This week I went out to the Swan Valley. This is an area only 20 minutes North of where I live, (I’m 5 minutes from the Perth city centre) – very quickly you get out of the suburbs and into “country”, and the Swan Valley is a lovely area for visiting wineries, restaurants, cafes and little side-of-the-road places selling all sorts of gourmet delights – chocolate, honey, coffee, lavender, nougat etc.
I try to get out to this area as often as I can, especially when the weather is great, as there are so many terrific places to sit out in the sunshine having an icy cold beer or glass of champers with friends.
This week I had lunch at The Cheese Barrel, a new restaurant that only opened its doors last September and which I had heard good things about. They are mostly open during the day only, although they do have the occasional theme night ie Spanish cheese/tapas night.
You can choose a ‘regional tasting plate’ for 2, from Australia, France, Spain or Italy, OR you can select individual cheeses and add your own choice of condiments/sides – olives, crackers, figs, fruit bread etc.
We went for the French tasting plate (pictured above), plus we added a Tasmanian cheddar (the tiny wedge you can see in the background!). The cheeses were all brands or types I hadn’t tried before, and were all delicious. The portions were not large, and to be honest I think this was quite an expensive lunch for the serving size. For us it was a comfortable amount for 2 girls for lunch, but someone like my 21 y.o. son (a 6′ tall streak with hollow legs!) could have eaten this platter by himself without a problem and still wanted more!
The wine list was from the adjacent Olive Farm Wines, and I had a glass of the Shimmer sparkling, which was quite young and fruity tasting and went with the cheese very well. The platter came with tasting notes and recommended wines, but I just always reckon champagne is good with everything!
The cheeses are available to buy – which we did! Quite pricey, but good for a special occasion.
I like this place, and I like to support local industry, but considering the value for money I think there are better options around in this area – a nice lunch for something different though.