells best, breakfast is really popular. Lunch is also really busy, especially popular is bahn mai, chilli beef waffle and chicken pie.
The cakes and biscuits are very popular and people really appreciate that all the food is made here, especially the biscuits and cakes. We have a lot of people from Melbourne to see the Archibald and they are very surprised and impressed with our cakes and biscuits.

SUZI Tell us about your Good Food Ballarat event Fancy Nancy’s Kitchen Tea.

JILL We wanted to create something similar to what you ate at your Aunty’s kitchen tea many decades ago, macaroons, cakes, laminations, vol-au-vents, beautiful biscuits. Somethings look pretty, some daggy but it’s all about getting the conversation going and taking a trip down memory lane.

ballaratfood lemonmeringuepie

SUZI Where have you drawn you inspiration for Fancy Nancy’s Kitchen Tea?

JILL We have sought inspiration from old cook books from Susan’s collection, some recipes that have been handed down in our family. Some we have tried to forget!

SUZI Who is Fancy Nancy?

JILL Nancy is an expectant bride who can’t wait to marry Nev. We hope that Nev can live up to Nance’s expectations and prove Nance’s Father wrong. She would have worn her best frock for church on Sunday or a dance at St Pat’s Hall.

SUZI What are the future plans for Little Bird?

JILL We are just trying to get through this weekend! We really just want to be somewhere people love to come to for great tasting food, that’s not too serious.

Fancy Nancy’s Kitchen Tea, at Little Bird Cafe, 205 Sturt Street Ballarat. Saturday November 7th at 3:30pm. Tickets are selling fast, $55 per person, phone 5331 1255.

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Good food ballarat

As part of Ballarat’s Good Food Month celebrations in November, The Lane and Hop Temple will be joining forces to host the Lane International Food Fest event. This event will be held on Friday 6 November from 4pm, taking place along The Lane (Ballarat’s vibrant al-­‐fresco dining and entertainment meeting hub) and extending through to Hop Temple (Ballarat’s newest and funkiest laneway bar).

Kesh Manton the LaneThe Lane's Marketing & Events Manager Kesh Manton

The International Food Fest will include musicians, international food stalls including tacos at Hop Temple, Spanish Churros at The Lane Cider Bar and wood-­‐fired pizzas at The Lane's pizza window, as well as refreshing beverages available at both The Lane Cider Bar and Hop Temple. Western Victoria's quirky Spanish Latin band Los Locos will perform live at the Fest from 6pm. David Anderson will also perform live acoustic entertainment in The Lane Cider Bar from 9.30pm till late.

The Lane International Food Fest will kick off at 4pm Friday 6 November and entry is free.

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Good food ballarat

It’s very fitting indeed that today in Ballarat we will be celebrating with a breakfast of champions. I can’t imagine there weren’t many local residents who didn’t raise a glass or two to celebrate Michelle Payne and Darren Weir’s winning combination yesterday. So as you wake up feeling extra fuzzy from all the champagne, head on down Sturt Street to Yellow Espresso from 9 till 12 and sharpen your day with sensational coffee tweaked by Ballarat’s best baristas and toting Axle beans.

Santina and Leo

Super foods are on the menu with Santina and Leo’s signature acai berry bowls and organic green-tea powder lattes known as matcha lattes. Turmeric as well will surprise brunchers and will undeniably be the order of the day as curcumin a natural ingredient of the spice is being heavily researched for its potential powers to reboot and regenerate brain cells, especially in need after bubbles and beer.

Yellow espresso

Yellow Espresso’s Superfood Brunch will be held today between 9am-12noon. To book your seat phone
5332 3050, or perhaps just gather on Sturt Street and soak up the joy that exudes from this happy yellow café, raise your espresso cups and revel in Ballarat’s wash of comradery and pride for the Payne family and all the team at Darren Weir's stables.

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ballaratfood aureate

One of the premier events of 2015 Good Food Ballarat is the launch of Aureate restaurant bringing Ballarat a new level of fine dining with a six course wine matched degustation 'Terra Firma' Saturday October 31st at 6pm. A modern European style event which sold out a week ago is set to set the standard for this month long showcase of Ballarat's finest food.

We caught up with Aureate team in the busy lead up to their launch event to give us an indication of the type of food and wine locals can expect to try at Mid City's new establishment.  We also hope that if we can get enough requests from locals we could convince Ryan Pearce to hold another six course seafood degustation matched with fine wines. This has to be one of the best value, high quality seafood degustations ever.

