Today is all about tasting the Granite Belt. The Granite Belt is the land of four seasons, starry nights, granite landscapes and frosty winter mornings, but a visit to this region is not just about spectacular scenery. It is also a place where you can satisfy your inner connoisseur of all good things to eat and drink! The Granite Belt is a paradise for gourmets and is home to some of the most delicious fresh produce and awarded wines in Queensland. Not only does the Granite Belt have more than 40 cellar doors, it is also home to a foodie’s paradise. Experience the joy of paddock to pantry to plate, visit markets, milk the cow and then taste the cheese. Join friends for a glorious weekend as you quite literally, taste the Granite Belt!
The variety of food and drink experiences is as diverse as its incredible surrounds and it is quite impossible to list all the mouth-watering possibilities that are available. Following are just some of the ways that you can taste the Granite Belt!
Enjoy the rustic tin shed atmosphere of Sutton’s Farm where you can gaze out over the apple orchards as you enjoy tasting a variety of products that include apple juice, apple cider and apple brandy. The Shed Café offers a great menu of home-made delicacies. Don’t miss out on their famous Sutton’s Apple Pie served with Apple Cider ice-cream.
If you love olives and olive oil, then Mt Stirling Olives offers a unique experience to witness a working olive estate. They have over 3,500 olive trees and there is also a nursery where you can purchase your own olive tree. At Mt Stirling, you can taste from their range of olives, home-pressed olive oils, tapenades and dukkahs.
One of Stanthorpe’s newest attractions is the Truffle Discovery Centre where you can be a part of Australia’s only all-year-round truffle dog hunt. They have guided tours and tastings available of their beautiful range of truffle oils and honey.
If you are a lover of beer you can experience some amazing tastings at the Granite Belt Brewery and Brass-Monkey Brewhouse. Beer is on tap to taste and you can also take away bottles of your favourites! Both Granite Belt Brewery and Brass-Monkey Brewhouse are micro-breweries that are fuelled by the passion of their brewers and staff. Quite often when tasting a range of beers, you might also get the chance to speak to one of the brewers.
Jamworks Gourmet Food Café & Larder gives you the opportunity to enjoy a little café dining and partake in a tasting of a range of jams, chutneys, conserves and sauces. You can either dine inside or sit on their patio area while looking out over the iconic Jamworks windmill.
At Ballandean Estate not only can you sample their world-class wines but you can join in on their ‘Family on a Vineyard Tour’ every day at 11 am. For a gourmet treat, organise one of their Gourmet Vineyard Picnic hampers for after your tour which includes a basket of fine food and a bottle of Ballandean estate wine which you can enjoy in their vineyard. Alternatively, sample some of the region’s finest seasonal cuisine at their signature restaurant The Barrel Room.
There are over 40 cellar doors in the Granite Belt. You could quite literally spend weeks here visiting cellar doors. Following are just two options to whet your palate and give you a taste for more. Tobins Wines reflect beautifully why wines on the Granite Belt are so good. Quite often the wineries are small and personalised with the winemaker involved in every process. Tobins Wines’ production is limited to about 100 to 160 cases of each varietal every year. They talk about growing wine, rather than making wine and their wine making is a pursuit of perfection. Heritage Estate Wines has two locations in both Thulimbah and Cottonvale. Heritage Wines has received countless awards over the years and in 2015 received a 5-star rating from James Halliday. James Halliday named them as one of the ‘Ten Dark Horse’ wineries of 2016.
Above is just a small sampling of what is on offer when you visit the Granite Belt with a view to satisfying your inner gourmand! Honestly, there are enough delicious options to keep you occupied for well over a month. You could return repeatedly to be greeted with a different experience every time! The producers of the Granite Belt work with the seasons. They are constantly updating and refining what they have to offer. Regardless of what you like to eat and drink, you will not be disappointed by your experience of Tasting the Granite Belt.
Following are some great accommodation options when Tasting the Granite Belt:
The Granite Belt Brewery Retreat is part of the Granite Belt Brewery and is only five minutes from Stanthorpe. The Granite Belt Brewery Retreat has 19 private timber cabins with log fires. They also have a house that sleeps up to ten people. Guests receive a delicious local produce breakfast basket and can enjoy a hot buffet breakfast on a Sunday.
Cypress Ridge Cottages located in Ballandean is also home to Cypress Ridge Produce. At Cypress Ridge Cottages you will find secluded timber cottages all with a wood fire. Gourmet food and wine packages can be organised for guests of Cypress Ridge Cottages on request.
Mallow Cottage, 15 minutes west of Stanthorpe is located on the certified organic farm that is home to Mallow Lamb. Guests of Mallow Cottage can organise organic Mallow Lamb breakfast hampers along with lamb packs and organic lamb pies delivered to their cottage.
Photo Credit: Cory Rossiter Photography at Ballandean Estate
Lara Flanagan is a writer and vegan food creator who lives in Tenterfield. She is delighted to call the incredible region encompassing the Northern New England and the Granite Belt her home. She is the creator of My Notes From…by Lara Flanagan. Here she writes about her travels, her love of the local area, plant-based food and anything in between!”