Nothern Rivers Regional Cuisine
With so much fresh local produce available, eating your way around the countryside is a popular pastime in the Northern Rivers.
A number of outlets have been set up to showcase local cuisine, such as the Macadamia Castle at Knockrow just north of Ballina, where you can sample macadamias plain, roasted, salted, honey-coated, chocolate-covered and just about any other way you like 'em.
At Tropical Fruit World in the Tweed Valley , you can try a range of exotic produce that you won't find in your normal greengrocers - like chocolate pudding fruit, jak fruit, casimoras, carambolas and cactus fruit. You can also see how all these fruits are grown on a tour of the property and, whatever you do, don't leave without trying their ice-cream.
As you drive around the hills and ridges, particularly around Lismore, you'll notice all the lush coffee plantations. Serious caffeine addicts should stop at Clunes for the unique 'coffee tasting' ceremony, where their extra-strong espresso will soon sort out the men from the boys, or head out to Zentveldts at Newrybar where you can sample the award-winning blends that may soon be featured on Starbucks menus in Australia. In the Tweed region, you can visit the Madura Tea estates and sample the brew preferred by the NSW Government offices.
For fresh seafood straight from the trawler you can pretty much try any coastal town. The co-op culture is alive and well at Yamba, Iluka, Maclean, Evans Head, Ballina and Tweed Heads.
Among the 'seachangers' who have recently settled in the Northern Rivers are a host of award-winning chefs whose sophisticated cafes and restaurants attract rave reviews from the most respected food guides. 'Eat Streets' have developed along beachfront esplanades and in country towns where you can easily while away the afternoon or evening sampling unique regional cuisine and Australia 's best wines.
Northern Rivers Tourism has produced an excellent glovebox guide - On the Gourmet Food Trail - which lists all the places where you can sample local products from crabs and oysters through to olives and stonefruit. It also lists the most popular 'Eat Streets' and food festivals, like Taste of Byron, Casino Beef Week and Lismore's Herb Festival, that are held on an annual basis.