Providore opens in the Swan Valley

This is one of those places that makes it to my ‘Must Visit’ list of Swan Valley pit stops…

Olive oils, spice rubs, jams, sauces and meal-packs to create at home – Providore is your one-stop-gourmet-shop in the Swan Valley. But that’s not all folks; they also have the Coward & Black wine range (made from grapes from both the Margaret River and the Swan Valley), alongside chocolate liqueurs. Are your taste buds tingling yet?

Providore was established in 2005 in the Margaret River and I’m thanking the foodie gods above for bringing this to Perth’s doorstep in the Swan Valley. The rather fancy shipping container like cellar door has a funky modern twist to it which catches the eye yet fits right in amongst the vines. It is located right beside its sister-business, The Margaret River Chocolate Company – so naturally it would be rude not to go into both. From jam and sauce tasting to wine tasting to chocolate liqueur tasting and then to chocolate tasting next door – utter heaven!

This is one of those places that makes it to my ‘Must Visit’ list of Swan Valley pit stops. I am also going to be a regular patron for my dinner party supplies. I am to be honest a very average cook, and even though I love cooking for others I do get flustered in the kitchen, especially with tricky recipes and when things start going wrong. However Providore has now made me into, well.. an awesome cook!!

So how have they taken me from the burnt-baker to the next Masterchef? Well.. let me let you in on the secret. They have a product range of both sweet and savoury ideas that come in a box/bag with all the main ingredients and a simple easy-to-follow recipe to go along with it. Think those packets of risotto or boxes off muffin mix that you can buy from the supermarket but twenty-times better! I’m talking; Tuscan Risotto Mix, Paella Spice Mix with Saffron Stems, BBQ Beef Marinade, Seafood Poaching Spices, Vanilla, Cranberry & White Chocolate Muffin Pack…. and so many more. Jeeze I have worked up a hunger just typing those out!

I decided to treat myself to a packet of the French Porcini Mushroom Risotto to go with my bottle of Coward and Black 2013 Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc (read my tasting note here) that evening. So simple and easy to make, just add butter, and stock and voila I had a gourmet, dinner-party ready meal in 15-20 minutes. Of course you could pass the recipe off as your own to your guests if you really want to be sneaky.

I finished my visit off with a delectable chocolate truffle from The Margaret River Chocolate Factory – the Champagne Truffle. Okay so these tiny little chocolates are $2 a pop but ohhhh… this is orgasmic… seriously. Premium Champagne Ganache in Rich Dark Chocolate – I am dribbling typing that. The best $2 I have ever spent.

If you visit, let me know what you think and please if you try any of the food options you can recreate at home, let me know what to try next, so naturally I can pass it off as my own creation to the next dinner guests! Providore is open 9-5pm 7 days a week and tasting is free. Do it Perth!

Check out their website for more info: www.providore.com.au


Swan Valley Pink Bus Tour

Pink Bus Swan Valley Tour

Not just for penis-tiara wearing hen’s do parties…

All aboard the Pink Bus! When a scoopon came up for a half day Swan Valley Wine tour for 2 PLUS a bottle of wine for AU$79, I just couldn’t turn it down. I have to admit I was a bit worried about how I was going to get Mr. Spittoon on a hot pink bus but that was hardly an issue. These days guys are into pink aren’t they? Except you don’t call if pink, it is ‘salmon’ in guy speak!

The Swan Valley Pink Bus books up quickly, so I urge you to book ahead. I can honestly see why it books up early as it’s such great value (with or without the discount – our friends paid AU$50 each, bargain!) and it’s just so much fun. Myself and 3 friends decided to pink it out for the day. I was surprised to see that it was pretty much 50/50 on the bus in terms of a female to male ratio.

On the way out to the Valley (pickup is included in the price from the city or from Guildford) the bus was deadly quiet, I knew after a few stops this was bound to change. By the end of the tour it was so chatty. Don’t you love how alcohol is the start of so many new friendships!

Our driver Rardi (or as someone nicknamed him “Rowdy Rardi”) was a true highlight of the trip, his hilarious commentary and knowledgeable chattiness about the Valley were fantastic. Every time I go on a tour of the Swan Valley I learn something new.

The half day tour runs from 11:45am till about 5:30pm – a perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon. You visit 2 wineries, 2 breweries and the Margaret River Chocolate Factory. And the best bit is if you’re not keen on the chocolate stop then you can stay at the last brewery and the driver will stop by and pick you up on the way back.

