Foodies can’t fail to fall in love with the fabulous produce of the tropics and Far North Tropical Queensland now delivers not only its signature mangoes and a vast array of desirable tropical fruits and vegetables, but also a whole new range of products from handmade cheeses to coffee and chocolate.
The food trails lead you up on to the Atherton Tablelands, it’s true, but you will also be amazed to discover what is growing in your garden – a banana flower hanging gracefully from a banana palm for example, which any Thai chef would instantly snaffle for a fragrant banana flower salad. There’s possibly fresh turmeric growing nearby, chillies, a vanilla vine or two, Tahitian limes, rambutans and mangosteens on trees in the orchard.
Dragonfruit, persimmons, black and white sapote, longans – the list is long and luscious and the produce bountiful, especially in the summer season. Visitors from abroad have been known to be aghast at running over mangoes which literally fall on to the road from their tall trees as these would have cost a fortune at home.
You will find the freshest fruit and vegetables at markets such as the Mossman markets on Saturdays when producers gather to offer boxes of succulent fruit, vegetables, herbs and other temptations such as wild spinach, preserves, exotic fruit jams and chutneys. Locally there is also seafood to die for with all kinds of fish and shellfish, meats and gourmet sausages aplenty from local butchers for your BBQ and all kinds of specialities available in the food stores and providores.
Off on the food trails you will discover the fabulous dairy produce of the Atherton Tablelands where speciality local cheeses beg to be taken home together with yoghurts bursting with local fruit and honey. Ice cream and gelato are blended with tropical fruits and the nut plantations deliver macadamias, cashews and more.
Once the domain of tobacco plantations and sugar cane fields, there’s a trend towards replacing these with coffee plantations as coffee grows wonderfully in these conditions. If that’s not enough encouragement – chocoholics take note, fantastic chocolate is also being made here to international acclaim!