Ladies at Lunch – Easter… what does it mean to you?
It’s not everyday you get to eat chocolate for breakfast! But in our household, Easter Sunday is the one exception. Curious to discover how others celebrate this delicious time of year, I caught up with a bunch of ladies over lunch at the beautiful Noosa Boathouse to learn about their Easter traditions.
There’s something quite special about Easter time, and it’s not just the chocolate eggs and hot cross buns (although that is a definite bonus). Not only is it one of the most significant religious events of the year, it’s also a time to stop and spend a precious few days with family and friends creating memories and traditions that are passed down through the generations. Whether it’s enjoying a delicious seafood spread on Good Friday, lamb roast at Mum’s on Easter Sunday or the backyard easter egg hunt with the kids, Easter has a different meaning for all of us.
Joining me for lunch and sharing their traditions was Krissi Neal, former marketing manager with SeaLife Mooloolaba; Ann-Maree Ackroyd, owner of House of George Maroochydore; Vicki Cooper, owner of Star Noosa Realty; Cathy Barratt, marketing and communications coordinator for Ramsay Health Care’s Sunshine Coast hospitals, Sarah Bradford, owner and marketing manager at Noosa Boathouse; and Maree McGrath, sales manager at Profile Magazine.
profile: Christmas or Easter. What time of year do you prefer most and why?
krissi: Definitely Christmas, I love how it brings people together, although I do miss a snowy Christmas in the UK!
sarah: I’d have to say Christmas, as there’s a really nice vibe about the summer holidays on the Coast. Noosa has a fantastic atmosphere during both Easter and Christmas holidays, where the town and river come alive. So I find it energising to be among all that.
ann-maree: Easter, as it is a little more relaxed and there is
cathy: Christmas. I enjoy the peace and serenity away from the demands of work and treasure time spent with family. I have a sacred bond with my 17-year-old daughter. I always try to make this time of year enchanted, life affirming and full of joyous memories. As a mother of a child who has been living with cancer for nine years, I make a point of going to church on Christmas Day and I always, always pray for a Christmas miracle – that the cancer will be no more and that she can live a long life, without fear, without pain and to her full potential. Hope is delicious!
profile: What are your traditions at Easter?
vicki: I do absolutely nothing. I am just very happy to have four days off! You don’t feel you have to do anything, it can be a guilt free break – apart from the chocolate that is!
krissi: I find Easter very different from the UK, where I grew up. I was raised by my grandmother who was a very religious lady. I have great memories of Easter time, the house always smelt of hot cross buns and it was all about family. Everyone would go to church on Sunday morning and then we would get together for a beautiful big lamb roast. If I was to have my own family one day I would love to bring back some of those traditions I grew up with.
maree: We don’t eat meat on Good Friday, we only have fish, that’s quite important to us. We always go to church on Easter Sunday and I still do the Easter bunny thing for my son Josh, even though he knows it’s not real, it’s just tradition and he still loves it. Most times we end up with so much chocolate we take it up to the hospital for sick kids and it teaches Josh how important giving is at that special time of year.
ann-maree: As kids growing up, we always went camping and that’s what I do now with my kids.
sarah: We are crazy busy at the restaurant over the Easter long weekend because we do a lot of seafood on Good Friday and we are always busy for Sunday lunch. We usually close on the Monday and enjoy some family time, where we catch up and have a nice meal together. It’s nice to remind the kids about the true meaning of Easter, it’s easy for them to get carried away with the chocolate!
cathy: I had a very interesting upbringing, my mother is Christian and my father a Buddhist. From an early age I have had an open mind to a range of different ways of interpreting the world and I carried that on with my daughter. There was that underlying faith and we would observe that at Easter time.
profile: Is there a particular meal you prepare at Easter that is a tradition?
krissi: My grandma always used to do a big beautiful Sunday roast every Easter. Now, I feel Easter has lost its meaning and it’s just an excuse for a long weekend and a barbecue with friends.
sarah: I definitely try to eat seafood on Good Friday. We are so lucky to have a great supply of fresh seafood on the Coast, so there’s no excuse for not eating some of the great local produce we have in our region. Easter Monday is the only day off I have over the weekend, so we always try to catch up with family and friends for either brunch or a barbecue during the day.
cathy: Lauren and I enjoy making pancakes together in the lead up to Easter, a tradition passed down to me from my paternal grandmother.
ann-maree: We make a nice meal, something more up market or special, we put in more effort to do something different so it feels like a special meal – the cook books, Maggie and Gourmet Traveller come out.