Suzi the foodie sleuth extraordinaire had the following questions to the Aureate owner Mark Finch and executive chef Ryan Pearce.

SUZI Where does the name of the Aureate come from. What is inspiration?

MARK Aureate is Latin for 'is made of gold' is, something we feel reflects the quality of effort and abilities used to create dishes. We’re inspired by the desire to bring Ballarat a cosmopolitan dining experience. We want to bring an opulent Melbourne fine dining experience with the best and most extensive wine list that Ballarat has ever seen. We're not there yet, but to use a phrase everyone seems to use at the moment, ‘we have begun our journey’.

SUZI How long have you been working towards the goal of relaunching the mid city and what can we look forward to as changes slowly take place?

MARK Kylie and I purchased the business in September 2014 and were initially stunned at how rundown the facilities were. We spent the first year and a substantial amount of money on lifting the back of house facilities to modern standard.

Three months ago, Ryan came on board as head chef at which time Josh (our food and beverage manager) and Ryan were charged with making our restaurant dreams become a reality.

Ballaratfood chef ryan pearceAureate Executive Chef Ryan Pearce

SUZI What type of cuisine would you be serving and will you be focusing in the food in our region?

RYAN A style of cuisine will be predominantly modern European with nod to Australia here and there. A decision to bring fresh seafood to the Ballarat dining scene does mean that most of our menu focus for local produce will be aimed at sourcing fruits, vegetables, dairy products and game items. Every product that we choose to showcase and give our efforts to will be judged from an international standpoint, so as to ascertain that it meets our expectations.

Whatever we choose to put on a menu was governed by a belief that we only use the best, and only the best is used.

SUZI Tell us a little about the Good Food Ballarat six course dinner with matched wines? What local produce will you be using?

RYAN Heirloom vegetables, goose, wild baby fennel. Being a seafood degustation we can't exactly say that stuff is "local" but it's Australian and bloody good!

SUZI Ryan where and what is inspiring your cooking at the moment?

RYAN To be honest at the moment I’m drawing most inspiration from my colleagues in their excitement about “Aureate”. That being said, I'm also trying to look around the things that are "not" being done in the Ballarat.

Working really closely with my suppliers and asking them "a lot" of questions is also giving me a really good insight into the market at the moment so as to know what's good and what's upcoming is really doing it for me at the moment.

aureate tuna side 

Ryan has shared one of his signature dish seafood recipes with us - pdf SEARED TUNA LOIN WITH PICKLED VEGETABLES & LABNA  (313 KB)

SUZI Also can we have the details of Aureate restaurant?


Facebook: Aureate Restaurant

Twitter: @AureateBallarat

Instagram: aureate_restaurant

As the Aureate six course degustation event is sold out, we are encouraging any interested foodies to leave a comment below if you would like to attend such an event. If we can get the numbers we think we could twist Ryan's arm to put on another one.

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GFB Hawkers Market

Of all the event at last year’s Courier Good Food Month, the Friday afternoon Hawker’s Market reigned supreme. From the moment I squeezed into the Mining Exchange I couldn’t really wipe the smile off my face.

Surrounded by thousands of hungry locals all salivating and queuing for a taste of our finest signature street food. Hawkers markets began in the 1950’s in Asia, Malaysian and Singaporean icons were made affordable and sold on the street, back then they were pretty dodgey and you would find all sorts of things to share your pork buns with; animals, pests and bad hygiene.

Not so these days. Hawkers are eclectic markets and pretty glam with lots of good things going on. Choice is right up there and so is price, everything at a hawkers market should be affordable. That way you can eat your way around the room. This weekend beginning at 5pm Friday, bring your appetite and loads of change, you might even want to bring a bib!

The team at the Courier, our local Fairfax publication, and the very swank Kate Burrows from Pink Flamingo events have used their experience from last year’s event and ironed out the issues. There was really only one and that was the fact that everyone in Ballarat wanted to be there and we couldn’t all fit. So this year the event will run over two delicious sessions. Pace yourselves peeps and maybe don’t expect to get in straight away, organise to meet friends at the surrounding bars, pubs and cafes and don’t be miffed if you have to knock back a couple of local icy brewskies before you get your Catfish curry and a lick of coconut ice cream.

Ditto with Saturday, loads of time to indulge starting at 10am and finishing at 3pm, so make a date with your friends and get your slow food groove on. There will be plenty of time to try this amazing snap shot of foodie Balhalla .

More good news is that this event is free! Yummy offerings begin at just $5.00 and include entertainment for the whole family. My only other advice is this. Don’t eat all day, and then once you arrive at the Hawker’s Market, eat everything.

