About Dianne Bortoletto Travelletto

A passionate traveller, lover of all things Italian, chocoholic, gourmand, wino, shopper and people watcher. Eating a good meal can keep me on a high for two days and I'm often seeking out amazing food experiences - whether it be in my hometown of Perth Western Australia, in my kitchen, or when I'm travelling. The new is something I love - a new bar, new restaurant, new shoes (!), a new kitchen creation…if it's new, then it'll have my interest. For a short time anyway. As PR professional and keen blogger, I take pride in writing entertaining prose. I hope you enjoy sharing my adventures and stories.

Bellingen Community Markets

The Bellingen Community Market is one of the largest regional markets in Australia and held on the third Saturday of every month at the Bellingen Sports Oval off Church St.  A gold coin donation to the local Rotary Club will gain you entry and from there, be prepared for a sensory overload.

Everything and anything is for sale at the Bellingen Community Markets.  From copper pots to chainsaws, to sculptures, hand made clothing, fairy floss, fake sunglasses, polished stones, beautiful wooden boards and trivets, pet supplies, home made condiments, hand crafted skin care, interior soft furnishing, junk jewellery, knitting supplies and everything in between.

Here is my photo essay of the colourful and eclectic Bellingen Community Markets:

Bellingen Mkts 01 Bellingen Mkts 02 Bellingen Mkts 04 Bellingen Mkts 05 Bellingen Mkts 06 Bellingen Mkts 07 Bellingen Mkts 08 Bellingen Mkts 09 Bellingen Mkts 10

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Need a box? They even sell boxes at the Bellingen Markets

Local fresh produce, relishes, fine art and craft, antiques, plants, pottery, hats, bric’n’brac, new and second hand clothing, books, bags, toys, jewellery, gemstones, music, candles, soaps, beauty and alternative products, pamper yourself to an outdoor massage or take a sneak peak at destiny with astrology and tarot.

Bellingen Mkts 19 Bellingen Mkts 15 Bellingen Mkts 14 Bellingen Mkts 16 Bellingen Mkts 17 Bellingen Mkts 09 Bellingen Mkts 10 Bellingen Mkts 13 Bellingen Mkts 21 Bellingen Mkts 22 Bellingen Mkts 24 Bellingen Mkts 25 Bellingen Mkts 26

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Just two ingredients in this peanut butter – roasted peanuts and salt. The peanuts are ground when still warm after roasting – and it’s good, so, so good

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This stall is called ‘Shelf Respect’ – love that!

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It’s the perfect place to play, shop, eat, drink and be happy. With a smorgasbord of multi‐cultural culinary delights, tantalise your taste‐buds with delicious Italian wood‐fired pizza, German goods, Indian dishes, Mexican meals, healthy wraps, pastas, Buffalo products, Moroccan food, Asian cuisine, seafood, traditional sausage sangas, bacon and eggs rolls, pancakes, scrumptious homemade cakes, sweets, donuts and chocolates, gelato and sorbet, ice‐cream, ice treats, juices, smoothies, espresso coffee and boutique ale.

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Bellingen Mkts 33 Bellingen Mkts 34 Bellingen Mkts 35 Bellingen Mkts 36

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Lift one side and you have two trivets for your table. Clever design made with beautiful local wood

 

Bellingen Mkts 47 Bellingen Mkts 48 Bellingen Mkts 49

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There’s entertainment for young and old alike at the Bellingen Community Markets

I hope you’ve enjoyed my photo essay of the Bellingen Community Markets.

FACT FILE

Bellingen Community Markets
Church St Bellingen Football Oval, Bellingen, New South Wales
Held: Third Saturday of every month

A taste of Asia – and a great way to travel solo

Here’s a fun info graphic that explains the basics of cuisine in Asia. Thanks My Adventure Store!

Vietnamese food is an absolute favourite of mine – and only so after I travelled in Vietnam last year. I can’t wait to explore more of South-East Asia

Web

I have a few friends who don’t like the idea of travelling on their own – it’s not that they are scared or worried, but rather, they prefer to have a buddy to share experiences with. There’s a part of me that agrees. Whilst I’ve loved solo travel, that liberating feeling of knowing I can do what I want, when I want, without having to consult a soul, is the ultimate freedom. When it comes to eating out, especially dinner time, I don’t like to dine alone. That’s when doing a tour with a cool crew like Intrepid and My Adventure Store is a great option. Tours for people that don’t do tours. That’s what I tell my friends to do.  Best of both worlds – you’re on your own, but have company. Win-win!

