Before I left Perth I made plans with some girlfriends from university to do a day trip out to the Swan Valley so I could visit the Swan Valley one last time before I left. On the day we all piled into a car, cranked up some tunes and headed out for the Swan Valley which was about a 30-40minute drive up Roe Highway from where we all lived.
When we arrived in the Swan Valley the first port of call was the Margaret River Chocolate Company’s Factory. We walk around the Chocolate Factory checking out the samples of chocolate, picking up a few pieces of chocolate for friends and family before heading over to check out Providore. At Providore we found a range of preserves, chutneys and prepared meal packages. There was lots of sampling of different preserves on offer and most were given a big thumbs up. There was also a quick sampling of the white wines from Coward & Black that Providore had for tasting, with the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc being the favourite.
After our time at the Chocolate Factory we made a quick stop at Yahava Koffee which had a lovely patio to sit under and enjoy a drink as you looked out over the vineyards and countryside. Some of the girls check out their coffee samples. I passed on on the coffee sampling and instead chose to marvel at the tranquil view from the shade of the patio. The reports back were that they took their coffee very seriously and if you want to visit to invest a portion of time to truly give this place the chance to impress you with their knowledge of and range of coffees.
By now it was lunch time and we were in need of a feed after our busy morning of driving and tasting. I had requested that lunch involve cheese and so we headed over to The Cheese Barrel for lunch. When we arrived we chose to sit at a table inside as it was a very hot day and the air conditioning inside the Cheese Barrel was lovely. A quick look at the menu made us realise we had no clue where we wanted to start so we opted to pick one of their platters. We ended up settling on the ‘Gather and Share’ Platter ($57.50) to share between the 5 of us. To go with the platter I selected a Phoenix Organic Ginger Beer ($4) as I was on driving duty that day. Others chose between a glass of Olive Farm Sparkling Brut ($9.50), a ginger beer or lemon lime bitters from Phoenix Organic.
The ‘Gather and Share’ Cheese Platter consisted of ’6 premium cheeses (3 soft and 3 hard) elegantly printed with Parisian baguette slices, lavish bites, premium leg ham, quiche paste, marinated olives, pan de high and seasonal fruit slices’. One of the soft cheeses was meant to be a blue cheese, however as I was the only one in the group who ate blue cheese and not a great deal of it the lady at the counter was more than happy to substitute a different soft cheese for us which was greatly appreciated.
The cheeses in clockwise order from the top were:
1. Labuche d’Affinois
2. Rouzaire Camembert
3. Mountain Man
4. Queso de Murcia Al Vino
5. Quickes Cheddar
6. Queso San Simon
Cheeses 3 (Mountain Man) and 4 (Queso de Murcia Al Vino) were the overall favourites however all the cheeses were enjoyed and finished off along with all the other delicious toppings that the platter came with! I have enjoyed a few platters from the Cheese Barrel and this one again did not dissapoint!
We ended our time in the Swan Valley with a stop at Mondo Nougat for some ice-cream as we drove home. The strawberry ice-cream they had turned out to be very sugary and not to anyones liking so we passed on the ice-cream and had a look around the shop before hopping back in the car and heading home.
A few more hours would have been lovely but many of us had afternoon plans to get back to. To make a full day in the Swan Valley I would suggest checking out some of the wineries in the region such as Sittella and Olive Farm Wines.