Gourmet delights fill the valley

AUTUMN is upon us and a new season of festivals is on its way to welcome the winds. The Swan Valley Tourism Council is hosting the annual Tastes of the Valley festival, showcasing all that the region has to offer in food, wine, and the arts.

Just a short trip out of Perth, this festival features the popular GourmArt events and is one to take the mind miles away.

These events take all three glorious facets of the valley- the food the wine and the art- and roll them into one, with some of the regions finest restaurants teaming up with renowned artists to produce a spectacle not to be missed.

Kicking it off is Chapel Farm this weekend, which will host the first of the GourmArt events, on March 31.

The evening is set to be one of fun and colour with artist Antonio Battistessa making larger than life artworks to provide a spectacular backdrop for enjoying the fine cuisine.

The colour and vibrancy of Mr Battistessa’s giant flowers and grapes will have the power to make you feel small once again, but unlike Peter Pan, one is a grown up and well, let’s face it, grown ups get better food.

The restaurant is hosting a six-course wine menu with food prepared by John Zarb and Sue Walker and in keeping with the majestic theme the names of some of the dishes will keep you amused.

The six wines on offer from Chapel Farm will be provided from some of the Swan Valley’s finest, including Platypus Lane, Garbin Estate, Jane Brook Estate and Talijancich Wines.

No matter which weekend you head out for the six-week festival you know you’re going to get great food with the likes of Friends Restaurant and Lamont’s Food and Wine and the spectacle of the Whiteman’s Abroad Gallery Restaurant.

Whiteman’s is getting all fired up with an extravaganza of fish, flames, and fire. Set in the romance of flickering lights and candelabrum, the highlight of this evening will be the explosion the “wish fish” created by pyrotechnics artist Gabrelle Mazalevskis.

The evening will include a five-course menu created by chefs Annalis and Anthony Broad.

The Taste of the Valley festival is part of the region’s autumn festival incorporating five separate festivals. There’s plenty to see and do in the Valley this autumn!

For further information on the food, wine and activities give the Swan Valley Tourism Council’s hotline number a call on 1900 999 9000 or visit the festival page at

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THE Bacco Wine Bar, Fremantle, was officially launched this week by Ivan Rutherford and offers modern Italian dining.

Familiar to most of you as Bianchi’s Quattro, owned by Davide Bianchi who is now running the Savoia in West Perth, the old navy building was purchased by Ivan Rutherford earlier this year.

While the Bacco is keeping with traditional Italian food, Mr Rutherford has taken the not so traditional and courageous step of making the restaurant 100 per cent non-smoking.

And yes, that means the outside balcony is smoke-free so all patrons can enjoy the view overlooking The Esplanade without the irritability of cigarette smoke.

The breath of fresh air is fitting for the premise behind the food served by the Bacco’s chefs, with the menu dependent on the fresh produce of the day.

Like the previous owner, Mr Rutherford is well known as a restaurateur, owning the popular Red Herring restaurant in East Fremantle and the revamped Surf Club at Port Beach.

Oh, and why Bacco? It is Italian for God of Wine.

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