But one of the main reasons for hosting a tour to this darling destination for food-focused travelers is that there’s a special local who is a master at passing on her culinary knowledge living in the shire of Byron and we exclusively get to spend a day cooking with her.
In this part of the country, the next destination is pleasingly never far away. We’ll travel along roads lined with lush vegetation, views of rolling hills, volcanic outcrops and beaches galore.
The chosen boutique accommodation that we recommend* has divinely styled rooms and apartments. We’ll be departing from, on our daily adventures and returning to the palm-filled property each day. At some point in the day, a swim in the circular pool is not obligatory, but certainly suggested!
This tour is full of excitement with visits to primary producers growing food that we could rarely or never get to see on a farm in WA. Our experiences are just for us and doors are opened for our group that otherwise would be inaccessible to solo travellers. Northern New South Wales is a rich food bowl with a warm climate and great soil. Let’s taste the best it has to offer us.
Our first evening will be spent relaxing at a restaurant frequented by locals and visitors alike. A couple of minutes drive from our accommodation and we’ll be tasting the first of many meals lovingly designed and cooked using seasonal fresh produce. With wide doors flung open welcoming in fresh Byron air, this evening is an opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers over a glass or two of wine, genuinely friendly service and a great selection of delicious dishes.
Experience a lush green coffee plantation, nestled in amongst the rolling hinterland in the shire of Byron. Grown relatively close to sea level, at low latitude and well below the tropical zone, this cool-for-coffee subtropical climate, ensures a longer, slower ripening season and naturally less caffeine than the more usual tropical climes where most of the world’s coffee grows.
Today you’ll see the coffee cherries ripening on the bushes, taste them raw, even see them being harvested if conditions are right. You’ll definitely enjoy the aroma of freshly roasting beans, expertly demonstrated by this second-generation farmer who oversees their own coffee production as well as roasting. Beans are also sourced from Australian growers both near and far, across the Northern Rivers and beyond to the select subtropical growers of the Queensland Tablelands and the newer plantations as yet to harvest.
You’ll find out what Fair Trade really is and in the owners bubbly way she’s bound to get you enthused about their work even if you are not a coffee drinker! Nowhere else in Australia can coffee production be seen in one place from the growing of the bean to the making and drinking from the cup. It tastes good too and naturally low in caffeine you’ll be coming back for a second cup for sure.
As we refuel with morning tea and coffee in hand we’ll admire the view from the balcony across the rows of bushes laden with fruit, past the huge fig tree and to the orchard of macadamia trees carpeting the hills leading down to the property’s creek in the valley.
Taste flavours never before experienced in this garden of edible delights. Growing exotic fruits, many of which have never been cultivated in Australian soils is this man’s mission. Collecting over 50 different species to give locals a very unique shopping basket, John and his wife Lyndall grow some under protective netting and some in the open on the fertile volcanic soil of his property overlooking the peak that has made this abundant growth possible.
This is a special place indeed, wandering up and down the rows of trees, vines and bushes there is a sense of tranquil peace and trust that the plants will do the right thing with minimal intervention. This horticulturist works his magic with respect and reverence.
The fruits that are ripe when we visit read more like a mouth-watering dessert menu than a list of edible primary produce. You’ll try a Chocolate Pudding fruit, green on the outside housing dark brown flesh, look forward to tasting a Canistel with its’ brioche and butterscotch flavours and the Mammy will surely be amazing tasting of dates, figs and caramel growing for one and a half years on the tree before it’s ready to be harvested.
Vanilla grows here, as far south as recorded and thousand’s of miles away from its nearest plant which can only be cultivated within 10 to 20° of the equator, every flower hand pollinated to then produce a single vanilla bean which needs love, care and attention to be cured to perfection and ready to use.
Today we are led around acres of garden, touching, smelling and tasting all that is ripe and ready in this season. Want an opportunity to learn first-hand? If so, then this is the ultimate.
A foragers dinner marks the start of a new menu each Wednesday at this gorgeous restaurant. Keeping the chefs happy, inspired and creative and the clientele coming back for more, the combination of seasonal produce and ingredients gathered from the surrounding area is a recipe for success.
Meet the chef and the forager as they explain native spices, native, feral, exotic fruits and vegetables and flavouring plants incorporated in the dishes at this wild harvest dinner.
The bakery behind the restaurant has a large blackened wood fired oven producing fabulous bread, the providore next door has a steady stream of customers looking for good coffee and a snacky lunch and the kitchen garden grows a selection of vegetables, herbs and leafy greens to supplement the businesses use.
Simply called ‘The Farm’ this property is principally a working farm, housing a collection of micro-businesses all sharing in a common goal. See for yourself how a farm operates, supports the environment and contributes to a healthier lifestyle.
Their motto Grow, Feed, Educate inspires all that they do. They believe that it is first-hand experience of seeing how food is grown and produced that makes the eating of it so much more pleasurable. From this simple pleasure sprouts a curiosity and desire to learn more.
View this unique and clever model from each individual business perspectives. Meet the owners and staff and discover the diverse offerings they contribute to this hub of activity. From the massive Argentinian-style open fire barbeque to the lovingly tended market garden area run by the charismatic Josh, discover rare breed animals and learn about the newly installed aquaponic system and gleen new ideas for healthy and delicious smoothies from Paola – it’s a full bag of goodies!
