AS YOU explore Ballarat's food precinct, you'll discover one of the most delicious and authentic examples of Spanish cuisine in the country - Meigas.
Headed by chef Jose Fernandez, Cafe Meigas has been a major player in the Ballarat food and wine scene for a few years now, and is one of the local crowd favourites.
The cafe has everything you could hope for from an authentic Spanish dining experience. Dishes that are defined by mouthwatering seafood - including slow-cooked paella, Galician-style octopus, spicy prawns with garlic and chilli, and white anchovies as well as chorizo sautéed in red wine, salted eggplant, potata bravas and of course the impressive Spanish wine selection.
The food is matched by an equally-authentic Spanish atmosphere, so much so that as you enter the cafe you'd be forgiven for thinking you were on a European escape.
“Café Meigas provides an authentic Spanish dining experience with fantastic service to match as well as the ability to sit in a restaurant and be immersed in the culture in a relaxed and laid back atmosphere," Jose says.
With 30 years of experience in the food industry, Jose says the secret to creating beautiful Spanish food is use of special and distinct fresh ingredients and strong bold flavours.
"Likewise with the Mediterranean diet, Spain heavily encompasses this with rich olive oil, fish, vegetables and meat to create a well-balanced lifestyle," Jose says.
“The secret is to cook with passion and ensure you stay true to traditional Spanish cuisine with minimal ingredients and super fresh produce, which allow us at Meigas to provide hearty food just like our grandmothers used to make.”
Jose will be one of six chefs, winemakers and brewers set to be featured at the upcoming Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Regional Worlds Longest Lunch in Ballarat on March 31.
The collaborative dinner will see the region’s finest chefs join forces to produce a five-course feast matched with award-winning wines from the Pyrenees Region and local brews from Ballarat’s breweries.
The Ballarat Regional World’s Longest Lunch will be held down one of the city’s iconic laneways, providing guests with the chance to fine dine in a unique setting.