Summer Wrap: Girls Day in the Swan Valley @ The Cheese Barrel, Swan Valley

Summer Wrap is a series of my highlights and favourites from summer. A collection of eating,drinking and dining that captures the sunny warm weather of a Perth summer to a ‘T’. This two part post was the inspiration for this series as I have recently been looking back over this past summer and all the things I have enjoyed doing in and around Perth to do with drinking and dining.

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.

All packed into the car and ready to drive.

All packed into the car and ready to drive.

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.

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Quick photo op in the vines at Olive Farm Wines.

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.

The Cheese Barrel on Urbanspoon

Lunch @ Mash Brewing

I was recently invited to the Swan Valley for a friends birthday. The day began with a round of Supa golf before the group  moved on to Mash Brewery for lunch. I opted out of the round of golf due to last minute preparations for my prac and my consistent run of bad luck when it comes to sports. However I could never turn down a meal out with friends and so I met them as they were heading over to the brewery. Mash Brewery were ever so kind to squeeze in our large group at the last minute with no booking on the same day as the Swan Valley’s Octoberfest event! The server we had one the day was a fantastic guy who I didn’t manage to get the name of unfortunately but he impressed the entire group with his friendly and funny attitude all while dealing with an unforeseen table of 20 during the middle of a Saturday lunch.

While looking over the drinks menu I decided on ordering a glass of Sittella’s Sparkling Chenin Blanc ($9.50) as I have been meaning to try this wine for far too long and it turned out to be a very nice drop! Once the wine was sorted I then had to pick a dish to go with it, I ended up choosing the Market Fish of the Day ($32) which was salmon that day and came with potatoes, asparagus and other roasted vegetables. The meal was presented well and the portion was just enough to fill me up. Also worth noting is the speed at which the kitchen turned around our entire tables meals with good presentation was highly commendable!

I really enjoyed the meal and the atmosphere of Mash Brewery. After seeing some of the other dishes that people ordered, especially the pies and steak sandwiches I an convinced that I will have to return to try them. I would happily return on a quieter day to have another meal and a better look at their beers and ciders.
Mash Brewing & Brasserie on Urbanspoon

Wine(s) of the Week: Another Overdue Collective Wine Post

Hi everyone,

This post is a little collage of the drinks that I have in the few weeks leading up to my prac that I never got around to blogging about.

Wine:

Olive Farm Wines, 2012, Verdehlo.

Olive Farm Wines, 2012, Verdehlo.

I went to the Cheese Barrel in the Swan Valley for a cheese making day course. For lunch as part of the course we were given a few cheese platters and bottles of Olive Farm 2012 Verdelho. The cheese platter went down a treat as did the wine, however I had a cold at the time and could not fully appreciate the wine those on the course with me were quite impressed. The baked camembert with garlic oil on the platter and the fig sticks were the highlight of the tasting platter. I will be back for another platter for sure.

Tasting Platter.

Tasting Platter.

The Cheese Barrel on Urbanspoon

Yellowglen Cremant.

Yellowglen Cremant.

I had a long overdue catch up with my cousin and we celebrated in our traditional way of bubbles and cake. This time around we ended up with a mud cake and a bottle of Yellowglen Cremant. This sparkling wine has a smooth and creamy texture with a hint of sweetness on the palate.

Skuttlebutt Rose.

Skuttlebutt Rose.

While out for lunch in Fremantle at Pizza Bella Roma I chose to try the Skuttlebutt Rose, which is a blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Sangiovese. The wine was refreshing and a lively rose which I would happily try again.

Penfolds, 2011, Bin 2 Shiraz Mourvedre.

Penfolds, 2011, Bin 2 Shiraz Mourvedre.

We had a family friend visit and they brought with them a bottle of Penfolds 2011 Bin 2, a blend of Shiraz Mourvedre. After a little time in the decanter this wine was on full display with a savoury and spicy nose which carried over onto the palate along with some berry fruit flavours and young tannins which the decanter helped to smooth out. I quite enjoyed this wine, especially as Shiraz is not a varietal I tend to gravitate towards.

Villa Maria.

Villa Maria.

