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Holiday You: The Connoisseur

Holiday You: The Connoisseur

You tear open the artisan bread roll and it’s still steaming. The butter has just been whipped. Your waiter pours a glass of pinot noir, chosen to complement your pending first course…

You are a glorious foodie, so, when it comes to a getaway, you want gourmet offerings, fine wines and artisan goodies. With an abundance of food and wine regions in this ridiculously fertile state, Western Australia is spoiled for choice. The overwhelming impression is of quality raw produce: amazing seafood fresh from the ocean; extraordinary meat making the short journey from paddock to plate; fresh
fruit and vegetables, seemingly always in season, from the Kimberley down to the Great Southern. With wine tasting in Margaret River, a plethora of seafood in Fremantle, and truffle hunting in Manjimup, this is your big chance to explore the world-class food and wine regions right on your doorstep.

Photography Elements Margaret River; Leeuwin Estate.

 

WA FOOD & WINE HOTSPOTS

Margaret River

LOCATION 277km south of Perth
OVERVIEW Skipping Margaret River would be the connoisseur’s biggest regret: quite apart from anything else, the region is home to one of Western Australia’s best food-and-wine events, the Margaret River Gourmet Escape. Avid wine and beer enthusiasts will have their work cut out for them, with more than 100 wineries and breweries to choose from. Exercise your taste buds with a beverage of choice, along with gourmet delights from local producers, including cheese, olives, chocolate, nougat, and fudge. After a foodie adventure, you’ll need
to relax, and being as committed to gourmet goods as you are, you won’t head back to your room. Instead, opt for a fine dining experience surrounded by the lush surroundings of Western Australia’s south.
ATTRACTIONS Popular venues include Voyager Estate for its Discovery Menu degustation; Arimia Estate on weekends for its pizza; Colonial Brewing Co on Sundays for breakfast; Swings Taphouse; Piari & Co; Cullen Wines; Vasse Felix wine lounge; Eagle Bay Brewing Co; Little Fish; Olio Bello olive oil farm; Brookwood Estate; Cafe Boranup in the forest; Margaret River Chocolate Company; Temper Temper; Leeuwin Estate Restaurant; Margaret River Providore; The Margaret River Dairy Company; Cape Mentelle; Simmo’s Ice Creamery; Brew Shack; and Settlers Tavern.

Denmark Food and Wine Trail

LOCATION 414km south of Perth
OVERVIEW The wine adventure continues as you drive south
through the picturesque countryside towards Denmark. If you’re specifically attracted to riesling, chardonnay, shiraz, cabernet or pinot noir, then
this is your one-stop shop. Wine is the star of the region, but don’t drink on an empty stomach. Start with an assortment of local cheese, pickles and preserves, and complement your main course with fresh marron or local meats. Visit Denmark farms, where local producers will teach you about the region’s seasonal favourites. Berries, olive oils, cherries and asparagus will inspire your inner foodie, and heighten your cooking expertise.
ATTRACTIONS Denmark Berry Farm; Bartholomews Meadery; Bushfood Factory and Cafe; Denmark Chocolate Company; The Toffee Factory, with it’s ‘a bit on the side’ range of sauces, preserves and more; Castelli Estate; Denmark Brew and Ales.

Gascoyne Food Trail

LOCATION Approximately 900km north of Perth
OVERVIEW Carnarvon is known as the Food Bowl of WA – need we say more? Connoisseurs who prefer to be clued in before they dine will be delighted to see where their food’s story begins. Pick up fresh produce from the growers themselves: visit banana plantations, and fruit and vegetable growers, and buy seafood directly pulled from the ocean. Prefer being waited on? Get your seafood fix at one of the many restaurants providing meals with local finds.
ATTRACTIONS Visit the Gascoyne Growers’ Market every Saturday morning from May to October, or time your travels to coincide with the Gascoyne Food Festival. Enjoy three days of renowned Perth chefs, local producers, and foodie events that will leave your mouth watering for weeks.

Photography Elements Margaret River; Leeuwin Estate.

Bickley & Carmel Valley

LOCATION Approximately 30 minutes’ drive from Perth
OVERVIEW As a connoisseur, you enjoy your surroundings sometimes as much as your meal, and you revel in an experience that takes into account all your refined senses. The Perth Hills offer valley views, lakeside scenes, gardens featuring WA’s gorgeous wildflowers, and, of course, vineyards that provide you with your wine of choice. Restaurants celebrate organic ingredients, some grown in their own backyard. Trust that your food will be of the highest quality, whether it’s homemade comforts like pumpkin and dukkah burgers, or ritzy creations by expert chefs.
ATTRACTIONS There is a group of boutique wineries located a few minutes’ drive from one another. Popular spots include Core Cider House, Fairbrossen, Myattsfield, Cosham, Hainault, Brookside, Lawnbrook Wines, Ashley Estate and Carldenn Homestead Wines.