After our private tour, a special long-table lunch will be served to us overlooking the kitchen garden and farm beyond.
Martin Brook and I met 18 years ago when both our businesses were relative fledglings. I said to him then, in a class we held together in our Bicton kitchen that I’d come and see him in Byron Bay one day as his Macadamia farm sounded so alluring. It’s taken me nearly 2 decades but this afternoon you’ll meet the man and hear of his rainforest regeneration project that has brought his property back from the brink of being overrun by introduced species.
Not only does Martin and his wife Pam run a very successful macadamia farm, with Qantas serving his muesli up in first and business class, but he has started a distillery partnering with his two adult sons on the same property.
With koalas returning to the native habitat Martin has nurtured back to life, you’ll walk amongst trees that grew in this area 200 million years ago, see minute native bees in their hives and immerse yourself in the botanical paddock surrounded by myrtles, Davidson plums and other ingredients used to infuse the incredible spirits they make.
They make a unique macadamia and wattleseed liqueur which I guarantee will delight. It’s fantastic sipped at the beginning or end of a meal on ‘the rocks’, or poured over ice cream affogato-style and definitely included in a hundred different cocktail concoctions. Their gin is something else too (the ‘slow’ gin is also highly recommended). All in all this enlightening and exciting visit will leave you tingling… or is that possibly the lovely effects from the consumption of their special beverages?
Set in amongst the new, upmarket Habitat retail therapy area, the Argentinian influenced restaurant we’ll be eating dinner at tonight was introduced to us by Belinda and Clive Jeffery. Dining here is like eating at home with your family and friends, good food cooked slowly with love to be enjoyed with beautiful wine. Pat Nourse from Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine said the only downside to this eatery is that it’s not closer to his house!
With so much unique produce, it would be foolish of us not to take you to the most laid-back, welcoming market I’ve experienced in our travels. This is where Belinda Jeffery will be shopping this morning too, to procure fresh produce for us to cook in her classes over the next two days.
The importance of this visit will be come apparent quickly, not only can we get a delicious Sicilian inspired brekky from Rob at the Nomadic Kitchen or a fresh bacon sandwich from a few stalls down, but we’ll get to meet the producers of the food we’ll be eating during the day. Abundant and colourful ‘greens’ with exotic names and many varieties not found in WA, Kenrick will explain some of the lesser known examples and what you can create from them. Fresh cheeses made by hand using milk collected from a small herd of around forty dairy cows on the same property, Deb is a delight and with a twinkle in her eye she’ll tell you how much she loves her business with a cheeky name.
This visit will help you connect the dots, you may even catch up with primary producers you already have met… you’ll feel like a local!
Belinda Jeffery’s food is fabulous! Home cooks applaud her baking skills – sweet treats with zippy assembly instructions which she generously shares in her multitude of cook books as well as savoury combinations that become favourites immediately they are cooked for the first time. And her recipes always work.
We’ll spend a whole day cooking with Belinda in Federal, a picturesque village in the Byron Bay Hinterland. The venue is a 120-year old village hall that is lovingly decked out with everything we need for a day of cooking, laughing and learning… plus intermittent eating around the beautifully laid table too. This is a country experience that will remain in our minds and hearts for years to come.
Our classes will consist of small groups of 8 people and we’ll have Belinda all to ourselves so it will be a very personal day in the kitchen together. Our teaching styles are similar in the way we both want participants to understand the why’s when cooking, this way you can apply what you learn to any recipe or cooking technique at any time. Take a look at her Instagram page to see her style and the care she takes in everything she’s involved in. You’ll treasure this experience!
A light dinner is also included today.
Today the cameraman/bus driver Anthony,will be taking good care of everyone. You’ll explore pretty small local towns and he’ll be sure to give you some time for some relaxing retail therapy at the gorgeous clothing, homewares and food shops. Wander up and down tree lines streets to discover a few souvenirs to take home from this trip. Take your time over a cuppa or lunch during the stops and soak up the atmosphere.
Stand on the most eastern point in Australia and check out the breathtaking scenery from Cape Byron Lighthouse. The lay of the land is very apparent up here and the mountainous volcanic skyline gives an understanding of why this area is so rich and fertile.
A light dinner is also included today.
We’ll breakfast together before parting ways. Some will choose to continue on exploring the east coast and others will fly home today. One things for sure, we’ll all be happy and satisfied with our experiences having enriched our lives and people touched our hearts.
Simply complete the 2019 Byron Bay Registration Form and return to our office. Print form, complete and scan back to us via email, photograph on your smart phone and text to Anthony 0409 969 929 or send by mail. We will then be in contact with you to confirm your booking.
Tour price includes all food, group transport during tour and experiences featured on the itinerary.
You book and pay for flights and *accommodation, use those air miles! We have arranged a special price for our tour participants at The Bower Byron Bay , otherwise you can choose to stay at a venue of your choice, but please be aware we will depart and return to The Bower daily. Please call Anthony on 0409 969 920 regarding accommodation details. He can give you a unique code to use if booking your stay online, or you may just have questions about the tour or would like to express your interest.
Please be aware some experiences are subject to change. Occasionally, changes in service providers businesses are unavoidable and outside our control. We strive to present you with the best any destination has to offer at the time of the tour.
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