A discussion I’ve previously had with GG is around whether you should eat a cheese course ahead of dessert. He feels that you should, while I feel cheese is such a lovely way to end a meal and you can linger longer over a cheese plate.
Regardless though we are both big cheese fans – hard, soft, blue, we have a lot of time for it. One weekend when I did the food shop I think I had over 5 different types of cheese in the trolley. Granted one of those types was Kraft cheese singles and another just a block of whatever cheddar was on special, but I thought it did seem like a lot of cheese.
But with cheese in mind I was more than a bit excited about finally visiting the Cheese Barrel.
The Cheese Barrel is a new addition to the Swan Valley, opening on August 3rd, 2012 and is located at the same address as Olive Farm Wines along Great Northern Highway. Both buildings are so new and modern and yet have been lovingly placed within the vineyards and with the backdrop of big, old gum trees along Susannah Brook. It’s all very pretty and quite a serene location.
I’d had a look at the website before we arrived but as we wandered inside and looked through the cheese menu I was a little overwhelmed as to where to start. And I kept getting distracted by the beautiful display cabinet showing off all the pretty cheeses that were available.
(I am not so good with the panorama setting on the iphone yet….. I can assure you their cabinet is not wonky as suggested by this shot)
So we asked the friendly fellow behind the counter for some assistance. He confirmed that if we ordered one of the regional tasting boards then it would be enough for two. France, Spain, Italy and Australia were available and having spied Roquefort on the French board I couldn’t go past it ($39.75)! There was also the option for $10 per person to get a flight of wines, each of which were matched to the four cheeses on the board (which came in 50g serves), and equated to one standard drink. Seemed like a great way to go!
So with the order placed we took our table number and wandered to the outside seating area and found a half barrel table right up against the railing. So pretty to look out over the trees, a few horses off in the distance, all very nice.
It didn’t take too long for our food to arrive and it did look great when it did.
The platters are served with sliced Parisian baguette, pan de higo (sort of a fig and almond slice) and some muscatels.
Staff were all very knowledgeable and explained their recommended order for eating the cheese, leaving the blue til last so as not to overpower the more delicate flavours of others. And the flight of wines was to be enjoyed from left to right.
The four cheeses on the French Regional Tasting Board were:
Labuche d’Affinois – White Mould, Cows Milk served with Olivine Brut
Rouzaire Camembert – White Mould, Cows Milk served with Shimmer Sparkling
Marcel Petite Comte – Hard cooked, Cow’s Milk served with Cabernet Sauvignon
Papillion Black Label Roquefort – Blue Mould, Ewe’s Milk with Liquer Verdelho
They were four beautiful cheeses. The indulgent gooey wonder of the first, the creaminess that carried through the first and second. Then there was the rich flavour in the hard cheese that was up third on the plate and finally the contrasting salty, creamy, yumness of the blue. That’s right, I’m pretty sure yumness is a word.
It was an entirely enjoyable way to spend an hour. Sitting with my handsome fellow and partaking in some quality cheese eating. It’s a new favourite of mine in the Valley and I cannot wait to head back. Let our plate be a testament to how much we enjoyed the selection… only a few stray muscatels left :)
We still have Australia, Spain and Italy’s cheese boards to work through…… plus all those other tasty options on the menu….. splendid addition to the Swan Valley :)