Food Porn in the Byron Hinterland

7 Jan

When the gorgeous Francesca from SummerHills Retreat gave me a call and suggested a little tour of her local region in the Byron Hinterland I was expecting a drive and a chai latte (because that seems to be the thing to drink in them there hills).

What I actually got was an education in just how much the area has to offer and that it’s positively dripping in spectacular produce, and bloody good restaurants.

I admit to being a tad hungover when my chariot dropped me to SummerHills Retreat but a walk through the stunning grounds and some fresh mountain air was precisely what the doctor ordered.

macadamia trees, Summer Hills RetreatWe walked through the macadamias to what’s affectionately called the Yin and Yang Tree. Two gorgeous figs that have entwined over the years and they wrap around each other in a woody lovers embrace.

Not to be confused with a lovers embrace with a woody.

Different.

Yin & Yang Tree, Summer Hills Retreat

Yin & Yang Tree, Summer Hills Retreat

A stunning vista on the side of a hill is the perfect place to go to recoup and recharge. Whether relaxing by the pool or doing yoga and getting massages is your bag, SummerHills caters for whatever kind of retreat you desire.

Pool area Summer Hills RetreatI often think that a health spa with green juice and yoga all day would be amazing, but in actual fact I’d die on the first day.

I was a little bit happy to note that the the gorgeous suite I mooched around in had a mini-bar.

Summer Hills RetreatMy kind of retreat.

Next up we went for a spot of lunch at the old Opussum Primary School.

Lilliana's Cafe, Possum CreekA chance drive through the hills changed Joanne’s life when she and her partner Gregory happened across the old primary school in Possum Creek and Lilliana’s Cafe was born.

The decor is a very relaxed plantation house vibe and the food was gorgeous.Lilliana's Cafe

Inside Lilliana's Cafe at Possum Creek.

Inside Lilliana’s Cafe at Possum Creek.

What I loved was the fact that almost everything is sourced locally.

My shredded pork shoulder with fennel and apple salad was a pig from Bangalow, a stone’s throw down the road.

Shredded Pork Shoulder with Apple and Fennel Salad with Jalapeño Yoghurt andPickled Carrots.

Shredded Pork Shoulder with Apple and Fennel Salad with Jalapeño Yoghurt andPickled Carrots.

The mahi mahi, my dish of the day, was  served with Greekish quinoa salad and pesto was line caught off the local beach.

Mahi Mahi with Greek-ish Quinoa Salad and Pesto

Mahi Mahi with Greek-ish Quinoa Salad and Pesto

It doesn’t get much fresher and more wonderful than that unless I personally pick it myself…. and I was on holidays so that wasn’t going to happen.

Joanne, proprietor of Lilliana's cafe

Joanne, proprietor of Lilliana’s cafe

When we walked in proprietor Joanne greeted us like old friends and as I left she invited me to pop into the kitchen and meet her head chef, Graeme Stockdale whose food philosophy closely resembles mine – eat fresh and share the love.

Or similar.

Their pastry chef is Mark Conroy from famed Brasserie Bread in Sydney and they told me he was a little shy. A few sweet words from me and he flashed me his buns in no time.

I’ve always had a knack.

Pastry Room at Lilliana's CafeAfter our delicious dessert of an Argentinian Hazelnut Pavlova with Mango and Blueberries (every bit as amazing as it sounds but no photographic evidence as I inhaled it too quickly) we decided we should head down into town for one last look at another amazing local treasure.

The Italian Diner, on Bangalow main street is wonderful for a multitude of reasons, but for me I love the idea of dining in the shadow of Sophia Loren’s slightly fuzzy pits.

The Italian Diner, Bangalow

The Italian Diner, Bangalow

The room is tres cool. Dark wood floors, perfectly placed mirrors and a stylish bar.

All I require really.

We were too full to sample more food here, but Francesca has named it as one of her top 5 in the area and swears the home-made gelato is bellisima (that’s fancy Italian for totes amazeballs).

DSC_0112I have started a new little love affair with the hills behind Byron Bay.

I somehow get the feeling that its slightly slower paced life, without compromising any style, is totally in keeping with my being Cuban philosophy.

Perhaps they need me to go more often to ensure they keep up the good work.

***THIS POST WAS SPONSORED BY SUMMERHILLS RETREAT WHO SHOUTED ME ALL THE FOOD I COULD STUFF IN MY BELLY****

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

If you subscribe now to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list you will automatically receive my new mini-eBook ‘A Bit On The Side’  – A collection of fabulous summer salads and side dishes.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All ($35) head to the Holsby Shop right now.

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Hooking up with the IBOT gang over at EssentiallyJess because it’s Tuesday and I’m a’blogging.

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4 Responses to “Food Porn in the Byron Hinterland”

  1. dad down under January 7, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    Food porn and pool porn in the same post, this is too much for a Tuesday morning.

  2. ksbeth January 7, 2014 at 8:33 am #

    wonderful! all of your porn sounds wonderful!

  3. foodisthebestshitever January 7, 2014 at 10:10 am #

    Effing love it. Well
    Humorous! Smily face

  4. Have a laugh on me January 7, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    It looks so inviting and is just an hour from me, I really need to explore more – part of my thing this year is to do and be more with myself. And get more woody on 😉 xx

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