The Margaret River Region in Western Australia’s South West has long been known for its great surfing and delicious wines. But now it is also becoming known for its home-made produce and tasty foods.
During the recent school holidays we took a short getaway 2½ hours south of Perth to Busselton (staying at the BIG4 Beachlands Holiday Park) and spent a day exploring the taste sensations throughout the Margaret River Region.
We start our day by driving 30 minutes further south to the town of Margaret River, we turn off Bussell Hwy onto a narrow winding road, driving carefully for another 10 minutes, we barely see a soul, finally The Berry Farm sign. The wheels of our car crunch along the gravel driveway as we pass chestnut and citrus trees, we turn into the car park – it is packed.
Walking into the cosy cafe` with a log fire burning we order scones with jam and cream, coffee and a milk for our 7 year old son Lewis. Heading back outside we locate a table under shelter with a pretty view of the terraced tables surrounded by native gums and colourful flowers. We watch the yellow bellied Willy Wagtails flutter in to pick crumbs from nearby tables.
Our plates arrive with the most delicious smell of warm scones. They are big, fluffy and just plain YUM.
After devouring our morning tea we head over to the Berry Farm store. We sample the full range of jams, my favourites are the strawberry kirsch with its little kick in flavour and the apricot. There is also a selection of spicy sauces, vinegars and chutneys. Our shopping bag is quite laden down, but before we leave we let Lewis have a play to burn off some energy, then it’s back into the car.
At the corner to turn onto Bussell Hwy we stop at the newest chocolate factory in the region Temper Temper. Temper Temper source the highest quality of dark chocolate from around the globe. You can taste them all to help you to decide which bars of chocolate are for you.
Next door to Temper Temper is Vasse Virgin. They originally began by manufacturing soaps made from olive oil and no nasty additives. Since then they have expanded their range to include facial cleansers and moisturisers for men and women. Lewis has a ball trying them all out before heading to the sink and washing his hands with the sample soaps. Due to my partner Steve’s Greek heritage he relishes tasting the fresh olives and tapenades.
Heading back north on Bussell Hwy we stop at the town of Cowaramup which first enchanted us a few days earlier as we passed through on our way to the Amaze’n Margaret River. The town has taken on its historic nickname of Cow Town by lining the streets with black and white cow statues.
After playing on the cows we stroll into the Candy Cow – which would be any child’s fantasy with all the walls lined with assorted lollies and brightly coloured candy.
With a cup full of coloured sugar in our hands we are back in the car and this time on the hunt for something more savoury. We wind over to Caves Rd and up to Margaret River Venison. They have a good selection of mild salami, spicy chorizo and sausages. After a quick taste we buy an emu salami stick to fry up later tonight.
Next is the Margaret River Dairy Company to add to our dinner nibbles plate. We taste creamy bries, cheddar, full flavoured vintage and choose to buy the stronger flavoured port and smoked cheeses.
I think we should include at least one stop at a winery whilst in the region, I try to find a more child friendly option. The 3 Oceans Wine Company flyer advertises playing fields and a PlayStation. Unfortunately it is pouring with rain and no PlayStation in sight. However Lewis is very good as we taste our way through their range of wines. I teach him about looking at the colour of the wine, swirling the glass to release the bouquet and flavours, he even sniffs the wine and gives quite good descriptions – a budding wine connoisseur in the making 😉
Winding our way back and forth between the main arterial roads of Caves Rd and Bussell Hwy we stop at Margaret River Nuts and Cereals to check out some locally grown almonds and cereal mixes. Lewis isn’t interest in the nuts but instead goes straight outside to kick the soccer ball into the goals on the lawns. I don’t really blame him the nuts are a little stale and the lady serving is not at all pleasant.
Not to worry onward and upward.
A reward for being good on our tasting road trip I include the familiar Margaret River Chocolate Factory, though it is packed full of people. We are lucky that we can even get near the tasting bowls for a scoop of the chocolate buds. We decide that since we have visited the Margaret River Chocolate Factory and neighbouring Providore in the Swan Valley (just outside of Perth) we would give them a miss today.
Making our way back towards Busselton we pass the picturesque Little Fish Restaurant where we ate lunch the day before. It had been beautiful sitting out on the deck overlooking the dam with a crisp glass of white wine before devouring the tender ribs.
In the last town of Dunsborough before Busselton we call into the famous Dunsborough Bakery to grab a baguette for our nibbles plate later tonight. We are welcomed with that good old fashioned bakery smell: yeasty breads, hot pies and sweet cakes.
I had planned on finishing our road tripping tasting tour of the Margaret River Region with an ice-cream from Millers – purely to compare with the one that we had tried from Simmos a few days earlier 😉 But our stomachs are just too full with all that wonderful tasty and delicious locally home grown produce.
Which gastronomical place have your been to or would like to visit?
Please tell me about it in the comments.
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