The latest news from the Ballarat Food Network

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Grounded Pleasures Ballarat FoodGrounded Pleasures Pure Drinking Chocolate pleasure

As winter comes to a close and the days brighten and draw longer we look back at what seemed like an especially cold and wet winter in Ballarat. Although we may have been hibernating for a good portion of the season there were some tasty developments taking place in the Ballarat Food scene.

Basilio Sourdough bread is now available from Ryans Pleasant Park IGA supermarket. We are so excited for Georgio and his team who are now supplying fresh baked authentic sourdough to the supermarket located on the corner of Sturt and Pleasant Streets. I have posted about the world of cheese available at this fantastic supermarket. Now they have my favourite bread to go with all the cheese. Basilio is currently delivering Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but be warned. Be early! I have been delighted and frustrated in equal measures, that bread moves fast.

Basilio IGA Ballarat FoodBasilio Sourdough now available at Ryans Pleasant Park IGA

Do not stress. The much lauded crunchy and substantial sourdough is also regularly available from Campana’s Stockade Cellars on the corner of Mair & Armstrong Streets, Kittelty’s at the Ballarat Art Gallery, Saltbush Sundays (Sundays at saltbush Kitchen at M.A.D.E.), Wilsons in Lucas and local fresh produce markets on a Saturday.

Farmgate Produce Basket CornucopiaSaltbush Sundays local farmgate produce 

For those of us who find it hard to make it to a farmers market on a Saturday you can get an assortment of local fresh produce between 9:30am and 4pm at Salt Bush Sundays, including Basilio, Yendon Tomatoes, Ballarat Mushrooms and Spring Creek Organic vegetables.

Country Style Smallgoods is now available from Saltbush Kitchen at M.A.D.E. Brigid is stocking Sebastian’s best selling sliced bacon, ham and sausages for you to buy seven days a week. You can also order from the complete Country Style Smallgoods catalogue of exotic cured pieces and salamis online for pick up on Sundays at Saltbush Kitchen at M.A.D.E.

Country Style Sausages Ballarat Food
Country Style Smallgoods Sausages

This winter I finally met some of Ballarat’s social media foodies. Such a fun and diverse group of people who enjoy the great food in our region. Based on our mutual interest we have decided meet up on a semi regular basis to sample some of the excellent food Ballarat has to offer. We kicked off at Saltbush Kitchen at M.A.D.E. where Brigid Corcoran took us on a tasty afternoon adventure with her delicious Bush Food Spices. You can check out on Brigid’s Bush spice range on her new website.

Balarat Foodies
Ballarat Foodies

We (The Ballarat Foodies ) followed up a few weeks later with a chocolicious afternoon at Kittelty’s sampling the decadent range from Grounded Pleasures. A huge thank you to Sophie and Craig McKenzie and Sara Kittelty for an educational afternoon that my tastebuds will never forget.

Grounded Pleasures Choc Cake Kitteltys
Sarah Kittelty's Grounded Pleasures chocolate and almond cake 

More winter highlights? The now entrenched flurry of gourmet pies being debuted each winter vying for Coopers Pie and Pale competition prize. This year awarded to the Mallow’s entry a Coopers stout slow braised beef and mustard pie served with stomp mash and apple witlof slaw.

Meigas Croquettes Ballarat Food
Meigas blood sausage croquettes

Armstrong Street has become the go to precinct for a quick and tasty repast. For my hearty winter fix I have been frequenting Meigas in the evenings for their sizzling garlic prawns and blood sausage croquettes with a glass of Spanish red. Whilst on a cold Ballarat day I find it hard to resist a warming bowl of dumpling soup at Saigon Vietnam Noodle House. If I am extra hungry I order a giant bowl of chicken pho.

Dumplng Soup Ballarat FoodSaigon Vietnam Noodle House dumpling soup 

A few new spots popping up this winter include The Local Cafe in Lydiard Street North, Il Piccolo Gelato in Sturt Street, Zambrero: Mexican with a Mission in Armstrong Street, High Tea and Jazz at Alexandria Tearooms is one to pop in the calendar and Ballarat’s latest addition Holy Smokes BBQ opening today in Sturt Street.

