Thursday, 8 August 2013

swan valley food and wine trail, western australia

A vineyard in Swan Valley.

Here's something I promised a couple of weeks ago, a post about my Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail experience.

Now if there's one thing that a food lover loves, it's a food and wine trail. I mean, a whole day swanning around (heheh, see what I did there?) and being indulgent in all things edible. Heaven.

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So after having lunch at Taylor's Cafe, Simon and I went around to Whistler's Chocolate Company, which was just next door.

Oh, what fun it is to be in a chocolate showroom surrounded by sweet delights!

The chocolates on display at Whister's Chocolate Company in Swan Valley.

We purchased dark-chocolate-coated dried strawberries, and raspberry licorice. I liked the novelty of the dried strawberries as I don't think I've had them before, but overall I found the quality of the products quite average. If by any chance I go there again, I'll ask for samples before buying.

Whistler's Chocolate Company on Urbanspoon

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After that, we stopped by at Caprino Farm, known for their goat dairy products. Unfortunately, it seemed that they didn't have any milk and yoghurt for us at this particular time of the year. (Upon visiting their website later, we see that it's best to call before dropping by.)

Still, all's not lost. During our quick gander, we met this adorable puppy called Boo, who jumped up at us ever so enthusiastically.

LOOK HOW TINY HE IS.

Awwww, Boo.

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I haven't had nougat in ages, so of course we stopped at Mondo Nougat. The selection is quite dazzling, and I decided to go with the easy decision of an assorted bag.

A bag of assorted nougats from Mondo Nougat.

It was fun going through the different flavours, which included the classic vanilla as well as interesting ones like lemon, cappuccino and more. I only wish they do more crunchy versions - I enjoy soft nougat, too, but I do have quite a fondness for crunchy nougat. Considering how skewed their offered options are, perhaps I'm in the minority?

Mondo Nougat on Urbanspoon

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Next, we dabbled in the viscous wonders of The House of Honey. Lots of honey tasting ensued. We bought a block of honeycomb, a jar of Jarrah honey (a dark honey purported to have extra awesome health benefits), and a jar of lavender honey (which tasted absolutely gorgeous).

Our haul from The House of Honey.

We also took a quick break at their Sticky Spoon Cafe. Much as I wanted to try their cakes and scones, we were still super full from our lunch, and settled for a "honey spider" instead - basically, a float made with honey sparkling water and honey ice cream. It was gentle, sweet and refreshing. However, our ice cream tasted like a plain vanilla - not quite sure what happened there. Hmm...

The Sticky Spoon Cafe on Urbanspoon

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It's time for something savoury, and The Cheese Barrel, run by Olive Farm Wines, fits the bill. This is not a cheese factory - it's just a place to buy and enjoy cheeses from all over the world, and matched with their very own wines, if you like.

They don't do free tastings here, but the staff were pretty helpful in assisting us with our choices. We ended up taking home Queso San Simon from Spain, and Healey's Pyengana Cheddar from Tasmania.

Queso San Simon from Spain (left) and Pyengana cheddar from Tasmania (right).

I only discovered smoked cheese in recent years and I am a big fan. So it goes without saying that Queso San Simon absolutely won my heart with its smooth, buttery texture and smoky ham notes. I relished the Pyengana cheddar as well - rich, crumbly, with hints of salt crystals. Yum yum.

The Cheese Barrel on Urbanspoon

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What's a food and wine trail without the wine? Don't worry, while we're not exactly connoisseurs, we do enjoy the occasional tipple. There were so many wineries on the trail, but Harris Organic Wines stood out to me, thanks to their natural approach to wine making.

My positive impression of this winery was further enhanced after meeting their cat, Arthur. He was a little reserved at first, but we quickly earned his trust.

LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL HE IS.

Arthur the cat licks me affectionately. He loves me, he really loves me!

