Monday, July 07, 2008

Perfect Euro-retro picnic

We went on a mini-road trip last week. Ostensibly, Porkface had decided he wanted to climb Mt Warning (even though he climbed it ALREADY, years ago) and so he booked us a night at a B&B at Crystal Creek, near Murwillumbah, just over the NSW border near the Mt Warning National Park. More about the mountain later.

Anyway, as the resident food chief, it was my job to prepare the picnic lunch that we would have on our way down the coast. We decided to take the inland road through Chillingham and the rainforest, and I think we went through Lamington National Park at one stage too. The drive was a little longer inland, but much more lovely and certainly a great way to find a picnic spot.
The day before, I did my picnic shopping. Two sourdough baguettes from the Rock n' Roll Marketplace Bakery, a trip to Pennisi's and one to the fruit barn was all I needed.
We packed in the esky:
  • A salad of cherry tomatoes, cucumber, lemon and chopped Italian parsley
  • King Island Stormy Washed Rind cheese
  • Jindi triple brie
  • Some dried preserved saucisson, courtesy of Borgo Smallgoods
  • Sliced orange segments and mint leaves
  • Double-smoked ham slices
  • Half a bottle of Beaujolais
  • Iced water

Ah yes, it was a French-Italian feast for two. We could have been heading off on our Vespa scooters to the Italian border, or perhaps to Lake Como, circa 1956.

Whenever I don't know what to make, I always regress to French... the sweet comforting rituals always make me feel that this is the right choice. The bread, cheese, meat, salad and wine: people have been eating these foods for centuries. Do your worst, KFC! Thus it was and shall be evermore.

The best part was finding this gorgeous little picnic spot, by a running creek with a wide sandy bed, hanging shady vines and branches, picnic tables and bees and cicadas humming. We unloaded our feast, to the goggling eyes of others: their tables were piled high with frankfurter buns, mayonnaise squeeze bottles, muesli bars, peanut-butter sandwiches, and one man and his two boys were busily frying bacon on a little hotplate. Very nice, but just not in the same realm, I'm sorry.

There were a couple of disapproving looks flashed at our lunchtime wine bottle, but nothing could dampen our mood. It was the perfect picnic.

To top it all off, I found a wild lemon tree growing near the car. The bitter juice will be a sentimental addition to my evening gin and tonic.


Barbara said...

Would love directions to this spot, it sounds ideal...for when the weather warms up.

Pinky said...

The best way I can describe it is if you take the freeway south out of town, get off at Molendinar, take Beaudesert-Nerang Rd, which becomes Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd, keep going towards Numinbah Rd at Natural Bridge, and it's around there somewhere, on the right side of the road,just before a bend, marked as a rest stop. If you get to Chillingham, that's too far.