Sitting along the Queensland Coast north of Brisbane, The Sunshine Coast is famous for its long stretches of beach, hypnotic sunrises, and sweeping Hinterland landscape. But just as the scenery is a feast for the eyes, the Sunshine Coast has earned its place among great foodie regions of Australia, serving a feast of fresh Aussie produce all year long and educating visitors on the kindred relationship between chef, producer, and produce through experiences like these.
A food festival like no other
The foodie core and artisan culture of the Sunshine Coast will be celebrated in a food festival like no other: The Curated Plate. This new four-day destination food festival, on 8-11 August 2019, will showcase the best chefs from Australia and around the world through a distinctive range of culinary events that span the region. Instead of sticking to one single venue, The Curated Plate will offer events staged across the whole region from the lush rainforests and valleys of the Hinterland and the Glass House Mountains through to the region’s stunning beaches. A wide range of headline events will be staged, along with behind-the-scenes tours, farm-gate tasting experiences, and degustation dinners combing eclectic influences from the local dining scene and beyond.
Seafood, eat food
Sunshine Coast is a haven for seafood lovers, full stop. But the epicentre of the seafood industry is Mooloolaba, where trawlers arrive every day carrying fresh catches from the waters off the Sunshine Coast. Restaurants along Parkyn Parade and The Wharf Mooloolaba are great places to enjoy a seafood lunch or dinner. A new way to take a seafood journey is via a jetski tour with Caloundra Jet Skis down the Pumicestone Passage, weaving through mangrove-lined channels of water to Sandstone Point on Bribie Island where a delicious seafood banquet at Dock n Dine awaits. Fresh seafood, direct from the fishermen - prawns, fish, sand crab, calamari, freshly shucked oysters. Guests even get to meet the fishermen on their boats and trawlers that are moored in the marina just footsteps away, achieving a level of freshness that is truly incomparable.
Discover more about the Sunshine Coast’s food scene while also experiencing the diversity of the destination through a Hinterland ‘Farm to Fork’ tour. Creative Tours and Events has teamed up with Brouhaha Brewery that brings visitors through the Sunshine Coast’s breathtaking Hinterland visiting local farms and facilities enroute to the brewery. First stop is a coffee roastery where you will gain an understanding of the complexity of what it is to create an exceptional cup of coffee. You will then wander the incredible market garden of the Falls Farm, a grower of a magnificent range of herbs and heirloom vegetables. And finally you will meet the producer of Maleny Wagyu Beef and appreciate the brewery’s ‘grain cycle’, that makes this journey so unique. The informative and fun day allows you to connect with producers, and understand the passions behind the food and beer pairing that you will enjoy – a combination of memorable local flavours.
Colour me Ginger
Buderim Ginger can be found in food stores around Australia – in ginger beer, in confectionery and in health products. Buderim Ginger began on the hillside of Buderim Mountain, where the ginger plants thrived thanks to the rich volcanic soil, the high rainfall and humidity. From humble beginnings after WWII, a processing factory was established and Buderim Ginger Limited listed on the stock exchange, with exports to 17 countries and a reputation for producing the ‘World’s Finest Ginger’. Today, Buderim Ginger operates the Ginger Factory at Yandina, which not only turns the ginger into appetising products, it showcases the plant as one as one of the most attractive plants for gardeners. The annual Ginger Festival in January is a riot of colour and rich flavours, but visitors can enjoy a ginger experience every day, and an even more memorable immersive ginger experience during The Curated Plate!
A dash of Asia on the Queensland coast
Possibly it’s the climate, possibly it’s the soil, possibly it’s the alfresco lifestyle...or possibly it’s all three that makes the Sunshine Coast such a hub for Asian food! The Asian connection was discovered over 20 years ago when The Spirit House opened in Yandina, bringing an oasis of south-east Asia into the former farming land. With its lush gardens, its trickling ponds, rich Thai-style exterior and interior design, and distinctive Asian cuisine, the restaurant quickly became one of Queensland’s finest, spawning an acclaimed Cooking School. This year, there will be a number of exciting ‘Asia meets Sunny Coast’ experiences available during The Curated Plate, including the pairing of local gem Spice Bar and premier Japanese-influenced fine dining restaurant, Sokyo and Zaiyu Hasegawa, the chef behind the Best Restaurant in Japan (Asia 50 Best Restaurants 2018), will join Spicers Tamarind chef, Daniel Jarrett, in an indulgent, five-course dinner with matching wines at Jarrett’s stunning restaurant, The Tamarind.
Build me up Buttercup
Combine rich pastures and a warm, tropical climate with good sun and rain, and the Sunshine Coast is tailor-made for a prolific dairy industry. Working dairies such as Maleny Dairies and Kenilworth Dairies are perfect places to get a behind-the-scenes look at how dairies work and – possibly even more importantly – taste the outstanding produce that results from their happy herds. And it’s not just cows producing milk that is capturing attention. You can buy local goats, buffalo, yak, sheep, and even camels milk at Eumundi and Noosa markets. Seeing a herd of camels with the Glass House Mountains behind them is one of the more bizarre sites on the Sunshine Coast, but the chance to cuddle a camel and taste their exquisite, ‘super food’ produce provides an unforgettable experience at QCamel. Perhaps an easier venue to navigate for a memorable dairy experience is Maleny Food Co, a one-stop shop for all things cheese. The Maple Street fromagerie showcases both award-winning local cheeses such as Woombye Cheese alongside a dizzying array of wheels from around the world.