Some of our region’s best produce will have a starring role in this year’s G’Day USA Gala event, showcasing Bendigo and central Victoria as Australia’s first UNESCO Creative City and Region of Gastronomy. 

The G’Day USA Gala includes a dinner for 460 guests, who will all receive a Bendigo Gastronomy VIP artisan gift bag featuring products chosen following an expression of interest process:

  • Bendigo Brittle                         City of Greater Bendigo
  • Collins Honey                          City of Greater Bendigo
  • Murnong Mummas Dukkah      Mount Alexander Shire
  • Camel Milk Co. Lip Balm          Campaspe Shire
  • Lake Tyrrell Salt                       Buloke Shire
  • Natasha Morgan Syrups          Hepburn Shire

In addition to the gift bag, a dish featured at the dinner will comprise of lamb cutlets crumbed in Murnong Mummas Dukkah and served with Collins Honey roasted carrots. On every table will be bread served with Salute Olive Oil from Loddon Shire and Murnong Mummas Salt.

Over the past 20 years, G’Day USA has grown into a year-long program of events spanning innovation, public policy and defence co-operation, tourism, food and wine promotion, and collaboration across screen, music, education and sports sectors.

Mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf said she was excited to see the region’s producers celebrated internationally.

“Last year the City of Greater Bendigo, with the support of Tourism Australia, contacted the American Australian Association with the aim of identifying opportunities to highlight our UNESCO Creative City and Region of Gastronomy designation and explore how we could work together,” Cr Metcalf said.

“The G’Day USA program aims to enhance the strong ties between Australia and America, and in the past has celebrated a variety of Australian talent that have forged a successful path overseas.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to say G’Day from Dja Dja Wurrung Country and from Bendigo, and to see some of our region’s fabulous producers receive international recognition for their hard work.

“We look forward to growing our relationship with the American Australian Association and looking for other ways we can continue to celebrate all that our region has to offer.

“Congratulations to those producers selected and I hope this opportunity leads to many others for you.”

Former US Ambassador to Australia and current President of the Australian American Association, John Berry, said he looked forward to experiencing the diverse tastes of central Victoria.

“We are excited by this opportunity to collaborate with Bendigo and Region of Gastronomy. We are particularly pleased that First Nations’ bushfoods are playing a central part in the event, but this is a fantastic initiative overall that we hope will help raise the profile of these talented producers and the strong relationship shared between our two countries more broadly,” Mr Berry said.

However, the greatest excitement is that experienced by the successful producers that have been chosen to represent the region.

Murnong Mummas is a social enterprise lead by First Nations people on Dja Dja Wurrung Country. 

Co-founder Melinda Harper said staff were thrilled to be selected to participate in G’Day USA.

“We have used salt bush that we have farmed and dehydrated in the Harcourt region. We have used bush plants such as lemon and aniseed myrtle, and sandalwood nuts from Western Australia,” Ms Harper said.

“This project has been a highlight for us to work on and to be able to share our wonderful produce from Australia is an amazing experience.”

Richard Collins said the opportunity for Collins Honey to go international took the idea of locals supporting locals to the next level.

“It’s un-bee-lievable to have even thought this is where our honey would be going, I cannot thank the City of Greater Bendigo enough for wanting to promote local products at such a high-calibre event.”