Over the Christmas holidays, D and I took a day trip up to the Sunshine Coast and Hinterland. We love it up there and we planned a big adventure to take us on a windy touristy journey back down to Brisbane.
We started at Eumundi to visit the Eumundi Markets. We had to start here, because we drove up to the Saturday markets on New Years Day and were faced with weather like this:
Not all that inviting. It makes it so much harder to drive as well. That Saturday we didn't spend too much time at the markets and headed home early, stopping in at Yandina to get another coffee.
Well, a coffee and a chocolate raspberry muffin fresh from the oven from Goodness Gracious Organic Cafe. This cafe is adorable. It's a converted house with little nooks that you can hide in and it's filled with gorgeous second hand knick knacks for purchase. I had a hot chocolate which I enjoyed very much. D said his coffee was really good too. It was the muffin that was a winner for us though, it was warm and chocolately with rich raspberry pieces dotted throughout. We ate it while driving and when we finished it we were too far away to go back for another. Sad times.
This was what greeted us as we left the cafe. We dashed to the car and sat for a while before we started again, but it didn't really get any better. It was a fun drive back to Brisbane.
It rained a lot over Christmas, so we were very happy with the morning of our day trip (the following Wednesday) dawned relatively nice and clear - that means not raining.
By the time we made it up to Eumundi, the weather had cleared quite a bit. Eumundi looked picture perfect.
We had never been to a Wednesday market and we were a little disorientated because a lot of the stalls change location on Wednesdays! It was good though, it meant we kept finding little surprises as we wandered around.
Like this stall. I have lost the picture I took with their name, but they made the most gorgeous looking chutneys and sauces and muffins too! We bought a sweet potato and feta muffin as a snack and it was incredible. I haven't seen them at markets since then, so maybe they are a Wednesday only stall?
We also stopped by the Noosa Chilli stall. We had a great chat with the lady there, we talked all about the different kinds of chilli they use and she let me take photos of their awesome chilli display. All of their sauces and chutneys are incredible, full of flavour and you can just taste the quality of the ingredients.We had been quite restrained with our purchases before then, but we had to buy some sauces. They are so versatile. We bought the Red Hot Chilli Sauce and a Tomato Chutney for me because I though the red hot would be too spicy, but we've been using the red hot in everything from burgers to pasta sauces. Yum!
While we were at the markets we met Richard from Noosa Reds Tomatoes. D and I are regular visitors to Richard's stall when he comes to the Jan Power's Farmers Markets at New Farm and Manly. As I said in my last post, the weather had a bit of an effect on their tomato crop and they had to cut back on their Brisbane markets until their new crop came in so we haven't seen Richard recently. Again, we can't wait for Noosa Reds to come back to the New Farm or Manly markets. Anyway, we met Richard and he invited us to come and visit their greenhouses after we finished at the markets.
Before we headed out to Doonan, we stopped off at the Australian Nougat Company. We had to try some nougat even though it wasn't quite 9:00am yet. The Nougat Company use local cane sugar and local macadamias in the nougat with no artificial colours or preservatives.
I loved the giant mixer. It mixes the egg whites and sugar syrup before the macadamias are added. We also watched them cut the nougat into slabs. It was fun to watch them manipulate these giant slabs of nougat.
Next stop was Noosa Reds at Doonan. Richard took us on a fantastic tour of their greenhouses and systems, but I love Noosa Reds so much I'm going to make them the subject of their own post.
While we were waiting for Richard to get me some cherry tomatoes, we looked at the brochures for the food and wine experiences they had next to the tomatoes. I wasn't really paying too much serious attention to what I was reading, but then I did a double take. It was a flier advertising the Eumundi Smokehouse. I love the Eumundi Smokehouse. Then I realised, it was advertising the Eumundi Smokehouse IN QUEENSLAND!!!! I peppered poor Richard with questions and he confirmed that they had recently moved operations back to Queensland and the smokehouse wasn't that far from Noosa Reds. He even gave us directions.
That was the last time we've seen Richard this year, even though we have visited the Noosa Reds stalls at Eumundi since then, we've even visited them at the new Kawana Waters markets (they were sold out there though). If he reads posts on the blogosphere, come back to Brisbane please! I've been debating sending him an email, but I am concerned about seeming slightly stalkerish for tomatoes.
