Fries, mash, rösti, gnocchi, dauphinois — has ever a vegetable been as universal, as chameleonic in its deliciousness as the potato? Considering that you can't even eat one of these guys raw, it's amazing what the humble spud can do when it's given a tiny bit of love.
That's why the Ballarat Potato Festival is such a draw. On for one day only this winter, the festival features some of the Ballarat foodie scene's best eateries, each putting their own spin on local taters pulled from nearby farms. Considering this is one of Victoria's main potato-producing regions, there'll be no shortage of material to go around.
The festival will certainly be your main, if not only opportunity this year to try twice-cooked potato halwa. Other tastebud-tickling delights on the menu incluce potato pancakes, savoury spiced potato doughnuts and potato-stuffed naan bread.
Traditionalists will not be left disappointed, either — if chips and gravy is your truest heart's desire, no one will stand in the way.
Discover all the Potato Festival stalls with just a gold-coin donation for entry on Saturday, 30 June, at the Ballarat Mining Exchange. The event is part of the Ballarat Winter Festival, so once you've had your fill of potato knishes and knödels, you can head out and explore the Winter Wonderlights in Sovereign Hill (think White Night meets Christmas in July), jump on the pop-up ice-skating rink or contemplate Into Light, the exhibition of 19th- and 20th-century Parisian painting at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Come back in July if you want to get in on more foodie events that celebrate the region, like the Salumi and Charcuterie Festival on July 21 or the Red Series back at the Ballarat Mining Exchange on July 28.
To prep for the trip and discover more things to do in winter around Ballarat, visit the Wander Victoria website.