You’ll find exceptional eats and drinks in this Granite Belt food trail, in a region that is filled with fabulous wineries and breweries. Long renowned for its Granite Belt cellar doors and the rich variety of local produce, the region has grown into a gourmet food lover’s paradise with Stanthorpe food experiences that will rock your socks. Use this trail to pick your favourites for the perfect Granite Belt getaway.
Granite Belt food trail
The Granite Belt is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Brisbane, Queensland. Add in a comfort stop at Allora and you will probably take three hours to get there. The road is wide and open and the scenery relaxing green countryside.
Check the map below so you can follow the Granite Belt food trail with ease and enjoy some wonderful Stanthorpe food.
TOP TIP – When planning your trip remember that many of these small businesses are not open seven days a week. You’ll find most places open Thursday to Monday.
Kerry Heaney and Therese Fenwick at the pianola at Heritage Estate Winery.
Heritage Estate Winery
Start with a stop at Heritage Estate Winery. Along with an impressive list of award-winning wines, Heritage Estate Winery at Cottonvale is filled with fine antiques. There’s a 17 seat rosewood and leather table where Queensland’s Executive Council sat in 1859 when Queen Victoria declared Queensland a colony.
Heritage Estate Winery is a favourite with wine writer James Halliday who gives it a five-star rating. They serve lunch Friday to Sunday featuring Granite Belt produce and also offer degustation dinners with silent movies in the background.
There’s also a very cute little cottage here which is one of the oldest on the Granite Belt. I have included it in my eight top places to stay on the Granite Belt.
747 Granite Belt Drive, Cottonvale.
Jersey Girls at Stanthorpe Cheese
You’ll see the Jersey girls grazing in the paddock behind Stanthorpe Cheese at Thulimbah, and it makes a great Granite Belt food lover’ guide second stop.
Rosco and Karen make the farmhouse cheeses here from a single herd of Jersey cows, and the cheeses reflect the flavours of the seasons.
Their ploughman’s platter lunch or a cheese platter are fabulous ways to try the cheeses. Pick from the intense and creamy Snowfall (a double brie style), Rosco’s Rough Red (a strong washed rind that’s not for the faint-hearted), soft and salty Brass Monkey Blue (blue vein) and the Jersey Cow Feta.
4 Duncan Lane, Thulimbah
Big enough for two, Sutton’s apple pie is still hard to share. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Sutton’s Juice Factory
The first stop on my Granite Belt food lover’s guide is always Sutton’s Juice Factory, where you will find the best apple pie in the world. It’s my favourite pie place on the Granite Belt, and they match the enormous slice of pie (you could share it between two) with a great Merlo coffee.
Dave and Ros Sutton came to the Granite Belt from Cairns where Dave worked on the trawlers. Tired of sending their apples off to the market for little return, they now value add onsite with an impressive range of house-made products. You’ll find it hard to walk out without filling your car with apple goodness.
Their dine-in range includes house-made cakes and the most delicious sausage rolls which I matched with a mulled apple juice. There’s always something new to try here so don’t be shy, give it a go. Sutton’s use real butter and premium quality ingredients so it is all going to taste great.
There’s also an impressive range of products here that you can take home. On my last visit, I left with their house-made tomato sauce and a bottle of limoncello.
10 Halloran Drive, Thulimbah; suttonsfarm.com.au
Try a house-made sausage roll at Sutton’s matched with mulled apple juice.
Paddle of beer at Granite Belt Brewery, a stop on the Granite Belt food trail. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Granite Belt Brewery Beer and bratwurst
If you are looking for a great locally brewed beer with a beer hall atmosphere, you’ll find it at Granite Belt Brewery.
They came very close to getting wiped out by the bushfires (right up to the back fence), and water restrictions due to drought have posed other problems, but the beer is still flowing strong here. You can watch the brewery at work through a glass window, hear the story of how it’s made by owner Geoff Davenport and then enjoy a tasting paddle in the beer lounge. Geoff is working on using more local produce in his beers following the popularity of his Strawberry Kolsch and Rhubard Crumble Wheat beer. Give their Kalbar pumpkin ale and local pear and ginger ale a try.
