Australian settlers during the gold rush of the 1850s weren’t shopping at Woolies, Aldi or even farmers markets – a lot of their food came from crops and cattle grown nearby, and was preserved or fermented to last a long time, especially in the colder months.
Ballarat attraction Sovereign Hill is giving visitors a sneak peek into the food practices and diets of its early settlers over one weekend, where you can meet regional producers, sip local spirits, get your hands dirty in workshops and more.
Some of the region’s best producers and craft-makers are coming together for the Heritage Harvest Market, where you can buy honey, wine, olive oil, biscuits, truffle pastes, cheese, miso, cider, berry jam, herbal teas, pickles and more.
Try a range of local gins from Kilderkin Distillery and liqueurs from Mrs Bakers Still House at the Botanical Bar, then feast on dumplings and noodles at the Chinese Village while watching traditional dances.
Kids and adults alike can participate in a number of workshops and demonstrations, including veggie planting, pickling, soda-making, blacksmithing, wheel-making, cheese-making and butter-making. There’s also an on-site animal farm where little ones can meet goats, lambs, ducklings and rabbits.
And for more thorough masterclasses, take a deep-dive into food with former Oakridge and Future Food System chef Jo Barrett, Jung Eun Chae of small Korean eatery Chae, and chef Derek Boath of Ballarat’s own Underbar. You can also learn the art of beekeeping and how to get started at home; take an introductory class in weaving; forage through the weeds around the museum; make your own buttermilk ricotta, sourdough, terrines and pates; and much more.
Entry tickets cost $39 for adults and $20 for children, with family passes for a group of four. Some sessions cost extra and require booking.