Chittering Valley

LOCATION An hour’s drive north-east of Perth
OVERVIEW A gourmet retreat in close proximity to Perth, Chittering Valley can easily be experienced in a day. Spring’s annual Tastes of Chittering Festival is your best bet if you want to try an abundance of local fruit, honey, and olives in quick succession. Don’t despair if the festival doesn’t coincide with your itinerary – weekend markets are held on the fourth Sunday of every month, so why not plan a day trip? The 76km wine trail passes seven world-class wineries, where you can try verdelho, chenin blanc, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz.
ATTRACTIONS White Dog Farm, Stringybark, Kyotmunda, Glenowen, Briery Estate, and Bindoon Estate.

A cheese platter from Lancaster Wines (photography Tourism WA).

Swan Valley

LOCATION  25-minute drive from Perth
OVERVIEW Swan Valley vineyards lay just on the outskirts of Perth, and with the region’s perfect Mediterranean conditions for agriculture and viticulture, the Valley gives connoisseurs a quick getaway to sample its riches. That’s not all you’ll find – boutique breweries cater for beer drinkers, and local producers provide visitors with exceptional fresh fruit and vegetables from roadside stalls. Sweet-tooths
can learn about local honey harvesting, and taste the end result, before taking home delicious nougat, chocolate, truffles and fudge. Why not match the food
with the wine? There are tours catering for particular gourmet desires. Hopeless romantics looking for lovely dining moments have a hard choice, picking between beautiful estates with manicured gardens and views of their vineyards, or warm
and rustic restaurants.
ATTRACTIONS For the foodies, stop at Morish Nuts, Mondo Nougat, House of Honey, Margaret River Chocolate Company, YahavaKoffeeWorks and The Cheese Barrel. Vino lovers should head to Mandoon Estate, Sitella Winery & Restaurant, and Houghton Winery & Cafe. Several breweries are also dotted across the region, including Feral Brewing Company, Duckstein Brewery and Elmar’s In The Valley.

Blackwood River Valley

LOCATION Approximately 241km south of Perth
OVERVIEW The southwest is a little bit of a wine show-off really, and Blackwood River Valley is no exception. The region’s Mediterranean climate cultivates ripened fruit, which means there are perfect grapes for award-winning wine, especially riesling and cabernet sauvignon in Nannup. Luscious forests, quaint country scenes, and, of course, the Blackwood River are the perfect surroundings while you sip your way through a relaxing holiday.
ATTRACTIONS Highlights include Blackwood Winery, Cambray Sheep Cheese & Cottages, The Cidery and Blackwood Valley Brewing Company, Sunnyhurst Winery, FreJac Bakery and Patisserie, Birdwood Park Fruit Winery, Mushroom Cafe and Bakery, and Wattle Ridge Winery.

Geographe Wine Region & Ferguson Valley

LOCATION 90 minutes to two-hours drive south of Perth
OVERVIEW The meeting of Geographe Bay and the Darling Range means incredible landscapes perfect for a picnic, with scenes to admire. This diversity makes for prime conditions for farming, and the wine region is recognised as one of the best in Australia. The high nutrient count in the soil cultivates premium grapes: shiraz, chardonnay, sauvignon and semillon are particularly good, but for wine aficionados, Geographe Bay also holds alternative varieties, such as tempranillo and nebbiolo.
ATTRACTIONS Popular wineries and eateries include Ferguson Falls Wines, Willow Bridge Estate, Hackersley Estate, Vineyard 28, Myalup Vines Winery, Stirling Cottage Kitchen, Harvey River Bridge Estate, HaVe Cheese, Byramgou Park Winery, Oakway Estate and Mash Brewery.

Chinatown (photography City of Perth).

Perth

OVERVIEW Perth’s dining culture has evolved in leaps and bounds in the last five years, particularly with the development of its small bars offering complementary cuisines in funky fit-outs. St Georges Terrace in the city centre is home to bustling bistros boasting modern fare, while Brookfield Place is the spot for after-work drinks made by expert cocktail makers. Being on the west coast, seafood is still a big thing, particularly in the port town of Fremantle and on the northern coastline. Along with the catch of the day, the coast gives diners spectacular ocean views and stunning sunsets. Award-winning Restaurant Amuse in East Perth is a dining favourite: husband and wife team Hadleigh and Carolynne Troy offer a glorious nine-course degustation. There are countless more accessible restaurants with menus revered by the movers and shakers of the industry, and no matter where you’re staying north or south of the river, there’s a lot to choose from.

