The concept is simple – a 7-course degustation showcasing WA’s Swan Valley produce and wines, and also celebrate Swan Valley being the first Humane food region in Australia.
Miss L was unfortunately unable to make it, so I brought a friend in her place, RB, to grace the event with our eager appetites. Credits also to RB for some of the photos featured on this blog post.
The Marquee was beautifully decorated within the grounds of Houghton Winery and was filled with lovely flowers, and table settings that were absolutely gorgeous. It was definitely something ‘fancy schmancy‘.
Upon entering, we were presented with glasses of the Sitella Chenin Blanc, which is a sparkling wine that would start the night of festivities for us. It was nice, light, and definitely a great way to begin!
The Jessie Gordon Trio who would be providing some live jazz music for the evening were already strutting their stuff on stage, and I was in absolute heaven being a complete fan of jazz music.
We were shortly told to take our seats, and by this time, I was all eager to sample the food that were crafted by our very own Kiren Mainwaring from Co-Op Dining, and also Masterchef’s George Calombaris! What a treat. The wines would be paired by Ch’ng Poh Tiong, an internationally known journalist/writer and Sommelier.
The first course we were served was a bark smoked rainbow trout, with wattle seed and white chocolate. This was supposed to be paired with either of the Faber Vineyard 2011 Blanc de Blanc, or the Pinelli Estate 2014 Reserve Verdelho. The smoked rainbow trout was nice and salty, with the essence of the white chocolate pairing so well with the salty flavoured fish. I tried the fish with both wines, and preferred the Blanc de Blanc with this dish.
We were then served both the liver parfait on a crisp onion skin and pickled celery, together with the prawn cracker topped with fresh WA wild prawn and fennel. The liver parfait on a crisp onion skin may look like a simple dish but it was actually the real standout dish for me through the evening. The prawn cracker was nice, but my heart had already been taken away by the liver parfait. Pairing this with the Verdelho brought a nice refreshing taste, and it broke the heaviness of the parfait beautifully.
As we were enjoying the food, the one thing I found very special was the fact that the chefs themselves would come to the stage to talk about the food, and the Sommelier would come and share his thoughts on the wines that were chosen to pair each dish. Anna Gare who was our emcee for the evening was elegant, and made the entire evening a relaxed atmosphere, allowing each of us to enjoy the dinner, as how anyone should be able to.
It wasn’t long before the next dish was served. This was the slow cooked hen’s yolk served with a savoury meringue, cauliflower, green olive and shaved Morish pistachios. The minds of chefs are amazing when they think of what to do. The dish was served in the appearance of a fried egg, with the yolk having slow cooked, separately from the whites, which were turned into a meringue. Nothing was wasted. The cauliflower puree that provided yet another texture to the dish brought an element of surprise. This was a pleasant dish. Pairing with this, was the Lamont’s 2013 Quartet, which was a blend of verdelho, chardonnay, semillon and sauvignon blanc.
The next course would be one that George Calombaris crafted – an olive oil confit duck leg, with spiced plum puree, germinated lentils and sake compressed cucumbers. Being fond of the Japanese cuisine, it was apparently no surprise to see the use of sake for this dish.
The wine paired for this dish was the Heafod Glen 2013 Swan Valley Grenache.
The pairing of these two was like a match made in heaven. The wine, was probably my favourite for the evening, with nice fruity flavours bursting out left right and center for this light red.
The duck was really well cooked, and the combination of the germinated lentils and plum puree gave it the textural and acidic variety.
I enjoyed this dish a lot.
The next dish on the menu was the slow cooked kangaroo tail, with Jerusalem artichoke crisps & puree, fresh apple and crisp salt bush. This was paired with newcomer to Swan Valley Mandoon Estate’s 2012 Old Vine Shiraz. With the the richness of the meat, came the fuller bodied wine which complimented the Kangaroo nicely. The artichokes provided such a lovely accompaniment to the meat, and this plate, like the others, was left completely clean.
Towards the end of the evening, we had George come up to talk for quite a while with Anna Gare, so this was the time for some snaps to be taken! RB and I even got a shot together with the Masterchef judge, and is now sending numerous waves of jealousy.
These were paired with the fortified wines. This included the Olive Farm Wines 1965 Solero Liqueur Shiraz, and the Talijancich Julian James 1961 Solero Reserve Muscat.
I am not the biggest fan of fortified wines, but these two were quite pleasant.
The chocolate and beetroot cake was nice, but a tad heavy towards the end – probably also because we have been treated to 6 courses beforehand already.
The cheese was courtesy of the cheese barrel, which included a blue cheese and a cheddar. RB for one was stoked about the amount of blue cheese there was for grabs, and being able to have my share too, was definitely a plus. I loved the cheddar, and it is pretty amazing how well honey and cheese actually pair up!
The few things that really stood out for me as part of this beautifully crafted 7-course degustation:
- Honey + Cheese = BEAUTY
- Swan Valley has far more produce that I had thought, including an asparagus farm and marron breeders!
- Germinated lentils = yumminess
- The fact that Swan Valley is in fact only about half an hour from the city is an absolute reason to celebrate because its produce and wines are really, right at our doorsteps.
- There was an element of pride being part of the WA and Swan Valley food and wine culture and scene.
Overall, what a success of an event, and we, the PFEs are grateful for the invite for this inaugural and debut event, Entwined.
Narration by: Miss Egg (a.k.a. S.T)