|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.
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.
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.
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?
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...
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.
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).|
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.|
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.
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.