Hungry for more

Central Victoria’s reputation as a foodie destination stands to gain international recognition from Greater Bendigo’s bid to become a designated City of Gastronomy.
The submission to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network could put the region on the world map for food and beverage alongside the likes of Gaziantep (Turkey), Chengdu (China), Parma (Italy) and Tsuruoka (Japan).
Macedon Ranges mayor Janet Pearce said the title would incorporate the City of Greater Bendigo and the connected region including businesses, associations and programs within Macedon Ranges, Mount Alexander, Loddon, Hepburn, Campaspe and Central Goldfields.
“If successful, it’s going to open up the door for all our wineries, restaurants, producers and eateries,” Cr Pearce said.
“What’s so great is that because it’s such a large region there’s such diversity in what we have to offer.”
The Macedon Ranges is celebrated for its cool climate wines, award-winning olive producers, mineral water, Kyneton’s ‘food centre’ Piper Street, innovative producers and boutique farming.
Council’s director of planning and environment Angela Hughes said food and beverage was a key component of the experience that drove visitors to the region.
“The Macedon Ranges has a growing reputation for its quality food and beverage, with an abundance of quality
producers, providores, farmers markets, fine dining restaurants, distilleries and wineries,” Ms Hughes said.
“It contributes significantly to the overall economic impact of tourism, estimated at $456 million in regional output and 2354 jobs within Macedon Ranges Shire.
“Having our neighbouring major regional centre, the City of Greater Bendigo, recognised as a designated City of Gastronomy will further strengthen our reputation for quality food and beverage and will contribute to the ongoing development of this important sector of our tourism industry.”
In total, the Macedon Ranges currently has 372 food and beverage businesses, with 25 of these being new and registered in the past 12 months.
Colenso restaurateur Kathryn Russack said it was exciting to consider the benefits.
She said recognition would go beyond the tourism dollar in helping to secure a strong supply of food for the region along with local jobs.
“The application is about a network of providers, landowners, growers, sellers, markets, producers, restaurants – and I love that it’s all in there,” she said.
“The whole paddock-to-plate notion has always made sense to me. I’ve never veered away from that. I’ve never veered away from local food systems.
“The people you should be buying food from are the people that are the closest to you. As a a restaurateur I like to seek these people out. Some of the foundation that Bendigo can put in place is the connectivity between us all.”
Macedon Ranges Shire Council has written a letter of support for the City of Greater Bendigo’s submission to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network to become a designated City of Gastronomy.
The application went to Canberra on Friday and, if endorsed, will then go to Paris for consideration.

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