A gourmet escape in Margaret River
There’s only been two times in my life where I’ve declared, “I cannot eat another thing,” and meant it.
It’s the middle of the day, and lets just say I’m tipsy happy. The vibe is up, the sun is out and I’m tippling it up with peeps from all over the state. Armed with a wine/beer glass and a hand full of GEMS, I’m making friends as I go.Welcome to Day Three of the Margaret River Gourmet Escape. A festival of food and wine in one of the most fun states in Australia.
So how did this all start? On a beach, when my pants actually fit.
Day 1: Pop-up, Castle Bay Beach Barbeque.
The first event of the Gourmet Escape is on Castle Bay Beach, and tonight, casual attire and bare feet are encouraged. The air is fresh, the ocean cool and celebrity chefs, plenty.
Location, location! The setup includes a production line of sizzling barbeques against the Indian Ocean, four large tipis, a team of chefs headed up by George Colombaris and Luke Dale Roberts. It’s packed, but still feels intimate and special.
We munch on fresh olives, soft baguettes and WA olive oil, chew on delicious lamb kofta with chickpea puree and gobble down tangy, marron souvlaki with pickled cucumber and smoked paprika yoghurt.
The wine is too-drinkable, from the likes of Lamont’s, Devils Lair and Pedestal.
As the sun goes down, we enjoy fruity buttermilk pannacotta as the sea spray glows in the fairy lights. After a quick Q and A with the celeb chefs, the party is over, but this escape has only just become gourmet.
Day 2; The Forager lunch:
Today’s lunch is in a secret location, so while en route, I take the time to ponder exactly what foraging is…
Foraging is a food movement that is totally in with the ethical eating trend right now. It’s all about environmental eating, connecting with the seasons and eating from your own back yard. I spose it’s kind of like Paleo, but this is no fleeting health fad, it’s a relationship with the environment and today, the ambassadors of the movement, Jock Zonfrillo, Zach Banes, Miles Irving and local Wardandi Man, Josh Whiteland are the passionate, captivating educators of the Forager lunch.
The Forager lunch is one of those events that you go home and tell your friends about. In the Jarrah forest beside the Leewuin Estate Winery, we make our way down a dirt path and into a clearing where a bush-elegant shed, aka, our dining room stood.
Catering today is a buffet style lunch, with ingredients foraged earlier in the week. Plants on the menu include coastal spinach, wattleseed and quandong leaves. These leaves were particularly fun to eat- kind of like kale chips, but not. Dessert was my fave, especially the lemon myrtle curd tart with vanilla mascarpone.
We washed the buffet down with a shiraz and SSB from Leeuwin Estate. Delish.
, Day 3; The Gourmet Village
The Gourmet Village is a theme park for foodies and runs each day of the Gourmet Escape. There are cooking demonstrations and discussions, limitless wine tastings, and a Chef’s Theatre where celebs do their thing on stage.
The Gourmet Village is definitely worth the money. Pay $38 for entry and a wine glass, purchase GEM’s (Gourmet Escape Money) from designated booths and you’re set for the day. (You can also get a premium entry ticket $67 which includes four GEMS.) Exchange GEMS at the stalls/outlets for all the food and drink you can handle.
|Hot tip: My advice for the Gourmet Village? Water, sunscreen and BYO picnic blanket.|
From the espresso martini cocktails to the giant, steaming pots of paella, The Gourmet Village is a super fun day out, best shared with friends. And if leaving Margaret River with ill-fitting pants is the only downfall, then sign me up for the Gourmet Escape every year.