It’s full of quirky humour, like budgie smugglers on the wall, and the beer will undoubtedly hit the spot. Top it off with a choice from the menu which includes beer lover favourites such as pulled pork burgers, chippies, nachos and pulled pork burgers.
There are 19 cute, country-style cabins here as well set on the 12-hectare property.
146 Glenlyon Drive, Stanthorpe
Ashbern Farms serve up delicious strawberry sundaes – a must-stop on the Granite Belt food trail.
Ashbern Farms strawberry sundaes
My mother will tell you that I have loved strawberries since before I could talk, so it’s no surprise that I was in rapture over the caramel strawberry sundae at Ashbern Farms. They use a caramelised balsamic vinegar to highlight the sweet strawberry flavour, and the result is a blissful Stanthorpe food experience.
You can wander the fields and pick your own strawberries. Entry is free, and you pay by the weight of the punnet you have picked.
Be sure to check their website first as strawberry picking is seasonal and usually open from October to May.
2 West Road, Stanthorpe
Peeking inside the window at Essen, Stanthorpe, a great dining spot. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Essen is one of the new places to eat while you are in Granite Belt Wine Country. Run by a family team of Clarissa, Stu and Claudia, Essen Restaurant serves home-style cooking made with love along with the sort of Stanthorpe food that will excite your palate.
You’ll eat dumplings made to grandma’s recipe, authentic pork schnitzel with the most delicious potato salad and apple strudel that will bring joy to an Austrian’s heart. The produce is straight from the Granite Belt to you, drawing from the best growers and artisans.
The restaurant is located in a cute cottage which has a beautiful garden at the rear. It’s open Wednesday to Saturday for dinner and bookings are strongly recommended. Essen is just around the corner from Apple Blossom Cottage.
2 McGregor Terrace, Stanthorpe
Tuck into a burger at 60s style diner Blue Topaz.
Blue Topaz Diner
I loved the retro 60s style Blue Topaz diner which serves burgers, sandwiches and shakes. It’s located just 10 minutes south of Stanthorpe at the Blue Topaz Caravan Park and has a real rock and roll diner feel with plenty of fluro lighting and a jukebox.
The burgers are well priced ($10 to $13) and came with complimentary popcorn while we waited (which wasn’t long). With cheesy chips, mozzarella sticks and potato wedges begging to be eaten, it’s hard to find the diet food, but you can have a simple sandwich or salad.
I recommend the Double Cheeseburger which has much more flavour than a big brand burger of the same name. Finish off with a soft-serve ice cream cone for $2.
Chilli lovers should sample burger chef Brendan Roberts’ favourite chilli burger which involves 17 hours of smoked beef.
26806 New England Highway, Severnlea.
Discover a large product range at Jamworks on the Granite Belt food trail. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Jamworks Gourmet Food
Stephanie Ingall and Christine Hood have taken over from Steph’s parents Sue and Peter Ingall to make the sort of jams that remind you that life is good.
The product range is extensive including everything from red hot chilli relish to fig, date and hazelnut paste. If you can’t find a favourite here I would be surprised.
Jamworks has outgrown the small former schoolhouse and now sits in a new building with plenty of space to offer café dining. Don’t miss the scones and jam with fresh cream for a real taste of the country.
7 Townsend Road, Glen Aplin
Luscious chocolates from Wisteria Cottage Heavenly Chocolate at Girraween.
Wisteria Cottage Heavenly Chocolate
Do you like the sound of a Granite Belt IRA Beer Caramel (Irish Red Ale beer chocolate using Granite Belt Brewery’s beer), plus a Boysenberry chocolate or a Granite Belt pyramid? I do, so I went to Chocolate Cottage near the entrance to Girraween National Park for a taste test.
Wisteria Cottage Heavenly Chocolate is owned by Glenys and Anthony Bamberry and their daughter Tash Bamberry is the chocolatier. Tash, who also works at Ballandean Estate is a self-taught chocolatier and her beer caramel is a popular seller although the recipe was difficult to perfect. The other problem happens when dad drinks the beer before the caramel is made!
It’s 11 minutes drive from St Jude’s in Ballandean to the Chocolate Cottage.
