Get excited because winter is just around the corner and that means that truffle season isn’t far away! The 2019 Truffle Kerfuffle program, presented by Winning Appliances & Asko, was recently released and there are some wonderful events scheduled.
Last year was my first visit to the Truffle Kerfuffle and my only regret is that it took me so long to get around to going! For foodies it is a complete must do – trust me when I say it is such a delicious weekend away. There are so many tempting and indulgent dishes on offer, all which showcase the earthy wonder of the Western Australian black truffle. Do you fancy truffle with your breakfast? Sure! With lunch? Done! For dinner? You got it! You can have it in drinks or infused into butter or oil or honey. The list goes on, so if you are a truffle fan then it is the perfect place to indulge your passion.
And the setting couldn’t be more perfect. Fonty’s Pool is located just outside the town of Manjimup in the Southern Forest region. This winter wonderland has played host to the festival for the past few years and its sprawling grounds are completely idyllic. From the stunning set up to the opening night dinner, fairy lights and fire pits abound, and add to the complete magic of such a decadent experience.
Then there is the Festival Village itself, the vibrant hub of the whole weekend’s event, where you can happily wander from watching cooking demos to wine tastings, before making the tricky decision of which of the many tempting truffle dishes you want to indulge in (all of them please).
Within the Festival Village there is plenty of space to sit and enjoy your tasty food and a glass of wine, while enjoying some of the live entertainment. It was that relaxed ambiance that won me over. Despite the complete and utter luxury of what we were there to enjoy, it is an event without pretension. Everyone is relaxed and just happy to share their passion for good local food and wines.
Accommodation wise there are packages available and you can actually stay right on site at Fonty’s Pool. You can check out the various options here. Otherwise if you book somewhere in Manjimup, Pemberton, Bridgetown or Nannup, the organisers have made getting to and from Truffle Kerfuffle easy too, with a helpful shuttle that runs to and from these towns throughout the days of the festival.
Several Perth restaurants attend the Festival Village and create their own signature truffle dishes. The cob loaf from the team at The Heritage was such a crowd pleaser and it would be amazing if it made a return in 2019… I’d be first in line! So divine!
Each year different chefs from Western Australia and beyond also attend and for 2019 Chef Pete Evans has the opening night dinner honours with his Enchanted Southern Forests Feast. It’s always interesting to see each chef’s menu for this prestigious event and how they’ve chosen to showcase this special and unique ingredient. The truffle is actually surprisingly versatile and included in every course of this lavish affair and in abundance. It’s a very memorable way to begin the weekend.
On Saturday night, two of my favourite chefs are teaming up for L’Elegante Tartufo Dinner. Santini’s Nic Wood and Melissa Palinkas from Young George are set to create an Italian inspired feast and I have no doubt it will be an entirely outstanding evening of fine dining and utter deliciousness.
Time for the Avo-Enthusiasts to head to the Perth Hills!
November 24th and 25th was a big weekend at the always beautiful Araluen Botanic Park with the 2018 installment of the Araluen Avocado Festival. A great opportunity to take in the stunning grounds and celebrate all things avocado. It was a big program of events across the two days.
As you wandered around the park, there was a range of different and interesting stallholders set up, which provided a chance to enjoy the joy of the avocado. So avo good time! You could purchases actual fresh avocados, individually or even a whole tray if you were feeling flashy! Some were even dressed up a little fancy!
Then there was a range of different skin and beauty products to peruse, some made locally in the Perth Hills, like those beautiful soaps!
And then of course there were a range of tempting food and drink options, with each stall or food van ensuring there was something avo-licious on their menu. The classics like guacamole were available or for the more adventurous there was icecreams with avocado in them, even avocado cocktails and an avocado beer! A whole lot of tempting choices!
Bella Events is the results of an idea and an abundance of passion from Natalie Miller. It takes boldness and drive to decide to put together a debut event, in this case a long table lunch, but after some incredibly hard work Natalie managed it with grace, flair and the utmost respect for the occasion of 100th anniversary of Remembrance Day.
B-E-L-L-A Events are designed to be “Bespoke Experiential Limited Local Artisan” and first up was the Artisan Remembrance Day Long Table Lunch at the beautiful Paul Conti Winery in Wanneroo.
Fortunate to be held on a day with abundant sunshine, for those guests that couldn’t attend the first part of the day’s festivities at the Raffles and headed straight to the winery, we gathered outside on the grass under some well-placed umbrellas. Sparkling was offered and gratefully accepted by attendees. There is something about a glass of fizz that so aptly sets the tone for a special events; particularly in this case, providing the opportunity to cheers those that have bravely defended our country.