BF and I went to see Iron Man 3 at La Premiere. While there I decided to have a glass of wine and choose to have the Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc. I had been eyeing this wine off at work for about a year now, hearing many positive things about it from fellow staff and customers. I really enjoyed this wine and cannot believe I waited this long to try it. This wine was the one which has converted me to a fan of a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, lots of passionfruit, melons and zesty lime on the palate.

Cocktails:

Cocktail.

Boo Boo Cocktail.

BF and I had a quiet dinner at Benny’s in Fremantle and I was hanging out to have a cocktail of theirs as it had been far too long since i’d been there. I ended up selecting one of their specials the Boo Boo Cocktail which contained peach schnapps, spiced peach liquier, cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime. A very delicious cocktail, as expected from Benny’s.

Benny's Bar & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tea:

Melbourne Breakfast.

Melbourne Breakfast.

I visited Wild Poppy Cafe for brunch, while I was under the weather and had my favourite Melbourne Breakfast cuppa tea there. The vanilla and honey flavours in this tea were just what I needed to feel a little better.

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While out at the Cheese Barrel for the cheese making course we were also given free morning and afternoon tea. I chose to have a cup of tea. They only offered traditional black or white tea however their presentation of miss-matched tea cups was adorable.

White Orchard.

White Orchard.

This last cup of tea is made by Mighty Leaf called White Orchard. I tried this tea at Heavenly Plate, my fist visit to a vegan restaurant with some girlfriends. This white tea was bursting with peach and melon flavours and I would love to try this tea cold in the summer months as an iced tea, however it also was actually very nice as a warm tea also.

Until next time!

Valley and Vines Festival, Swan Valley

Hi everyone,

Sunday March 3rd 2013, part of the Labour Day long weekend in Perth will see the inaugural Valley and Vines Festival. This festival is designed around 6 different venues in the Swan Valley offering food, wine for sample and sale along with live entertainment from 10am to 5pm.

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Participating Venues:

Olive Farm Wines & The Cheese Barrel

Duckstein

Carilley Estate (Homestead location)

Chesters of Heafod Glen

Harris Organic Wines

Ugly Duckling Wines

Venue Location - V&V

The format for the festival consists of visiting three venues (of your choice and order or in a pre-arranged package including transportation) for a two hour period at each with 30 minutes provided between the venues for transportation. Ticket holder are entitled to:

  • Valley & Vines branded lanyard featuring their itinerary (must be worn all day)
  • Valley & Vines wine glass to be used throughout the day
  • First pour (120 mls) at the first session of the day

Tickets are $35  per person with an additional $40 if you wish to not have to worry about transportation or a schedule for the day. To make a booking to attend Valley and Vines, follow this link.

I unfortunately am not free to attend this event which is in a format which I would have been very curious to see, if anyone does end up attending this event feel free to comment below and let me know how it went!

Until next time!

Spanish Sundowner, Swan Valley

Hi everyone,

The Cheese Barrel and Olive Farm Wines are hosting a Spanish Sundowner filled with wine, cheese and tapas on their Property in the Swan Valley on the evening of Saturday March 16th for a cost of $65. Below is the flyer for the event. If you have been wanting to try the wines from Olive Farm Wines or the cheeses from The Cheese Barrel then this would be the perfect time for both.

spanishsundowner

Until next time!

Monthly Review: December

Hi everyone,

1. Favourite wine of the month?

With the onset of summer in Perth I have been passing over my usual reds for chilled wines – mainly Sauvignon Blanc Semillon’s and Rose’s.

2. What has been the best value wine of the month?

Olive Farms 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – $25.

3. What has been added to my to-try wine list?

The rest of the wines at Olive Farm, something I will be able to do in the near future when I redeem my christmas gift of a voucher to a Cheese Barrel’s gourmet cheese making class.

4. What restaurants do I want to return to?

After visiting the Swan Valley and the Riverside Restaurant located in the region I would love to return to the Swan Valley to try more wineries and eateries in the area.

5. What was my favourite meal this month?

The Gnocchi I had at The Blue Duck in Cottesloe was to die for! The gnocchi melted in my mouth and the fresh vegetables made for an exciting summer dish.