2117 Pyramids Road, Wyberba.
Melissa Thomas starts a soap making class at Washpool Skin Wellness. Photo: Kerry Heaney
The ingredients used for soap making at Washpool Skin Wellness are so pure you could eat some of them, but don’t because the flavour is soapy!
Owner Melissa Thomas makes the sort of hand-crafted natural bath and body products that make you reach for your money and walk out with arms filled with goodies.
Their soap making workshop is a full day of soapy fun and includes coffee and refreshments along the way. After listening to Melissa, you’ll never buy most of those expensive soaps again. Instead, you’ll make lots of soap to take home and learn the principles of soap making so you can continue the fun at home.
I left here laden with goodies and with the promise to myself that I will hop onto their online shop to keep my cupboard stocked and for gorgeous presents for my friends.
The soaperie is located about 20 minutes’ drive south of Stanthorpe and is open Tuesday to Sunday. It’s just around the corner from St Jude’s Cellar Door & Bistro.
6 Bents Road, Ballandean; washpool.com.au
Delicious local figs and mascarpone at St Jude’s Cellar Door and Bistro, Ballandean. Photo: Kerry Heaney
A café and Granite Belt cellar door combination, St Jude’s Cellar Door & Bistro at Ballandean is located right on the highway so you can’t miss it. Chef-owner Robert Davidson has extensive cooking experience and brings a wonderful array of local produce to the menus. He also owns a vineyard and plans to make his own wines in the future. I found the flavours exceptional here but do check the specials board to find the gourmet treats. It’s also a satellite cellar door for Sirromet, where you can taste their wines in the region. The coffee is Fonzie Abbott from Albion in Brisbane.
St Jude’s doors are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on different days so check their website for the latest details.
28200 New England Highway, Ballandean
Starting a Cooked from Scratch cooking class at Sabo’s on Severn..
Cooked from Scratch cooking class
New on the Granite Belt is Lizzie Sabo’s Cooked from Scratch cooking classes held at Sabo’s on Severn Guest House. House guests can share Lizzie’s extensive cooking experience as she takes them through her wide repertoire. Lizzie is a confident cook who delights in food and shares her knowledge easily. Best of all, participants get to eat what they have made in these small group, hands-on classes held in Lizzie and Joe’s impressive kitchen.
Another big bonus for house guests is Lizzie’s complimentary seasonal breakfast that Joe will deliver right to your door. It’s restaurant-quality food using premium local produce including some straight from the backyard.
113 Mount Stirling Road, Glen Aplin.
Breakfast on the verandah at Sabo’s on Severn
Pretty Apple Blossom Cottage in Stanthorpe. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Where to sleep
Where did I stay on this Granite Belt food trail?
The cute little three-bedroom Apple Blossom Cottage in Stanthorpe was perfect for our stay as it was just around the corner from Essen where we had dinner. There are three bedrooms – two with queen-sized beds and the third with twin beds and two bathrooms. The back deck has a huge barbeque, the lounge room has a fireplace, so frustrated fire lovers can warm themselves over a flame, and there is plenty of heritage charm and a spa.
14 O’Mara Terrace, Stanthorpe
Ridgemill Estates’ studio cabins won the Deluxe Accommodation Category of the 2019 Queensland Tourism Awards. Photo: Kerry Heaney
There’s a lot to like about this award-winning winery’s cellar door and studio accommodation at Ridgemill Estate which won silver in the Deluxe Accommodation category of the 2019 Queensland Tourism Awards. Owners Martin Cooper and Michelle Feenan have eight stylish cabins with private decks which overlook the vineyard on the 16-hectare property. The vineyard is home to the oldest Tempranillo vines in the Severn River valley and the cellar door offers tastings and casual grazing options.
218 Donges Road, Severnlea (near Stanthorpe);
More stops for your Granite Belt food lover’ guide
I only scratched the surface on this trip and there are plenty more fabulous flavours to be found in the region.
- Here are more places you’ll love to eat on the Granite Belt.
- Like to travel with your dog? Here’s how to spend a weekend in the Granite Belt with your favourite friend.
- It’s a dirty secret, but here is where you will find truffles on the Granite Belt.
- My eight favourite places to stay on the Granite Belt
Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled as a guest of Granite Belt Wine Country and Tourism Queensland.