Epic platters were set up for folks to happily graze on ahead of taking our seats, which were beautifully created by talented Poach Pear team of Adam & Marissa Bielawski. Their store, Black Pig Deli & Co, on Beaufort Street is well worth a visit and where you are able to easily purchase all of these delicious charcuterie goodies.
The lunch was being prepared by three well known Perth chefs. Sophie Budd from Taste Budds Cooking Studio in Highgate, Herb Faust of Herb Faust Foods and previously from Houghton’s Winery Café and Paul ‘Yoda’ Iskov from Fervor Foods. A seriously solid line up.
To commence proceedings each talented chef had created a tasty canape:
It had been many, many years since I last went to AQWA – The Aquarium of Western Australia. So long in fact that I’m pretty sure it was called Underwater World when I visited so I’m highlighting my vintage. They’ve started doing a ‘Dine Beneath The Sea’ series where lucky guests get to explore AQWA after hours, for an adults only experience, before enjoying a delicious three course meal seated inside the underwater tunnel. A very unique place to dine!
I felt incredibly lucky to be invited along recently to give dining beneath the sea a go and I was so excited! GG and I headed along on a Friday evening and arrived a touch before 7 o’clock, joining the eager crowd waiting for the doors to swing open. As you entered, friendly waiters offered trays of drinks and I happily took a glass of sparkling as we headed in. It is amazing to see so many beautiful sea creatures in their various aquariums. I’ll be honest, a lot of them I’d never seen before! Like this bright orange slug creature, where’s he been hiding?
I was particularly taken by the tanks of jelly fish with their striking lighting, which made them seem suspended in the water, before gently floating about. Just beautiful, and this scenery was perfectly matched with the easy listening tunes they had playing. The mood was set and very much favoured a couples night out. There was a distinct lovey doviness in the air!
A few tasty canapes, Chilli garlic prawns with crispy chorizo and Spicy savoury cones filled with tomato salsa, avocado jalapenos and sour cream, were offered as guests wandered throughout the main floor and definitely piqued the appetite.
Did I love seeing the sea horses? Or course, they are amazing. Did I manage to find Nemo? I sure did, there were a few of those cuties hanging out together. And Dory too? You bet, she was there in all her brilliant blue. It wasn’t our normal Friday night out and I think that was a big part of what made it so special. It isn’t something you get to do every day.
We were then shown down the stairs to our tables….. beneath the sea. Thirty two tables for two were arranged along the length of the underwater tunnel, covered in white linen table clothes and adorned with a vase of colourful florals and a flickering candle. Oh yes, they had nailed the romance factor!
A fairy lit drinks trolley wandered throughout ensuring people had a drink in hand.
So there you sit with your special someone, enjoying a wine, while your eyes are drawn to the constant movement – the sharks, giant sting rays, turtles and schools of many different types of fish. It’s honestly like you never stop looking around, it’s distracting, but in a really wonderful way.
I’m a big West Coast Eagles fan and what a season it has been. The boys are on their way to the AFL Grand Final and line up against the Collingwood Magpies next Saturday, September 29th. So exciting!!
Now usually I watch the footy at home, call me lazy or slightly set in my ways, but on the few occasions I’ve gone out somewhere to see a match, I’ve actually really enjoyed it, there’s always such great atmosphere as you cheer along your side with other fans. Nowhereman Brewing Company has their bar and brewery in Harrogate St in West Leederville and they’ve been open for just over a year now.
I have to admit I didn’t realise it was there. I had heard of the brewery, but not realised it was discretely tucked away in amongst the urban jungle of West Leederville, not too far from the freeway and a short walk from the Leederville train station. It is a really cool space. A real industrial warehouse feel, with the backdrop of stainless steel kegs and other brewing equipment, but well countered with welcoming splashes of greenery, colourful wall art and warmth from the wooden tables and crates that form their comfortable and eclectic furniture collection.
Nowhereman logo is a hop cone with a face, inspired by owner Reece Wheadon’s love of stencil and street art, designed by local company Zendoke.
Now, what I should add is that during the footy season and now the finals, Nowhereman is a pretty fantastic spot to watch the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers games. They have two large screens, with the volume up nice and loud when the action kicks off. Earlier in the year I was invited along with some of my nearest and dearest to watch the Eagles versus Bulldogs and we enjoy some tasty snacks and give their beers a whirl.
Owner Reece Waldron was super friendly and happy to provide advice to this relative beer rookie as to which was their most popular and crowd pleasing beer.
Nowhereman’s beer vision is simple; make exceptional beers that showcase fresh flavours and the quality and depth of beer. Nowhereman’s core range showcases a range of flavours and styles to provide all year round deliciousness while our limited releases keep things exciting with experimentation, seasonal fun and amazing collaborations.