What Ballarat food have you been loving this winter?

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ballaratfood jigisup

Dear lovers of local produce,

We wish to tell you all that the Jiggety Jig market will not continue in it’s current form. We have had a lot of good times over the last 12 months .

We have had some spectacular events and some low key ones. We have had the pleasure of showcasing a lot of the best produce being grown and produced in the region for a year. We have gained a following of locals who know the benefits of Ballarat’s fresh local produce. With sadness we will not be able to offer you the goods you have come to expect on the third Saturday of the month.

Jiggety-Jig relies on people coming to buy what our producers make. Producers spend their day at the market after they spend a week preparing. If they are unable to sell enough produce to the people of Ballarat they have to go elsewhere to sell it. That’s the reality. 

So to all our loyal Jiggers and producers we wish to say “Watch this space”. We are currently re-jigging the format of our fresh market food hub. You will not find us at the Showgrounds every third Saturday as of June 2016 but you will soon find us again rest assured. We will be back in a format that this regional town can support. As a community we owe it to the producers to show that we do care where our food comes from.

We are “morphing the jig” and we will be back. We hope to be in a position to announce the new jig adventures to you all soon.

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Ballaratfoo Jiggety Jig Feb 2016

February’s Jiggety-Jig Farmers Market is on this Saturday at the Ballarat Showgrounds. This will be Market number 9 for the Jiggety team. Over the past 9 months we have built a local farmers market that is 100% locally made and locally supported. Our Database now has 45 excellent food business listed and at any one market you can come along and meet at least 20 amazing producers and chefs.

We are holding strong and sticking with our ethos “A SUPER MARKET NOT A SUPERMARKET”. At present we have many stallholders in the wings and hope that as The Jiggety-Jig Farmers Market becomes more and more popular we will offer shoppers a larger choice of produce. Our biggest goal is not to bring the market to the people but bringing the people to the market. We have thus far found it challenging cracking into the local scene in order for our local producers to obtain their share of the local food dollars.

This weekend join us and fill your pantry with high quality nutritional sound produce. Here’s a little peek at my shopping list.

Nitrate free ham, bacon, salami and sausages from County Style Smallgoods
Tarna Valley free range pork
Jono's Brookland Farm highland beef

jonoJono from Brooklands Free Range Farm

Ok that’s a roast and two nights cooking on the BBQ, breakfast on the weekends and ham sandwiches for the school lunches.

Of course if I’m cooking breakfast I’ll need some of Robin Hollow’s, Granite Hill free range chook and duck eggs. Granite Hills is in Waubra and will supply not only eggs but this season herbs; oregano, rosemary, mint, thyme, sage, Italian parsley and chives. She’ll also have carrots and sweet little vine ripened cherry tomatoes. That’s got to get the home chefs creating something remarkable.

I’ll be buying sexy Yendon tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, eggplants and sensational basil - that’s pesto for pasta night. Tick. Thai basil for curry night Check out the recipe from Damian Jones from Cat fish Thai, his green curry with Brooklands Farm pork recipe.

To finish filling my veg crisper I’ll be heading to my favourite stall holder. The wonderful Carmen from Mt Egerton produce, although Carmen’s veg isn’t certified organic, it’s as organic as you can get. Peter her hard working husband pulls all the veg from the ground the day before the market, while Carmen washes and bunches the produce on the back veranda. I am going to have a little brag on their behalf. I still have perfectly fresh kohlrabi and green beans in my fridge from a month ago. They are sealed in my old school Tupperware and fresher than a daisy. Try getting that mileage from your dodgy supermarket fare! From Carmen’s stall I will add purple carrots, iceberg lettuce, apple cucumber, beans, kohlrabi, peas, cauliflower, cabbage, radish and zucchini. That’s salads tick. Crudity for snacks and stir-fry tick tick.