Ballarat Steak House southern style bbq ribs washed down with Andrew Lavery’s champion local beer, chef Donatello from Billy’s Bistro with be singing Amore as he shares Italian treasures from his hometown. If churros is your thing Zaragosa have that covered and Im really hoping Mitchell Harris will be there with their fruity sexy sangria.

Chris Watt head chef at Seymour’s and Freight (and one of our favourites because like all Ballarat’s best chefs, he shops at the Jiggety-Jig) will make Mexican mayhem and we can’t forget the usual street food suspects. The Forgie boys pizza flipping antics and the smooth as fine peanut butter, bagel boys from Around the Way Bagel.

I’ll be there too, working alongside the talented Danielle Jones of Catfish Thai and together we will try and bring you a curry in a hurry. If we create too much fire on your palette you’ll have to scoot over to Sara Kittelty and stick your tongue in one of her fluffy frosted sugarland treats from her CWA style cake cornucopia. Sovereign Hill, think pies and pastries, Japanese favourite Asahi and Fu Man Lou complete with Dumpling Rickshaw and a little Chinese tea that will hopefully help to cure our indigestion after such an incredible indulgence.

There can be no better way to kick off a month of foodie mayhem. look forward to keeping you up to date with our favourite events. So throw your skinny jeans to the back of the wardrobe it’s officially time to “Get fat in the rat!” 

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GFB 72dpi

Here at Ballarat Food we have picked our twelve favourite events for this year’s Good Food Ballarat Festival presented by The Courier and sponsored by Ballarat Regional Tourism, Ryan’s Super IGA and Mecure Ballarat Hotel and Convention Centre. We are looking forward to catching up with the event organisers and sharing with you the finer details of each event.

Last week we caught up with Mitchell Harris Wines’ John Harris, head chef Di Ray and Grounded Pleasures' chocolatier Craig McKenzie. Together this dynamic team will present an indulgent workshop and dining experience. Pairing two things that the majority of foodies just can’t resist, chocolate and wine. John Harris and Craig McKenzie have been great mates since meeting years ago at a local Ballarat playground one Saturday morning with their kids. A friendship was forged between two of the best palettes in our region and immediately they spurred each other on sharing wines, chocolate and ideas.

Ballaratfood wine choc goodfood eventWinemaker John Harris, Chocolatier Craig McKenzie and Chef Di Ray

John and Craig shortly after meeting began working on a project. The creation of a unique wine, an aperitif made in the unique French style of a Mistelle. Now five years in the making this sensational fortified white wine, aptly named Blanche 1, will be released on November the 10th at the wine and chocolate workshop as a part of the Good Food Ballarat celebrations.

For those of you attending the chocolate and wine workshop you are in for an incredible treat. There will be nothing dry or humdrum about this educational session. “It’s about good things, in their natural state. Thinking a little bit outside the square, exotic wines that many people haven’t had a chance to try, on their own or paired with different flavours.” said John. 

Ballaratfood mitchell harris 1

So what makes chocolate and wine such good bed fellows? Grounded Pleasures Chocolate’s Craig McKenzie eloquently tells the story. “Chemically Chocolate has over 700 different individual components that the palette can distinguish and enjoy. Good wine has 300 to 400 chemical components that the senses appreciate. Our workshop will present and interplay these compounds, they will work together and create an ethereal effect, an indulgent pleasure”

Wine and chocolate are both fermented products they have complex characteristics from fruitiness to spiciness, it is only natural that they work well together. John says “Tasting wine and chocolate together gives both products more dimension. It’s a play of fruit, acid, structure, tannins, mouth feel and aftertaste all echoing. It creates a synergy, two beautiful things, together, wonderful, fun substances.”

matale chocolate

Never before in Ballarat have we had the opportunity to indulge in such a bountiful pairing. Talented local chef Di Ray brings yet another layer to this sensory-rich event. Di will prepare five small courses demystifying wine and dessert food pairings. One such pairing that is sure to delight food and wine connoisseurs is the starter, white chocolate, salmon roe and chestnut. “This combination produces an incredible balance of sweetness and salt with texture and smoothness from the high content of cocoa butter in white chocolate. The cocoa butter gives length to the flavours and an incredible mouth feel from the delicious explosion of chocolate and caviar.” It’s this attention to detail that puts Di Ray on Ballarat Foods radar as a chef to follow and support.