What to cook when there’s nothing in the house – Pasta!

I love pasta. Not because I’m Italian, but because it’s my go-to dinner when there’s nothing in the fridge.

In our fridge there’s always a chorizo, and in our pantry is always pasta, canned tomatoes, and chickpeas.

Barilla sent me a sample parcel to try, but I already had a box of casarecce – a Sicilian short twisted pasta that was in the gift bags at the opening night of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival last year. This pasta is great because the sauce gets trapped in the twists.Barilla Casarecce pasta

For a fab midweek dinner, try this simple pasta dish:

Pasta with chorizo and chick peas

Chop 1 onion and 1 clove garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add a whole chopped chorizo and cook for about 3-4 mins until it starts to brown. Add a drained and rinsed can of chick peas, or two cans if you want a chunkier sauce. I like the organic ones. Cook for a minute, stirring. Deglaze the pan with a glass of red wine and reduce to half. Should only take 6-7 mins. Add a can of crushed tomatoes and stir. Season with salt and pepper. You can add some chilli if you like just before adding the wine. Taste and check seasoning.Chorizo & Chickpea sauce

Meanwhile, cook pasta following cooking guide on box. For the casarecce, 9 mins in salted boiling water.

Off the heat, add half the sauce to the drained pasta and a few glugs of olive oil and stir to coat the pasta.

Serve and top with extra sauce. Too with cracked pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese (not the packet stuff from the supermarket please!)

Buon apetito!

Chorizo and chickpeas casarecce pasta, with a side of roast pumpkin

Chorizo and chickpeas casarecce pasta, with a side of roast pumpkin

Verdict:

This dish takes about 30 minutes to prepare and the chickpeas take on the flavours of the rich tomato sauce and spicy chorizo. It’s a quick and easy tasty pasta dish to prepare – and if like me you often have chorizo in the fridge, just in case, then this dish is a great one to keep up your sleeve. A pantry winner.

 

Aravina Estate: Tony Howell’s new kitchen

I gladly accepted an invitation to dine at Aravina Estate in Margaret River, keen to try the food of one of my favourite chefs in his new kitchen. Aravina’s new executive chef Tony Howell made a name for himself winning a legion of fans and numerous awards overs 15 years at Cape Lodge, listed in Condé Nast’s 2012 Gold List and named Best Boutique Hotel in Australia.

The Grounds:

From the moment I arrived, I knew I’d be impressed with Aravina Estate. A red Ferrari in the car park, a cute wooden walkway leading to lush lawns lined with eucalyptus, pretty gardens with two dams beyond, vistas of the vineyard, and a magnificent cellar door and restaurant that would not look out of place in the Hamptoms or on the set of hit television show ‘Revenge’. Outside white wooden railings surround a large alfresco terrace dining area that takes advantage of the stunning view. The beautiful grounds have hosted many weddings, including that of winery owner Steve Tobin just a couple of weeks ago.Aravina Estate15

Families will love lunching at Aravina. Eat in peace while your kids run around climbing, swinging and playing.

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From the terrace, parents can easily keep one eye on the fenced children’s playground that would be the envy of many local councils I’m sure.

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My favourite part, the kitchen garden. Executive Chef Tony Howell was almost frothing at the mouth as he talked about the massive ten-bed garden growing seasonable produce including all manner of herbs, several types of lettuce, zucchini, cucumber, beetroot, chilli, capsicum and much more. More fruit trees have also been planted.Aravina Estate21

“That’s the great thing about working here, [owner] Steve [Tobin] is open to suggestions and when I said I’d love a kitchen garden, he made it happen. Check it out!” Tony said.

“Everything in the salmon dish, except the salmon, comes from this garden, freshly picked just hours before it is served.”

