For Christmas GG’s sister gave us a voucher to head along for a Speed Grazing Tour of the Swan Valley. It sounded interesting and the food element sounded right up our alley so I made a booking for what seemed like was way in the future, but soon enough April rolled around and it was our tour day!
SPEED GRAZING the Swan Valley! If you just love the “sweeter” things in life, have a healthy appetite for great taste and friendly fun – then this Perth Tour is for you!
There are two pick up points for the tour, either in town at the Wellington St Tourist Bus Stop or out at the Guildford Visitors Centre. We decided we’d go with the town option and I’ll admit it was an early start to get into town at 8am, but we managed and it wasn’t long before the bus pulled up.
Owner/Operator Loris Gundry, is a respected Perth tour guide with over 16 years experience in the Swan Valley. She has personally developed this unique concept known as SPEED GRAZING, a concept totally exclusive to the Swan Valley.
Loris was a delight to listen to. Incredibly knowledgeable about the region and passionate about all it offered. It was a group of 8 on our tour day and after a quick stop in Guildford our group was off!
I was thankful that our first stop was Yahava KoffeeWorks as the early start had me craving a caffeine hit! The smell of the roasting, blending and grinding of the beans as you walked inside was intoxicating! Quick get me a cup! At Yahava we sampled a variety of different coffees, from single origin to a blend. And we ended by trying their Iced Coffees and Iced Chai Latte.
It’s a really great venue. Lovely specious area to sit outside, which would have been perfect for the sunny, blue skies we got that day. They also have a cafe onsite with the a range of cup cakes and muffins and savoury options available. And there’s also a small gift shops which some very cool tea pots and cups and coffee plungers.
We had quite a buzz on by the time we left and were excited to check out our next stop!
It was only a short drive to our next stop and it was another place that was new to me – Cape Lavender. Here we would be enjoying lavender infused scones, jam, cream and some special lavender tea. There was also a really interesting range of other lavender products available, including lavender jams and lavender honey and even a lavender wine! While our scones were being prepared I happy wandered from jar to jar trying their beautiful products. They also had some body products that just smelt divine! Big lavender fan and thought this was place was just lovely!
Our scones were presented along with some strawberry lavender jam and some whipped cream. The lavender flavour throughout the scones was quite subtle and with some of the sweet jam and the cream it was a winning combination. The lavender wine was a muscat and probably slightly sweeter a wine than I would normally favour but I liked the opportunity to try it.
Now with only scone crumbs remaining we headed to Mago Coffee, which was actually in the same building as Cape Lavender so was an easy as a quick walk next door. Mago Coffee offers the largest range of flavoured coffees in the region. GG and I scooped up several different beans and sniffed away at the luxurious aromas of Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Sambucca and Frangelico, just to name a few. At this stop we also had the chance to try some freshly roasted nuts and some delicious West Australian Grindon extra virgin olive oil (Delicate, Fruity & Robust) accompanied by Dukkah (Hazelnut, Pistachio & Spicy). To round out the experience here we enjoyed an entirely indulgent taste of rich Italian style Hot Chocolate Shot. Looking at it I had thought it would be too rich,and while there was no doubt of its richness, it actually wasn’t overly sweet, which I really enjoyed! Another stop along the journey that had plenty to offer!
Now I have to say that the next stop was my favourite - Windara Honey. Here we had the opporuntity to hear from the bee-keeper, Phil, and taste an interesting of honey products. Amazing to see how different each type of natural honey tasted! We even got to taste the premium Jarrah honey – yum! I also tried creamed honey, not bad at all. My favourite though was a tough call….. honey straight from the comb was just bliss but they also had a drink that we could try, a sparkling honey water and it was just so refreshing and so different! Phil and his wife were both so passionate about their business and the importance of natural honey production. So interesting to hear from them direct and we left with several honey products in tow and plans to head back and replenish our honey stocks again in the near future!
Up next was Oggie’s Icecream Cafe. I’d driven past Oggie’s numerous times but never stopped in so was pleased to finally get to the chance to check out their wares. We were allowed to try as many vareities as we fancied and I tried Apple Pie ice cream, Toffee ice cream, a zesty Lemon, Lime and Bitters Sorbet, but when I decided I wanted to order a cone I had to go with an old favourite. I’ll have a scoop of peppermint choc chip please. A single scoop was just massive! Glad we were given prior warning that one scoop would be ample. It really was! I hadn’t bought myself an ice cream like this in ages so it felt like quite a treat.
