Freelance writer, mum of two who loves living in sunny Perth.
Published December 31st 2012
Speed dating for your tastebuds
Taste Bud Tours @ The Swan Valley
Setting a high standard for all food and wine tours in Western Australia, Taste Bud Tours takes you (and your taste-buds) on a real treat; one that you'll be recommending to your friends and family alike. Prepare to have your senses pleasantly assaulted as you spend a morning, or afternoon, sampling all that the wonderful Swan Valley has to offer.
Two years ago, Loris Gundry founded the one woman show that is Taste Bud Tours, on the back of a long history in tourism and tour operating. Loris identified a niche in the Swan Valley tour market, to offer tour-goers a little more than just the samplings of winery after winery which is often all the Swan Valley is famous for. Instead, in addition to sampling some beautiful wine in the Swan Valley, Taste Bud Tours take you on a culinary adventure, one where you are awarded with sample after delicious sample. All this with a knowledgeable guide as your host, to provide you with a morning, or afternoon, of delectable delights.
The tour itself; and this is no mere minibus drop off and collect service. The tour is intimate, and captined by a tour guide with a clear love and and affinity for the Swan Valley. You'll learn about the vast history of the area and come to value that you're exploring a piece of WA's history. What's more, the stops on this tour have been hand picked and include a real family themed array of food and wine sellers. This is not a tour that has sold out to the bigger corporation mass producers. Instead, with every stop you make, you're treated to a slice of owner history and a story about the business start up. This was a true highlight.
A Shopping Bag - you are gifted with a handy tote bag for your purchases on the trip.
A VIP Reward Card for the duration of your tour and beyond, you are provided with a reward card to keep that will secure you a host of discounts at the places you visit within the Swan Valley and other notable local attractions. This is a real money saver if you are stocking up on gifts for yourself, or friends and family.
Cooler bags in the vehicle for your convenience. If you're buying cheese, chocolate or other perishables, don't worry about transporting them in the Aussie heat. Loris has planned ahead. There are cooler bags for you to use whilst on the tour and keep your goodies sweat free.
What Your Taste-buds Get
I experienced the morning tour which had my taste-buds exercised non stop from start to finish. On our agenda for the morning was:
Yahava Coffee Works
On our visit I enjoyed three hot roasted blends, an iced coffee, an iced chai latte, chocolate coffee beans, and coffee flavoured toffee. We also got to learn about the different blends being served in addition to watching a bean roasting take place. The smell was heavenly.
Your taste-buds will really enjoy this one as you get to chomp down on delicious lavender infused scones and cream, in addition to sampling some really refreshing lavender tea and to finish, some chilled sweet rosť. You also get plenty of time to try out all the lavender lotions and potions.
In addition to being able to smell some delightfully sweet coffee beans, your taste-buds get to experience a range of beautifully roasted nuts and a range of olive oils and dukkah. I was so taken with the roasted hazelnuts and almonds that I had to buy some more on the spot (and take advantage of the discount offered to taste-bud tour-goers).
I'm not the biggest honey fan, but then I'd not tasted the creamed honey at Windara Honey farm. Tastings upon tastings of honey, creamed honey and fresh honeycomb are offered in addition to some refreshing honey wine (non alcoholic). The ginger based honey wine was a real hit with our tour party.
In addition to a visual treat of stunning aboriginal art works, this beautiful gallery offered a huge array of bush foods, chutneys, oils and dukkah for us to try. This was followed up with the yummy chocolate cake specially brought out for us to sample.
Okay, yes, I did indulge here. Is six samples too many? The owners didn't seem to think so and convinced me to try the apple pie flavour as my last sample. Knock yourself out here, and sample as many flavours as your heart contents.
This has got to be one of the prettiest (and friendliest) wineries in the Swan Valley. I'm glad this stop was towards the end of our tour, as it meant you could enjoy the samples without worrying about getting too tired or dopey from the affects of the wine. On offer on our visit were a range of about 10 red, white and rose wines and then a range of 3 ports. You could try as much or as little as you wanted, and to support your tasting experience, we were also provided with a range of cheese and crackers to enjoy. This was a beautiful stop on our tour and one all of the party enjoyed.
Mondo Nougat Factory
A great stop to stock up on some yummy nougat and learn a bit more about the nougat making process. There's a great window area into the main factory where you can see how some of the products are made, and the staff are really happy to explain a bit more about their products. This is a great stop to buy gifts for friends and relatives.
Currently ranked as one of the most popular tours in Perth on Trip Advisor.
To book on to this tour with a difference, go to Tastebud Tours. There's a slight difference between morning and afternoon tours, so have a look at the tours and see what will suit your needs the most or give Loris a call to discuss your needs. Pick up can be arranged from Perth hotels, from the Perth bus station or from Swan Valley Visitor Centre in Guildford; just confirm at the time of booking.
Your tour will take your senses in multiple directions