the core cider house
When the weekend finally arrives, I like to get away from the rat race (as much of a rat race Perth can be)… somewhere in the Perth hills, where food or drink is involved, is a perfect escape.
Just a short journey down Welshpool Road and past the fringes of suburbia, we emerge at a hidden valley. From the car park’s vantage point, we see a ripple of green, golden and reddish fruit trees that are pooled at the bottom of the valley. For a 35 minute drive from the city, we’ve dropped into the orchards of Italy.
Left: Sparkling apple cider. Right: Cider tasting straight from the tap.
The farm shed. I’m guessing this will be the farmgate at some stage. The cidery is operational though still in its infancy.
We walk through a column of fruit trees and Mum gets excited by the prospect of pink lady apples peeking out from the greenery. There aren’t apples for sale (yet) (in fact, none of the fruit stalls were open that Sunday, what a shame) but we’re here for the locally made, biodynamic cider.
As we walk into Highvale Orchard’s little shop and cafe, the Core Cider House, we are greeted by a big hello and invited to taste Core’s three ciders. Little tasting glasses are whipped out and the golden liquid is decanted from tap. Branded as Core ciders, these ciders are grown, plucked and processed right here at the orchard.
Core’s apple and pear cider is light, minimally dry and almost sweet. Their pear cider (or ‘perry’), is a smidgen more flavoursome than the apple cider. The orchard grown pears make a distinctly sweet drink with a perfume of sugar and crunchy pears. Core’s carbonated sparkling apple cider is a winner – fizzy, crisp and bubbly.
Lots of jams and pickles in the cafe shop.
View from the alfresco veranda.
Before we get dizzy with alcohol (deceptively, the ciders are 5% – 6.5%), we plunge into a beautiful plum tart. Made with – you guessed it – plums from the orchard. The tart is something I’m trying to perfect at the moment and this one’s gorgeous – golden almond frangipane, textured but soft pastry and wickedly purple plums, engorged with sweet syrup and juices.
Left: Deliciously perfect slice of plum tart. Right: The apple pie which caused many dilemmas
Core Cider House also serves light lunches – around us, platters were being tucked into with gusto. The outdoor seating area is especially inviting, tucked within the fruit trees. We pull ourselves from the entrancing view, grab a six pack of sparkling apple and head off to explore the rest of the Bickley Carmel Valley.
The Core Cider House
Highvale Bio-Dynamic Orchard, 35 Merrivale Road, Pickering Brook WA 6076
T: (08) 9293 8217
Fri – Sun 10am – 4.30pm
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