So taking his wisdom on board I started with a Leederville Lager and I did agree that it was lovely, wonderfully easy drinking.
Chef Julia Jenkins heads up our kitchen and Nowhereman are proud to be local and to support other WA producers, that is why our kitchen uses WA ingredients and you’ll find the wines, spirits and cider we serve is all local. Just like us.
The food menu isn’t overly extensive (I understand it has expanded slightly my visit) but it definitely gets the job done with some great options available and as noted above has an entirely pleasing focus on WA produce. I’m always a big fan of that. Great to see Jindong sorting all their free range pork needs and that they use Blackwood Valley for their beef dishes. High quality deliciousness! Chef Julia Jenkins has pulled together a very tempting offering. We thoroughly enjoying the cold cuts, either along with some of their very choice in house pickled veg (addinga perfect splash of colour) and flat bread or just as is. Plus hard to go past their pizzas. How good is pizza!
Our signature pizza bases are all made fresh in house using Eden Valley biodynamic wholemeal wheat and Caputo 00 flour, our dough is then left to ferment for 24 hours to ensure the right crunch and bounce in your base.
Big fan of those bases and the crust has just the right amount of chew to it. Flavour wise there are some real knock out combos, with my favourite being their mushroom pizza, just lovely. I also had a lot of time for pepperoni one, made specially by Jindong just for Nowhereman.
mushrooms, confit garlic,caramelised onion, fior di latte, thyme $20
In its second year now Farm2Fork is an event held at PLC Perth to raise funds for their boarding students. It is a celebration of WA food, giving people an opportunity to sample delicious dishes and actually speak to the producers and learn more about their story. I was invited to attend and was really looking forward to it because I’m all for attention being turned to our hard working West Aussie farmers.
Ticket prices included all food so you could happily wander from stall to stall and try absolutely everything, which was lovely! Whilst crowd numbers were healthy it was a well chosen space so it didn’t feel cramped and there was plenty of seating. Tables were adorned with pretty blooms and the colourful heirlooms pumpkins of Warren Grange Fresh Produce, which as perfect for decorations as they are for eating.
We started our food exploration with Aaron Chef, the guest chef in attendance. His new restaurant Yarri in Dunsborough has been receiving excellent reviews and I hadn’t had an opportunity to visit, so was pleased to get a sneak peak of some of these dishes here.
Yarri’s cuisine reflects the six seasons of Western Australia’s Nyungar people and country. Ingredients are sustainably sourced from the land and from small producers based in WA.
Such a polished look to each of the tasty morsels on offer and some great bold flavours. Loved the contrasting sweetness from that burnt pumpkin and the salty goodness of the miso and crunchy black seaweed cracker.
Burnt pumpkin, miso, seaweed cracker and togerashi
Fremantle sardines, tomato, olive, focaccia
From there it was time to enjoy some seafood and what a tempting array they had on offer! Hard to know where to start! The event had an army of volunteers preparing all the dishes – teachers, parents, even students and they did a seriously outstanding job.
A visit to Short Street Kitchen for one of their workshops is a complete delight. It’s a lovely way to spend a few hours. It is run by a mother and daughter team, Robyn and Jess and they share their passion with their workshops, which promote health and well-being though living naturally and simply.
Classes are held in the Perth Hills, at the home that the family has owned for the past 40 years. The love and care that has been shown to the property and surrounding gardens during this time is apparent. It’s a beautiful, welcoming green haven. After what has been a relatively wet winter in the west, there is a real lushness to every garden bed and while some trees had lost their leaves, there were small signs that Spring was on the way. I can only imagine how stunning the Short Street Kitchen setting must be when everything that enjoyed a brief winter slumber springs back to life.
I’ll admit that I am a relative rookie when it comes to the specifics of a holistic lifestyle and while I know that I try to avoid highly processed foods (for the most part) and when I cook at home I endeavour to use the freshest and best quality produce that I can source, I was very interested to learn more and Robyn and Jess were very well placed to help with this.
They host a variety of workshops (which you can read about here), which are designed to be informative and hands on and they really want it to be a memorable experience.
All of our workshops begin with a delicious morning tea and introduction and all include a beautiful sit down long table lunch feasting on the delights of a shared platter and dessert.
I attended their Made From Scratch Class, because I do love to cook and I wanted to hear more about the importance of certain ingredients and potential small changes I could make to what I was doing that would have real health benefits. As they noted in the class outline on their website, which really resonated – You are in control of what goes in your body.
The morning started with a welcome cup of herbal tea and a range of delicious raw slices for those feeling peckish. It was a really pleasant group, with those attending sharing the same genuine interest in learning more about embracing a holistic lifestyle and to be honest they were all a lot further along in that journey than I was.