Most times we end up with so much chocolate we take it up to the hospital for sick kids and it teaches Josh how important giving is at that special time of year.”
profile: Do you think Easter has become too commercial?
krissi: Yes, definitely. It would be interesting to survey the younger generation and ask them what they know about Easter, apart from relating it to chocolate.
sarah: Yes, I think Easter has definitely become more commercial than it used to be, especially when you see hot cross buns at the supermarket on Boxing Day!
maree: I think any of the holidays can become commercial if you let them and everybody has a different view on what Easter means, so if you don’t want it to be commercial then it doesn’t have to be.
cathy: Unfortunately, yes. Easter eggs, hot cross buns, cards and Easter bunnies in January, when most of us have just starting gearing up for the new year. Why accelerate time when it’s not necessary?
ann-maree: Absolutely, easter eggs were in the supermarkets the week after New Year this year!
profile: Is an easter egg hunt part of your Easter Sunday?
krissi: I personally don’t do this, but most of my friends with children do!
sarah: Not always, but yes if there are kids around. It’s priceless seeing their faces light up when they find them, but I always like to hide some in tricky spots as it keeps them occupied for hours!
maree: Absolutely. It doesn’t matter that my son is way too old.
cathy: Not anymore. When my daughter was little, the Easter Bunny would visit. Sometimes they were chocolate and sometimes they were hatching chickens. New life and happy squeals of delight all round!
ann-maree: Absolutely. You’re never too old for an egg hunt. We also kept up the powder rabbit footprints and cotton wool tail caught in the window for as long as we could.
It’s nice to remind the kids about the true meaning of Easter, it’s easy for them to get carried away with the chocolate!”
profile: Now the most important question of all – what is your favourite Easter egg?
cathy: Mine was always the Darrell Lea Rocky Road. I would eat the whole thing in one day.
ann-maree: The Cherry Ripe one.
krissi: I would have to say the UK Dairy Milk traditional thick egg with the bunny carved in.
maree: Anything dark chocolate.
ann-maree: It has to be white chocolate.
This was my first visit to the Noosa Boathouse and it certainly won’t be my last!
Situated on Gympie Terrace at Noosaville, this stunning three-level bistro, bar and events destination boasts an absolute waterfront location, offering panoramic river and Hinterland views – it doesn’t get much better.
And if you think the views are great, wait until you try the food!
On the day of our visit we sampled the four-course shared feast, which offers tremendous value at just $59 per person.
To start, we enjoyed Cedar Street halloumi with watermelon wagyu and bresaola – a delicious precursor to what was to come and it just kept getting better!
Next was the oyster mushroom risotto and Mooloolaba barbecue prawns, both dishes were bursting with flavour and arrived beautifully presented on the plate.
For mains we tucked into grilled mahi mahi and slow cooked beef cheek. The fish was cooked to absolute perfection, as was the beef, each mouthful was a taste sensation.
But just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, the coconut and kaffir lime brulee with lemon sorbet made an appearance! Boasting a caramelised crispy top, the creamy dessert had the ideal consistency and was beautifully balanced with the tart lemon sorbet.
The entire dining experience at the Noosa Boathouse got the big thumbs up from the lunching ladies – the food, service and views creating the perfect trifecta for a beautiful afternoon.
The four-course feast is available all year around, and the menu changes seasonally. The Noosa Boathouse is also perfect for events or afternoon drinks at the rooftop bar.
Check it out, you’ll love it!
194 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville
Phone: 5440 5070