cocoa beans

Throughout the evening Craig will share the process of chocolate making from raw to finished, Di will present small courses and John will match wine from the MH Cellar. If an origin chocolate tasting plate, the knowledge of chocolate from cocoa bean, fermentation to dark truffle-like flavours and a Mitchell Harris 2012 Sangiovese is your idea of heaven (it’s definately mine) I advise you to book now!

mitchellharris groundedpleasures

Chocolate & Wine The Ultimate Pairing is on Tuesday the 10th of November at Mitchell Harris Wines, Doveton Street north, right next to the Peter Lalor in the beautiful old Electric Motors Building. For bookings go to pop in to Mitchell Harris Cellar Door in Doveton Street or call 53318931 $65 per head and begins at 7pm.

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Fair Food Week 16th October - 25th October 2015 is a self organising national event established in 2013 to provide communities to showcase how farmers, gardeners, chefs and community based food enterprises are working hard to ensure access to fresh, local and affordable produce to all Australians.

ballaratfood pigletEthically raised pig from Tarna Valley

Ballarat Food is a network of of individuals in our community who are committed to supporting food in our region, we appreciate the quality of life in our area and want to work towards a healthy and sustainable future for the Ballarat region. We became involved with the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance early this year and were honoured to have Dr Nick Rose and Tammi Jonas attend our local produce dinner and help us launch Ballarat’s first screening of the documentary Fair Food.

nick rose fair foodDr Nick Rose from The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance

The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance is a collaboration of organisations and individuals working together towards a food system in which people have the opportunity to choose, create and manage their food supply from paddock to plate. Their purpose is to is to cooperate, to create an equitable, sustainable and resilient food system for all Australians.

We were so excited to learn from such a switched on and organized group of people, who were already looking at the implications our current method of producing and consuming food were having on the health and well being of us and our planet. The Australian Sovereignty Alliance are actively setting out to remake Australia’s food system secure, fair and of benefit to us all.

Spending time with the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance helped me to understand more about the problems pertaining to our our current food system and delving into the topic of world food security I felt overwhelmed at the scale of such a task as the remaking of our food system. How I could make a contribution to such an undertaking? I have physical and economic access to all the food I need and want, but many people do not.

It seems pretty clear that we’re all waiting for someone else to take charge in order to come up with a solution, after all how can one person effect meaningful change? I often think about the things I can do to help remake our food system, and I’ve decided it starts in really little ways, so small and insignificant that unless you continue to make additional changes they may not be substantial enough to hold your attention or interest in the goal of achieving improved food security.

We need to keep asking the questions, what is threatening our food security and why? I am fortunate to be able to talk about the security and fairness of our food system with everyone involved with Ballarat Food. We have more questions than we have answers, and we have so much to learn, but we all offer our unique perspective on the subject and we know that if we continue to support each other and challenge the processes that are unfair or unsustainable, we can at least start to make a difference to our local food system.

I believe that’s how the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance affect change. They take the time to visit a lot of communities across Australia, they spent the weekend with us, the Ballarat Food group. They meet with a lot of other community groups, they spend time with individuals; farmers, gardeners, chefs, producers, small business owners and they meet with governments. They share their knowledge with us and we are inspired by their commitment to work towards change, small incremental steps.

ballaratfood springcreek organicsSpring Creek Organics

Here’s a list of the little things I do that I believe are steps towards a secure food system to benefit myself and my community.

  • I try to source local seasonal produce and whole foods as often as I can, it’s healthier for me and supports the local economy.
  • I try to buy food from the people who have grown or produced it themselves.
  • I try to cook from scratch, it tastes better and it saves money.
  • I focus on a vegetable rich diet and when I do eat meat, try and source ethically raised meats.
  • I buy food in smaller quantities to minimise waste.
  • I usually walk to buy my food, it’s good exercise, and ensures I only buy what I need.
  • I grow most of my own herbs, it’s easy to do and makes a lot of the dishes I prepare taste wonderful.
  • I eat at local restaurants and cafes who support our local quality producers.
  • I spread the word about all the great produce I find in our region to family and friends and others via
  • I love to talk about what’s in season, and what recipes and cooking techniques others have for seasonal ingredients.
  • I have google alerts on Food Security and other related topics to help me learn more about this important global issue.
  • I help support the Jiggety-Jig Farmers Market to encourage others to experience the abundance of wonderful quality produce and food being made in our community and to help support our local producers.

