The Australian Food Awards have helped secure Thomastown’s place on the foodie map.
Leading the charge for Thomastown at the awards last month was Bertocchi Smallgoods, which won seven gold medals.
It’s celebrated products include it’s Bertocchi gold thin and crispy bacon, pastrami and San Marino outdoor bred bacon.
Marketing and merchandise manager Tony Rapone said the Trawalla Avenue company started in Thomastown in 1972.
He said the area’s access to world-class production processes and the Northern food bowl ensured the company was able to provide products that deliver an authentic taste.
But Pantalica Cheese Company general manager Silvio Pitruzzello believes it is Thomastown’s history that attracts food producers to the area.
The family-owned company, also in Trawalla Avenue, opened in 1973.
“My father started here because there was a lot of Italian, Greek and Macedonians here. It was a good centre-point for business,” he said.
The company won a gold medal for its pepato cheese, which is made to a traditional family recipe.
Ardor Food owner Vince Lotito spent six months deciding where to set up his gluten-free business before choosing Latitude Boulevard.
“I was looking for a place where I can access different areas of Melbourne and [Thomastown] is perfect. It has good access to freeways,” he said.
The company opened its doors about three and a half years ago and was recognised for its gluten-free, handmade, vegan gnocchi.
Fellow Latitude Boulevard company, That’s Amore Cheese opened its Thomastown factory just last year.
Owner Giorgio Linguanti started the company in 2008 – four years after arriving in Melbourne from Italy.
The company picked up a gold medal for its diavoletti, a small provolina-shaped smoked cheese with a chilli-filled olive centre.
Also recognised at the awards was Select Harvests, which picked up a gold medal for its Lucky almond meal. Brand manager Natalie Wood said the 50-year-old brand started out in Balwyn as a family business before moving to Settlement Road.
The awards come as Thomastown Neighbourhood House prepares to celebrate the ‘Taste of Thommo’ food festival next month.
Volunteer Marisa Barba hopes the festival will help people realise just how successful the suburb’s food companies are.
“We want people to take note of what is here.”
The festival is planned for September 2, and the house wants more producers to sign up.
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