I have been in Margaret River for a week now, and I have been really enjoying being on holiday. Here, the pace is so much slower than in Perth. The people are friendlier, the town is quaint, its peaceful, and everyone knows each other. Currently, I’m staying in Gracetown which is about a 20 minutes drive from Margaret River town. There are probably a few hundred people living here, and its just perfect. We are a stones throw away from some amazing beaches-unfortunately its a little too cold to swim at the moment.
One of the main things I wanted to do while I was here, is go on a winery tour. I chose Harvest tours because it was wine and food, and really I was more interested in the food. We went to about 4 wineries, all of which had about 8 tastings-so there was a lot of wine. Harevst tours has been running for just two years, and in that time they have become the number 2 attraction on tripadvisor. Our driver Jaime, was incredibly informative, and gave us lots of additional information on the general Margaret River area, which you could tell he was really passionate about.
First we went to Adifern winery, which is the only farm in the area to move from agriculture (producing wool, wheat and meat) to producing grapes and wine. They are an eco-friendly farm, and use as little pesticides as possible, and tend to use ducks and sheep to fertilize the crops, and to get rid of the pests. They had some really beautiful sweet wine, one of which I had to buy.
The second place we went was for gourmet food tasting, at a little store called Margaret Riviera. We tried some beautiful dukkah, olive oil, bread, vinegar, pesto, chilli sauce and tapenade’s. I decided to try some blueberry vinegar (which I will include in a few recipes when I get back to Perth), and some olive tapenade.
Thirdly we went to another wine tasting, as well as lunch at Cullen’s, which is a really beautiful family run, biodynamic winery. I wasn’t too impressed with the wine tasting, but that may have been because it was quite busy and noisy there, which made it hard to focus on the wine. However, we also had lunch there, which was amazing! I ordered the seared duck with rocket and polenta, with a side of beetroot salad.
After lunch we went to Providore, which had a huge array of beautiful food and wine. We tasted around 10 red and white wines, as well as chocolate liquors. The light sweet wine was amazing, and I had to pick up a bottle, and it was very hard to choose between the liquors. In the end we chose the dark chocolate. At Providore we also pick up some lovely infused olive oils, including garlic olive oil, vanilla olive oil and lime olive oil. This was definitely our most expensive stop, but I am looking forward to using some of the products in some new recipes!
Next we went to Windows Estate winery, which had a wine and cheese pairing. It was here I got to really appreciate red wines. Before the tour I would never have drunk, let alone enjoy a glass of red wine, but enjoyed with the cheese it was just lovely. Here we picked up a small block on some Margaret River black pepper cheese, which I will enjoy over the next few days with a glass of wine.
The next stop was Gabrielle’s chocolates. They provided us with some tastings of chocolate from around the globe. It really was amazing chocolate, it was rich and creamy, and had a beautiful mouth feel. I picked up the 80% block, but I could have easily brought all of them. One thing I was quite surprised about here, is just how big the cacao pod is, its about the size of an adult shoe.
Finally, our last stop was Yavaha coffee works, where we learnt about different types of coffee and the best way to consume yours. I’ve never really enjoyed or appreciated black coffee, but I kept an open mind, and actually enjoyed the true flavour of the coffee without all the added extra’ that I normally add. My favorite was an organic Arabic blend from Mexico and Peru.
By this time I was feeling quite ‘happy’ from all the wine and food tastings, and luckily it was time to be dropped home. It was such a great experience, and I got to really enjoy and appreciate good Margaret River wines, and to learn what kind of wines I really enjoy. For me, I enjoy a light and sweet wine, and generally this was the sauvignon blanc’s. Margaret river does some beautiful sav’s, and I’m looking forward to trying them, along with all the other goodies I picked up along the way. Doing a wine tour is a great way to see a large amount of places in a short amount of time, and to socialise with some great people.
I’m doing another one of Harvest tours food attractions today, which is going to be really exciting. Stay tuned for more exciting updates from Margaret river!