Inside:

Walking in, the classy white interior, large windows letting in an abundance of light, high ceilings, lantern-style light fittings, Italian tiled floor and French inspired decor is chic, elegant, and inviting.

Indoor dining

Indoor dining

The wine tasting counter takes centre stage, as it should.  Towards the back of the building is an opulent private dining room, perfect for a party of ten.

Private dining or wine tasting room

Private dining or wine tasting room

Shelves containing cookbooks, vases, photo frames, table ware, kitchen accessories and ornaments are gorgeously displayed around the wine tasting area and also in shop floor area beyond.Aravina_shop1

The restaurant and cafe is beautiful. White linen, fresh flowers, elegant glass ware, and quality cutlery and crockery instantly set the tone for the dining experience to come.

The surprise:

Enter the building, walk past the wine tasting area, past the cafe, through the stunning gift and home ware shop and you’ll find yourself in a sports car gallery. High school memories  raced through my head as I clocked a yellow S/LR 5000 Torana, a 1972 Valient Charger, and 1973 GT Ford Falcon.

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There’s also vintage Citroen, Aston Martin, and a Daytona Ferrari as well as several of sexy modern Italian makes. The rev-head in me was squealing with delight. Who would’ve thought a posh-looking winery would appeal to car lovers or those of us that keep our inner bogan suppressed?

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The wine:

Wine maker Jodie Opie joined Aravina in 2011 after gaining experience at Lenton Brae and Voyager Estate. I liked all the wines, having said that, tasting wine is so subjective.

The vintage sparkling was light and clean. The Vermintino, and Italian varietal, was clean with an acidic finish. My palate has gone off Sauvingnon Blanc Semillon in recent years, but I really enjoyed the citrus and fresh qualities of Aravina’s. The Chardonnay was my favourite.  

Of the reds, I was delighted to see an Italian varietal Nebbiolo on offer. The tannins were tight but with time it will open up to be a beautiful wine to enjoy with winter Italian dishes. The Cabernet Merlot was easy drinking, the Cabernet Sauvignon left a beautiful plummy taste in my mouth, and I really enjoyed the Shiraz Tempranillo blend. Aravina Estate23

“We’ve planted a special varietal of Tempranillo and Malbec – it’s good to have different varietals on offer, as well as the classic ones the region is known for. It makes us different to the other wineries,” Jodie said.

James Halliday named Aravina Estate as “one of the ten best new wineries” in the 2014 Australian Wine Companion.  The wines have also won a multitude of medals at wine shows across Australia.

The food:

I put my diet on hold and threw my gluten-free ways out the window when whipped truffle butter accompanied freshly baked bread arrived at the table. We shared a number of dishes so we could try as many things as we could possibly fit in.  Aravina Estate06

The pork terrine, mustard fruits, pickled walnuts and persian feta was fantastic. The terrine on its own was rich, but perfect when mixed with the mustard fruits and the phenomenal pickled walnuts.

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The seared Esperance scallops avocado tian, tomato and chorizo crumb were delicate, and cooked perfectly. Everything married beautifully.

Aravina Estate08The special of the day, ricotta stuffed zucchini flower and house smoked salmon – it was divine.

Aravina Estate07King fish sashimi, asian omelette and ginger jelly was sensational. The asian flavours were perfectly balanced, it was fresh, light, and I could eat that dish every day and not tire of it. It didn’t look as pretty as some other dishes, that look like art in comparison, but taste-wise, it was perfect in every sense.

Aravina Estate11Smoked goats cheese. Who smokes goat cheese? Chef Tony Howell, that’s who. And it was nothing short of amazing. I’m told he uses local off cut jarrah wood chips, not oak ones that are used in the wine marking process, to smoke things in-house. Teamed with beetroot carpaccio, sous vide celery, orange and some crunchy brioche, this dish is visually stunning. The smoked goats cheese was so delicious, this wins dish of the day for originality and presentation.

Aravina Estate17The Shark Bay king prawn, compressed pineapple, green papaya, herbs and won ton was crunchy, fresh, and perfect for a hot summer’s day. The Asian flavours were beautifully balanced with the sweetness of the pineapple. It felt healthy to eat.

