It’s been a lot of driving in a short time, but we’re home from Far North Queensland.
Part of the purpose of the trip was to investigate a couple of sources of potential gifts for our friends in the West Indies. We want to take something typically Australian with us when we go, but want to avoid clichés, tackiness and a bad case of the ‘what the hell do I do with this?’. So we went to two outstanding sources of Australian excellence.
The first is Tolga Woodworks, which is a showroom, workshop and cafe all under one roof. They exhibit the work of wood artists, make decorative household items, and sell wood billets and turning blanks for home woodworkers – all sorts of interesting and unusual timbers. I also need to give honourable mention to the café, where the coffee is outstanding and the GF chocolate hazelnut cake with chocolate ganache and cream had my absolutely undivided attention for a good 20 minutes… For my friend and her husband we bought a beautiful small burl bloodwood box, the sort of thing in which you keep earrings if you’re female and business cards if you’re male, and a small chopping board made of 6 different woods fitted together in stripes. For ourselves, we bought two tiny square wooden bowls for sea salt and coarse ground pepper, each with its own tiny scoop/ spoon. One is dark wood, for pepper, and the other is light, for salt.
The second stop was Mount Uncle Distillery. This is a wonderful place, very tranquil and beautiful, surrounded by banana plantations, huge old trees, lush tropical gardens, and the most outstanding café/cellar door for tasting the product. They’ve won gold, silver and bronze medals for their rum, gin and liqueurs, and we wanted to see if any of the rum was good enough to take to Barbados, the earliest home of the golden drop. Sampling was of course mandatory… The Iridium dark rum was sensationally good, tasting and smelling of sunshine, smooth on the palate and developing flavours without harshness or bite. They’ve got beautiful bottles too, worth keeping once the contents have gone. They’re screenprinted with tropical vegetation at the top and reef fish and coral at the bottom, to represent the flora and fauna of FNQ. Carrying rum to Barbados is a bit like selling snow to Eskimos, but I want to redeem our national reputation. She tried some Bundaberg rum, and used language…. She’s right. It IS like paint stripper. So finding the good stuff was important!
What I can’t adequately communicate in a blog is how divine both of these purchases SMELL! The woods are aromatic and mellow and spicy – and so’s the rum. One smells of warmth, woodshavings and teak oil. The other smells of vanilla and sunshine. C’mon, WordPress, we need a button for aroma.
More soon. I’ll be back on the sewing kick now our trip’s over. The Tree of Life beckons…