After a 2 hour road trip from Perth, we are in New Norcia, Australia’s only monastic town. It is a historic community established in 1847 by a Spanish monk. We are yet to explore the town as it is lunchtime and in true Foodie style, food comes before sightseeing!
Stay tuned for further insights into this tranquil town…
New Norcia is renowned for its produce including beer, wine, olive oil and bread and we sampled the beer and bread at the New Norcia Hotel today. New Norcia Abbey Ale is described as golden in colour, scented with fruit and spice with a champagne-like finish, balanced with a hint of bitterness. It was quite light and refreshing. The ale is brewed in New South Wales at the Malt Shovel Brewery and shipped back to Western Australia for aging in the cellars beneath the monastery.
Similarly, the wine is made from grapes grown at a Bindoon Estate about 50km south of New Norcia and the fruit is transported to Jane Brook Winery in the Swan Valley where it is made into wine. Once bottled the wine is transported to New Norcia and matured in the monastery cellars.
We ordered the Wagu Beef Burger and Steak Sanga for lunch today and the bread was awesome! The Steak Sanga is pictured below. It is said that the last Spanish Benedictine monk of New Norcia continued to prepare bread for the monks up until his death in 2010. The latest information explains that New Norcia Bakeries is a private company, which operates under an agreement with the Benedictine community. The company was granted permission to use the original 1886 wood-fired oven at the monastery and in 1996 another of these ovens was commissioned at New Norcia Bakery in Mt Hawthorn.
New Norcia is also famous for olive oil. More than 600 trees are harvested every year and some of the original machinery is used to process the olives.
There are two college buildings still standing at New Norcia, St. Gertrude’s and St. Ildephonsus. The Spanish architecture is an impressive contrast to the backdrop of the Australian bushlands surrounding the area.
On our way back to Perth we stopped off at Whistler’s Chocolate Factory in the Swan Valley, opposite Houghton’s Winery. We bought some delicious chocolate coated honeycomb before stopping by at Houghton’s for a taste of the Sparkling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
An educational, delicious and relaxing Sunday road trip!
Information in this blog post was sourced from http://www.newnorcia.wa.edu.au/protecting-a-unique-heritage/the-story-of-new-norcia/new-norcia-today.html