Gnocchi.

Gnocchi.

6. Upcoming events for next month?

Twilight Hawkers Markets (cuisine from around the globe) – Forrest Place, Perth City 5pm-9pm every Friday into April.

Boat’s annual Cider Festival – Mindarie Marina, Mindarie January 11th-13th.

Fe”BREW”ary FestivitiesIndi Brewary, Mindarie February 1st-28th.

7. Favourite wine packaging?

Jim Barry’s Sauvignon Blanc Semillon won BF over and for doing that I’d say he win’s for favourite packaging of the month!

Wine Labels.

Wine Labels.

8. Best service?

William at Quarter on Hay – review of my meal there will be up soon.

9. Restaurant I am most keen to try next month?

Heading off to Melbourne for a week so a quaint little restaurant with delicious homemade simple food in a side street is something I would love to find.

10. Wine Century Challenge.

Total: 25 varietals.

Favourite = Müller-Thurgau

Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: Summer Break (week 4)

Hi everyone,

I spent a few hours last Sunday in the Swan Valley with the overseas family and tasted a few wines along the way. My review of what I sampled in the Swan Valley can be hound here. I did also bring a few wines home with me from the Swan Valley, one of which went straight into the fridge and was had with dinner on Sunday night. Dinner that night consisted of fresh bread along with cheeses and olives which we had picked up in the Swan Valley and a fresh salad. We paired the meal with Moondah Brook‘s Rose which had strawberries and cream on the nose and on the palate it was a light bodied wine which continued the strawberries and cream that I noted from the aroma. The wine began quite sweet at first but ended with a slightly crisp finish giving an overall medium-dry finish. This Rose was delicious and hopefully one I can find in bottle shops in Perth! Tasting notes for this wine cam be found here.

Rose.

Rose.

As we had overseas relatives in town we took them on a Captain Cook’s cruise of the Swan River, something I had never done before to show them the city. During part of the cruise we had lunch provided which consisted of a Lamb curry, vegetarian lasagne, cold meats, a variety of salad and bread. The food was to die for and I could not get enough of the curry and potato salad that they had!

View of Perth as the boat departed.

View of Perth as the boat departed.

To go with the food I had a glass of Waters Edge Classic Dry White and we ended up having a bottle of their Wagtail Sparkling on the house as we were celebrating two birthdays. The bubbly was quite refreshing and the service on the cruise was exceptional!

Wagtail Sparkling.

Wagtail Sparkling.

I also managed to slip a red wine in this week with a small glass of Vasse Felix’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot. The wine was light bodied and smooth and it was good to have a red wine as with it being summer I’ve been tending to stick to white, rose and sparkling wine. I have always been impressed whenever I have a Vasse Felix wine and this one did not disappoint me! Expect to see a more in depth review of this wine when I review the meal I had with it at the Blue Duck in Cottesloe.IMG_1006

This week was also the first time I met up with The Perth Wine Enthusiast and The Perth Food Journal for our Wine Century Challenge meet. We added two new varietals to the list as well as having the chance to taste the range from a small winery in the Yarra Valley which is run by some passionate wine makers as well as a blind tasting of Mourvèdre which was my first time trying this varietal straight. You can read about our meet in this blog post. We also had some food at Steve’s Fine Food and Wine in Nedlands where we met up so there will be photos of that in the post also.

Last wine to quickly slip in this post, is one which BF actually picked out last night when we went for a quick meal to celebrate my final marks at uni meaning that I will be graduating at the end of summer! BF is a keen lover of cricket and the label of this wine played into that love leading to a big decision of which of the two label for this wine to pick (he chose the one on the right). We ended up taking this Jim Barry Sauvignon Blanc Semillon to Blend Cafe in Melville as I had a friends birthday party in the area to go to afterwards. The wine was a good, and for a bottle that was picked for the label BF did good. There was recently cut grass on the nose along with a hint of lychee and tropical fruits, on the palate it was slightly fruit sweet with a good amount of acid but little on the finish. Tasting notes for the wine can be found here.

Wine Labels.

Wine Labels.

Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

Until next time!