More of a village than winery, Mandoon Estate combines a cellar door with a brewery; a fine-dining restaurant with a casual ambience; and lush lawns adorned with rows of vines. Perch on the Homestead Brewery’s wide deck and enjoy gastropub fare such as lamb shoulder with freekeh, ginger chilli mussels, burgers and pizzas. Alternatively, taste estate wine at the cellar bar, then settle in for five or seven refined courses at the Wild Swan restaurant. You can also keep things casual with a picnic blanket on the grass.
If the word “macaron” makes you go weak in the knees, then be sure to put this sweet spot on your itinerary. This French patisserie handcrafts its colourful sweets and strictly follows tradition with imported ingredients and a special French recipe. Either take a box home or linger in the café, which does French-style breakfasts and lunches. Children love the wooden cubby houses and slippery dips in the park-like play area.
If it’s real-deal honey you’re chasing, drop by this home of all things raw and pure. House of Honey is where you can smell and sample the diverse flavours of true West Australian honey that’s only hand-harvested after the bees have capped their honeycomb cells, signifying that the honey is ripe. Learn about the beekeeping process, get a glimpse of the honey harvesting equipment and peer at a live beehive through glass. Be sure to grab some honey ice cream on the way out.
One of the most awarded breweries in Western Australia likes to keep things fuss-free and just focus on the thing it loves: beer. Check out how the brewers make their flavour-packed beverages by gazing into the experimental brewery and chatting to the passionate staff. You can order a paddle of six different beer styles to sample as you plough through the restaurant menu – some of the produce is sourced from the nearby kitchen garden.
Once you savour one of the free-sample chocolates at Western Australia’s oldest chocolate company, any efforts to stop yourself from going for another will be futile. Fortunately, there are plenty of distractions inside the Swan Valley showroom, from chocolate sculptures to old-school goodies – the rocky road is legendary, while the chocolate covered pretzels are salty-sweet delights. Little ones love the large grassed area; it’s perfect for burning off sugar highs as parents relax in the café.
This is the grand, white-rose-dotted estate of the Swan Valley, with wines as tasty as the grounds are beautiful. The winery has been perfecting its reds and whites for more than 175 years, making it one of the oldest estates in Western Australia. Consider joining a one-hour behind-the-scenes winery tour where you can score an education in making and tasting wine (A$25), or create your own one-off blend that you can quaff with lunch in the winery restaurant (A$145; three hours; tour included; Saturdays only).
For more than 30 years, European immigrants Harrie and Petra Smeets have farmed asparagus in one of the most beautiful valleys of the Perth Hills. Green and purple stems poke out from the patchworked hillside beneath their home, while rare white asparagus is hand-harvested early in the morning from inside dark plastic tunnels. While you can only visit during the asparagus harvesting season (roughly between August to November) to see the spray-free farm in action, it’s never too early to start planning your trip.
True farm-to-table dining is found at Millbrook Winery. The rural spot in Jarrahdale, which is surrounded by native Australian trees and faces a lake, is home to a huge kitchen garden. Awarded chef Guy Jeffreys is frequently seen picking heirloom vegetables from the extensive patch, as well as sourcing eggs, honey, fruit, herbs and more from the vineyard estate. Insider tip: if you happen to be in Perth on a Monday, Millbrook Winery’s “no waste” seasonal lunches are astonishingly good value (A$50) and have become booked-out weekly events.
This article was originally published in the January 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine