On the drive up to Maleny, once you pass the turn-off for Australia Zoo, things really start to get green and picturesque. Winding your way up that last mountain to the town, the change in altitude and climate is clearly defined. This is a really special part of Queensland, and it takes the utmost pride in its produce.
Maleny Dairies is organising a fantastic five-course degustation of local foods and delicacies, as prepared by Sunshine Coast chef Matt Yurko.
Matt Yurko runs The Canape Project, and is well-known for bringing a wow-factor to the events he caters. He got started in bespoke catering after a long and successful international career as a chef and a subsequent move to the Sunshine Coast. Matt's menus consistently show restraint and simplicity, but also use the best ingredients available to make something pretty gorgeous.
His partners in crime for this banquet make and sell some of the area's best food and wine.
Maleny Black Angus Beef is a beef producer that is dedicated to offering an ethical, sustainable and healthy product. Angus beef is one of the tastiest types of beef available, and Australian Angus is recognised and ordered at restaurants around the world. Maleny Black Angus Beef is fed only on grass, and this type of diet inherently leads to a stronger, more "natural-tasting" beef.
If you've ever had the pleasure of wandering into Maleny Food Co (right on the main drag in town), you'll be familiar with the huge range of gourmet delights within this relatively small shop. Crowding into the small fromagerie might make for awkward shuffling with fellow cheese-hounds, but the offerings inside more than makeup for any elbows or coffee breath from other customers. Their truffle bries are my personal favourite, and the ice cream bar in the main section seems to pull in every single person walking past the shop.
Maleny Cheese Factory utilises the exceptional dairy available in Maleny to produce some stunning cheeses and yoghurts. From Greek-style soft cheeses to harder Swiss-style cheese, everything is made on-site under careful supervision. Maleny Cheese has regularly received local, state and national fresh food awards, and all products are gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly.
Clouds Vineyard The Barrel facilitates the bringing together of great wines under one roof. Recently renovated, their business brings them into contact with the most important new wines in the industry. They'll be showcasing an impressive range of wines for the degustation, working closely with chef Matt to pair the wines perfectly with each course.
The wares from Strawberry Fields and Tim Adams Speciality Coffee really need to be seen, smelt and tasted to do them justice. They'll both make the perfect ending to the meal (though who knows, they would work just as well as the heroes of an espresso martini or a daiquiri to really get the party started on arrival).
Guests will be met and escorted to a secret and secluded location "On The Farm At Maleny", riding on the back of a tractor. On arrival, guests will be welcome with champagne and entertained by the performers from Aerial Dreaming Entertainment. During the afternoon, there'll also be some live music.
Well, this is the Sunshine Coast hinterland, so leaving the car at home will take a little more planning than just jumping on a train. If you really can't find a designated driver, options could include rideshare services or staying over. Why not try Spicers Tamarind Retreat?
If you end up being the designated driver, never fear as the event offers free valet parking,
For those of us going absolutely all-out, yes you can bring your helicopter and park it there. Just make sure you let them know in plenty of time.