Nestled in the hills between Crows Nest and Haden in south east Queensland is a lush green farm. For a century it was a dairy farm, but today the dairy cows have been replaced by olive trees and grapevines and the milking shed is now the cellar door of the Bunnyconnellen Olive Grove and Vineyard.
Peter and Janie Simmonds have been farming olives and grapes here since 1996. At the cellar door it’s not only wines and olives that are for sale. Extra virgin olive oil vies for space on the shelves with delicious tapenades, gourmet balsamic vinegars, bush honey and award winning marmalade, with all the ingredients sourced on the farm.
Likewise, the food served from the cellar door kitchen at themed lunches is either grown on the property or on other local farms and there is a conscious effort to achieve the lowest food miles possible. Bastille Day is celebrated at Bunnyconnellen Olive Grove and Vineyard with a luncheon menu inspired by regional French dishes and family favourites.
The meal starts with an entrée of traditional Provençal ‘Tournament’ tapenade, a bronze medal winner at the Sydney Royal Fine Food show, mixed with fresh tomatoes and red onion and served on grilled bread. Le plat principal, Cassoulet, is robust and flavoursome – perfect for a cool winter’s day when accompanied by a glass of Bunnyconnellen Wash-House Red Shiraz. The combination of lamb, pork, sausage and duck with beans and vegetables harvested from the garden just outside the door is rich and hearty. The third course, le fromage, includes local camembert and grilled haloumi on wafer thin crispbread. Le dessert is always the best part of the meal and the poached figs in orange syrup are tender and sweet. To complete the meal coffee and tea are served with a moist raspberry and almond slice.
By fulfilling the philosophy of paddock to plate Peter and Janie ensure that all of the food is local and delicious. You can’t get much fresher than that.