So at the Made From Scratch you learn how to make:
Crunchy seeded crackers
Fresh ghee – a very healthy alternative to oil in cooking
As we roll on into August it’s time to get excited because it marks the start of this year’s Spring Into Armadale festivities! Running from August to November it offers a diverse range of fabulous events to encourage folks to visit the beautiful Perth Hills/Armadale region.
Photo Credit: Perth Hills Armadale
The events vary in focus to those tailored especially for explorers and natural lovers, given the abundance of beautiful parks in the area, culture and history enthusiasts are able to enjoy the stunning local artists exhibits and historical landmarks, plenty of family friendly activities to attend, some great community fairs and for me, there’s a line up to ensure that no foodie is going to go hungry! Options a plenty!
Photo Credit: Perth Hills Armadale
This is definitely what I found out last year when I headed along to a few events from the Spring Into Armadale calendar. And for 2018 here are a few events that have caught my eye.
Coming up very soon is one for the dinner theatre fans, Ye Olde Narrogin Inne is holding a Faulty Towers Dining Experience on August 19th. Sure to be a fun and entertaining night out with Basil Faulty bringing in the laughs, so why not head along and enjoy a delicious three course meal and a chance to actually get involved with the show, because audience participation is highly encouraged. Booking details can be found below.
Basil, Sybil and Manuel serve a 3-course meal along with plenty of laughs and audience participation in this 5-star immersive show – a show that’s never the same twice, because it’s 70% improvised. It’s great for comedy and theatre fans, as well as anyone who just fancies going out for an unforgettable meal and a hugely good time. This true blend of ingenious comedy and unique theatrical script is a multi-sensory treat where chaos reigns right from the start.
Date 19 August 2018
Time 7.30 – 9.30pm
Venue Ye Olde Narrogin Inne, Albany Highway and South Western Highway, Armadale
Event contact Call 1300 308 193 or visit www.interactivetheatre.com.au
Photo Credit: The Narry Armadale
A major event on the Spring Into Armadale calendar runs from August 18th to September 24th and it is tulip season at Araluen! And it turns out I just love tulips! I made my Araluen debut last year and it was a stunning day out. Such a beautiful place, a very special part of Perth that everyone should visit and so entirely delightful to spend a few hours taking a pleasant wander throughout the park, so you can enjoy every single garden bed which are full of brightly coloured blooms in every shade of the rainbow. Plus you have the option of packing a delicious picnic lunch to enjoy on the grassed space (and there is plenty of room!) or as with last year they’ll have a few food vans in attendance so you can also just pick up some tasty treats from them. Go check out those tulips!
It’s Yates Springtime at Araluen features over 145,000 Tulips planted throughout the Park as well as thousands of other bulbs and flowers in full bloom. Join us this Spring for an enchanting journey of colour in Perth’s Hills. Relax and reconnect with nature, enjoy a picnic under the shade of the Marri Trees or visit the Chalet Healy Café for lunch. There are bursts of colour at every turn as you walk the pathways of the Park including our Internationally recognised Camellias, Magnolias and Rhododendrons. Take a ride on Araluen’s Train to learn the history of the Park and enjoy a variety of cuisines from our pop-up food stalls.
Date 18 August to 24 September
Time 9 – 6pm
Venue Araluen Botanic Park
Event contact Marie-Adeline Paris
Price Adult $15 Children $7 Concession $12 Family $40 Group $10
If you haven’t been to Millbrook Winery before it is such a picturesque spot and their wines are more than a bit of alright. As well as that they have an outstanding chef in the kitchen and a large part of their menu is actually grown on site. You actually get to check out the impressive garden as part of their Spring Lunch. Sure to be an amazing day out. Booking details below.
Spring at Millbrook is beautiful; the vineyard emerging from dormancy and fruit trees bursting with colour. Join us as we celebrate all the new season offers, with new release wines, incredible produce from the garden and the people that bring these wonderful things together! Start a tour of the winery and tasting with head winemaker Damian Hutton. Enjoy a canape and glass of wine before heading to the restaurant for a wine-matched long lunch prepared by an award winning chef and gardener Guy Jeffreys.
Date Saturday 29 September
Time 11.30am – 3pm
Venue Millbrook Winery, Old Chestnut Lane, Jarrahdale
Price Adults $110. Call 08 9525 5648 or visit www.millbrookwinery.com.au for more information
Photo Credit: Millbrook Winery
Another event I visited last year was the Perth Hills Festival. Have you been to our hills lately? So nice! This lovely rainy winter means that it is so beautifully green at the moment, well worth a drive. I have fond memories of an amazing roast pork roll when I visited….. plus I bought a really good carrot cake and an amazing jar of lemon butter and some wonderful fresh fruit and veg. It’s a great family friendly day out.