There is nothing like tasting something for the first time and locking in the food memory for life! The taste, smell and texture of food can trigger deeper memories of feelings and emotion of not just eating the food but also the place and setting.
We hope you can make these kind of memories like we have with our family and friends. Here are some thoughts for a roadmap of eating your way around the Granite Belt in a weekend. You only have the weekend, so by no means is this an exhaustive list!
When driving in from the North (Brisbane/Gold Coast/Toowoomba) we would take the opportunity to make your first stop Suttons at Thulimbah. The apple pie was recently placed in the Top 10 Pies of Australia and they didn’t’ get that wrong. It’s delicious whether you are young, middle-aged or young at heart! You can choose to share a serve (or not)! They also have wonderful varietal apple juice.
If you have time, just across the Highway is the Stanthorpe Cheese Factory. It recently changed hands and is worth doing a tasting or dining in the café. They also have a wonderful selection of gourmet local products for sale.
It’s now time to check-in, and may we suggest you dine at our favourite local Essen (bookings essential). It’s only 5/10 minute walk from the motel and BYO as well. The menu changes every week which is fabulous, and features seasonal fare and greens and herbs from their own patch. This family-run business deserves high praise for spot-on service and food every time. Clarissa chef-owner and her Mum Claudia make a dynamic duo and their favourite motto is their “food is made with love”!
It’s now time for breakfast. If you feel like brekky in bed, then order our room service breakfast; the easiest way to start the day! Otherwise, head on down to the CBD for a coffee where you will be spoilt for choice. Zest bakery features fabulous French-inspired pastries and great coffee. Our new favourite is Little Pomme where Liberty’s brownie is to die for, freshly made on the premises daily. If you just want a fabulous coffee then try Commercial Coffee Stop at the Commercial Hotel, it has excellent coffee featuring locally roasted beans and gourmet toasties.
It’s now time for lunch on this fabulous food journey. Depending on which direction you take you may like to dine in style at The Barrel Room at Ballandean or simply enjoy a wood-fired pizza at Balancing Heart Winery. It’s time now for the other good things to do, like enjoying a walk at Girraween National Park or simply tasting fabulous wines. It’s approaching dinner time so let’s think fine dining. We recommend Varias, Barrell Room, Heritage Estate or Whiskey Gulley Winery. So many choices! For a simple meal head to one of favourite destinations Hanasaku our licensed Japanese Restaurant. I love the pancake and salmon sushi, while Mike loves the karaage. Our favourite local pubs cooking up simple country style dining (featuring lovely wood fireplaces) include Country Club Hotel or O’Mara’s Hotel.
Your food journey is not over yet, with breakfast time again. I love the corn fritters with bacon from our room service menu, but the Big Breakfast is the most popular. For those wanting a lighter option the fruit and yoghurt plate or banana/berry smoothie is a great way to start the day. If you want to venture out we suggest The Little Larder, Brinx Deli (so many gourmet treats in this deli it will be hard not to fill the car) or take the drive to Ballandean to our other local favourite St Jude’s. Bob the chef/owner serves up delicious generous portions. Fabulous seafood meals are also available for lunch including the seafood pizza. And don’t miss out on a wine tasting as well (also an excellent choice for dinner).
Your stomach can still take more right? Time for a visit to Jamworks for local produced jams/chutneys and the cutest heart-shaped scones! Your weekend is coming to an end so last stop is Sam’s Fruit and Vegetables at Cottonvale to stock up on fresh local fruit and vegies of course on your way home.