News bites: dancing llamas & doughnuts

21st May 2021 | Eativity editors

Anyone over 30 might be slightly puzzled by the whole thing, but TikTok is going absolutely gangbusters, with 689 million active users worldwide. However, it’s not all dancing llamas and geese throwing it back – while it might be hard to believe for something that features videos of one minute or less, TikTok is a surprisingly great source of food content. Creators come up with all sorts of ingenious hacks, tricks and trends, with some home cooks accumulating astonishing numbers of followers. In fact, food accounts on TikTok have now become so popular, the platform has announced its first ever virtual food festival.

That’s not the only festival for foodies to get excited about. Melburnians also have a sweet event to look forward to at Queen Vic Market this June, with a special day that celebrates the doughy, sugary deliciousness of the doughnut. How many can you eat in two minutes?

Also crossing our desk this week, a new survey has found out which meal kit is Australia’s best, a Byron Bay restaurant has kicked off a collaboration series with Aussie chefs and food producers, and Victorian supermarkets are helping charity to help the homeless.

Welcome to the world of TikTok, where the bizarre is just the beginning.

A taste of TikTok

TikTok has taught people how to turn a humble plate of nachos into a party attraction that can take over an entire dining table, how to build your own marshmallow bomb and how a roll of bread can transform into a cloud. And now the app is bringing the most-followed food accounts together for the first Australian TikTok food festival.

Running from May 17 to June 12, the festival will showcase the tastiest content and creator accounts, with TikTok recipe books, duets with world-class and celebrity chefs, easy recipes and food trends and cooking live streams that can teach you how to make everything from “squishy” desserts and “smash burgers” to ice cream for dogs.

For a list of what’s on, head to the Discover page in-app, where you’ll find the official TikTok Food Festival Hub – the place to find out what’s happening during the festival, check out the fellow foodies to follow to fill your For You page with food, and find video recipes that you can cook, curated by Australian food media platforms Taste.com.au and delicious.

Decadent, doughty delights… who can resist?

An all-round sweet day out

For those who prefer their food festivals more tangible, Donut Festival is set to roll into Melbourne on Sunday, June 6 at Queen Victoria Market. This new, one-day celebration will gather some of the city’s favourite doughnut-makers for a super-sweet dive into all things iced, jam-filled, cinnamon-sprinkled, sugar-dusted and everything in between.

Take your pick from the original hot jam doughnut, chocolate-filled doughnut, cinnamon rings, churro bowls and vegan and gluten-free doughnuts. The festival line-up includes American Doughnut Kitchen, Bistro Morgan Bakehouse, St Gerry’s, Short Stop Melbourne, Churro Kitchen, Pasta Face, Mimmo’s and Gorilla Grill.

For more ambitious doughnut-lovers, Melbourne pastry chef Darren Purchese of sweet studio Burch & Purchese will also be hosting a doughnut-eating contest. Competitors will attempt to devour as many doughnuts as they can in two minutes to win the grand prize of a year’s worth of hot jam doughnuts from the Market’s iconic American Doughnut Kitchen. Although, after two minutes of stuffing huge amounts of fried dough into your mouth, you many never want to look at another doughnut again.  

To find out more or to register for the competition, head to qvm.com.au

Letting the produce speak for itself: Oma’s new collaboration series makes the grower the star.

Kitchen takeover to showcase local produce

Award-winning chef Alanna Sapwell of Esmay will be taking over the kitchen at Byron Bay’s Oma Food & Wine this Sunday, cooking alongside head chef Mark Hannell. Sapwell and Hannell will team up to present a menu showcasing fresh produce grown by Venetia Scott of Hungry Earth Agroecology and Growing Roots Permaculture at The Farm in Byron Bay. The $80 set menu will be based on the best in-season produce available that day.

Each month, Oma – the latest restaurant from the Three Blue Ducks team – collaborates with some of the country’s hottest chefs, producers and winemakers to showcase signature dishes, ingredients and drinks for the local community to experience.

Designed to be relaxed and informal, the events will not be ticketed but bookings are highly recommended. Head to omafoodandwine.com to find out more.

HelloFresh has come out on top in Food Box Mate’s survey two years in a row.

Which meal kit rates best?

An independent study has revealed what people really think about their cook-at-home meal delivery kits – which Australians spent an estimated $200 million on last year.

Carried out by Food Box Mate, a blog that focuses on the food kit industry, the survey found that the majority of Aussies chose to grab a meal kit subscription because it makes their weekly cooking easier, with 77 percent citing this as the main reason they use them.

Meal kit giant HelloFresh was named as the best meal kit in Australia in 2021, scoring an average 4.09 out of 5 across the five survey metrics of variety, recipes, quality, taste and value for money. Marley Spoon came in at second place, with a rating of 3.93.

HelloFresh also scored 4.39 out of 5 for its recipes, while best for delivery was Dinnerly, with 91 percent of customers saying they rarely experienced issues.

According to David Bruce, who created Food Box Mate, some meal kit services can be 30 percent more expensive than grocery shopping. So, for anyone who’s trying to budget but still wants to try a meal kit, Dinnerly and EveryPlate were the cheapest options.

Raising funds for homeless Victorians this winter

IGA has announced an extension of its long-term partnership with St Vincent de Paul Society’s Food Van Hub in Victoria in a bid to help raise more funds for people who are doing it tough. This week, IGA stores in Victoria will be running additional activity to further help the charity ahead of winter starting. As part of the ongoing partnership, Vinnies will receive all the Community Chest Funds from products sold as part of the specially marked “Late Week Specials” from this Friday, May 21 to Sunday, May 23.

Last year, IGA retailers across the state rallied together to support vulnerable people who have been impacted by the pandemic. The stores continue to deliver vital contactless food hampers and food parcels to Victorian families in need.

To find out more, head to iga.com.au

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