Wine is high on my list and Sarah Cuthbertson always has a couple of table reds and bubbles put aside for me. Thank god for Michael Unwin!

michael unwin winesSarah from Michael Unwin Wines

Coffee beans freshly ground by the lovely local roasters from Enga coffee. Enga is a sensational organic locally roasted bean. Two types available and for all the health conscious people who are on the sugar-free wagon. You will love this coffee. When brewed correctly this coffee is never bitter and a large bag should keep you going til the next local market. (Also check out Stephs amazing knitting skills.)

I’m not on the sugar-free wagon this month given I ran out of Angela Enbom’s honey, I’ll be grabbing the big bucket this month. I’ve been reading up on how to reduce sugar cravings and honey is the way to go. Ange’s honey is local and her bees are never exposed to pesticides or chemicals on her permaculture holding in Dunnstown.

basilio breadBasilio Sourdough Bread

No one goes to the market and leaves without bread. Yes I’m skiting again but Ballarat has the best bread in Victoria. Giorgio Basilio’s hand crafted sourdough bread is out of this world. I only eat this bread. It is made from stoneground biodynamic flour, no sugar, no preservatives, each loaf is individually weighed, hand rolled, shaped and left to rise under the watchful eye of Giorgio himself. To bring this incredible high quality bread to our region Giorgio works every Friday from 10am to 3am. He then heads home for a kip while his bread elves label the loaves and pack them in crates. He returns with his wonderful family early every Saturday morning, delivers the bread throughout the region and brings his bread directly to us at all the local farmers markets. I often wonder how he can manage his rye (pardon the pun) smile on a Saturday morning.

So what am I going to pop on my bread? Apart from Sebastian’s ham and salami and Johns tomatoes and Ange’s honey? Yep I’m going to need sensational jam.

preserverspot girlsMel and her Mum from the Preserver's Pot

Mel from The Preserver’s Pot will be ticking that box. In fact it’s always a thrill cruising over to check out her seasonal preserves. I’m banking on apricots, berry and summer rhubarb conserves. Mel Davies uses age old preserving techniques in her home kitchen at Smythesdale. Mel will have created something amazing with all the locally foraged elderberries and I am always the first person to call dibs on her big 2 litre homemade tomato sauce bottle. White Wings has been a thing of the past in our house for a long time now and any Mum who wants to keep their kids away from preservatives, additives and the dirty white stuff should be queuing up to get their hands on this kid friendly tommy K .

Harmony Garlic is on the list and I will be buying up big time as Brian and Helen have so many amazing varieties of locally grown garlic, they not only have fresh garlic but garlic salt, garlic infused olive oil, confit and smoked garlic.

Harmony GarlicBrian from Harmony Garlic

Guess what after all that I’ll still have enough money for some treats. And I won’t be distracted by all the blah blah crap that vies for my attention at the super stores. Pink Muesli is attending Jiggety-Jig for the first time. Sensational handmade muesli that is soaked in naturally sweet beetroot juice and then dried. My kids love this and it is the number one breakfast at our place. The milk turns bright pink as soon as you pour it in and I’m sure the kids think they are eating magical fairy milk. A large bag lasts us a good three weeks and I know my kids have headed off with a great start to the day.

Marie Poppies KitchenMarie from Poppie Kitchen

More treats to be had for the puppy dogs in your family. Poppy’s kitchen homemade organic dog treats are available by the pail load and from the response of local pooches these treat must be pretty damn good. Marie is a wonderful addition to Jiggety and loves to share stories of her puppy and listens to the adventures of all our customers. In March we are planning to hold our first Pet Show. Doggies and pampered pups can vie for the Jiggety trophy and perhaps win a bucket of Poppies treats.

 Ballaratfood Esthers EatsMelanie & Jeff from Esther's Eats

Our hungry guests can look forward to the amazing American classics like the Piggy Wiggy hoagies Texas BLT and the pulled chicken with blue cheese dressing and slaw. Not to forget the garbage cookies and best pickles in town, made by my favourite food van Esther’s Eats. Coffee and sweet treats this month by Sweet Cake Love, served from the retro classic caravan Frankie. Dutch crepes by Kevin the pancake man who also makes one hell of a snow cone. And rest your feet while you dine in my new look outdoor food court, yep bunting, flowers for sale, colouring in for the kids, hula hoops, bubble blowing and even a silky bantam rooster to be won.