Simon and I are quite partial to dessert wines. We picked their Rose Muscat and Tokay (aka Topaque). The Rose Muscat is lovely - sweet but not syrupy, it was light and fresh with a nice hint of acidity, and I even detected lychee notes. Then there is the Tokay, which undergoes an even more natural process - no preservatives are used, and if I recall correctly, winemaker Duncan mentioned that it was not fortified nor filtered, either, so the alcohol content is lower, and there are traces of sediment. It was indulgently delicious - like liquefied spiced honey raisins.

Wines by Harris Organic - a Rose Muscat and a Tokay ( aka Topaque).

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We made our second honey stop for the day, at Windarra Honey. This is a very simple and rustic shop, and what it may lack in shiny sophistication, it makes up for with personal charm. The beekeeper himself greeted us, showed us the beekeeping box, then led us through different honey samples plus other tasty honey-related products like honey tahini and passionfruit honey spread, which we ended up getting, along with some bee pollen and Parrot Bush honey.

Honey goodies from Windarra Honey.

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It was getting late, and Cape Lavender was our last stop for the day. Their cafe had all but closed, but we were still able to get takeaway lavender scones, which came thoughtfully packed with small tubs of cream and strawberry lavender jam.

Lavender scones from Cape Lavender.

The following day, I warmed the scones up in the oven and assembled them together with the jam and cream for breakfast. They were divine - fluffy, flaky, floral, fabulous. A real treat. It made me very, very happy.

Cape Lavender Swan Valley on Urbanspoon

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P.S. The Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail seems like it may be best experienced from Wednesday to Sunday, when most of the producers are open to visitors. If there are any particular stops you fancy, check their opening hours. To be honest, we didn't do a lot of research - other than Urbanspoon, I got some information on the Swan Valley website and we also popped by the Swan Valley Visitor Centre for a free map - great for planning your journey the old fashioned way, with a pen for circling places of interest.

21 comments:

  1. looks like a great day leaf,
    and I'm absolutely addicted
    to Lavender Honey!!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, lavender honey is so nice. I'm a convert!

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  2. Oh wow, what a lovely looking day of fancy food!

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  3. Lavender scones!!!

    Also, I'm with you on hard nougat. I had the most incandescently incredible hard torrone in Siena a few years back, and it's broken my heart ever since to never be able to find its likeness anywhere else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hurrah, a girl after my own heart! Now I really want to try this amazing torrone that you speak of, too.

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  4. What a lot you managed to fit in - I'm impressed with your dedication to discovering good food :) Those lavender scones look fantastic.

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    1. We could've fit in more if we woke up earlier that morning, but we weren't quite dedicated enough. ;) The lavender scones really were fantastic.

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  5. I haven't been to WA yet, but would love to go. Swan Valley and its produce all look divine, especially those lavender scones!

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  6. OH MY!
    It is food and wine heaven :)

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  7. Ooh puppy! Kitty!! Burger! Win!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, burger? What are you smoking, lady? :p

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  8. I love daytrips out to the country - there's always so much yummy food to be had. Going to go grab some cheese out of the fridge now, your close up got me craving!!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, gotta love these food and wine day trips! :D

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  9. Looks like the cute friendly animal trail to me! Aww such sweeties.

    All of this sounds so incredibly good. Unique honey! Strawberry lavender jam! Yummy muscat wine! Special cheese! Subpar chocolate! Wow man. Jealous - though you can keep that chocolate:)

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    Replies
    1. Aren't they adorable. A cute friendly animal trail would be incredible, where do I sign up?? :D

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  10. Thanks so much for enjoying our special place in the Swan Valley. I love the picture of my dear friend Arthur. He loves visitors and coming on vineyard walks with me.
    All the best in your travels and if you would like some more Rose Muscat you can find it on our organic wine shop, http://www.harrisorganicwine.com.au/shop/index.php

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by my blog! Arthur is adorable. :) I will be in Perth again next year and hope to swing in for more wine. :D

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  11. As one should see that wine stored in a cool environment, out of direct sunlight and since everyone does not have a climate controlled wine cellar, there are, luckily, many varieties of wine racks that allows you to make the most of your space.

    Wine Accessories Australia

    ReplyDelete

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