Discovering the culinary delights of Margaret River
There’s something about the right company that makes a good meal, great! Add to that an idyllic setting and you’ve got a winning combination that’s sure to warm you to the core on the coolest winter evening and leave you feeling refreshed on a scorching summers day.
I’ve been blessed to travel the world and experience some world renowned food and wine, but there’s something about our local Australian produce that always leaves me more satisfied and rosy cheeked than anywhere else I’ve traveled.
I am quite passionate about our domestic food and wine scene. Okay, in all honesty I’m extremely passionate about good food and wine! I don’t have a favourite wine region; I appreciate each for their own charm and appreciate varietals differing region to region, each location lending a little personality, if you will, to the vintage. For me it’s Semillon in The Hunter, Shiraz in the Margaret River or Heathcote (when I want a rest from being kicked in the palate by a monster Barossa drop), or crisp, cool climate sparkling from Tassie. Going back to what I said first up though, setting affects a good food and wine experience as much as the produce itself. This is why I love the Margaret River region as much as I do.
If you love local produce direct from the farm gate, architecturally designed boutique breweries overlooking lakes and rolling fields, world class wine, picturesque winding tree-lined roads and spectacular rugged coastlines, you should put Margaret River on top of the list for your next getaway.
I’ve visited Margaret River many times so this time I decided to drop in to some places I’d never been before, as well as my regular haunts.
The Berry Farm
Birds singing in the trees, fresh country air, the buzz of bees in the distance and the smell of freshly baked scones permeating through the air. It was a Margaret River local, Justin that suggested I pay a visit to The Berry Farm. I always trust the local opinion when travelling, and this time was no different. When I arrived I couldn’t get past the smell of fresh baked goodies and that punch in the nose of roasted coffee, so I treated myself to a Devonshire Tea, complete with strawberry jam made with fruit grown on the property. Best decision ever! My date was the sweetest blue wren I’ve ever laid eyes on and I didn’t mind sharing one little bit!
A little friend at the Berry Farm
“The Tav” as the locals call it, has been voted WA’s best casual dining pub! It’s definitely the place to be and the perfect place to meet some WA locals for a yarn. The Tav takes pub grub to the next level. I treated myself to the en vogue American style pulled pork sandwich with local pork that’s cooked on the Tav’s very own authentic American smoking BBQ, capable of smoking up to 165kg of meat in one go. It was served in a brioche bun with house-made slaw, chipotle sauce and a side of American style pickles. Even the snobbiest of Eastern suburbs food snobs would have been jealous! Being a dark beer drinker (give me a punchy stout or porter any day), I also tried a draught of the local Bootleg Brewery’s famous Raging Bull Dark Ale. At 7.1% alc./vol., it packed quite the punch!
Cooking up a storm at Settler’s Tavern
Pulled pork from Settler’s Tavern
Once again it was a recommendation from a local that had me visiting Vasse Virgin, a family owned and run business. Louis and Edwina Scherini hand-craft skin and body care using traditional cold process Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. They’ve also introduced a gourmet food range of artisan olive oils, marinated olives, balsamic vinegars, tapenades, dressings, sauces, dukkah, fresh pasta and more! As I drove down the long tree-lined driveway, I knew I was going to love the place. When I exited my car I could smell the faint aroma of essential oils and I passed a couple on the veranda that had obviously loved what was inside, for they were laden with full brown bags full of goodies! Inside I was surprised to find a fully working soap factory. You can stand and watch as delicious smelling, rustic soaps are hand crafted and you can test all the body care products including a range of scrubs and washes at the large stone double vanity. After I taste tested a number of the different sauces, oils and olives on display, I walked away with hot and spicy chilli balsamic (which has become a staple in my household), a caramelised onion olive tapenade and a divine after sun lotion with soothing Aloe Vera.
Some delightful treats from Vasse Virgin.