The Boy and I were desperate for some time-out. We planned to visit Adelaide for the weekend of my high school reunion and to make the most of our trip, we organised a full schedule including winery visits and lots of eating. I booked our flights months back but with all the havoc and uncertainty recently; the trip couldn’t have come at a better time. We were both really looking forward to switching off and relaxing. That is, until one of our darling fur-children fell ill. Now bear in mind that we are without human children and our two Burmese cats are the next best thing. Well, in my opinion, they ARE the best thing!
Eddie is our youngest “son” and has the softest, sweetest nature. If he was human I’m sure every sentence would start with “Please” and end in “Sorry”! The night before our departure for Adelaide, Eddie started with profuse vomiting and the poor little guy was still unable to hold anything down the next morning. After rushing him to work and running blood tests, performing x-rays and an ultrasound, we diagnosed a flare up of his inflammatory bowel disease which may have possibly been worsened by pancreatitis. He needed an overnight stay in hospital so he could get intravenous fluids, pain relief and further treatment.
I sure you will understand that upon realising this, neither of us could pack our bags, leave him and get on that plane. I was reminded again that I married the perfect man when he jumped onto the phone to Qantas without hesitation and rescheduled our trip to early next year. At least we are equally crazy about our kitties. Eddie was discharged from Perth Veterinary Emergency the following day. By Sunday he was obviously feeling much better asking to be picked up for a cuddle like usual. How does a cat ask this you say? Well, being Burmese he IS quite talkative but when he wants to be picked up he does something that is a little toddleresque. Standing up on his hind legs he reaches to tap-tap-tap on my upper thigh with his soft front paws. If I reach down to pick him up he stretches his “arms” right out to reach over my shoulder and then snuggles into me. So fricking cute.
Relieved that our child was well on the road to recovery the Boy proposed a Sunday country drive to enjoy the first of Spring’s warming rays of sunshine. I wanted to visit Myattsfield Winery to try more of their sumptuous reds so with my old map from the Bickley Valley Harvest Festival in hand we drove up into the Hills. To our surprise we found a hive of activity at the winery; it was their annual “Strawberry Fayre” where the winery recreates the celebrations from their ancestors when they used to cultivate both wine and strawberries.
There was live music, wood fired pizza and their full range of wines for tasting. Strangely there were no strawberries however. We worked our way through all their wines; from their whites through to their reds and ending on their sticky. It was hard to choose what to bring home and we ended up buying not one but two cases of our own personal selection including a couple of bottles of that delightful Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier that I fell in love with at Dear Friends.
As the Boy lined his stomach with some pizza I looked on in starving envy soaking up some sun while my tummy grumbled furiously. After much whinging about the lack of gluten free edibles, I suddenly remembered the Core Cider House was gluten free friendly and so we left the Fayre goers behind in search of something I could eat.
For those who haven’t yet managed to spend a lazy Sunday at Core Cider House, you are definitely missing out. Every time we have visited them they have been packed to near capacity and we were very lucky according to our waiter to score a table as they were fully booked.
Despite being obviously under the pump, the wait staff were all very jovial and friendly. Whilst by no means fancy, this place oozes character and charm. Tables are spotted about on the grass under the apple trees overlooking views of the orchards and vineyards. I could consciously feel my stress levels drop down notch by notch. All their ciders are gluten free although I doubted they were fructose friendly so I downed a couple of glucose tablets to counter act any issues and shared a tasting paddle with the Boy. Not being a big cider drinker I am probably the worst person to review them but for what it’s worth I really enjoyed “Pith’d”; a refreshing sparking lemon cider and “Core Reactor”; a medium dry more traditional cider made from apples and pears.
We ordered a couple of plates to share starting with the thyme and garlic infused warm brie. Deliciously gooey in the centre it was served with candied walnuts, Cabernet sauvignon sultanas and toasted gluten free bread. The bread was not stodgy or crumbly and held its texture perfect while we smeared the molten cheese on it.
Our second platter was one of the vegetarian options called “The Orchardist’s Platter”. Thick rounds of aged creamy chevre Rondelle (soft goat’s cheese), some blanched broccolini and rich red pepper puree, more gluten free toast were flavoured with rosemary salt, roasted garlic cloves and preserved lemon slivers. Although we enjoyed this platter, I did feel it was a little overpriced and it could have easily been improved with the addition of more vegetables.
Overall we had a wonderful day out in Bickley Valley, it was a nice alternative to the more mainstream Swan Valley and I am chuffed to see my wine rack filled once again. I’m not sure how long they will last though!Myattsfield Vineyards Cellar Door Union Road, Carmel Valley, WA | www.myattsfield.com.au CORE Cider House 35 Merrivale Road, Pickering Brook, WA 6076 | (08) 9293 7583 | www.corecider.com.au/core-cider-house Price: $$$ (Share plates $10-32, Mains $19-33) Food: 3/5 (excellent range of gluten free, would like better value on the platters) Service: 3.5/5 (bright and bubbly just like their ciders) Ambience: 3.5/5 (a great way to lower the blood pressure) Drinks: 2.5/5 (spritzy Pith’d lemon cider was so refreshing) Total: 12.5/20