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mel preserverspotMel Davey from The Preserver's Pot

WHAT’S YOUR THING? Traditional Handcrafted Preserves

PHONE 0409 414 825






Mel Davey started making preserves about 20 years ago after spending time watching and helping her Auntie from Warrenheip make jam from homegrown plums and foraged blackberries.

Mel has a background in hospitality and has been making preserves to share with family and friends for a long time. John Davey, Mel's husband now joins Mel in their home based business. Together they have turned a hobby into a great business success.

No preservatives or additives are used, only traditional methods of preserving. Mel has been inspired by past generations. The Preservers Pot recipes are from family, friends and some new creations inspired by the seasonal produce.

Mel and John are great supporters of the locavore and slow food movement and they truly live the ethos that anything made with produce from your own backyard always tastes the best.

ballaratfood caulipicklesThe Preserver's Pot Cauliflower Mustard Pickles


We held a workshop titled "Jam Making for Beginners" at The Diggers Club Garden of St. Erth in Blackwood. It was a great experience and was well attended by like-minded people wanting to share their love of preserving and learning new skills. We took our equipment and made Raspberry Jam and sent home a recipe and little sample jar with each person.

In 2014 we had a fantastic result with our entries in the Ballarat show. The Preservers Pot took out many awards with their locally made produce.

This year Mel and John are focusing on establishing their edible garden to supply home-grown produce for the Preservers Pot preserves.

ballaratfood saucesTomato and Worcestershire Sauces from The Preserver's Pot


The Preserver’s Pot create so many classic and interesting variations of jams, preserves, jellies, chutneys and pickles it’s hard to choose. It’s such a seasonal thing, there’s something for everybody’s pallette, sweet and savoury.

preserverspot assortmentDamson Fruit Cheese

JAMS apple & raspberry, apple & blackberry, apricot, spiced pear & blueberry, strawberry rhubarb & vanilla, banana, Mirabelle plum & pineapple and cherry vanilla
PRESERVES feijoa and fig
MARMALADES breakfast, Seville orange, cumquat and Ruby grapefruit
JELLIES quince, crab apple
FRUIT CHEESES & PASTES Damson fruit cheese, quince paste
CHUTNEY tomato, fruit and beetroot
PICKLES cauliflower mustard, sweet mustard and zucchini
RELISH red capsicum
SAUCE tomato and Worcestershire plum

preserverspot JohnandMelThe Preserver's Pot - John & Mel Davey


The Preservers Pot has a large local following with many cafes and restaurants in the region stocking and serving The Preserver’s Pot produce.

The Preservers Pot is also a favourite produce offering at The Jiggety-Jig farmers market where Mel and John are always bringing new seasonal creations along to sell along with their classic favourites.

You can also enquire via the website www.the

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ballaratfood kfs buttermilk pancakesButtermilk pancakes, roasted Granny Smith apple, gingered maple, ANZAC crumble and marscarpone. 

The colourful foodie creations of Knife Fork Spoon first came to my attention last year on instagram, then again in November as a part of the Good Food Ballarat Month with a sweet evening event, Dessert after dark. It soon became my mission to find out more about the newly rebranded cafe Knife From Spoon, many may previously recall as the Harvest Foodstore and Cafe, located at 16 Lydiard Street Ballarat.

ballaratfood kylee laird churchKylee Laird-Church chef and owner of Knife Fork Spoon.

Kylee Laird-Church the chef owner of Knife Fork Spoon has an extensive culinary background. She commenced her chef training as a seventeen year old at the Mayfair Crest Hotel in Brisbane, she was one of two females in a brigade of one hundred. After developing her skills in Queensland Kylee relocated to Melbourne in 2000. She was completely ‘shell shocked’ at the amount and variety of fresh produce available in Victoria compared to Queensland, where most fresh produce (if you could call it that) came via Melbourne and two weeks of every year inaccessible roads ceased the supply of any fresh produce at all.

