The WA Trails Initiative has its focus on the world-class produce of the Swan Valley, which is one of WA's best destinations -- a world away from the hustle and bustle of Perth, yet just half an hour from the CBD.
Sweet temptations in the Swan Valley
Following on from the successful Swan Valley Cider and Ale Trail, Sweet Temptations is a half-day, 14km, self-drive tour of the Swan Valley and the delightful sweet treats it has to offer. These range from outstanding dessert wines through to delicious honey products and French macarons.
We recently hopped on a bus with other bloggers and foodies on an escorted tour, taking in all of the attractions of the trail. Thanks to the City of Swan, Blue Dog Communications and the owners and operators of each of the venues on the trail, we were able to encounter all of the sensory experiences that were on offer.
Kicking off at Maison Saint-Honore, WA's only macaron factory open to the public, we were given a tour around the baking floor, watching the chef prepare croissants. We then sat down to coffee, a selection of fabulous snacks and a glass or two of Pink Moscato Frizzante from their neighbour, Pinelli Wines (another stop on the trail.)
The owner of Maison Saint-Honore, Alex Lui Van Sheng, and winemaker Daniel Pinelli were on hand to talk about their produce and business philosophies. Pinelli's, a second-generation family owned winery, produces a wide range of delicious drops, including some varieties you may not have tried, such as Vermentino and Duriff.
The Moscato, a sweetish wine with a pleasant spritz, has a bouquet of crushed rose petals, delicious red apples, and flavours of turkish delight, strawberries and cherries. This was a great start to the day at 9:30am!
The next stops were Else>>> Nuts and Mondo Nougat. At Else>>>, we sampled a selection of the finest nuts on offer -- ranging from coffee-glazed macadamias, wasabi and or even abalone-flavoured macadamias, which were a hit with us and Asian tourists alike. Jenny McNamara was on hand to take us through the range of products on offer.
Through the doors we went and we walked into a heaven filled with nougat, tasting some fresh from the oven. We were given an overview on its manufacturing process, using the best of local ingredients, honey, eggs and nuts. Owner Andrea Romeo joined us, commentating on the production process and history of the business, discussing its origins in his hometown back in Italy.
We then jumped back on the bus and visited the House of Honey for an amazing exposition of honey and honey products. These ranged from mead (one of the world's oldest alcoholic drinks) to soaps, creams and more.
Another highlight owas the honey-tasting station, where honey sourced from various trees and flowers were sampled, such as yate gum, tea tree, marri, as well as various spice-infused honeys. The mead was absolutely delightful, with a variety of tradional and spiced flavours. Owners Rupert and Kim Phillips sat with us to discuss the business and joys of bee keeping in an enlightening way.
Back on the road and we arrived at the Swan Valley Cafe, well regarded as a vegetarian haven in the valley. Here, we sampled examples from an extensive range of savoury and sweet treats and teas. All the food here is vegetarian, gluten-free and certainly delicious. The savoury mains were sublime and the cakes and slices were also excellent. Additionally, they have a fine range of lattes, such as the turmeric with a dash of pepper, that I tried. Licenced, with a range of local and eastern states-sourced organic wines, the restaurant also has a delightful feel of an enchanting garden.
Our last stop was at WA's oldest winery, Olive Farm, next door to their outstanding cafe, Cheese Barrel. Under the guiding hand of Gemma Barnes, we sampled some of their amazing fortified wines and liqueurs paired with delicious chocolate from Whistler Chocolates.
We then sampled the delicious Stari, a blend of fortifieds seen as the quintessence of the Swan Valley. The Stari is an extraordinary wine and I recommend it to anyone, with flavour after flavour rolling across the tongue.
We headed out to the production floor where Ian Yurisich lead us through the stages of production, giving us an overview of a working winery, bringing our tour to a close.
Matt, our driver, then took us back to our starting point, and with a bag of goodies to take away, we all drifted back to reality after our morning of sweet temptation. Take it from me, this is a wonderful new way to see more of the Valley’s many attractions.
I thoroughly recommend heading out soon and becoming a trailblazer.