Port Macquarie is dotted with nature reserves and walks. Sea Acres National Park contains an elevated rainforest boardwalk which provides a flat walking surface and makes it wheelchair and pram friendly. There is a small entry fee for the rainforest walk so the alternative for lazy, food-focussed folk like me, Sea Acres also houses the Rainforest Café which sits nestled amongst the trees. The café has a focus on using organic and local produce where possible, and even makes their own ice-cream – with flavours such as Carambar caramel (the chef-owner is French) and sweet basil spotted on our visit.
The ‘Croque Madame’ has ham off-the-bone, mustard and a thin smear of Béchamel sandwiched between two slices of malty wholemeal bread. Topped with two fried eggs, it is more satisfying than it first appears. The ‘Brioche with poached eggs, lemon ricotta & dukkah’ features feather-light brioche with a cakey crumb contrasted with creamy ricotta and the crunch of dukkah. Hidden somewhere in there are also baby spinach leaves. The food here is simple and filling, yet very reasonably priced.
A short drive northwards sees us at Ricardoes, home of some of the best strawberry jam as sampled when Mistress returned with some from her own Port Macquarie trip – it’s thick and jelly-like and does not mould easily. Luckily, the jam is also sold through their online store as well as gourmet stockists in Sydney, should you not be in the vicinity of Port Macquarie. But one of the big attractions of Ricardoes is being able to pick your own strawberries and lettuces from their greenhouse!
Walking up and down aisles upon aisles of strawberry-fragranced vines is a novelty, as is being able to snip off whichever ones take your fancy. Returning to their café/store, your pickings are weighed and the cost calculated. The reward is some of the tastiest strawberries I’ve had the joy of eating in years. Jars of Ricardoes jam, tomato relish, tapenade and other condiments can be purchased in-store, or you can sit down and enjoy a strawberry smoothie – packed with berry flavour and not needing the swirl of pink topping, really – whilst looking out over the tomato vines. Tomatoes are not available for visitor picking unfortunately, but plenty of fun is to be had with the strawberries.
Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, Pacific Drive, Port Macquarie NSW
Tel: (02) 6582 4444
Opening Hours: 7 days 9am-4pm
221 Blackmans Point Rd, Port Macquarie NSW
Tel: (02) 6585 0663
Opening Hours: 7 days 7am-6pm (café open from 9am-3pm)
Cuisinart Ice-cream maker giveaway winner
Thank you to those who took the time to enter this competition courtesy of Kitchenware Direct. Monsieur Poisson had the pleasure of reading all of your lovely ice-cream/frozen dessert memories and has chosen the following one as the lucky winner:
Red totally rocks in the kitchen! Hmm childhood ice cream flavour? For me, we waited patiently every week as the Home Ice Cream truck drove around the neighbourhood.. I can remember its chime to this day and it still gets me all excited! My dad would buy a box of the mango and vanilla ice cream and god, it would just be the best thing ever. So yes for me, MANGO. But hey now I'm all grown up I just wanna make matcha ice cream with lots and lots of bitter matcha :D
Catty, I have sent you an email notifying you as the winner and someone from Kitchenware Direct will be contacting you soon regarding how to claim your chosen prize and to arrange for delivery. Congratulations, and I hope to see you making lots of ice-cream soon!
Thank you once again Kitchenware Direct for their generous giveaway offer.