After six years in Melbourne Kylee headed north again to start her own cafe and catering businesses Betty Blue and a second business Lemon Tart. After a hectic decade of running two highly successful enterprises and raising small children Kylee and her husband have relocated their family to Ballarat and Knife Fork and Spoon came to life. Kylee and her family are loving their move to Ballarat. Stating, “I like the fact my kids get to see where our food comes from.” 

ballaratfood knifeforkspoonKnife Fork Spoon Kitchen & Espresso, 16 Lydiard Street Ballarat.

Six months on knife Fork Spoon is a hub of foodie activity. The tables are busy, so much so Kylee is planning to expand the layout to keep up with demand. The cafe attracts a mixed assortment of customers from locals to tourists who have already made it a destination on their itinerary due to the word of mouth spreading the message that this place offers unique and tasty dishes.

Kylee is always coming up with new combinations of flavours and ingredients to serve to her growing fan base. The menu at Knife Fork Spoon changes every month to cater for the local seasonal produce and as an outlet for Kylee’s creative output. Kyle is constantly thinking up new food combinations, she documents her ideas on Post-it notes then experiments to refine them for the public. I asked Kylie where she finds inspirations for some of the dishes and she is quick to respond that many creations start as a challenge for her husband. “He likes all sorts of weird combinations.” She is yet to create a dish he didn’t like.

ballaratfood kfs gingerbreadmanKnife fork Spoon gingerbread man.

Knife Fork Spoon caters to sweet and savoury fans. Some of the items on the latest menu include some classic dishes with some quirky twists:
Baby Peas - Spiced avocado, mint, Danish feta, soft poached egg, olive sourdough and caponata oil.
Cheesy Toast - Crispy bacon, smashed banana, fried eggs, sweet chilli agile and sour cream.
Pulled Pork - Apple slaw, coriander fried egg, pineapple and lime salsa, ciabatta and salted peanuts.
Smoked salmon - herb scramble, rye sourdough, lemon cream cheese, flying fish roe and fried capers.

ballaratfood kns ceasersalad
Caeser Eggs - bacon, spinach, soft poached, toast, Caeser aoli and shaved parmesan.

There’s an entire menu board of milkshakes, salted caramel, peanut butter and chocolate, oreo, white chocolate and raspberry, nutella, peppermint chic chip, and it’s changing regularly.

ballaratfood kfs insta
#knifeforkspoonkitchen on instagram or facebook to find out what amazing fare Kylee has on offer.

2016 is set to be a busy year for Kylee and her husband. As they expand the floorspace in Knife Fork Spoon to cater for the growing base of regulars, Kylee will continue to do what she does best coming up with new menu additions on a regular basis. She also has plans underway to offer coffee and cakes via an enchanted caravan fleet. Her husband is currently managing the logistics of fitting out two caravans Belmont and Clementine the first additions to the fleet for early this year. Stay tuned Ballarat.

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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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Next week I fear my popularity will hit rock bottom. I have decided it could be wise to take my umbrella on every outing, a handy shield to deflect flying pastry. As a judge in Ballarat’s Winterlude Pie Competition, I will be expecting at least one pie in the face. Honestly I’m not too worried about the wrath I’ll encounter as there are numerous pros who have been asked to partake in a feast of 28 local pies.

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A thriving community requires fresh quality produce from a sustainable food supply. Land on the city fringe is still important to our economy and we are aware that it's our obligation to support our local producers. If we can all start to make an effort to supplement our regular grocery shop from local produce markets as a priority before filling the rest of our needs from the supermarket, we can reap the health benefits while supporting our region’s economy. It may take a some more effort and planning to create our meals from the local seasonal produce on offer, but it will provide a far more tasty and nutritious diet for our families.

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If you love our local Inglenook Dairy milk you will be very excited to hear that we will be selling Inglenook Milk and Cream at the Jiggety Jig Market this Saturday 18th July, but you must preorder.

