Day 3 of our 5 day food and wine trail of Swan Valley, Perth's "Valley of Taste".
This morning, we started our day with a hearty home style breakfast at a local favourite, Taylor's Art & Coffee House.
10 Great Northern Highway, Middle Swan
This rustic little coffee shop started in the humble zinc cladded shed which was the Taylor family home and it just grew and grew, till it became a Must See destination in the Swan Valley.
And, how did it grow? Organically, bit by bit, not by large cash infusions or grand plans. So, it remains authentic and rooted.
The decor is eclectic which is a polite way of saying it's a random jumbled mishmash of used and repurposed stuff. And, here's it's charm. Taylor's is a come-as-you-are place where anyone can feel instantly at ease and comfortable. Besides, the food and coffee is great too :- D
Mum Jude Taylor who started it all, is a well known lino-cut artist and she now focuses her creative energies on her hand crafted textiles and dresses.
Daughter Caroline Taylor helms the kitchen. Caroline is a fervent advocate and ambassador of humane food and eating.
It's not cited as one of the reasons for humane eating, but I know that free range food tastes better. One of the reasons why food at Taylor's tastes better is simply because it is from free range animals.
Just like free range (kampung village) chicken tastes completely different from American Broilers raised in battery cages, free range pork tastes different from pigs raised in concrete pens.
Son Michael Taylor takes care of the coffee department. No fancy latte art (I do appreciate latter art) but this flat white was darned good - nice Arabica aroma and packs a robust savoury sweet flavour in a good round body.
Next, we popped over to Oakover Wines for wine tasting. Everything in the Swan Valley is just around the corner. Mere kangaroo hops apart.
Oakover 2015 White Label Rose.
That seductive rosy hue came from Shiraz grape skins. Light body, raspberry and cherry fragrance with strawberry and cream sweetness on the palate.
Tasting Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Konga Grade 1 and Natural Grade 1 at Fiori Coffee.
Chocolate and Wine Master Class at Providore Swan Valley.
On the menu is chocolate, wines from Coward and Black Winery and Sambarino chocolate liqueur.
At the Master Class, we learnt about wine and chocolate pairing. This is a Must Do activity in Swan Valley for wine and chocolate lovers.
Lunch at Sandalford Wines established in 1840 on the banks of the Swan River.
We are honoured that Charlie Zannino, Mayor of the City of Swan and his lovely wife Sally graciously hosted the lunch. The Mayor has his heart in the Swan Valley wine community. He emigrated from Italy to the Swan Valley with his parents as a young boy, working the land and is still a wine maker at his Herne Hill vineyard today. He spoke with infectious enthusiasm about the unique blend of tradition, talent, passion and community in wine making that makes the Swan Valley a special wine region.
For lunch, I ordered beef cheeks. I was expecting it to be braised or stewed and was a little surprised when the waitress asked me how I like my beef cheeks done. I ordered medium rare as usual.
I was wondering if I should change my order but decided to stick with it as I wanted to try something different. I am
The beef cheek though a relatively dense cut was cooked tender, juicy and beefy. The seared outside gave the cheeks a subtle smokiness which I enjoyed.
Sandalford Classic Dry White Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2014.
Light bodied wine with citrusy passionfruit aroma and lemon and lime notes on the palate. Refreshing, clean and crisp.
After lunch we toured Sandalford's winery.
Wine tasting straight from the oak barrel - a first for me.
We visited Yonga Boodjah Aboriginal Art Gallery and learnt about aboriginal art with resident artist Phil Narkle. Each of us made a small piece of aboriginal art.
Oops mixed my
Resident artist Phil Narkle demonstrating the didgeridoo, an aboriginal wind instrument. The didgeridoo makes a rhythmic, low frequency humming sound that is quite therapeutic, and perhaps even hypnotic.
Just before dinner, we attended wine tasting at Pinelli Estate hosted by friendly third generation owner Daniel Pinelli.
Pinelli Estate Reserve Durif 2014 was just awarded the Best Varietal Red (other than Shiraz) at the 2015 Singapore Airlines Swan Valley Wine Show.
The rich and dense wine has dark fruits on the nose and palate with underlying tannin giving structure to the wine.
Fillaudeau's 114 Benara Road Caversham
Our dinner was at award winning Fillaudeau’s Restaurant at the Pinelli Estate.
Owner Chef Manu Fillaudeau hails from Anjou, in the Loire Valley of Northwestern France. Chef Manu's biggest culinary influence is his grandmother, growing up in the family farm in France. Chef Manu loves French techniques and believes in respecting the traditional way of cooking as it is passed down the generations. Chef Manu is a fervent advocate and ambassador of humane eating and loves cooking with local grown vegetables, free range pork and Western Australian seafood.
Duck is one of my favourite dishes in French cuisine, so I ordered Fillaudeau's Le Canard. The pan fried Cherry Valley pinkish duck breast was tender, juicy and had that alluring gamey flavour which I enjoy in ducks. I especially love ducks from temperate climes for that thick layer of savoury sweet jelly-like fat. The confit leg too was tender, juicy and flavoursome. I love this dish at Fillaudeau's.
Cheryl's order of La Langouste which is a whole Western rock lobster tail poached in butter.
Jon's order of Great Southern Lamb Choron which is a meaty lamb shoulder with bone on braised in pressed rosemary.
Follow me as I explore the fascinating Swan Valley.
Day 1 itinerary <- click
Day 2 itinerary <- click
Day 4 itinerary <- click
Acknowledgement: My thanks to our gracious host Sasha Stone and The City of Swan for the fine hospitality.
Date visited: 29 Aug 2015
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