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During a recent visit to Emerald, CQ, I had the pleasure of visiting locally owned Crave Food & Juice Bar, specialising in healthy options. It was a truly delightful experience.

The store offers a wide range of ready-made meals, sweets, gluten-free options, sandwiches, smoothies, and fresh juices, all made with fresh, high-quality ingredients.

The store’s owner, Jody Graham, and front-of-house manager, Nickie, were incredibly welcoming and friendly, and their passion for healthy food was evident in every aspect of the store – epitomising their motto “We Sell Happiness”.

I was impressed by the variety of options available, catering to all dietary needs and preferences. The ready-made meals were flavourful and filling, and the gluten-free options were a pleasant surprise. The store’s sweets were delicious and guilt-free, and the sandwiches, rolls and croissants were freshly made.

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Instore, as I chatted with Jody, I enjoyed the vegetarian stack lasagne. It was a delightfully delicious choice. The layers of pasta, rich sauce, and savoury vegetables were perfectly balanced and appetising. What impressed me the most was the innovative and creative approach to the classic lasagne, not only making a stunning presentation, but also allowing the flavours to meld together beautifully. The use of fresh, high-quality ingredients elevated the lunch and made it a healthy option for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

The smoothies and fresh juices were a highlight for me. I was impressed by the range of ingredients used to create unique and delicious taste combinations.

I chose to partner my stack with the Sunrise juice, blended with pineapple, apple & orange. The tropical combination was perfectly balanced and refreshing and packed with vitamins and nutrients – the perfect drink to quench my thirst and boost my energy levels.

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Jody shared that she had been a professional Water Skier, sponsored by the US based World Barefoot Centre. As a busy single mum, she had been unable to find quick, easy, nutritious foods to support her exercise regime, so Crave was born. 

9 years later the busy cafe has travellers detouring through Emerald to pick up their healthy options. Crave is also contracted to supply local mining contractors. She tells me that about 80% of customers are male, collecting their selections after mine shifts and gym workouts. 

Knowing the scrumptious foods are prepared by specialty Paleo & Keto trained chef, Jane, there are also picnic boxes available, perfect to enjoy at nearby Fairbairn Dam/Lake Maraboon, where Jody still waterskis with her family when she gets a chance. She hopes to get back to high level competition again.

Adapting as necessary over the years, franchising and drive through could be future possibilities. Chef Jodie and Ann Marie, as well as 5 after-school juniors make up the rest of the Crave team alongside Chef Jane, Jody and Nickie.

Having enjoyed my lasagne and juice so much, when it was time to head home, it was an easy decision to duck back to Crave and pick up some ready-made meals to take with me.

The gluten-free pumpkin risotto was a delightful surprise, the fried rice was delicious and satisfying, the chicken pasta left me wanting more and the chicken pad thai was an absolute delight to the taste buds.

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Overall, Crave is a fantastic option for anyone looking for a healthy and nutritious meal on the go. I highly recommend giving it a try!  Order online at craveco.com.au, through the “Skip” app or pop instore to 27A Hospital Rd, Emerald, next to LJ Hooker Real Estate.

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