Some highly prized foodie treasures from around Queensland make great gifts for family and friends and you can get them at Brisbane Airport.
It’s hard to believe that it snows in Queensland but temperatures often drop below freezing during winter in the Granite Belt, just over 200km south west of Brisbane, and it’s precisely that chilled climate that produces the award-winning Symphony Hill Reserve Shiraz 2012, from grapes grown at the highest – and coolest – point in the region.
The wine has been awarded five stars by leading wine critic James Halliday and has received three international show gold medals and has been listed as one of Australia’s top 100 wines.
According to vineyard owner Ewen McPherson the high altitude produces a wine that is quite different to shiraz grown at lower altitudes, making it unique in Australia and so highly regarded that it has been served to royalty – Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge during their last visit to Brisbane – and world leaders, including former US President Barack Obama during the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane.
“It is a wine with exquisitely perfumed notes of violets and raspberry sorbet followed by an infusion of old spice and white pepper,” says Ewen.
The Best Dark Rum in the World
In contrast, Bundaberg’s award-winning Solera Rum is made amidst the sugar cane plantations of Queensland’s sub-tropical coast. It too has been recognised with an international award, named Best Dark Rum in the World in 2017 for its taste, aroma, character and quality. Bundaberg Distillery describes it as their ‘crowning masterpiece’, a rich, bold rum with notes of vanilla, fruitcake and butterscotch, and it is delivered in numbered bottles.
The Bundaberg Distillery was established in 1888 but it wasn’t until visiting US soldiers shared their love of cola with locals during World War ll that one of the world’s first mixed drinks – Bundy and Cola, was born.
Since then the distillery has become as popular as its drinks as a tourist attraction and Solera Rum is from its exclusive Master Distillers’ Collection. Solera begins its development in barrels used to age sherry, bourbon and port and each batch is blended using 12-year-old rum as the base to create a deeper and richer flavour. The system was developed in Spain for sherry and this is the first time it has been used in Australia.
Macadamia nuts and honey
From Bundaberg to the Sunshine Coast the climate is ideal for macadamia plantations and Australia is the world’s major producer of macadamia nuts which are popular around the world. But macadamia trees are sought after not only for their nuts. The flowers are a magnet for bees and honey scented with a hint of macadamia from hives scattered amongst plantations in the Sunshine Coast hinterland adds a unique taste to Macadamia Flower Honey Chocolates made by third generation chocolatiers the Verstreken family at their Belgian Delights base on the Gold Coast. The chocolate is made from scratch using traditional methods adopted from their Belgian heritage.
Sweet and spicy
Like macadamias, rosella fruit and flowers grow well in the Queensland sub-tropical climate and jam made from the fruit, with its tart flavour like raspberry and rhubarb, is a local favourite for serving with breakfast toast, scones and added to pavlova. Fortunately you don’t have to go searching for the fruit or making the jam yourself for an authentic souvenir. Stotts Delicacies of Queensland create their jam from a 30-year-old recipe, using hand-picked, crimson rosella fruit and petals from farms at Redlands, south of Brisbane and from the Sunshine Coast.
If something savoury is more to your taste, then naturally sun-dried mullet roe is a delicacy you might want to add to your shopping list. Schools of silver mullet are an unusual sight off the beaches of Bribie, Stradbroke and Moreton Islands during the winter months as they ‘surf’ the waves close to shore and fishermen at the right place at the right time can haul a brilliant catch. But dried mullet roe is like a taste of the sea and local companies harvest their catch from the large migrating schools of sea mullet that travel up the east coast.
Other gourmet delights for creative chefs include Australian spices from the outback such as bush tomato, wattle seed and artisan salt, and pepper leaf and lemon myrtle from rainforests truffle oil infused with gold flakes.