Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published July 15th 2013
Try the Extravagant Figs
The Swan Valley wine industry was largely founded and developed by successive waves of migrants bringing with them the skills from the home land.
The view across the vines
One of the earlier settlers were two brothers, Don and Frank, from Worthing in the UK who, in 1925, bought fifty acres and mostly planted it to table grapes for export.
Over the years the focus moved to wine grapes and diversified into other areas of hospitality and service - jams, jellies, relishes, rubs and a cafe offering home-made cakes and scones as well as lunches, musical events and fresh produce on sale at Maggies, the road-side stall-style shop.
The wine tasting area at Edgecombe Brothers
Edgecombe Brothers Cafe is open seven days a week and offers a small but varied menu of cooked dishes, cold platters and desserts.
One gloriously sunny Monday I dropped in to sample the delights of what was, to me, an unexpected eatery. I discovered it quite by chance, drawn by the delicious aroma of cooking.
There are seats and tables inside and out. The outside tables overlook the serried ranks of vines and the lake in the distance with flocks of Corellas wheeling through the sky and the cry of birds overhead.
Tasting plate at Edgecombe Brothers
We ordered a tasting plate for two ($56) a very large platter of Edgecombe Brothers wares: cheese tart, estate olives, cacciatore, cheddar, double brie, beetroot relish, smoked salmon, homemade dukkah, extra virgin olive oil, warm Turkish bread and salad.
The platter, as the Irish say, fills the eye and is a real treat. The beetroot relish is absolutely delicious, and I'm told the olives (which I don't eat) were excellent. The sausage was hot, savoury and very tasty. The smoked salmon was lovely and the whole platter was beautifully balanced.
The atmosphere of the place is just magical - relaxed and welcoming, informal and casual. Obviously, the restaurant is family-friendly, with supplies of colouring-in pencils, crayons and butcher's paper.
One of the glories of Edgecombes is the large asparagus beds and, in season, the fresh spears are also served on the tasting platters.
The asparagus season runs roughly from early August to early December and Edgecombe Brothers offers specialist classes in asparagus in season, and I'm booked in already.
I accompanied my meal with a glass of the 2010 estate Shiraz, which was rich and deep.
Tasting plate for two with asparagus
We followed our meal with a dessert highly recommended by everyone I've spoken to. This was the 'Extravagant Figs' ($9.50). The figs are marinated in Edgecombe Brothers' liqueur Muscat, covered in dark chocolate and served with cream.
Once I tasted them, I understood the extravagant praise heaped upon them. I won't even try to describe the subtle, rich deliciousness of this dessert - you just have to try it yourself.
Apart from their excellent tasting plates, Edgecombe Brothers offers Lamb Cutlets ($27.95), Cheese Tart ($22.50), Pasta a la Edge ($25.50) prawns and vegetables with linguine.
Breakfast, with or without champagne, is available until 11:30am as are Devonshire Teas in the afternoon.
As a special treat on Wednesdays Rebecca plays the piano from noon to 2:30pm.