CHEESE PLEASE – By Mary Mageau

© Mary Mageau

Another short piece from Mary Mageau – one of our best and most regular contributors – all about a simple day out.

CHEESE PLEASE.

A bright morning promised a warm, sunny day – we both needed a break – so what could be better than to head off in the car for a day away. We have been discovering unfamiliar back roads and byways as we explore the rich history of our small regional towns, while enjoying our beautiful Sunshine Coast scenery.

‘Where do you want to go today, Sally? It’s your turn to decide.’

‘Let’s head for the upper end of the Mary Valley. I would really enjoy a drive through the dairy farming region as I have never seen this part of the country before.’

My partner took up the suggestion. ‘The town of Kenilworth could be a great place for lunch. It’s been years since I was there and it isn’t too far away – located about 60 km west of Noosa. Someone told me there is a cheese factory there. We’re both crazy about cheese so this might be a good place to take a look around.’

It was decided and off we went. This lovely valley is home to the Mary River, meandering through a landscape of rolling hills, neatly planted fields of vegetables, and many majestic old shade trees. Three large farms in the valley are stocked with herds of Holstein Friesians, Brown Swiss, and Jersey cattle. All of these cows were roaming peacefully through the fields, browsing and grazing in their lush paddocks. These particular breeds have been selected for the various characteristics they contribute to creating the perfect milk. Since the early part of the twentieth century, the Kenilworth Dairies’ farmers follow on in a rich history of dairy farming in this region. Many agree that the milk produced here is of the finest quality nation-wide.

The small and vibrant town of Kenilworth came into view and sure enough, a large complex, named Kenilworth Country Foods, was discovered on the edge of town. Poppa’s Café offered alfresco dining under spreading shade trees. This led to a covered courtyard lined with an impressive larder of timber shelves. Mouth-watering, delectable sauces, pickles, chutneys, and jams were all on display here.

‘Let’s each pick up a bottle or two from the larder first, before we sample the cheeses.’

I dropped a mixed berry jam into our shopping bag as Sid selected onion jam and peach chutney. But it was the variety of cheese, yoghurt, mousse, and the homemade ice cream that left us spoiled for choice. Heaven!

After tasting an array of fabulous cheese samples, we each selected our choice of packages from the cold cabinets. The shopping bag grew heavy with wedges of mature cheddar, a soft cheese flavoured with coriander and sweet chilli, another filled with bush pepper and lemon myrtle, and finally a complex and mature Malling Red. A Devonshire tea followed by coffee treated us to the perfect lunch, and a different picturesque road led us home again.

During the next few days we joined friends for drinks and a catch-up chat, and I arranged a cheese platter as our offering. It looked so attractive I asked Sid to take a photo of it before we ate it all. Pointing his camera and leaning over the platter we laughed as he said, ‘Say, cheese.’ Snap went the shutter. The cheese is long gone now but we have a lasting memento of our Mary Valley day out.