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Five Sweet Eats at The Forage

Astrid O'Neill

“Our vendors are supportive, generous and are producing some of the best food products in Australia.”

The Forage is a showcase unlike any other in Canberra. In fact, it’s been called ‘the beating heart of the Canberra food scene’.

Run seasonally (four times a year), this street-style food and entertainment event gives our local businesses an opportunity to creatively perform for and feed our community in a fun, festival-style environment.

Belinda Neame is the creative force behind The Forage. She owned a cupcake shop at Gold Creek called Cherry Seed, which made her acutely aware of small business challenges – especially the need to target the right demographic in order to increase awareness and traffic flow.

“I had been to a few other cities around Australia that had started to tap into the street food and food truck scene,” says Belinda. “Canberra wasn’t doing anything at that stage and I knew we had a niche market that needed to be activated.”

Belinda credits her love of food and local business combined with her conference management background for success in kick-starting The Forage.

“We want people to come, stay, enjoy the food and be part of a community,” Belinda says. “We also want to provide everyone who participates in The Forage – vendors, musicians, suppliers – with a platform for them to build their business.”

Over the last two-and-a-half years, The Forage has swelled from 2,500 people to around 10,000. In doing so, it has helped local businesses to grow.

“Our vendors are supportive, generous and are producing some of the best food products in Australia,” says Belinda. “We’ve had several vendors come and go, taking their street food offerings and opening shop fronts. These include Dinner Rush (their shop front in Narrabundah is called The Kitchen); New York Minute (now with a shop front in Binalong); The Muesli Bar, which is opening as a shop front later in the year; and Nookie Espresso Bar, which will occupy a space in the Sydney Building.”

Recently, Six8 Roasters formed part of the new collective space in Yass, Trader & Co – a move that Belinda says “screams community and passion” and is “a reflection on the type of community we have here in Canberra”.

This relatively new heart of the Canberra food scene will continue to beat on.

“I have so many opportunities for The Forage coming at me at the moment,” says Belinda. “We are working on some smaller collaborative, pop-up style events, a very cool project with the ACT Government on the activation of the city, and some other really exciting event prospects for later in the year. You’ll have to stay tuned as it’s all a little bit under wraps at the moment!”

See the best that the Canberra region has to offer this Saturday 2 July at the Little National between 2pm and 7pm.

While you’re there, try these five sweet eats that feature in the impressive lineup.

Bombolini doughnuts

Bombolini 3

This Canberra start-up makes doughnuts described as ‘custard bombs’. They enrich their dough with zest and leave it to triple in size. It’s then fried at a high temperature to create fluffy, non-oily, cloud-like doughnuts that are carefully filled with homemade custards and jams. They’re finished with a sprinkle of edible garnish.

As well as their standard Madagascan vanilla with wildflowers, and dark chocolate with shaved chocolate curls, Bombolini are known for showcasing inventive flavours each week.

Marshpillows marshmallows

Photo: Rebecca Doyle Photography

Photo: Rebecca Doyle Photography

Marshpillows makes gourmet, all-natural marshmallows by hand and sources local ingredients where possible. These tasty little gems are a hit as party treats and wedding favours, and seem unrelated to the bland, store-bought puffs that pale in comparison.

Marshpillows’s menu has boasted vanilla bean, raspberry, lemon meringue, Jaffa, mint chocolate, espresso and chocolate swirl marshmallows.

Loose Gourmet Churros classic churros

Churros 3[1]

Loose Gourmet Churros has only recently moved to Canberra from the Gold Coast, bringing with them their distinctive orange branding, original churro equipment from Brazil, and their decadent fried-dough pastries.

They elevate a traditional churros experience by combining homemade sauces, fillings and a variety of toppings.

Sweet Bones cakes

Sweet Bones Bakery

Emily and Russell Brindley opened Sweet Bones – an organic vegan café and bakery in Braddon – out of their love for no-frills whole foods. They describe Sweet Bones has having a ‘rustic, rock’n’roll feeing with a friendly local vibe’ and they bring this vibe to The Forage. Their food is not only delicious, but inventive and cruelty free.

Burra Berkshires crème brûlée

Image via facebook.com/burra.berkshires

Image via facebook.com/burra.berkshires

Burra Berkshires is best known for their fresh, mouth-watering pork burgers and Christmas ham made from the free-range Berkshire pigs raised on their farm. Now, they’re introducing their decadent new Yellow Box honey crème brûlée to The Forage.

the essentials 

What: The Forage: Winter Feast
Where: Little National carpark, 21 National Circuit, Barton
When: Saturday 2 July from 2pm until 7pm
Web: www.facebook.com/theforage

Astrid O'Neill

Astrid O’Neill has joined the HerCanberra team for a writing internship. Previously she’s studied at the University of Canberra and the University of Oxford, and worked for a bold little New York publishing company. She’s a Southsider at heart but now lives in Braddon with her fiancé, where they’re often planning their travels over a local brew. More about the Author

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