THE CURATED PLATE ON THE SUNSHINE COAST

The Sunshine Coast, my home. I spent every holiday as a kid in Noosa and Sunshine Beach; and when I moved to Sunrise Beach almost five years ago, I couldn’t believe my luck. There is just so much to see and do, and living here makes me feel like I am on holiday - all year round.

This August sees the launch of the inaugural The Curated Plate Food Festival and when Visit Sunshine Coast got in touch with me to see if I would like to explore the region and some of it’s amazing experiences, my answer was a resounding yes. The Curated Plate is Australia’s newest food festival set over four-days across the Sunshine Coast where locals and tourists can see, touch, sip, smell and taste the best of what the region has to offer. The Food Fair includes masterclasses, chef talks, cooking demonstrations and a host of local and national eateries. One of the really exciting components of the festival is The Destination Series, which includes a range of unique Sunshine Coast experiences that showcase the brilliant produce, places and people in our region. Obviously the Sunshine Coast is a beautiful destination, but it’s also one of the most vibrant, and up and coming places to discover amazing produce and dining experiences.

Recently I went on a little adventure to visit a few special places on the Sunshine Coast to give you a taster of what’s to come to The Destination Series next month, and I am very excited to show you what I got up to.

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SUNRISE AT MOFFAT BEACH

I don’t often get down to Caloundra so it was nice to start my day at Moffat Beach. The weather has been spectacular this winter and sunrise didn’t disappoint. If you are looking for the perfect spot to watch the sunrise and the first surfers jump in the water, walk up the pathway along the cliffside. Here you’ll get stunning views all the way up to Sunshine Beach, which is about a 40 minute drive. So as you can imagine, the views are spectacular to say the least.

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BREAKFAST AT THE POCKET ESPRESSO BAR

I have heard so many good things about this cafe and I was very excited to pop in after my sunrise session. My iced latte was delicious as was my Grilled sourdough with pumpkin, fetta, candy spiced walnuts, cranberries and boiled eggs. This is one of the best cafes on the coast with a spectacular view of the beach and beyond. Now these guys have an event on during The Destination Series, and it’s not to be missed! Check out their Pocket Family Catch Up, tickets are only $95 each.

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ROASTERY TOUR AT GROUNDSKEEPER WILLIE COFFEE ROASTERS

Look, I am not one to say no to a couple of morning coffees and was very excited to visit Groundskeeper Willie Coffee Roasters. They even had oat milk, which was something I fell in love with when we were in Copenhagen last year. The roasters is run by husband and wife duo, Willie and Attie, who recently moved back from living and working in Canada for the last few years. I enjoyed learning and watching whilst Willie showed me how he roasts their beans with their Joper roasting machine which was made in Portugal, and has since travelled to Vancouver and Caloundra. What surprised me most about this experience is that it only takes 7 to 15 minutes to roast coffee. In my mind, I always thought this part would be a laborious process. Willie and his wife are hosting a Groundskeeper Willie Coffee Roasters Liquid Gastronomy - Uppers and Downers Edition event as part of The Destination Series.

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EXPLORE THE GLASSHOUSE MOUNTAINS

Surprisingly I haven’t yet dedicated the time to explore each of the Glasshouse Mountains - can you believe it?! I visit the Sunshine Coast Hinterland with my boys at least once every couple of months! Anyway, The Destination Series gave me the perfect excuse to do exactly that. I finally got to see Coonowrin and Mount Tibrogargan up close. Coonowrin is one of the Glasshouse Mountains, and is the remnants of volcanic activity over 25 million years ago. Because of its distinguishable rocky formation at the top, it is also known by its unofficial name Crookneck. Mount Tibrogargan is a volcanic plug that squeezed up into the vents of an ancient volcano 27 million years ago, and is surrounded by casuarina groves, open eucalypt and melaleuca forests. It’s stunning to say the least!

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LUNCH AT THE FALLS FARM

I have been a fan of The Falls Farm for a very long time, so you can imagine my delight when I got to meet the amazing family who dedicate their time harvesting their regenerative farm, which recently joined For Climate Action (FCA). The farm is owned by husband and wife, Ben and Jess, and both of their parents work in different aspects of the farm - farming, accounting, building - it’s quite the dream team! The farm supply produce to some of Queensland’s top restaurants including Gerard’s Bistro, ARC Dining, Stokehouse, The Three Blue Ducks, Urbane and lots more. Mind blown. I wandered around the market farm and Christine would point to trees and crops, stating which restaurant owned which - many varieties are grown bespoke for restaurants and it was quite incredible to experience first hand! In mid winter, The Falls Farm is at its most diverse, productive and beautiful. The farm is bursting with amazing produce…many types of kales, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beetroot, radish, peas, lettuce, celtuce, onions, shallots, garlic, potatoes, citrus…and much more.

To celebrate The Destination Series, Falls Farm is opening to the general public for the very first time and hosting their Seasonal Tastings: Winter event. I was truly honoured to sit down with the family and experience their Farmer’s Bento Box ahead of their event, and needless to say, I was overwhelmed by the delicious produce harvested directly from the farm and homemade items using ingredients from the farm as well. You can expect two different vegetable fritters (kale and kohlrabi, and pumpkin, parsley, turnip and potato), homemade tomato chutney, homemade ricotta, homemade spiced beetroot relish, tossed salad and fresh lemon wedge, Maleny mature cheese, smoked Kenilworth cheese and lime and cracked pepper Kenilworth cheese, orange wholemeal spelt muffins, freshly baked bread and homemade butter. It was a feast for the eyes and my tummy! The are also gluten free and Vegan free bento boxes as well. It was mouthwatering!

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DINNER AND COCKTAILS AT FRANK & LOTTI

To finish my day, I wound up at Frank & Lotti at Mooloolaba. They are hosting The Long Winter Lunch during The Destination Series, so I dropped in to take some photos of the meals they’ll be serving, including Fig and macadamia bruschetta with local berries and fresh marscapone, Coffin Bay Oysters with salsa verde, and Hay smoked salmon on herb rosti with free range egg and dill hollandaise. It looked so delicious!

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Jaharn GilesComment