At each stop you’re taken through a guided tasting and at one of the wineries you can even snack on a cheese board and nougat – all included in the price of your ticket.

Highlights of my trip:

  • Aki at Edgecombe Brothers winery, this guy is truly fabulous. He had the whole tour bus in fits of laughter as he guided us through tasting 6 wines overlooking the vineyard. Probably one of the funniest wine tastings I have ever been too, he was classic! Check out a short video of Aki here.
  • Elmars Brewery: despite only getting a teeny weeny tiny tasting – it was good. Just loved the wheat beer and the music at the venue was pretty great too.
  • Plus as mentioned before, Rardi was the best driver!

It’s safe to say that I no longer think of the Pink Bus as just a tour for penis-tiara wearing hen’s do parties but I now know it’s a well-priced bloody awesome Swan Valley tour that will leave you with a very ‘rosy’ outlook on the Swan Valley.  For more information on Pink Bus Swan Valley Tours check out their website or Facebook page.

Cheers!

Highlights from the Good Food & Wine Show – Perth


Hey Perth! I hope you are all planning on visiting the Good Food & Wine show this weekend at the Convention & Exhibition Centre, as it is $36 well spent! I decided to go yesterday on the Friday so i could get a head start and find out, or should I say ‘taste out’ the best spots and let you all know. How nice of me is that?

The thing is, I got to the show about 10am and I left about 4pm and I don’t think I visited half of the stands. There are 300 producers in total, so there is a lot to see and taste. Mr. Spittoon and I also ran out of arm space to buy anything, as there are just such good deals on all the products that you don’t want to miss out, we really did need a shopping trolley! So below are my top 8 highlights from the stalls and masterclasses that I did manage to experience:

1. Boscastle Seriously Good Pies (N10)

I raved about them last year, and I’ll rave about them again this year, they are truly seriously good party pies. For $7 at the show you can get a mixed tray of 4 of the Boscastle gourmet party pies; Burgundy Beef, Moroccan Lamb, Chicken Leek & Swiss Cheese and Butter Chicken. Not only can you dine on these tasty morsels at the show but you can buy frozen packs to take home!

2. Giesen Wines (R23)

If you are a wino like me and you love Kiwi Sauv’s then this stall is a must! Giesen have not 1, but 4 Sauvignon Blancs and you can try them all! From the standard to the organic to a blend of 2 different vineyards to a Sauv that is oak aged! It opens your taste buds up to a whole new world of Sauv. Plus do I have a secret for you or what – you are able to try the Riesling which you can’t buy in Australia yet, it will most likely be released in the next couple of months at Dan Murphy’s. It is a gorgeous very German style Riesling, love it! (Big thanks to my Mum for the recommendation!) Giesen also have a Pinot Gris and a couple of Pinot’s to try, so something for everyone!

3. Thunder Toffee Vodka (F16)

Vodka and tequila shots anyone? Yes I did it, and yes it was before midday! But hey when you’re at the Good Food and Wine Show drinking is encouraged at all times of the day, love it! I had to try the tequila since it was a luminous hot pink colour, and no they don’t use a dye to get the colour, the colour actually comes from a flower that is used in the mix. Other than the colour it tasted very much like my university days, straight tequila (I am currently screwing up my face at the thought!). However “Thunder” the toffee vodka was another story. This is a vodka I could easily sip on straight and enjoy it. It is a blend of tripe distilled grain vodka and natural toffee syrup, free from unnatural additives or preservatives and at 29.9% ABV it’s strong but not too strong. $45 a bottle you can’t go wrong. Plus you get a free cocktail book with any purchase!

4. Butty’s American Food Truck (in the Brooland Valley Unison Wine & Food Bar)

After all that drinking and eating I just couldn’t turn down a bite to eat from Butty’s big red truck that sits in the Brookland Valley Unison Food & Wine Bar. This is seriously good American tucker. Mr. Spittoon had the Butty’s Double Cheese Burger and I had the Short Ribs and Coleslaw annnnndddd, we had cheesy fries on the side. Little piggies we were but oh my gosh, yumo! This is some seriously good American takeaway food and washed down with a glass of Brookland Valley Cab Sauv for $8, heaven!