There’s so much more I could do, it’s a start. I’d love to grow more of my own food and implement more sustainable energy and water systems in my home, I’d love to make a bigger impact. If only one person reads this blog article and finds out about the Jiggety-Jig I’ll be happy. I will be at Jiggety- Jig again this Saturday (3rd Saturday of every month). We have a growing number of locals who come along every month and they are buying fresh food and they love it, and we know that as the word spreads more people will see the benefits of supporting local fair food, for themselves and the community.

ballaratfood jiggetyJiggety-Jig Farmers Market at the Ballarat Showgrounds

There’s lots of events going on across Australia. Checkout the Fair Food Week Website to see what other communities are doing for Fair Food Week and in the spirit of keeping the fair food conversation alive, what are some of the little things you do in the spirit of fair food?

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ballaratfood marcus downes



NAME Marcus Downes

PHONE 0438 233 375





The love for coffee and all things coffee came from Marcus’ experiences of travelling through the rural regions and cities of Europe. Marcus is the roaster and proprietor of Charisma Coffee.

It was not long after arriving in Italy that he was inspired and invigorated by the Italian cafe scene.
It also became apparent to him that coffee growing and roasting was akin to that of the wine industry. The two industries shared critical analysis of what was desirable, both were at the mercy of agricultural factors, they pursued sound techniques and excellence and contained an artisan approach.


ARABICA BEANS: Charisma Coffee source and roast Arabica beans, they are grown at high altitudes and boast far superior flavours to Robusta beans which are widely used for the production of instant coffee.

Arabica coffee beans naturally grow more slowly than their Robusta counterparts and take on more characteristics of the regions in which they are grown. Charisma Coffee offers you a wide variety of single origin and organic coffee.

coffee beans

SINGLE ORIGIN & ORGANIC: Single origin coffee beans originate from one place, a plantation, an estate or pooled and graded from a single country.

Charisma Coffee offers a broad selection of beans available as both single origin or as blends to suit your needs. Each bean has subtle differences of palate, character - charisma - and intensity and the range offered will cater to every taste.

Chemical-intensive cropping may yield higher production but not flavour. Your purchase of organic coffee ensures that farmers are not exposed to harmful chemicals, traditional farming methods (rusticano or policultura traditional) are continued and that natural habitats are better preserved. All organic coffee varieties can be purchased upon request in 100% compostable bags.

Charisma Coffee have been selling coffee beans whole or ground by the bag for a while now. Did you know Charisma Coffee is now available in Nespresso-compatible capsules? These are supplied as a kit; perfectly ground, fresh roasted coffee with the plastic capsule and a self-adhesive foil cover. A kit comes with 50/100 capsules and 250g/500g of coffee respectively. Now you can enjoy Charisma Coffee using your existing Nespresso machine.


Charisma Coffee's Timor Leste Maubisse, a medium to strong coffee, a great all-rounder. It is a full-bodied drink and has a sweet, thick feel to the mouth. This is a triple award winner having gained a Silver Medal in the 2014 Compak Golden Bean Competition, and two Bronze Medals at the 2012 Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards and the 2012-2013 Golden Bean Roaster Competition.



Charisma coffee website welcomes wholesale and retail orders. The good news for Ballarat locals is that you can buy Charisma Coffee by the bag at lots of locations in the region; Ballarat Wholefoods Collective, Maxi Foods, Wilsons Fruit & Vegetables, Peaches Fruit Market, Bean Me Up Mobile Espresso, Merkama Cafe, Ballarat Home Brew Centre, Ruth Howlett Collectibles, Highland Heritage.

charisma team

You will often see Marcus and his Charisma team at Jiggety-Jig Farmers Market and quality local produce markets in the region. Marcus is also a popular fixture at Taste Ballarat, Rural Lifestyle Expo. As a master roaster in the region, Marcus has created quite a local following for his specially roasted beans, he also loves to talk about all things coffee.

You can also taste the Charisma brews at the following locations; Charisma coffee vans around Melbourne, Avoca Hotel, Maxi Foods Cafe, Merkama Cafe, Bean Me Up Mobile Espresso, Prospects Restaurant Federation University Australia, Belinda Murden mobile espresso, Steptoe and Sister Antiques Smythesdale.

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SS Traders, an Asian grocery store, opened for business at the start of 2015. I had noticed the doorway located in the lane next to Curry Star Restaurant in Dana Street, and assumed it was a small shop offering a few specialty ingredients, boy was I in for a surprise.