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It's been a fantastic year for Goldfields Farmhouse, the 2015 Paddock to Plate winner for a business over 2 years. They offer a variety of cheeses to enjoy with all our seasonal dishes. We have been loving the entire range from their firm and mild Lasseter's Reef to their stronger flavoured Buangor Blue, so we thought it timely to catch up with Nadia Keene from Goldfields Farmhouse to tell us what's tantalising her tastebuds this season.

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Michael Nunn head chef at Ballarat’s favourite Pizzeria The Forge will be preparing one of the eight courses at the Taste Ballarat Produce Dinner Friday April 10th. 

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Country Style Smallgoods’s Sebastian Jurcan has been one of Ballarat Food’s original and most enthusiastic supporters. It was not long ago that this maker of fine quality small goods arrived in the Ballarat region, armed with fine charcuterie skills from his many years at Istra in Musk, near Daylesford, and a dream to set up a local quality smallgoods outlet in our area. We knew he was going to be a good thing for the Ballarat food scene.

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Ballarat's local foodies have been quietly plotting and planning a very Ballarat produce dinner at the Lydiard Wine Bar Friday 10th 2015. 

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Lavender is abundant in our region and summer is the time to harvest the beautifully aromatic flowers. I have been intending to use this fabulous herb in some cooking for some time now and had been actively looking out for some of the edible variety around town to buy for some summer dishes.

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This week while our region’s most passionate chefs and restaurateurs finalized the logistics of Good Food Month Ballarat. The team at Ballarat Food organized an impromptu photo shoot. The location, a most unlikely setting, behind the Not Quite Right supermarket in Howitt Street Wendouree. Some of the stars of Good Food Month gathered in front of an amazing wall of graffiti and shared a quick half hour together, as Jodie Kaine, our graphic and web designer snapped away.
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OUT OF THE GROUND FESTIVAL 2014 Saturday 1st November and Sunday 2nd November 2014. Enjoy the serenity of local farms, gardens and produce, experience the sights along the way and see the dedication and devotion that it takes to produce quality locally grown food. Support our local farmers and experience the goodness and nutrition of what is grown in our local soil with the opportunity to take it home with you. Out of the ground Festival 2014 promises to be a fun, entertaining, educational tour exposing the hidden treasures of the Moorabool Shire and surrounds.

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As you know I am partial to a local wine, perhaps the most indulgent part of my day is a little G & T with my gorgeous partner Michael after work. I like to mix it up a little, sometimes in the summer I add a little lychee juice and I’ve been known to muddle up some kaffir lime leaves or a little zip of flavoured ice cubes.

Which Brings me to the point.I can’t wait to add a dash of Glenda’s local infusions, Glenda Maes who coincidently is an amazing branch in our local food tree with her many achievements in the food industry, is about to launch The Pomegranate Tree, cordials for the mature palate.

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The Secret Truffle Society is delighted to announce, "It's truffle time!" Ian and Merilyn of Oakhill Truffles and their good friends Lynette and Andres at Wattle Flat are now producing good Truffle. They would like to establish contact with chefs in the Ballarat area that would use Truffle in their menus. If you would like to discuss your truffle options please contact Ian and Merylin Woodhouse or Lynette and Andres via this link.
The Melbourne Truffle Festival at Caulfield Race Course this weekend, 12th and 13th of July 2014, where you will find the largest collection of truffles ever gathered in Australia. Caufield will become a truffle temple, with truffle stories, all day chef demonstrations, mock truffle dog hunts and fabulous food at all price ranges. For more information visit

This event is seriously great for inspiration for your local menus. We hope the unicorn will be adding the truffle scented scramble eggs back to their Menu very soon.
I caught up with Nigel Wood, truffle farmer, Festival Director and founder of Truffle Melbourne this week. The conversation went a little like this…

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I have been following the progress of The Creswick market for some time. I am told the market has been in existence for eleven or so years and as of late it has truly blossomed into a great way to start your weekend.

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