 

BUSH TUCKER

Can you call yourself a true foodie if you haven’t devoured some good old-fashioned WA bush tucker? There are many Aboriginal tour operators across the state, but if you’re staying close to Perth, we recommend a visit to Bush Food Cafe at Fremantle Markets. From kangaroo hot dogs to croc and emu, they offer it all – if you’re up for the challenge, they will even cook up the elusive witchetty grub. waitoc.com, fremantlemarkets.com.au

Sandpaper fig fruit.

 

TRUFFLES

If you haven’t tasted the French black truffle, foodies, you’re in for a treat. Grown in Manjimup, and down Pemberton way, the ‘gourmet mushroom’ is one of the world’s most sought-after and celebrated delicacies, found in the soil of inoculated hazelnut and oak trees. The first planting of seedlings occurred in 1997, and the first truffle was harvested in 2001. But we won’t spill all the beans – to find out more, take a guided truffle-hunting tour down south. At Stonebarn, where premium French Perigord black truffles are produced, you can hire the entire lodge and stunning property for you and your friends.

Go In Style Manjimup Truffle Tours 0411 186 430, goinstyle.com.au/truffle-tours
The Truffle & Wine Co Truffle Hunts (08) 9777 2474, truffleandwine.com.au
Stonebarn Lodge & Trufflerie (08) 9773 1002, stonebarn.com.au

Snuffles for truffles (photography Craig Kinder).

 

FARMERS MARKETS

The best way to connect with your food is to meet the producers. Whether you grab your morning loaf of bread from a local baker, or get a fridge full of fresh fruit and veg from the farmers themselves, you can spend hours tasting and talking. The best markets are committed to farm-direct and artisan-made food sales only. Different regions will offer their specialties, allowing you to expand your foodie knowledge of specific climes.

Down south

Up north

Fremantle Markets (photography Tourism WA).

 

FRUIT PICKING

Fruit-picking depends on the season. From apples, oranges, berries and mangoes, to chestnuts, walnuts and hazelnuts, you’ll get
a kick out of sourcing your own food from nature.

MANGOES
Perth Mango Farm, Neerabup February to March 0432 802 176.

BERRIES
Denmark Berry Farm November to April (08) 9848 1226.
Chestnuts, walnuts and hazelnuts (feijoas, apples, pears also available) Fontanini’s Fruit and Nut Farm, Manjimup April to June 0429 804 989.

ORANGES
Golden Grove Citrus Orchard, Lower Chittering Peak season winter (08) 9571 8074.

OLIVES
York Olive Oil Company April to May (08) 9641 2200.
Walkalina Olive Park, Gingin April to May 0417 900 192.

APPLES AND PLUMS
Spring Valley Orchard, Donnybrook January to June (08) 9731 6214.

COOKING CLASSES

Serious foodies not only like to try incredible food, they also like to understand how it came to taste so good. Inventing your own groundbreaking dish or knowing a thing or two about that vintage wine you’re pouring is its own kind of joy. To get you inspired, why not try a cooking class? You’ll leave with a recipe and feel a little more courageous to get in the kitchen and start cooking.

Cheese making

Enjoy devouring a cheese platter? What about making your very own? From Persian feta to haloumi, there’s a variety of courses to suit your interest and palate. You’ll be the toast of the town at your next dinner party.
Swan Valley The Cheese Maker 0412 260 876, thecheesemaker.com.au
South West Ha Ve Harvey Cheese (08) 9729 3949, harveycheese.com

Gourmet cooking

Wildwood Valley Now this is heaven for chefs in training. Choose from Taste of Tuscany, Wood Fired Cooking, or Thai Temptations. The best part? Sit down to a five-course meal with a small group of foodie friends, and leave with delicious recipes to try at home. (08) 9755 2120, wildwoodvalley.com.au/food.htm

Foragers Get your friends together – Foragers caters for small groups for hands-on day classes, cooking demonstrations and foundation workshops. It also hosts dinner events where you’ll get a taste for the food from the Southern Forests region. (08) 9776 1580, foragers.com.au

The Larder Bringing together local chefs from Margaret River’s incredible wineries, The Larder’s cooking class calendar varies seasonally. Pick a class that matches your cooking tastes. (08) 9758 8990, larder.biz/cooking-classes

Wildwood Valley Cooking School.

 

ORGANIC FARMS

Do you take the time to think about where your food has come from? Are you concerned by all those hidden nasties found in fruit, veg and meats? If the answer is yes, you’ll definitely enjoy a visit to an organic farm. An increasing number of organic farms are opening their gates in the southwest. 

Boronia Farm Stay

Just 12km from Donnybrook sits Boronia Farm, a certified organic property and rural escape. The farm has an organic orchard, permaculture vegetable garden, and farm animals the kids can feed. This is a nature getaway in line with your environmental ideals. boroniafarm.com.au.