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Time for a refreshing mouth cleanser. Lemon sorbet with lemon and lime sherbet and citrus peel.Aravina Estate16

Feeling absolutely full after sharing the above, we just had one main dish, steamed duck yellow curry, crispy skin, fried peanuts, pickled chilli and herb salad. It looked beautiful on the plate, and smelled fantastic too. One of my lovely dining companions, Sandra, loved this dish – for her, it was the dish of the day. For me, it was too spicy and hot for my chilli-intolerant palate. I don’t mind a bit of heat, but I’m a weakling in that department.

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How pretty is this dessert? Compressed watermelon, coconut sorbet, herb syrup, lychee foam, seasonal fruit and sesame crisp. Every element was fantastic and it was beautiful and light. The perfect ending to a decedant lunch.

Functions:

Aravina Estate just completed a new function room that can seat 160 comfortably. It features a bar at one end, crystal chandeliers, Italian travertine tiles, cathedral ceilings, and large bi-fold doors so the room can incorporate the outdoor terrace. Off the function room, past the guest toilets, is a bridal suite, complete with a lounge area, dressing area, and bathroom with plenty of mirrors and bench space for the all important hair and make up touch ups.  It’s a stunning space.

Verdict:

Add Aravina Estate to your Margaret River itinerary. Not only are there award winning wines to taste and buy, but you can shop, kids can play, you can wander amongst the vines, admire the vegetable garden, and best of all, have a meal you won’t forget.

Tony Howell is producing food as good as he ever has. Despite the increase in covers, the food comes from the same quality local suppliers, is treated with the same respect and attention to detail is evident in every dish. Do yourself a favour and book in now.

My score: 9.5/10 (just lost half a mark because the curry was too hot for my palate)

Disclosure: Dianne Bortoletto was a guest of Aravina Estate and all reviews are based on merit.

FACT FILE

Aravina Estate
61 Thornton Road, Yallingup WA 6282
Tel: 08 9235 4600

The Cellar Door and Cafe are open everyday 10am-5pm and the restaurant is open for lunch everyday 11.30am-3pm. Bookings recommended.

Aravina Estate Restaurant & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Free Burgers in Cottesloe Friday

Grill’d will celebrate the opening of their newest restaurant in Cottesloe this weekend by offering unlimited free burgers to all guests on Friday 14 March from 5-9pm.

There are 30 different Grill’d burgers on the menu including 100% grass fed, free range beef and lamb, lean chicken trimmed of all fat or vegetarian burgers.

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Wash your burger down with a selection of local craft beers, ciders and wine.

Sculpture by the Sea is on at Cottesloe Beach the moment, so before or after a free burger, wander through the sculpture park.

What a great free night out! Cottesloe is the place to be this Friday to get your weekend started.

FACT FILE

Free burgers Friday 14 March, 5-9pm
Grill’d Cottesloe, 6 Napoleon Street, Cottesloe

Rocky Horror Show, Crown Perth

Guest post by Kylee Symes

Richard O’Brien’s, Rock n Roll Musical interpretation of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Crown Theatre in Perth is a condensed version of the original, a sort of highlight package that was light on the horror.

The sci-fi cult classic overflowed with lashings of drag-tastic clichés, delivered with plenty a smirk and giggle. The casual, relaxed performances of the talented and collectively very attractive cast encouraged audience interaction and the costume-party atmosphere.

The simple cartoonish sets gave the production a kind of pantomime feel. The bedroom scenes in particular were given a new unique angle, and were the source of some great belly-laugh-out-loud moments.

Craig McLachlan was simply fantastic, bringing both star and ‘old-pro’ qualities to the role with joy and ease.

 

Kylee Symes with a couple of eager audience members

Kylee Symes with a couple of eager audience members

Costuming met all bawdy expectations, but I couldn’t help but feel the opportunity to go completely over the top might have been missed. Had an actual drag queen been included in the hair and makeup team perhaps that element of fierce drag authenticity could have been added.

There was no lack of authenticity in the amazing efforts of the opening night crowd! The outrageous and raunchy outfits worn by members of the eager audience would have been difficult for any ensemble to compete with.

