Today, we drove out into the hills to attend the Flavours of Chittering Food and Wine Event in the Chittering Valley. Getting anywhere out of Perth seems to take forever, so it was a bit of a haul...but worth it. The dark clouds over Perth dissipated as we drove away, and the warm early spring sunshine revealed some beautiful views of the green hills and the early season wildflowers.
The event centered around a food market that opened at 10am, and we knew it would be best to be there as early as possible. Thanks to the early risers in our house, that was no problem. We got there as things were slowly gearing up. There weren't many stalls, but what was there was lovely.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make much of it. My cold has given way to a nasty sinus infection. In addition to serious pressure in my facial bones (I feel like I've been punched in my left eye), I cannot really taste or smell anything. I did enjoy looking, though, and I bought quite a bit from the organic, biodynamic produce guy who makes the trek each week to the Mt. Claremont Farmer's Market. His produce has amazing flavor, and his garlic is huge and so delicious that you could practically eat it as a side dish. There were also some people from alpaca farms there, and we had some good talks about alpaca fleece, felting, knitting and dyeing. They had brought some of their alpacas with them, and they made the cutest little noises. I now want some alpacas of my own. Someday. What was interesting about the yarn they had available was it was labelled by name of the alpaca, and each yarn felt different. Funny if you consider that most yarn you buy from a shop is a total mix-mash of different sources, whereas with a small farmer you really know what you get and what you like. I liked Aimee's fleece best.
We stayed quite a while since we were fortunate as to run into one of Ellie's favorite friends from school. They had fun playing on the playground, eating gingerbread cookies from a local bakery, and watching the animals. Before too long, though, we were done and headed off to Stringybark Winery further down the road for lunch. It was a good call, and again timing was on our side. Although it was almost completely empty when we arrived, all but three tables outside had been booked in advance, so we were fortunate enough to snag a table and get our food before the crowds from the festival arrived.
Although Markus and I each had a glass with lunch, I can't tell you if the wines were good since both of us are stuffed up and taste-impaired. Stephanie really liked the ice cream with chocolate sauce we ordered for dessert.
Despite the fact that I felt horrid, it really was nice to get out of the city to do and see something a little different. The girls were beautifully behaved at the market and the winery, and the scenery of the hills in the early springtime was peaceful and relaxing.
We'll be going again next year.