Words by Della Vreeland Images Supplied
Australia’s first (and only) UNESCO Creative City and Region of Gastronomy is taking things up a notch this wintertime with its magical Ignite Festival.
With a sprinkle of razzle and a whole bunch of dazzle, the city will be transformed into a centre of vibrant activity where spirit and imagination abound!
Featuring a plethora of food and drink events, masterclasses and retreats, art and cultural soirees, markets and music festivals, there is an experience set to indulge all.
Here are some of the ways Ignite is set to sparkle your senses this winter season.
See the magic unfold
There is an abundance of performance and culturally instilled events taking place during Ignite, making up the core of the festival program.
Taste and smell the fine fare
As a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, you know you’re in for a real (culinary) treat no matter when you visit Bendigo. But come time for the Ignite Festival, and the city’s cafes, restaurants and bars put their best foot forward with a whole series of specially-curated events showcasing the best in local food and drink.
Enjoy a high tea in style, sit down for a Bastille Day feast, experience a Spanish Christmas in July, devour regional fare at the launch of Bendigo’s newest foodie neighbourhood Lyttle Eat Street, get your meat fix at the Slow Smokin’ Saturdays, share a night of wonder and wine under the stars with the Astronomical Society of Victoria, and savour a whole lot of other dinners, lunches and brunches in regional Victoria’s leading food destination.
Proud Dja Dja Wurrung, Latje Latje and Wotjabulluk woman Raylene Harradine will also be hosting a 6Seasons Dinner along with chef Gina Triolo from Bendigo’s Hoo-gah Cafe. The special degustation-styled event will feature six courses, each focussed on the six Aboriginal annual seasons of Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang.
Hear the tunes and tales
Another sure way to warm up during the chilly months is with some sweet melodies and stories – blues on the Victorian Goldfields Railway train or live at Castlemaine’s Taproom, a two-day festival of Americana bands at Shiraz Republic or a session of storytelling about People and Country at the Ulumbarra Theatre.
Feel the warmth as your hands make and create
The festival program has all the hands-on folk covered too, with workshops and masterclasses that will ignite a passion for cooking, creating, cheesemaking and croissant-ing (don’t mind our love for alliteration).
Take up cheesemaking sessions with resident French makers at Long Paddock Cheese, learn the art of croissant making from a Michelin-trained pastry chef, enrol in a cooking class or two, enjoy a one-day mosaic workshop, or try your hand at writing at the Hidden Writer retreats.
Once you’re done making, you can also head to one of the different markets and find some handmade goodness for yourself – nicely rounding off your Ignite experience.
Now there’s a delight for the senses.
WHAT: Ignite Bendigo
WHEN: 1st June – 31st August
FIND OUT MORE: bendigoregion.com.au/explore-bendigo/ignite-bendigo