The enthusiasm and energy of the opening night audience, created an atmosphere and electricity often only found at theatre sport or improv nights. It was a fabulous night out.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is now 40 years old and so much fun I can imagine it will still be playing for another 40 years, but, I can’t help thinking, if Brad & Janet did have a mobile phone on that fateful cold and rainy late October evening in 1974, they would never have found themselves at the doorstep of that castle, filled with those characters, holding that Annual Transylvanian Convention……

Kylee Symes is an aspiring writer, voracious reader, mum of two and guest blogger.

FACT FILE

Rocky Horror Show
From February 14 to March 9
Crown Theatre, Burswood, Perth
Tickets available, visit here for more info

How to choose the freshest seafood

We all know that the Queensland’s coast is synonomous with seafood.

Just after ProBlogger, the most awesome blogging conference on the planet, I was invited by the host city tourism office, Tourism Queensland, to participate in some of the Gold Coast’s best food experiences.

We visited Peter’s Fish Market, around the corner from Palazzo Versace.  Under expert Japanese chef Yukio Itaba from the Palazzo Versace, I learned how to choose the freshest seafood.

FISH

Look at the eyes of the fish. You want the eyes to be plump, not sunken.

Is the fish fresh? Check the eyes

Is the fish fresh? Check the eyes

Is this fish fresh? This fish has a nice plump eye

Is this fish fresh? This fish has a nice plump eye

Is this fish fresh? This sunken eye tells me no

Is this fish fresh? This sunken eye tells me this fish is not the freshest

Next, look at the skin. Is it shiny? Or does it look dull?  Dull skin means the fish isn’t fresh. Look at the gills also, they should be a rich red colour. The older the fish, the darker that colour goes. Avoid fish with dark brick coloured gills.

Smell it – the fish should smell clean like the ocean. If it smells a bit rank or fishy, leave it.

PRAWNS

Buys prawns in their shell with the heads on. This prevent the meat of the prawn drying out. It’s okay to buy frozen prawns too.

Look at the prawn head. If it’s dark colour under the shell, leave it, it’s not fresh. You want it to look clear, or in the case of cooked prawns, nice and pink.

Fresh prawns do not have dark colouring under the shell of the head
Fresh prawns do not have dark colouring under the shell of the head. This prawn is relatively clear and it’s one I would buy
Fresh prawns do not have dark colouring under the shell

Fresh prawns do not have dark colouring under the shell – this prawn is not so fresh

Like fish, smell the prawns. They shouldn’t have a strong smell. If they do, don’t buy them.

CRAB

When buying cooked crab, same rules apply.

Look at the crab, it should be a bright pink colour.  Smell the crab, it should have a slight ocean smell but not reek. And check the gills of the crab – lift the flap on the underbelly of the crab to find the gills – if is it discoloured and dark, the crab is not fresh.

Chef Yukio Itaba from Palazzo Versace

Chef Yukio Itaba from Palazzo Versace

Checking the gills of the crab - lift the flap underneath the crab and if it is dark and discoloured, it is not fresh

Checking the gills of the crab – lift the flap underneath the crab and if it is dark and discoloured, it is not fresh. This one looks good.

A great place to eat seafood on the Gold Coast if you don’t fancy cooking it yourself is Palazzo Versace.  They have four restaurants at the hotel. We ate at Vie Restaurant and Bar. A great location with views over the water. The food focus is locally sourced fresh food prepared simply and elegantly. The food was excellent. I was thrilled to see a Western Australian wine  Leeuwen Estate Art Series Riesling on the list. They have a great selection of food and wine.
Vie Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Chef Yukio has 21 years experience making sushi and sashimi. The seafood he serves is beautifully fresh. They also run cooking master classes at Palazzo Versace – if you like sushi, then take a class to learn under this Japanese expert. 

How to roll sushi

How to roll sushi – Chef Yukio teaches us how

I won’t share photos of the sushi I rolled – put it this way, if this was an exam, I’d have failed! I’m not ashamed to say that I prefer to eat sushi than make it myself.

