The Bendigo region has won its first-ever Australian food industry award, taking out the Outstanding Region category in delicious. magazine’s Harvey Norman Produce Awards 2020. 

The award recognises an Australian region or place that has successfully established itself as an outstanding culinary destination.

Judges for the national award include renowned chefs Maggie Beer, Alla Wolf-Tasker, Shannon Bennett, Matt Moran, Neil Perry and Christine Manfield. 

City of Greater Bendigo Director Strategy and Growth Bernie O’Sullivan said the organisation was honoured and delighted to accept the award on behalf of the region. 

“This award has confirmed the Bendigo region as a culinary destination and we are thrilled to receive the recognition and hope it will encourage a wave of tourism as COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease,” Mr O’Sullivan said. 

“Today’s news is shared among our passionate industry of outstanding food and beverage producers, as well as our excellent hospitality and retail traders that showcase and sell a great range of locally made and grown goods that show off the best of our region. 

“Without them and their amazing skills and knowledge, we would not have been considered for this award.

“It has been nearly a year since Bendigo and the region was announced as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy and in that time we have seen our visitors and community seek out unique experiences and products, and we have seen our industry deliver in spades and continue to raise the region’s profile and reputation. 

“We have also seen a rise in the creation of artisan products, which residents and visitors are increasingly looking for, and a focus on developing a healthy and sustainable food system, which is a goal of our City of Gastronomy designation.

“This award recognises the great collaboration that takes place to promote and attract people to Bendigo and the region, and we work closely with our neighbouring councils of Mount Alexander, Loddon and Central Goldfields. We are becoming known not just as a cultural destination but a culinary destination that is proud to celebrate what is grown and made locally.

“Congratulations to everyone across the various sectors that have contributed in some way to this achievement. The City looks forward to building on this wonderful news and working to promote the region and its amazing produce to visitors into the future.”