The gourmet secrets of Margaret River's back roads

The Margaret River region, 21/2 hours drive south of Perth, may be best known for its wine but its flourishing food scene is equally impressive. The gourmet secrets of Margaret River's back roads
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The Gourmet Secrets of Margaret River's Back Roads

The Margaret River region, 21/2 hours drive south of Perth, may be best known for its wine but its flourishing food scene is equally impressive.


By Fleur Bainger

If you like knowing exactly where your food comes from, and meeting the people who grow, bake and blend it, you'll love this list of gourmet secrets in the Margaret River wine region.

10 delicious spots in Margaret River

DISCOVER WHY YALLINGUP WOODFIRED BREAD HAS A CULT FOLLOWING

The most sought-after bread in the Margaret River region is produced at the biodynamic bakery Yallingup Woodfired Bread. Fans drive out to the bush block (small patches of land, usually forest or scrub) where the huge, volcanic-rock ovens are housed, pluck freshly baked loaves from outdoor racks, and throw coins into a bowl. The honour system means the German-born bakers don't need to stop kneading their ciabatta, rye and fruit loaves, unless they feel like saying g’day.

EXPERIENCE THE BIODYNAMIC WINERY AND RESTAURANT, CULLEN WINES

Cullen wines – like the Kevin John Chardonnay – are regarded as among the region's best, but the winery's biodynamic principles and enviable terroir also shine in the much-loved restaurant. The chefs have an organic herb and vegetable garden, which you can visit while you wait for your meal. Wander through the thyme, marigolds and cherry tomatoes, then savour lunch beneath the estate's shady peppermint trees.

MEET THE FAMILY AT BETTENAY'S WINE AND NOUGAT

Through a large glass window, young Bryce Bettenay can be seen folding nuts, fruits, petals and honey into chewy, French-style nougat. You might find blueberry, white chocolate and macadamia combined in a long, textured stick, or salted caramel or even limoncello. His proud parents manage the cellar door, pouring wine samples made from grapes grown in the surrounding fields.

TRY FRESH OLIVE OIL AT ORGANIC HAVEN OLIO BELLO

Olio Bello is a bucolic, certified organic property home to 10,000 trees, a welcoming open-air café and an always-busy tasting room. Sample multi-award-winning pure and flavoured oils, then grab a seat under the market umbrellas in the dappled shade of olive trees. As you'd expect, the fare reflects the farm's devotion to all things olive and organic.

BE INSPIRED BY PERMACULTURE FARM FAIR HARVEST

Self-sufficiency is taken to another level at Fair Harvest, an inspiring permaculture farm where a "food forest" of edible plants and productive trees combines with crops of edible flowers, leafy greens, heirloom vegetables and more, fertilised by industrious chickens and geese. Thursday-only lunches are created almost entirely from the garden produce. Reservations are a must. You can book a guided tour of the gardens on any day for AUD$50 per person, but tours are free to all visitors on Thursdays.

Beautiful things to see and do in the Margaret River region

WATCH THE SUN SET OVER THE SEA AT THE SEA GARDEN CAFÉ

Sunsets in the Margaret River region are breathtaking, and one of the most enjoyable places to view them is The Sea Garden Café, ideally with a glass of local wine in hand. The eclectic café, edged with a row of surfboards, is in the beach hamlet of Prevelly, near some of the best waves on this stretch of coast.

ENJOY A CAFFEINE FIX AT BREW SHACK

The baristas at Brew Shack know what they are doing. It's tiny and easy to miss, despite being in the heart of town, but worth searching for. As well as using a range of coffee beans roasted and blended in Western Australia, Brew Shack serves raw food treats, pretty pastries and savoury snacks in a cosy wooden interior.

NOURISH YOUR SOUL AT BLUE GINGER FINE FOOD AND CAFÉ

Ask any of the locals where to go for lunch, and the answer is likely to be Blue Ginger. Combining a café serving locally sourced goodies and a delicatessen overflowing with organic produce under the one roof, it epitomises the Margaret River ethos of worshipping the earth.

APPRECIATE FOOD ARTISTRY AT CONVIVIAL MORRIES

Perched at the top of Margaret River township's main street, Morries is a polished little bistro. Its executive chef, who is also a keen surfer, is passionate about supporting local farmers, so the menu is squarely focused on regional produce that changes as the seasons turn.

FEEL WHOLESOME AT THE MARGARET RIVER FARMERS MARKETS

Friendly farmers and foodies come together every Saturday morning for the bustling Margaret River Farmers Markets, which are so popular that you'll need to arrive before 10am or risk missing out on the A-grade produce. There are about 50 stalls of 100 per cent locally grown produce.

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