And now for the drier half of yesterday’s activities.
The Atherton Tableland is famous for its dairy farming. The climate is cooler than down by the sea, the grass is thick and lush thanks to the plentiful rainfall, and the rolling hills are full of Friesians and Holsteins. I’ve mentioned the Mungalli Creek dairy in a previous post, but this time we went to Gallo’s, drawn irresistibly by the lure of fresh cheese – and chocolate!
It’s a family business, and rather than jumping on the same bandwagon as other local farmers, and selling their milk through supermarket chains, they’ve gone the other way. Their milk is channelled into cheese and yoghurt production, and the added value products seem to be paying off for them, as their large shop and café were bustling, even mid-week. You get offered tastings before you buy, of both cheese and chocolate (oh, the hardship!), the prices are reasonable, and we came away with modest quantities of both. The Husband went for Gallo Volcano, a wax covered block of hard cheese with sun-dried tomato and chilli, and I bought some lactose-free Gallobert, a Camembert-style soft cheese, wonderfully lactic and complex.
After a bit of chocolate sampling, we also bought a bag of assorted chilli, salt caramel, ginger, hazelnut and orange chocolates. The only difficulty was in restricting ourselves to three of the bonbons each – I’d happily have bought one of everything!
One of the entertaining things there is that you can watch the cheese and chocolate factories at work: there are large viewing windows. The cheese is all about huge vats of steaming curds and whey in gleaming stainless steel, with a large crane gantry for lifting the vats and pouring the contents into cheese baskets or trays. The chocolate factory is a much more hands on and peaceful process, with trays and trays of different chocolate bonbons being hand poured and unmoulded.
Today’s Adventure is still along the gastro-tour lines, as we shall be going to the Nerada Tea Plantation, which produces a significant proportion of Australia’s home grown tea, and very nice it is too. I’m hoping to come away with samples… And our morning tea will be at an old favourite, the café at the Tolga Woodworks gallery, where not only do they do a mean flourless chocolate cake, but also some very beautiful hand crafted wooden art and craft gifts.
Sadly, tomorrow it’s time to pack up and leave Atherton. We’ll be heading home via a night in Townsville again. I need to do a little shopping and laundry before we leave… almost like being at home.
Oh… We ARE at home, thanks to Miz Lizzie 🙂
Right, on with the day. More tonight!