Monday, July 02, 2007

Stanthorpe: Happy Valley Retreat's bush breakfast

We spent an absolutely gorgeous two days up in Stanthorpe, in the heart of the QLD Granite Belt. (Creepily enough, the amount of metal in the surrounding rocks and the altitude means that it's hit-and-miss for picking up radio stations in the area. A bit too Picnic At Hanging Rock for me!) We stayed at Happy Valley Retreat, about five minutes from the main drag of Stanthorpe and well-equipped for the 0-1 degrees Celsius temperatures with individual cedar cabins nestled among the sleeping vines, each with its own log fire heater. Delicious.
In between visiting wineries and toasting cosy midnight marshmallows over the fire, we found time to try one of Happy Valley's breakfasts. They spruik themselves as having been voted "best bush breakfast" by The Sunday Mail, but I haven't since been able to find any actual hard evidence of that.
Anyway, the breakfast was indeed good. After stumbling out of the frozen morning into the spacious, warm and countrified dining room, we sampled macadamia muesli with natural yoghurt and fresh berries at the plentiful buffet. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate all a big favourite with the crowd, as was the toast-your-own bread selection.
Eventually someone arrived at our table and asked: "Poached, fried, or scrambled?"
Fifteen minutes later, two enormous plates were delivered, loaded down with piping-hot bacon, sausages, a fat hash brown, roast tomato with herbs, sauteed mushrooms and two eggs. Huge, huge breakfast. Obviously that freezing air tends to work up some mountainous appetites!
My eggs were poached to super-perfection: round, firm, free-range, delicious. Mr Meatlover skipped the vegies as usual for a meatfest extraordinaire, and pronounced the verdict: "Fab".
Definitely something to remember for our next trip up the range.

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