The Cheese Barrel has been built next to the tasting room and cellars at Olive Farm, in the Swan Valley, with an outlook down to Susannah Brook which flows behind.
The veranda is a great place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine or two with a cheese platter; there is a children’s playground and sandpit below, covered by sails as protection from the sun – although on the day we went this week sun was the last thing we needed shelter from!
The café itself has a large display cabinet of farmhouse and artisanal cheeses from around the world. These are for purchase to take away, but also served as cheese plates in the cafe. Olive Farm wines are available by the glass or bottle to accompany your cheese choice.
The menu lists a number of suggested combinations, with different sizes to suit all appetites – these include a Farmers Board with the cheese of the day served with leg ham, salami, tomato relish, baguette, bread and fruit paste; as well as regional cheese boards; and picnic hampers if you are planning on a day wandering around the many wineries and other places of note in the Valley.
You can choose from the large selection to make up your own board, or as we did select the Cheese Barrels Choice and let them do it for you. The three cheeses we were offered, Quickes Cheddar, Cropwell Bishop Stilton, and La Buche d’Affinois were served with baguette, lavosh, sliced apple and fig paste.
La Buche is a double cream soft cheese from France; it has an oozy, creamy centre with a velvety mouthfeel, a little like a Brie. Decadently delightful!
Our Stilton was rich and tangy, quite a strong flavour, with blue veins running through it; again quite velvety in the mouth.
The final cheese, Quickes Cheddar has quite distinct citrusy notes, a sharp, lingering taste.
The baguette, crisp crust with a chewy interior, lavosh and fruit paste were perfect companions.
We helped it all down with a couple of glasses of Olive Farm’s 2013 Tempranillo with spicy, dark cherry aromas and a dry, plummy, dusty palate which suited the cheese selection.
The Cheese Barrel is well worth a visit when next out that way – cheese, wine, what more could a perfect day need? And right alongside one of the best cellar doors in the Valley.