Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat: The food edition

Warning: Do not read this post while hungry. 

Seafood paella, Gwinganna style.
Seafood paella—Gwinganna style.

Urban dictionary describes food porn as “taking mouth-watering pictures of delicious food and proliferating them throughout various social media websites as status updates, thus tempting all those not even currently hungry into getting food-horny and blowing all of their heroic dieting efforts to hell”.

And this post is food porn of the very best kind … it’s all gluten-free and dairy-free. So it’s guilt free!

One of the major benefits of spending seven days at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in Tallebudgera Valley was getting to enjoy the unforgettable meals created from fresh, local certified organic produce, most of which was harvested from the on site gardens and orchards.

Chef Hermann
Gwinganna’s Head Chef Hermann Schafellner.

Each day Chef Hermann Schafellner and his team create gastronomical masterpieces with a focus on low human interaction food … basically the food served had undergone no to minimal change from its original place in nature.

And as we were told by our on our first day, “We’ll give you what you need, not what you want”, which is a fair call because at one stage what I really wanted for afternoon tea was sour cream and chive Pringles but what I got was pumpkin slice and my body thanked me.

Sure, after five days of main meals with a strong focus on white fish, I was a little over it … but then Hermann dished up some quinoa chicken san choi bow and seafood paella and all was forgiven!

Working with Hermann to lead Gwinganna’s food revolution is organic gardener Shelley Pryor, who used to work as the retreat’s Sous Chef.

Shelley’s passion for food and gardening shines out of her like sunbeams and her knowledge of nutrition offers chefs and guests a glimpse into the world of whole foods.

One morning we took a walk through the garden with Shelley—and Silkie Bantam chicken Prince William who was snuggled under her arm—and she gave us an entertaining and enlightening lesson in organic gardening featuring everything from how to tend to your worm farm to how to fertilize your pumpkins (yes, we watched plant sex).

Gwinganna even has its own apiary (also known as a bee yard) where there are three different varieties of bees making honey.

During our visit they harvested the hives which resulted in 35 litres of honey, with the sweet stuff sold in the retreat’s store.

“A Gwinganna experience allows guests to re-evaluate their relationship with food and to experience and learn about the meaning of true nourishment.” —Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

And now onto the meals. I didn’t get a chance to photograph them all because I was too busy eating, but here are some of my favourites:

For those who would like to try to incorporate a little Gwinganna into their lives, here is the recipe for their signature Tahini balls, which were served up as an afternoon snack and also a post-dinner treat for those celebrating birthdays during our visit.

These little balls are gluten and dairy free but packed with goodness.

Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat's signature Tahini balls.
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat’s signature Tahini balls.

Yolande’s tahini balls

½ cup hulled tahini
½ cup honey
½ cup dessicated coconut
½ cup LSA (ground linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds) or almond meal
1 cup dried fruits (apricots, figs and sultanas)
¼ cup raw almonds soaked and chopped

Mix all ingredients in a bowl to a firm consistency. Roll into walnut size balls and toss lightly in coconut. Store in refrigerator.

Makes 20.

julia child

To read more about my trip to Gwinganna, click here.

Editor’s note: The trip to Gwinganna was paid for by the author and all views expressed are the author’s own.

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