It was a beautiful drive from Doonan to Cooroy, but unfortunately the Smokehouse was closed over Christmas. I took comfort that it was only the holiday season that stopped me from getting my Eumundi Smokehouse fix.
After our short smokehouse detour, we headed off to Yandina and the Ginger Factory. We've stopped at the Ginger Factory before but we've never gone past the giftshop. This time, we went in and looked around.
I loved the train track. It was shady and leafy and so beautiful.
D loves ginger beer and has a special affection for Buderim Ginger Beer, so we bought some to add to our esky of snacks. I love gingerbread, so I bought a little gingerbread friend. How cool do all the gingerbread men look?
We wandered across the road to Nutworks and the Chocolate Factory.
The upstairs viewing area is very cool, with lots of information on the history of the factory and big windows so you can see what's going on.
The processing factory was quiet, but there was activity in the chocolate factory!
Yum, chocolate. In the Nutworks store there was so many delicious looking things. I bought some beautiful macadamia oil for a steal and we took advantage of their sample pack and tried a variety of different flavoured macadamias. My favourite was the butter candy macadamia, so decadent!
From Yandina we headed out to Kenilworth, for no real reason other than I wanted to visit the Kenilworth Cheese Factory. I love cheese.
The factory was quiet, but it was only the first Wednesday of the New Year.
No matter, there was a giant fridge full of cheese to distract us. D's favourite was a sundried tomato and herb, but they had run out of that cheese to buy and only had it to taste. I loved too many to pick just one.
The plan was to take a back road (thanks, Google Maps) to get to Mapleton without having to go back to the highway and around. Unfortunately, due to the rain, the road we needed to take was closed because of landslides and we were directed off on a detour. The detour was a little intimidating actually, one lane dirt roads with not a soul for miles (or so it seemed) and no mobile reception, so no maps. We just took a leap of blind faith and hoped that we were taking the right track.
Eventually we did make it back to the main road we were aiming for, but then the downside of Google Maps started to show itself. Although Google Maps was quite right in its assertion that you can take this back road to get to Mapleton, Google Maps does not tell you what kind of road it is or whether you should be driving it in our little hatchback after substantial rain.
Some of the journey wasn't too bad. It was more the lack of civilisation that made me concerned! It was very exciting to get back to bitumen roads, houses and mobile phone reception.
Despite my detailed Google Maps directions, we did overshoot somewhat, ending up in Maleny instead of Mapleton. It didn't matter, we wanted to go to Maleny anyway. It was lunchtime, we so decided it was time to find somewhere to sit down, eat and reassess our route.
We ended up choosing the Upfront Club. It was a beautiful open restaurant with a friendly atmosphere and helpful staff.
We shared a steak sandwich and chips for lunch and it was the best steak sandwhich I've had in a very long time.
We also visited Upfront Club's cooperative sibling, the Maple Street Co-operative. The Co-op was huge, maybe not in size but definitely in variety. It was like a mecca of healthy food and organics. I don't think you would be able to get me to shop anywhere else if I lived up that way.
The day was getting on after we left Maleny. We wanted to make it home before peak hour traffic so we decided that we would go to Montville and then make a start for home.
On the way to Montville, we couldn't resist stopping at Maleny Cheese.
We happily sampled all of their cheeses - so good!!
One day I want to go back to these places when the factories are up and running. It must be fascinating to see.
We stopped at a lookout on the way to Montville and ate it before the picturesque views.
We were starting to fade a little when we made it Montville. In contrast to the other places we visited, Montville was very busy and there were people everywhere. We wandered down the main street and stopped into a few of the candy and chocolate shops before stopping in at a coffee shop that sells Montville Coffee (which has my number one hot chocolate ever) for something to keep D awake on the drive home.
One of the last things we saw before leaving Montville was this gorgeous vista. This picture was taken in a carpark of all places.
It was a fantastic day. We had a great time and ate some great food. We saw beautiful things and came home tired and happy. We also have quite a number of things on our list to do next time. What would you recommend we do the next time we take a day trip?