FACT FILE

Palazzo Versace
Sea World Drive
Main Beach QLD 4217 Australia

Toll Free (Australia) 1800 098 000
Tel +61 7 5509 8000
Fax +61 7 5509 8888

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Swings Taphouse & Kitchen

Duck liver parfait

Duck liver parfait

Swings Taphouse & Kitchen, Margaret River’s newest bar and restaurant, is serving up good honest food made with fresh local produce. Dishes are designed to be shared and the menu is categorised into light, plates, pizzas, sides, sweets and cheese. There’s a good choice of dishes and the prices are very reasonable.

The corner location on the main road in Margaret River town is about three hours drive south of Perth, and worth the drive – for those familiar with Margs it’s where Winos used to be. It’s casual but not slack. The service is fantastic and the food and wine gets the thumbs up.

The fit out is original with tables in the back area set under old-school Hills Hoists clotheslines suspended from the ceiling to double as light fittings.  The front bar is a great place to sit and chat, and the veranda that overlooks the street is a very pleasant place to sit under its covering of vines.

Cool interior fit out complete with good ol'Aussie Hills Hoist clothes line light fitting

Cool interior fit out complete with good ol’Aussie Hills Hoist clothes line light fitting

The duck liver parfait ($13) was silky smooth, rich and creamy and came with delicious wood-fired bread and some pickled veg called picadilli. It was hard not to wolf it all down at once.

Owned by Swings & Roundabouts winery that’s nearby on Caves Road, Swings Taphouse & Kitchen offers the same legendary wood-fired pizzas that the winery has become famous for.

I had to try the pizza and opted for the traditional margarita ($20) – my favourite. If the kitchen can get that right, then it’s always a winner. Swings’ version is good, but if I’m being picky (and nearly always am) for my palate it needed a bit of salt and probably could’ve done with another half-minute in the oven to really crisp up the base. That’s my only criticism of the food served at Swings. Everything else was bang on.

Wood-fired margarita pizza

Wood-fired margarita pizza

The King Fish ceviche with chilli, lime, avocado and coconut ($16) was fresh, colourful, light, beautifully seasoned and delicious to eat. Like a mouthful of summertime, if you could eat summer. The Swings Chardonnay ($7 glass) went down a treat with the ceviche.

King fish ceviche

King fish ceviche

The bright and bubbly pint-sized manager Annie really made my visit to Swings memorable. She answered all my questions, suggested dishes to try, and explained their tap wine. Yes, wine on tap. Read about their wine on tap delivered through ‘sight glass fonts’ – a world first in my previous post. If you’re not hungry, just go and try their wines – they are worthy.

There’s also a selection of ‘guest backyards’ wines, cocktails and beers, and the menu is simple and rustic, designed for sharing, and with an emphasis on fresh, local and sustainable produce.

FACT FILE

Swings Taphouse & Kitchen
85 Bussell Highway, Margaret River, WA
Tel: 08 9758 7155
swings.com.au

Open from 10am daily, Swings Taphouse & Kitchen serves brunch, ‘brinks’, lunch and dinner
Swings Taphouse on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: Dianne Bortoletto was a guest of Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association and Swings Taphouse & Kitchen

World first in Margaret River – Swings Taphouse

Rosé wine on tap (and 30l keg in the fridge)

Rosé wine on tap (and 30l keg in the fridge)

In a world first, Swings Taphouse, Margaret River’s newest bar and restaurant, offers wine on tap delivered through ‘sight glass fonts’. That means customers can see the wine before it is poured. Wine buffs judge the colour of a wine as one criteria, and now every-day drinkers at Swings Taphouse can too, before committing to a glass or carafe.

Swings Taphouse & Kitchen is owned by the nearby Swings & Roundabouts winery on Caves Road, Margaret River, about a three-hour drive south of Perth, Western Australia. The wine offered on tap are the wines designed to ‘drink now’. These include Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Chardonnay, Rosé, Shiraz, and Cabernet Merlot. Swings & Roundabout wines are served by the glass $7, half carafe $15 or carafe $28.  Reasonable prices.

The wine is pushed through the tap with nitrogen, much the same as beer is with carbon dioxide. I asked Swings Taphouse & Kitchen manager, bubbly Annie Murphy, if the nitrogen compromises the taste of the wine.

