Posted by: Debra Kolkka | January 25, 2015

An Italian long table lunch

What could be better than an Italian lunch in the barrel room of an Italian winery? Not much I hear you say.

The Puglisi family has been cultivating grapes and making wine for more than 80 years. The first vintage was released in 1932 after Savlatore Cardillo and his young daughter Giuseppa came to settle in Ballandean. Father and daughter planted table grapes on their farm and from these made quantities of bulk red wine. Through war and tough times, together they created a life and a business.

In 1940 a young Italian widower, Alfio Puglisi, met and married Giuseppa. They and their 3 children have continued to expand and improve the vineyard and winery and today it is a thriving business with award winning wines.

Occasionally they hold a long table lunch in their barrel room. We thought it a good idea to attend.

The table below was just one of the long tables.

Long table lunch Ballandean Estate

The enormous barrels dominate the room.

Long table lunch Ballandean Estate


Lunch was accompanied by some great Italian music.

Long table lunch Balandean Estate

…and the food.

Long table lunch Ballandean Estate

Long table lunch Ballandean Estate

Long table lunch Ballandean Estste

Long table lunch Ballandean Estate

Long table lunch Ballandean Estate

Long table lunch Ballandean Estate

Long table lunch Ballandean Estate

Long table lunch Ballandean Estate

You may be thinking that this lunch took place in Italy, but it was actually at Ballandean Estate near Stanthorpe on the Granite Belt in Queensland, Australia. Take a look at the beautiful vineyard.

Ballandean Estate

Ballandean Estate

Ballandean Estate

The 26th January is Australia Day, a day to celebrate all things Australian, including all of the wonderful people who have recently made it home. This weekend is a long weekend, giving us a bit more time to see our beautiful country.

Here is some gorgeous Australian scenery for you to enjoy.

Granite Belt Queensland

Granite Belt Queensland


Granite Belt Queensland


I managed to get a few members of the local wildlife to sit still for a minute.

The blue skies must be seen to be believed.

Granite Belt Queensland

Granite Belt Queensland

Happy Australia Day! Thank you to all the people who make Australia the diverse and amazing place that it is.

We stayed at Cypress Ridge Cottages at Ballandean, not far from Ballandean Estate. The cottages are lovely and set in the beautiful bush.


  1. NowI am really envious, should have been there! Beautiful scenery. We have the lucky country in so many ways. Except the heat right now!

    • It is really hot out here too, but very beautiful.

  2. Happy Australia Day weekend to you! That lunch looks great!

    • Lunch was excellent. Aren’t we lucky so many Italians came to Australia with their great food and wine?

  3. Love this blog Debra. Happy Australia Day to you!

    • You too. I think we are very lucky to live here…even if I don’t always do so.

  4. This is gorgeous, and yes, I thought it would be about a winery in Italy? Wonderful

    • We are very lucky that Italians brought their wonderful food and wine culture…and coffee.

  5. Happy Australia Day……the pictures are again amazing….the trees remind me of the olive tree trunks found around Ostuni. Each one could become a story. We are enjoying watching the Australian open…even at 3 am our time. Hoping to meet again in March or April. We are counting the days.

    • The Australian open was on in the background as I was writing the post, so I guess we were watching it together.

  6. Looks great – especially the arancini. Lovely to see some summer photos as well!

    • Summer is very hot this year. The bush looks great though. There has been some rain so everything around here is green.

  7. I did my bit for Australia Day tomorrow I made some Australian meat pies.

    Sent from Samsung tablet

    • Excellent, I will drop in for one.

  8. Lovely post. Happy Australia day to you Deb

    • …and to you. It is easy to forget how beautiful Australia is. We need to come away from the city more often.

  9. Great post Deb. Happy Australia Day. I am in Orvieto, my son was married here yesterday and we were blessed with a cool but beautifully sunny day.

    • How lovely to be married in Orvieto, one of my favourite Italian towns.

  10. I would love to eat at a place like this! Beautiful pics especially of the clouds 😀

    • It was a fun day, and the scenery was gorgeous.

  11. Happy Australia Day: lovely to read such a sunny post on a dull and dour day in the Southern Highlands! Wonderful photos . . . and the menu and somehow just the ‘feeling-world’ of the place did put it somewhere Down Under 🙂 !!

    • It was a gorgeous day. The blue skies were incredible. It was a good mix of Australia and Italy.

  12. Great blog and photos Debra….. And what a fantastic long Italian lunch! Has to be one of my favourite pastimes! Happy Australia Day to you!

    • An Italian lunch is always good. The area is absolutely beautiful right now. There has been enough rain to make everything green.

  13. Happy Australia Day … and cheers to the photos of your land! Combining Australia and Italy in one post is perfect for you!

    Now that must have been some lunch. Location, food, wine, music, and company … simply perfect!

    • It was fun. If the people around us were speaking Italian we would have thought we were back in Italy.

  14. Perfect post for today! Happy AD to you too Deb. Have a fabulous new year too!

    • Happy Australia Day to you too. We had a lovely time at the Granite Belt area, it is very beautiful.

  15. I loved your take on Australia Day, Debra. You had me fooled at the beginning – I honestly thought the lunch was in Italy until I saw the menu written in English! And the fact that Ballandean would be a strange name for an Italian town. The food looks heavenly as does the scenery!

    • It was the perfect Australia Day celebration for me, a combination of Australia and Italy. It was quite obvious that the diners were Australian, but the lunch and setting was pure Italy.

  16. Hi Debra, Peter and I (who were sitting at your table and are in the first photo above) also enjoyed the food and wine very much at the long table lunch yesterday. Today we did some wine tasting and purchased a few bottles at a couple of different wineries. We then went on to have hot chocolate at Heavenly Chocolate and lunch at Vincenzo’s followed by a visit to Sutton’s to get bottles of fresh apple juice. Hope you and your friends made it back to Brisbane safely. I look forward to checking out more of your blog looking at all things Italian. I am sure it will entice us to go back to Italy sooner rather than later.

    • We also went to Vincenzo’s and Sutton’s while we were in the area. It was a great weekend and it was fun to meet you. Thank you for stopping by and saying hello.

  17. What a magnificent way to spend the day. Happy Australia Day!

    • We had a great weekend in the Stanthorpe area, the first time I have been there in many years. It is very beautiful and there are some really good wineries to visit.

  18. Oh my! You really dead got us. A piece of Italy in Australia, very cool!
    Is that long table among one similar group or different groups of customers dining?

    • The long tables are filled with anyone who wants to go along. We were a group of 4 and got to chat with some intersting people on the day.

      • Any where should do this same type of dining

  19. A belated happy Australia day! The vineyard photos are very beautiful. I did not get to go hiking in the vineyards last season so I missed the beautiful views and oh, so fresh air! If you are able to, can you enjoy the view on my behalf as well? 🙂

    • I am happy to share our lovely sunny days and clear skies. The area is beautiful…I will be back.

  20. Now I understand why the menu was written in English…it sounds like a lovely day with good food.

  21. […] January we drove to the beautiful Granite Belt to stay near Stanthorpe for Australia Day. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at a local winery and the […]

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