Dynasty Travel: 8D6N Colourful Hokkaido Tour, Day 5 (Part 2)

Saturday, 13 February 2016

I finally got around to changing the layout of this travel blog too! Yeah, it's been bothering me for a while, but not enough to get my ass moving on it till now. See! Honest-to-God renewed motivation to move this blog along!
Day 5's itinerary:
Kitanomori Ice Pavilion --> Furano Tomita Farm  --> Furano Winery (ふらのワイン工場) --> Furano Cheese Factory (富良野チーズ工房)

Once we were done at Tomita Farm, we headed off to the Chateau Furano aka the Furano Winery. It was a pretty short ride since the attractions were all pretty close to one another, so I didn't feel like I got properly cooled down before I needed to head out again. Thankfully, this was an indoor facility and yay to modern technology that gives us air-conditioning.

Ok, this was sort of my first disappointment for the day. While entrance was free, we were mostly left to roam on our own. Our tour guide Ms Reikko did give us a brief description of the cellar. Well, I assume that's a cellar since there were so many barrels of wine being kept there. Since there was no proper tour conducted, it was a little boring. I mean, how long can you stare at barrels?
Having said that, if I ever get a chance to come back to Furano, I'll drop by the winery again for sure! I'll tell you why (very) soon.
So once, I was bored of the cellar (which was pretty quick), my parents and I proceeded upstairs for free wine tasting. I'm not a wine connoisseur. In fact, I drink very little alcohol. So I'm definitely not the best person to write about whether the wines were fantastic or not. However, the little that I did sip to try, seemed to go down the throat pretty well.
On the other hand, what I can definitely say, was that the grape juice was AWESOME. Yup, there's grape juice testing too! And the very reason why I'll come back again - simply just to purchase the most awesome grape juice and grape juice jelly ever! I suspect that the jelly also had a little bit of wine in it. We bought a large bottle of the grape juice and 3 packets of the jelly home. The family finished them so fast, I never got to grab photos of them at all. They were THAT awesome. My mom is forever lamenting that it was the best grape jelly she ever had and till now, continues to regret buying only 3 packets.
Well, if I ever get the chance, I'll cart an entire box back the next time!

Once we were done at the Furano Winery, we boarded the tour bus to the Furano Cheese Factory. Our Dynasty Travel tour itinerary included an ice-cream making workshop at the cheese factory. Mom couldn't stand the smell of milk and declined but dad had a blast of a time making his ice-cream.

This was the ice-cream making machine although we were told that the trick to making good ice-cream was in the proportions of the milk and sugar.

While our ice-cream mixture went churning in the machine, we were being shown how to make our ice-cream waffles.

I have to say, I think my waffles were a lot tastier than the ice-cream we made. Otherwise, it must be the fault of the many yummy soft serves and ice-creams that I've had on this trip. Our self-made ice-cream paled a lot in comparison.

Once we were done with the ice-cream workshop, we were left to roam the place on our own. My parents and I headed upstairs (again) to the shop where we were greeted by this massive cow model. It seemed like everyone was taking a photo of it, and I succumbed to following the crowd as well.
There was a variety of cheese/dairy related products for sale at the shop, including cheesecakes, cheese (of course!),  milk, etc. As I was super stuffed from constantly eating, dad and I bought a small piece of the cheesecake just to try. Not too bad, but I've had better memories of the cheesecake from Mt Rokko in Kobe, Japan.
There were also samples of cheese available for tasting. What struck me was the "interesting" flavours that were available: original, wine-infused and squid-ink. I didn't grab pictures since it was only a few slices of cheese left on each platter. And unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough to grab any of those slices to try either.

Adjacent to the cheese factory is a little park where you can find these 2 "treasures", a gelato shop and a pizza shop! Heh. See how food-driven I am?
I was really too full to even attempt stuffing a slice of the pizza, but I was told by our tour guide Ms Reikko, that the pizza here is really delicious.
However, I did get a scoop of gelato to try since they had really interesting flavours as well. There was corn, pumpkin, asparagus and some of the more traditional melon, milk, grape, etc. Well, since I don't usually come across vegetable gelato, I decided to go for the "extreme" and got myself a cup of the asparagus gelato.
Not my cup of tea. Imagine a pureed veggies and milk mix. Bleah.
I'll just stick to the real greens in future.
Thoughts from Day 5:
For once, day 5's itinerary felt less rushed. The attractions were much smaller or simpler, and were located closer to one another so lesser time was spent on travelling on the roads.
Of the 4 attractions, Farm Tomita is a must during flower season in my opinion. Unless you're allergic to pollen or hate flowers. Otherwise, this place is really good for photos. Plus, you get pretty decent deals on lavender products, great for the home and as gifts.
The Kitanomori Ice Pavilion would be great as a side trip if you're nearby and especially if you have kids. You can probably cover the place in about an hour so that shouldn't take up too much time in your itinerary plans.
The Furano Winery and Furano Cheese Factory is also pretty close to each other. There's also a grape orchard near the Furano Winery (but I didn't have the chance to visit). I strongly recommend getting the grape juice if you ever visit. Just make sure you pack and secure it well on your flight home as their packing is not protective enough. However, if you're not into wines or cheese, and if you don't join in the workshops, then there's really nothing much to see or do here. Both places also don't take up a lot of time.
Tourist Information:
Furano Winery
Address: Shimizuyama, Furano, 076-0048 Hokkaido
DID: 0167-22-3242
Operating hours: 9 am to 6 pm from June to August,
9 am to 4:30 pm from September to May 
Entrance fee: Free entry
Furano Cheese Factory
Address: Nakagoku, Furano 076-0013, Hokkaido
Local address: 〒076-0013 北海道富良野市字中5区
DID: 167-23-1156
Operating hours: 9 am to 5 pm from April to October,
9 am to 4 pm from November to March

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