“No, not at all. We had wine writer Ray Jordon in here a couple of weeks ago doing a tasting, and he was impressed – he said he could not tell the difference between tap poured and bottled wine,” Annie said.

In my own tasting, I thoroughly enjoyed my glass of chardonnay and was wishing I could sit there all day to sample every tap wine on offer.  The food is pretty good too – you can read about that in my next post.

What I love about it is that you can start with a glass of white and move on to a half or full carafe of red. It’s like drinking wine in Italy, ordering the house red or white, except at Swings, you can choose your varietal.

30 litre keg where the tap wine is stored

30 litre keg full of wine ready for tap-pouring

“We keep the wine in 30 litre kegs – the red wine is in a fridge set at 15 degrees, and the white wine is in the cool room with the beer kegs set at two or three degrees,” Annie said.

“When we make the wine at Swings & Roundabouts, we put some in bottles, and some into kegs for tap-pouring here. It is environmentally friendly because we use less bottles, labels, cartons, caps and the rest.”

Tap white wines with the see through fronts and carafes

Tap white wines with the see through fronts and carafes

There’s also a selection of ‘guest backyards’ wines, cocktails and beers, and the menu is simple and rustic, designed for sharing, and with an emphasis on fresh, local and sustainable produce. Read about the food in my next post.

FACT FILE

Swings Taphouse & Kitchen
85 Bussell Highway, Margaret River, WA
Tel: 08 9758 7155
swings.com.au

Open from 10am daily, the venue serves brunch, ‘brinks’, lunch and dinner

Disclosure: Dianne Bortoletto was a guest of Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association and Swings Taphouse & Kitchen

Guide to Dubai’s Food Scene

Dubai is home to a thriving food scene where traditional and international cuisines can be enjoyed at both elegant 5-star restaurants and more rustic road-side takeaways. When it comes to eating out in Dubai prices tend to vary greatly with top-class hotels serving delicious fresh seafood alongside a panoramic view and local market stalls offering the classic taste of India in their flavoursome curries. Dubai offers so much culinary variety that it can often be daunting for visitors. With this in mind, here is a quick guide to the city’s colourful food scene.

Local Markets
There is a surprising number of farms producing fresh produce on a daily basis in Dubai. This means that a trip to one of the city’s bustling markets is a must for anyone interested in the culinary world. You will be able to purchase from a rich selection of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy products. Dubai’s famous fish market is the best place in the city to find fresh seafood. You will also have the chance to sample a range of tasty curries at the local food hawker stalls.800px-Dubai_Fish_Market_01

Sub-continental Cuisine
Dubai is home to many Indian and Pakistani expatriates meaning that you will be able to enjoy delicious desi cuisine in many parts of the city. The Karama district offers an impressive array of fine, and at times economical, eating establishments. Some of the best include Manvaar for its divine authentic curries and the Sind Punjab Restaurant for its fabulous tandoori grill.

Friday Brunch
The culinary tradition of Friday Brunch is now considered by many to be an institution in Dubai. Friday is when the weekend starts here, and the restaurants all put on spectacular buffets and great deals in order to attract hungry diners. The Iranian Club offers a wonderful selection of Persian food at modest prices, whilst luxurious hotel Spectrum On One puts on a lavish and expensive spread.

Hotel Restaurants
Some of the best restaurants in Dubai are often located inside top hotels due to the alcohol licensing laws in place. This however doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on your accommodation as you can still find many cheap hotels in Dubai online. One of the city’s most popular and famed hotel restaurants is that located at the four-star Marco Polo. The Bombay restaurant offers a remarkable choice of cuisines, from Arabic to Chinese and Mexican, at affordable prices.

800px-Dubai's_Internet_City

Chinatown
Dubai is also home to the extravagant Chinatown. Here visitors are able to explore the district’s endless eating establishments including both high-end restaurants and takeaways. Much of Chinatown is aimed at the wealthy, meaning that you will find an excellent selection of international eateries in this trendy part of town as well as some more mid-budget restaurants.

There are so many great places to eat in Dubai when you consider the city’s up-and-coming restaurant scene. Dubai is without a doubt the gastronomic capital of the Middle East, meaning that any visit will almost certainly be a treat for your taste buds!

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post 
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