Also available at Oggie’s is an entirely enticing range of English sweets. But with my cone in hand I was in no need for a further sugar kick.
High on life and on sugar we were off!
I was pleased that tour next stop was somewhere with less sugary offerings (don’t get my wrong I like my sugar!)…. we were off to Maggie’s Place. Firstly we ventured to the vineyards nearby belonging to Edgecombe Brothers and picked some table grapes. It was really fun to venture beneath the green canopy and pluck a few fresh grapes, still warm from the sun.
From there we got to meet Maggie herself! She’s an amazing lady. Maggie Edmonds, founder of Maggie’s Place, won the WA RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year Award in 2008 and runner-up in Australia. With the prize she won she started Maggie’s Place. According to the website description of what they do…
We are LOCAVORES. We endeavour to support small producers at Maggie’s Place.
We strive to collect, farm direct, whatever is in season and is fresh and from the region. We offer our produce to our loyal customers and many visitors to the Swan Valley who enjoy popping in and seeing what local fruit and veg is around.
We were taken through the store and invited to try some really amazing sauces and relishes that Maggie makes. They were delicious! Just a flavour explosion! There was this Indian style chutney that was seriously amazing!
There was then the opportunity to wander through the store and purchase whatever fresh produce took your fancy. You could definitely tell that it was a seasonal offering and it what was available would no doubt vary from week to week. I’m sure there are many regulars that stop by to see what Maggie has on offer that week.
Now what tour of the Swan Valley would be complete without throwing a winery in the mix? I was partiucuarly pleased that the one we were visiting was one I hadn’t been to or tried before! Windy Creek Wines is owned and has operated since 1937 by the Cobanov family. It’s a very beautiful setting and they have an extensive range of wines on offer from Verdelho, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Late Harvest, Cabernet Merlot, Shiraz, and even a few fortifieds, including White Port, Liqueur Shiraz and Liqueur Muscat.
We were able to try the whole range of the wines and to further enhance the experience there was some tasty cheese and crackers, along with a delicious range of home-made chutneys, spreads and jams by Wicked Stepmother. The offering including Apricot & White Port Jam, Two Fruit & Brandy Jam, Orange & Whiskey Jam, Cumquat & Cointreau, Liqueur Strawberry Jam, Tomato & Passionfruit, Orange & Lime, Cauliflower Pickle…. doesn’t it all sound fab! From the ones I’ve tried I can tell you they tasted just as good and were a wonderful accompaniment to a really fabulous range of local wines.
Given that postage was only $5 a case we filled out our order form before our left and eagerly anticipated a few bottles showing up at our front door later in the week
Our next stop was something of an institution in Perth and has only relatively recently, well back in 1997, opened it’s doors in the Swan Valley given the demand they had for their product. The Mondo Nougat story dates back to 1989 when Alfonso Romeo migrated from Italy to Australia, with his wife, Antonietta (Toni) and their three sons, Andrea, Simone and Marco. Initially the Mondo experience in Perth was an at home operation, but soon enough the demand grew beyond the desserts being served by the husband and wife team at Mondo Patisserie in Midland .
You can find Mondo Nougat at many stores around town these days but it was great to go to where they are actually making their products. You can peak into factory to actually see the workers busily preparing their products. We then got to take out pic of which type of nougat we would like to try. Couldn’t go past one of the soft varieties and lemon infused sounded delicious. And. It. Was.
Another positive tick on our speed grazing adventure.
The final stop on our Swan Valley adventure was a new addition to Great Northern Highway – Whistlers Chocolate Company. It was a chocoholics paradise! We were offered a sample of a decadent range of products from chocolate coated snakes to chocolate covered pretzels! Yum!
I’m pretty sure that any chocolate fan would find something here to take their fancy. There is an incredibly wide range available and there’s even a cafe available towards the back if you need to balance your sweet indulgence with some savoury. There is also a large grassed area, complete with playground, which would be perfect for families.
It was a really great place to finish our adventure and all the more when Lois sent a container of dark chocolate coated aniseed rings around the base as we drove back into town.
It was a really amazing day. My thanks to Lois for introducing us to some amazing places in the Swan Valley. Just so close to home! We are spoilt for choice with the producers that we have right on our door steps.
I’d do it all again! I’d speed graze any day!