WITH the Spring in the Valley festival only a few weeks away I decided last week to take a drive into the valley and have a look around, a dummy run, if you will, for a weekend of sensational indulgence on October 12, 13 and 14.With about 60,000 people expected to visit the Swan Valley region over the weekend, Spring in the Valley can be considered the most successful festival of food, wine and art in WA. It is an event that grows in stature and size each year, a premier occasion in its own right and a prelude for the summer festival season.As I headed into the heart of the Swan Valley I stopped at the recently renovated Edgecombe Bros to have a bite to eat, study my map and begin marking some of the diverse range of places to visit in order to taste the local produce. Edgecombe Bros provided me with an ideal place to begin my journey, as it is one of the oldest businesses in the valley, having been around since the early 1920s.I arrived ready for lunch and enjoyed a freshly prepared asparagus tart and a glass of Edgecombe Semillon. The labels on the Edgecombe wines are funky to say the least. All are variations of an Aboriginal-style drawing of a tortoise, with different colours for the various styles of wine produced.Edgecombe Bros will have plenty of freshly prepared asparagus on offer for the Spring in the Valley weekend. I felt very much at home in an atmosphere that was described to me as “agriculture meets café society”, with lunch and a glass of wine costing $14.Edgecombe BrosCorner Gnangara Road & West Swan RoadEllenbrook9296 4307Heading down the West Swan road it’s hard to miss Sandalford winery. And while you’ll probably want to stop in for a bit of sniff, swirl and spit, you also may want to check out their enticing alfresco menu. Instead of rushing through a tasting of wine, why not sit back and enjoy a bottle or two while partaking in swordfish and prawn kebabs served with a garden salad for $12, or an antipasto hamper for two – chicken liver pate and crackers, smoked salmon bagels, chicken caesar salad, sushi platter and Swan Valley fruit for an all-inclusive $30.Sandalford Winery3210 West Swan RoadCaversham9374 9300www.sandalford.comThose who of us who enjoy a chunk of cheese day or night will be pleased to hear that the Swan Valley Cheese Company has new management and will be displaying the fruits of their new venture with tastings including, mozzarella, bocconcini, pecorino and a chilli romano. It will be a definite stop for our crowded bus.Swan Valley Cheese Company640 Great Northern HwyHerne Hill9296 0600Okay, now most of us enjoy a square or two of chocolate every now and then. So it is pretty hard to go past the Margaret River Chocolate Company’s venture into the valley. I am sure that you will find more than a square or two to your liking … but no wine?Margaret River Chocolate Company5123 West Swan RoadWest Swan9250 1588
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