Hmm … what to do on a long weekend in south-east Queensland when the weather is turning colder? In our household, that usually means a trip to Stanthorpe and a couple of nights in front of an open fire with a glass in hand. It’s only a two-and-a-half hour drive from Brisbane and well-worth the trip.
While mostly known for its wineries, the Granite Belt is also known for its stone fruits and apples, and one of our favourite places to stop for a coffee and sweet treat before the process of wine tasting begins, is Sutton’s Cidery. It’s on the left as you drive into Thulimbah, north of Stanthorpe, opposite the unmistakable ‘Big Apple’ outside Vincenzo’s Italian café and deli. It looks like a tin shed, but inside is an alluring array of produce and an excellent café.
There is a daily sweet and savoury specials board in the cafe, with a constantly changing selection of foods such as pink lady apple and pecan crumble, rhubarb or peach pie, lemon tart and old-fashioned apple slice or in the savoury line, quiches, gourmet pies, frittatas and homemade soups. These offerings change daily depending on what is growing on the farm at the time. However, Sutton’s signature dish is their homemade apple pie served with spiced apple cider ice cream and whipped cream, washed down with Merlo coffee. It’s unbelievably good and served in a wedge big enough for two to share. Unfortunately there is no takeaway available … but it is just so delicious that it would be unusual to see leftovers on any plates!
You can try and buy the juices and ciders they make; there are lots of different kinds, such as pink lady and granny smith, and some have ingredients like lemon or ginger added to the juice. They are preservative free, which is a bonus. You can also purchase their apple cider vinegar, apple relish, apple sauce and apple butter. From personal experience, the vinegar and apple sauce mixed with some of the local Mt Stirling olive oil makes an excellent salad dressing. It’s pure ‘goodness’ all round!