Inside the doorway in the laneway is a large specialty supermarket with aisles of assorted Asian grocery items, thousands of food products, many I have not seen before. SS traders is open seven days a week. They have a extensive range of specialty groceries you will not find in regular supermarkets or anywhere else in Ballarat.

ballaratfood sstraders

Open seven days a week 11am - 9pm, SS Traders are supplying fresh produce and grocery items to specialty restaurants around the region. If you are looking for a wide range of rice, flours, exotic spices or pretty much any ingredient required for Indian cuisine, you will find it at SS Traders. Every Thursday SS Traders offers fresh vegetables and produce directly from Melbourne markets including; fresh ginger, chilli, baby eggplants, gourds, drumstick, coriander and plantains. Also depending on availability they bring fresh fish from the markets, perfect for a fish curry. You can also phone ahead to order fresh goat meat, another curry specialty ingredient.

For orders or enquiries contact Venkatesh on 03 5331 1414.

ballaratfood sstraders freshproduce 2

ballaratfood eggplants

ballaratfood gourds

ballaratfood sardines

The staff at SS Traders are very helpful and happy to share ideas on how you can incorporate many of the unusual ingredients and fresh produce into your home cooking. After visiting last week I walked away with drumstick (a long green vegetable I incorporated into a vindaloo), along with some fresh chillies, coriander and the best papadums I have ever cooked. 

Many customers of SS Traders are chefs in the region. SS Traders are offering a range of products many businesses previously had to go to Melbourne to source and now food enthusiasts interested in experimenting in the kitchen can also obtain specialty ingredients. I highly recommend you visit on a Thursday to sample some of the fresh produce available on the day, such healthy and interesting food intiatives happening in our town deserve our support. 

ballaratfood mangoes

ballaratfood plantain

Recent Comments
Jodie Kaine
Hi Katherine, I do not think SS Traders stock much in the way of Japanese spices, but I am confident you might find what you're af... Read More
Thursday, 25 February 2016 21:09
Jodie Kaine
Hi Emma, They definitely stock a wide range of Indian branded candy. I am not sure they stock Japanese candy though. Thanks for st... Read More
Thursday, 21 January 2016 14:35
Jodie Kaine
Thanks Belinda. We had been meaning to pop in there for a while now and were so impressed that fantastic places like this are happ... Read More
Tuesday, 06 October 2015 08:38
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In the Australian culinary realm there is no greater achievement than to be awarded hats! Chef hats in all their puffy pleated white glory. This year marks the 36th edition of the Age Good Food awards and tonight for the third time in the history of Ballarat a couple of our favourite locals have been invited to attend at the Plaza Ballroom.

In our not so glamorous food history we have only been awarded a total of two hatted venues. The incredible La Scala in the late 70s and 80s, Alabi's in the 90s. Tonight I am incredibly excited to announce that Danielle and Damian Jones owners and chefs of Main Road's Cat Fish Thai have been awarded their first chef hat and Ballarat's third!

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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.
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A few weeks ago I was invited by the team at Ryan’s IGA supermarkets to attend A Night of Cheese Discovery at the Provincial Hotel in Ballarat. I love cheese, so I was thrilled to share a night with some Ballarat locals expanding my knowledge on this ancient comfort food.
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The August Jiggety-Jig market, the final one for winter 2015 was good for us all. We had more new stall holders and a great show of support in the from of fresh food shoppers. I am always impressed when hanging up our jiggety shingles at ten to nine in the morning to see people already arriving baskets in hand to support their favourite local producers. It makes me smile and I am sure it makes our producers smile. 

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WHAT’S YOUR THING? Permaculture, aquaculture, organic and biodynamic principles, chemical free, fresh produce, free range eggs, yellowbox honey, truffles and truffle products.

NAME Chris Macquet

ADDRESS 578 Navigators Road, Navigators Victoria



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Jiggety Jig and away we go, change in pockets, green bags over shoulders and lists in hand. Yes lists, as there is serious shopping to be done. My list will probably read something like this.
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Ballarat Food is committed to making the Jiggety Jig a true farmers market where you can obtain the best quality local version of all your  food requiremts. Milk and cream are key staples in most family households and Inglenook milk and cream are the very best you can buy, so order your Inglenook this week and we shall have it ready for you when you visit us at Jiggety.

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Ballarat has some beautiful fresh quality artisanal products being made right under our noses. Sebastian Jurcan’s Country Style Smallgoods is one of the region’s most popular examples. Sebastian is a Ballarat local who uses processes dating back generations from Istra, a peninsula off the northern coast of Croatia. Sebastian has been supplying his cured meats, salamis and sausages to local restaurants across Ballarat and Melbourne for years.
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