Burnside Organic Farm

This small certified-biodynamic farm in Margaret River offers accommodation and education about sustainable living. You can source your own food from the farm’s abundant vegetable and herb gardens, and learn how you can grow and prepare your own food. burnsideorganicfarm.com.au.

Why not take it a step further and volunteer at an organic farm in exchange for your meals and accommodation? Contact Willing Workers on Organic Farms at wwoof.com.au to find out more.

Elmar’s in the Valley.

MICRO-BREWERIES

Answering the demand for more favourful beers, WA is becoming the microbrewery capital of WA, with more than 30 craft breweries popping up around the regions in little more than a decade. Here’s a smattering to get your glasses frothing.

Billabong Brewery, Perth billabongbrewing.com.au
Black Salt Brewery, North Fremantle onthebeach.net.au/blacksalt-brewery
The Generous Squire, Perth thegeneroussquire.com.au
Indian Ocean Brewing Company, Mindarie visitmindarie.com.au
Last Drop Elizabethan Village Pub, Bedfordale lastdropbeer.com.au
Last Drop Restaurant Brewery, Canning Vale lastdropbrewery.com.au
Little Creatures Brewery, Fremantle littlecreatures.com.au
The Monk, Fremantle themonk.com.au
The Old Brewery, Perth theoldbrewery.com.au
Duckstein Brewery, Henley Brook duckstein.com.au
Elmar’s in the Valley, Henley Brook elmars.com.au
Feral Brewing Company, Baskerville feralbrewing.com.au
Iron Bark Brewery Restaurant, Caversham ironbarkbrewery.com.au
Mash Brewing, Henley Brook mashbrewing.com.au
Bootleg Beer, Wilyabrup bootlegbrewery.com.au
Bush Shack Brewery and Cafe Yallingup bushshackbrewery.com.au
Cheeky Monkey Brewery, Margaret River cheekymonkeybrewery.com.au
Colonial, Margaret River colonialbrewingco.com.au
Cowaramup Brewing Company, Margaret River cowaramupbrewing.com.au
Duckstein Brewery, Margaret River duckstein.com.au
Eagle Bay Brewing, Eagle Bay eaglebaybrewing.com.au
The Grove Brewery, Wilyabrup thegroveexperience.com.au
Margaret River Ale Co. settlerstavern.com
Occy’s Brewery, Dunsborough occys.com.au
Blackwood Valley Brewing Co, Bridgetown thecidery.com
Brew42, Lake Clifton facebook.com/brew-42
Mash Brewing Co, Bunbury mashbrewing.com.au
Moody Cow Brewery, Ferguson Valley moodycow.com.au
Old Coast Road Brewery, Myalup ocrb.com.au
Wild Bull Brewery and Cafe, Ferguson Valley wildbullbrewery.com.au
Cape Bouvard Winery & Brewery, Mandurah cape-bouvard.com.au
Matso’s Broome Brewery, Broome matsos.com.au
Boston Brewing Co, Willoughby Park Winery, Denmark willoughbypark.com.au
Brewery Restaurant, Denmark southernend.com.au
Tanglehead Brewing Co, Albany tanglehead.com.au
Beaten Track Brewery, Boulder beatentrackbrewery.com.au

For more, visit the Western Australian Brewer’s Association, waba.org.au.

FOR WHISKEY LOVERS

There are plenty of new distilleries popping up in WA, but there is only one standout when it comes to making incredible world-class whisky. The Great Southern Distillery is based in Albany, and against all odds, its Limeburners brand is winning multiple international awards, setting and achieving retail prices of more than $500 per bottle. Available in Albany and with a new outlet opening soon in Margaret River, if you want a special taste of WA, you can find a bottle at most leading bottleshops.

MARGARET RIVER TOP TOURS

With more than 95 cellar doors, and countless breweries, cideries, and distilleries to explore, you’re going to want to cut loose in Margs. Get the most out of your winetasting experience, and book a wine or brewery tour to get you and the crew from A to B to C…

Margaret River Vintage Wine Tours 0417 948 933, winetoursmargaretriver.com.au
Margaret River Discovery Co 0439 910 064,
margaretriverdiscovery.com.au
Bushtucker River and Wine Tour (08) 9757 9084, bushtuckertours.com
Taste the South Tours 0438 210 373, tastethesouth.com.au
Wine for Dudes 0427 774 994, winefordudes.com

Can’t get to Margs? Try these tours instead:
PERTH
Taste Bud Tours Food and wine tasting 0412 244 201, tastebudtours.com.au
SWAN VALLEY
Swan Valley Tours Wine tasting (08) 9274 1199, svtours.com.au

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