5. Riedel A+ Australian Wine Bar

We did the Regional Heroes masterclass, for $60 we had a 45-minute session where we enjoyed a guided tasting through 6 Australian wines. These 6 wines were the best of the best from each region, we had: Riesling from the Clare Valley, Semillon from the Hunter Valley, Chardonnay from the Margaret River, Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra and Shiraz from McLaren Vale. It was great, I learnt a lot and we even got a goodie bag to take home which included: 2 Riedel Magnum glasses, a bottle of Brookland Valley wine (if you get in first you can take a sneak peak in the bags and then sit down at one which has either red or white, take your pick!) and a copy of the Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine. The classes book up super fast, so if you can’t get into one of these, right next door are the free tasting classes where the policy is: first in gets a seat, so scope out which classes interests you when you first get to the show and then make sure you head there about 15 minutes prior to the class to get a seat.

6. Howling Wolves Wines (D16)

Again this was another favourite from 2012 which I just had to revisit this year. Howling Wolves are based in the Margaret River and I hate to say it but I am a sucker for their marketing! They were giving out free stick on tattoos, which I thought was very fun. However the showstopper was the Cabernato Mojito – this is a concoction of the Howling Wolves SixPointSix Cabernato 2013 (a light fruity wine sitting at 6.6% abv) ice with fresh lime and a sprig of mint. So yummy and they also have a spritzer of CO2 to really make it a party in your glass!

7. Rekorderlig Swedish Cider F20

I am not usually a fan of Swedish cider as I just find it way to sweet. However I did stop by to try some of their Winter Cider. This is winter in a glass – it is a blend of apples, vanilla and cinnamon. It can be drank cold however they are also serving it up warm at their stand, and oh my it is so good. Perfect for these chilly Perth nights we have been having lately.

8. Maxwell Wines & Meads D9

Maxwell is located in the McLaren Vale area and if you have never had mead before you seriously need to make this stall a stop on your journey. And even if you have had mead before I would suggest it, as the warm spiced mead being served up is just divine. Being Australia’s leader in honey wine since the 1950’s you really can’t go wrong!

There are so many more highlights; Rockcliffe Wines, Barton Jones Wines, Yelland & Papps … to name just a few! If it wasn’t for Mr. Spittoon’s muscle I wouldn’t of been able to get all my shopping home, we ended up with 4 bottles of wine, 2 sets of Riedel Glasses plus our show tasting glasses, a bottle of vodka, biltong, an icebuket, magazines… the list goes on! It was an absolutely fun day and I hope you all get a chance to go, if not this year then put it in the diary for next year!

Saturday opening times: 10:00 – 18:00

Sunday opening times: 10:00 – 17:00

Standard ticket price: $36 (and you can buy these at the door)

For more information checkout the Good Food & Wine Show’s website here.


Dinner at Chapel Farm – Swan Valley, Perth

Dinner at The Tap at Chapel Farm in the Swan ValleyOne of the most unique dining experiences I have come across in Perth…

When I saw an ad on Facebook for a free drink with any pizza ordered on Thursday nights at Chapel Farm in the Swan Valley I simply couldn’t say no. Located in the Middle Swan, not far from Midland central I was truly mind blown when i walked into this joint!

I honestly couldn’t of been more surprised. ‘The Tap’ as it’s called, is a pizza and tapas bar. At night it is lit up with all sorts of coloured lights, funky corrugated iron art and quirky 50’s style furniture. Everywhere you look there is something retro and by the looks of the beer style garden it would be an awesome place for a weekend session in the sun.

Plus I have to mention the corrugated iron shed, which houses the restrooms. The super funky spaceship-like outside didn’t prepare me for what was inside. The ladies was adorned with pink satin on the roof, the corrugated iron was painted a metallic pink.. absolutely glamorous and oh so gorgeous.

Inside the bar it is super art-deco like, there’s that 50’s furniture (wooden tables and bright chairs as well as old-school bench-seats like you get in vintage cars), the walls are adorned with funky modern art and it is super cozy. The old Victorian homestead has been kept with its original features, there are 2 rooms for dining/hanging out , an awesome bar area with a huge amount of spirits (I am pretty sure the girl working on the night I visited said that they have 50 different types of tequila!) and then out the back is the kitchen. I’ve also heard they have some pretty funky accommodation – perhaps this is because of all that tequila!

I absolutely loved it, it’s funky and quirky with an awesome relaxed atmosphere. And boy was Mr. Spittoon and I happy that we taxied there after we saw their extensive 12-page drinks menu!! It would have been rude for me note to try the Chapel Farm wines whilst there, so here is what I tried:

Their wine menu has a great selection of wines by the glass as well as by the bottle. I was pleasantly surprised to see a range of local and international wines on offer – check out the drinks menu here.

