World's top gastronomy expert flies into Bendigo

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International gastronomy expert Dag Hartman is visiting Bendigo and the wider region this week to learn more about local producers, the economy and advise how Bendigo can best promote itself as a new UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.

Mr Hartman is from Östersund in Sweden (also a City of Gastronomy) and he has been appointed as official mentor for Bendigo and the region to help it further develop into an inclusive, resilient and creative gastronomic city.

This week he has visited wineries in Heathcote, met with local leaders in the education, manufacturing and finance sectors, and toured Bendigo Art Gallery and Ulumbarra Theatre. 

Mr Hartman said he had so far been thoroughly impressed by his visit and how widely known Bendigo’s new City of Gastronomy status was. 

“I have been so pleased to meet so many people who are excited about Bendigo and the region joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network,” he said. 

“Food producers and those with links to food production, educators, professional service providers and other people I’ve met have all expressed how excited they are by this opportunity. The collaboration between Council and the community is fantastic, you could not ask for a better start in sharing this news and gaining people’s interest.

“In particular, I really enjoyed my visit to Heathcote where I met with local wine makers. I met some very talented people who are thinking strategically about their businesses and how to future-proof production, particularly by adapting to climate change. 

“They are changing their grape varieties so they are more resilient and they are making careful decisions about when to harvest so as to better manage their use of water. While it may seem logical, I have not seen much of this type of thinking in other parts of the world. Your local industry is being very clever about ensuring their businesses are sustainable.”

Mr Hartman will also meet with Council representatives to advise on the development of a four-year action plan, which needs to be completed as part of Bendigo joining the Creative Cities Network. 

He will then travel to Daylesford to see a different part of the region and onto Melbourne where he will join a meeting of the Victorian Creative Cities Network, which includes Geelong (City of Design), Ballarat (City of Craft and Folk Art) and Melbourne (City of Literature). 

City of Greater Bendigo Manager Regional Sustainable Development Trevor Budge said Bendigo and the region had set itself an ambitious task and there were many opportunities to collaborate across various sectors. 

“Dag’s visit has reinforced how fortunate we are to have such a diverse economy that in many ways engages directly with, supports or benefits from the vast category of gastronomy,” Mr Budge said. 

“By virtue of being a member of the Creative Cities Network we have also been given a great international introduction to cities around the world. The City of Gastronomy status has got an amazing ability to open doors for us.”   

Bendigo and the region joined the famed UNESCO Creative Cities Network in October last year. 


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