The Victorian town recognised as a world centre of gastronomy
How to eat your way around Bendigo - Australia’s first UNESCO City of Gastronomy.
Bendigo is the first city in Australia to be named a City of Gastronomy. The mouthful that is UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) gave Bendigo the lofty new title on 31 October, giving the town equal footing with world-famous food cities such as Parma in Italy and Phuket in Thailand. (See also: Seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites you didn't know were in Australia)
So what makes Victoria’s fourth-biggest city so tasty? For the UNESCO boffins, central Victoria’s thriving food community ticks all the gastronomic boxes for culinary heritage and Indigenous connection, along with food innovation, diversity and sustainability.
But the proof’s in the eating, right? Bendigo is flush with restaurants and bars, community gardens, bakeries, farmers’ markets, wineries and breweries. And all this is just a 90-minute drive up the Calder Freeway from Melbourne.
Slides: Dessert, dumplings and lunch at Masons of Bendigo, Harvest Food and Wine, Blumes Historic Bakery, Sutton Grange Winery and cheese tasting at Bendigo Community Farmers' Market.
Five delicious reasons to visit Bendigo with a big appetite
Masons of Bendigo
25 Queen Street, Bendigo, (03) 5443 3877, masonsofbendigo.com.au
Husband-and-wife chef team Nick and Sonia Anthony celebrate Bendigo’s food bowl in every dish at Masons.
With dozens of local growers and producers featured on their menu, it’s often difficult to choose a dish. Best to go for the Roaming Menu, guaranteeing a taste of the best seasonal produce (a bargain at $37.50 for lunch, with a bigger $72 version for dinner).
This week’s menu includes zucchini flowers hand-picked by Bendigo East farmer George Bobin, who harvests the delicate heads at night because he reckons there’s nothing to watch on television.
Nick serves the flowers with camel milk curd sourced from Kyabram, Warialda pastrami from Clonbinane and Simply Green Tomatoes from Boort.
Harvest Food and Wine
55 View Street, Bendigo, (03) 5442 4095, harvestbendigo.com.au
Another husband-and-wife team, Lincoln Riley and Marsha Busse, have perfected the art of all-day dining, with a lovely selection of hand-made pastries and rotisserie rolls, backed by a carefully curated wine list.
Lincoln is a sommelier-turned-winemaker with a love of simple, seasonal produce, while Marsha is an acclaimed pastry chef who has worked for the likes of Heston Blumenthal. Together they create food that makes you want to come back for more.