In terms of food, we decided to get some fries with smoked aioli (AU$6) and some sweet potato chips, sour cream and green onion (AU$9) which were an awesome start to the meal. The chips were so crisp and fresh and that smoky aioli was just divine.

For the pizzas, Mr. Spittoon and I got the following 2 between us:

  • Jose – Bacon, mushroom, caramelized onion and capsicum, AU$24
  • Butcher – Bacon, sausage, beef mince, chili and olives, AU$26

I couldn’t of been happier with our selection. They were a decent size (we were literally choc-a-block full afterwards), the bases reminded us of pizzas we ate in Italy, thin, crispy and bready plus there was the perfect amount of toppings.

Our friends who joined us decided to order off the tapas menu, I couldn’t help myself and had to take a few snaps (the pork belly was awesome!!). Check out the food menu here.

 

The Tap Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato“The Tap” is literally my new favourite restaurant in the Swan Valley, I really enjoyed my evening there – the food, drinks and atmosphere were awesome. I can’t wait to go back again!

Visit the Chapel Farm website for more details and to have a look at their menu, or connect with them on the Chapel Farm Facebook page to keep up to date with all the latest specials and offerings.

 

Fillaudeau’s Cafe Restaurant – Swan Valley, Perth


Our own mini-degustation…

I have been very selfish, I have been putting off writing this post for sometime because I have perhaps stumbled across the Swan Valley’s best-kept secret. Fillaudeau’s Café Restaurant is located at the Pinelli Estate Vineyard in the Swan Valley. Manu, the French Chef behind the amazing food and his wife Jasmin opened the restaurant in April 2012 – and can I just say WOW!

I had briefly stopped into Fillaudeau’s for a platter one day (read my post here), and after perusing the menu over and over again I just knew I had to go back for more. Mr. Spittoon decided to surprise me one night and guess what, he booked us in at Fillaudeau’s and snce we were walking (at the time we lived about 1.5kms away) he suggested we do our own mini-degustation. He sure knows how to make my heart flutter!

If you’re after a romantic dinner, Fillaudeau’s is definitely the spot. The candlelit restaurant overlooking the vines at dusk is simply mesmerising. What I loved, was our table for two by the window was set up so we were looking out to the vines, it honestly made us feel like we were in our own bubble…uhhh romance. I’m swooning just writing this post!

The food is a fusion of French, Mediterranean and Modern Australian. To be honest, Mr. Spittoon and I are not that up with all those fancy food terms so at first glance of the menu.. we were just like .. what the..? We even had to google EVOO, as we didn’t realize that meant extra virgin olive oil!

However don’t fret as everything on the menu is rather normal, we even asked the waitress a few things who was more than happy to help us out. And more importantly, she didn’t make us feel stupid for not knowing what the fancy food words meant!

Soooo… lets get to the tasty part.. here is what our mini-degustation consisted of:

To start..

House made wholemeal bread, French baguette, house made dukkah, Cooladera farm EVOO (Frankland River), and balsamic reduction AU$13

Wines:

Pinelli 2010 ‘Breanna’ Rose (read my tasting note here). AU$8 per glass.

Pinelli Chenin Blanc (read my tasting note here). AU$8 per glass.

Mains..

“Manu’s Floating Pie”, beef bourguignon rolled in filo pastry, served on a pea and minut puree with beef dripping potatoes and vegetable ribbons. I can’t remember the exact price AU$30-40.

Waygu Steak with garlic and parsely sautéed potatoes, garden salad and blue cheese sauce. AU$30-40.

Wines:

Pinelli 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon from their Margaret River vines (read my tasting note here). AU$10 per glass.

Pinelli 2009 Shiraz (read my tasting note here). AU$8 per glass.

For dessert..

Dessert Platter; tangy lemon and meringue tart, blackcurrant and port poached pear, crepe suzette and white chocolate panacota. AU$28

Wine:

Pinelli 2011 Late Harvest Dessert wine (read my tasting note here). AU$15 for a half bottle.

Boy did we indulgence and oh boy were we in food coma dazes by the end. The food, the wine, the location were all magnificent. The favourite dish, a consesnsus between Mr. Spittoon and I was definitely the Floating Pie, followed closely by the dessert platter. The least favourite was the wagyu steak – it was nice, but it just didn’t have that memorable nature about it like the other dishes.

Fillaudeau's Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mr. Spittoon won MANY brownie points for pulling this ‘out of the blue’ date off. He now knows the key to my wino/foodie heart, that’s for sure!

For more info please check out Fillaudeau’s website here and keep up to date with all their news on their facebook page.

Bon appetit!