7 steps to the perfect Stanthorpe picnic
Do you remember the last time you went on a picnic? Not the pre-made-dodgy-rolls-from-the-supermarket-and-taken-to-a-nearby-park kind. I’m talking about the kind of picnic that takes you deep into rolling green countryside. Picnics where you feast on local cheese, wine and olives, and curl up on a rug with that special someone. #HelloRomance
If romancin’ isn’t your forte, you don’t have to be a (picnic) basket case. Check out the video above and up the ante by planning the ultimate picnic to spoil that special someone.
You can’t learn everything from a snappy video, so before you roll up your rug, grab your squeeze, jump in the car and head west from Brisbane on a road trip to Stanthorpe in Southern Queensland Country’s Granite Belt, you might want to keep reading for our ultimate picnic feast suggestions.
Fruit of the vine
It ain’t no picnic unless there’s wine (in my opinion). The Granite Belt is a cruisy 2.5-hour drive west of Brisbane and is Australia’s highest wine region (almost 900 metres higher than Bordeaux in France or the Napa Valley in the USA).
Wine guru and aficionado, James Halliday, awarded five stars to six of the local Granite Belt wineries so you know it’s a good drop. One of these five-star vineyards you’ll want to make a stop at is Ballandean Estate Wines who specialise in Nebbiolo, Sylvaner and Viognier. Trust me – you’ll thank me for sending you here.
Queensland’s coolest dairy farm
At 925 metres above sea level, Stanthorpe Cheese is Queensland’s highest and literally coolest dairy farm cheese shop. The artisan cheeses produced here are made from a single herd of pure-bred Jersey cows from the one farm. This makes the cheese very special and seasonally different depending on what the herd has eaten during the season.
Fans of fromage should steer towards the Stanthorpe Pepper – a rich, crumbly cheese that’s perfect for picnic cheeseboards and matches flawlessly with the Granite Belt’s big bold Italian reds like Barbera or Mataro. #Drools
Juice glorious juice
As tempting as it is to imbibe freely when driving around Queensland’s most award-winning wine region, it can’t be all be wine, wine and more wine when you’re the driver. To break up the booze, we suggest you call into apple nirvana.
A Queensland icon, Suttons Farm produces some of the juiciest and most delicious apples in the state. Here you can not only sample apple juices, award-winning apple ciders, but also delicious conserves and apple brandy.
You can also pick your own tree-ripened apples between February and June. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here – make your way into the Shed Cafe and wrap your lips around one of their mouth-watering apple pies.
Juicy strawberries, pineapples and melons are ripe for the (picnic) rug on a sunny day. If you’re on the hunt for some of the freshest produce (and I mean fresh!), local legend Sam is your man.
Sam’s Fruit Shop at The Summit is just north on the road from Suttons Farm in Stanthorpe and offers local seasonal fruit and veggies from the surrounding countryside. Sam’s store bulges with fruit and veggies just like you used to see at your grandparents growing up as a child. Keep an eye out and camera ready for his friendly pooch Polly and his vintage veggie truck.
The Big Apple
No we’re not talking about the Big Apple of New York. As you drive further north along the New England Highway keep your eyes peeled for an enormous apple. Vincenzo’s at the Big Apple Café is the place to visit if you’re feeling lazy or just want to taste all of the local flavours of Southern Queensland Country in one easy stop.
Your Nonna will be jealous with Vincenzo’s jams and chutneys, which are all made in-house from produce grown within a 50km radius. Their dine-in cafe menu is a locavore’s dream and showcases some of the best regional meat, fruit and vegetables from the region.
Warning: if you’re like me and are easily tempted by vinegars, olives, smoked and cured meats, cheese, cakes and wine – steer clear of their deli. Your picnic hamper will be bulging after a stop here.
Berry good time
Paddington Bear would love it here – the marmalade-obsessed bear would find it hard to lick his way through the many award-winning jams, coulis, fruit pastes, sauces, relish and pickles – all of which are made on the premises. The Bramble Patch is tucked away high in the hills above Glen Aplin and is a perfect year-round escape.
If you’re lucky enough to be here in winter, order one of their warm blackberry and apple pies – they are to die for! Or indulge in luscious berry desserts including ice-creams, hot waffles and sundaes.
Olive. Olive. Olive! Oi, Oi Oi!
Are you a proud olive lover? Mt Stirling Olives is home to more than 3,500 olive trees and owners, Jim and Vivienne, produce a range of tapenades and pickled olives to suit every taste. You’ll also find a variety of rich and fruity extra virgin cold pressed olive oils that are infused with the natural flavours of truffle, lemon myrtle, bush lime, garlic and chilli.
Stock your picnic basket or make a romantic night of it and spend the evening in one of their farm cabins. If your love for olives is all encompassing, you can even purchase your own olive baby (tree) to take home and plant.