The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus believed that pleasure was the ultimate goal; that in order to live an ideal existence, one must derive as much pleasure as possible from daily life.
Well, something like that at least. There might be a few other bits and pieces to his philosophy, but for the purposes of a visit to Margaret River that summary will do just fine, and there is no shortage of ways in which to pursue pleasure here.
Epicureans will delight in fine food and wine, of which there is an abundance, but there is an innate and longer lasting joy in absorbing not only the flavours, but achieving a full sensory experience. Grade A gourmand Cassandra Charlick has hunted high and low for some sensational experiences that will not only pleasure the taste buds, but also enrich the mind and stimulate the senses.
Gain some skills at the stovetop
Cape Lodge is up there when it comes to the ultimate indulgence during a visit to Margaret River. Not only will you wake up to tranquil views from your private balcony overlooking the lake, but the lodge’s Chef, Tony Howell, is Tourism Australia’s culinary brand ambassador. That’s a pretty good pedigree with which to kick off your epicurean adventure. Simply sit back and indulge in some delicious local and seasonal produce, cooked to perfection by ‘Chef Tone’ at one of their Sunday Harvest dinners. Alternatively, get ready to dive in and pick up some tips in the kitchen at a cooking class and long table lunch. Held monthly, each cooking demonstration is based on seasonal specialties and followed by a 3 course long table lunch. Winter will bring with it truffles galore and French delicacies for Bastille Day. Pleasure awaits you.
Learn the secrets behind the scenes
Hands up who has been on a wine tour in a wine region before? Hands up who has been on a walking tour in a wine region before? Never fear, Kellie Tannock from Walk Talk Taste Margaret River won’t have you trekking through vineyards. Instead, get ready for a day exploring behind the scenes of the towns best loved haunts, exploring the history and the people that make Margaret River a food lover’s paradise. Expect a morning filled with fun, food and just enough foot action to keep up an appetite between stops. Make sure you come hungry; the pursuit of pleasure will definitely be achieved with over 6 locations and food tastings throughout the morning. From marron through to cold drip coffee, handmade ice-cream, wine and cheese pairing and barbecued South West meats; there’s sure to be plenty of culinary satisfaction with this experience.
Swap your palate for a palette
Pleasure can be distilled from all the senses. Give those taste buds a rest and absorb some beauty down in the majesty of Boranup Forest. The Boranup Gallery is an iconic destination in the region for art lovers and those seeking out some fine artisan craftsmanship. Founded in 1989 by James and Anne Howieson, you can wander throughout the Aladdin’s cave of artwork, including James’ own collection of timber furniture. No matter what your taste, you are bound to find a piece in here that lights you up. Artforms range from woodwork through to ceramics, glassware and jewellery, painting, photography and metalwork. The gallery is bound by a common thread: Australian artists capturing the essence of our stunning country.
Let the experts look after you
We all need a little help sometimes, and help is a great thing when visiting a wine region that excels in award winning eateries and is home to over 95 cellar doors. Margaret River Vintage Wine Tours provide one of the most personal and memorable guided experiences in the region. With long-time local Tony Barugh at the helm, your carefully planned itinerary will take you through a dream day of epicurean pleasure. Not a fan of the big wineries and want to get off the beaten path? He’s got the perfect spots sorted. Fancy a food and wine pairing extravaganza for lunch? Tick. A bit more of a sweet tooth? Or maybe you would like to sub out a bit of Cab Sav for a hearty ale at a brewery? Tony will sort it out. With a background in viticulture and tourism and a deep love of the region, he will ensure you finish your day with some fabulous culinary experiences to add to the memory bank and a full bottle on why this region is such a paradise for epicures.
Local dining and designing
Tucked up in the locality of Dunsborough, Goanna Bush Café & Gallery is a treat for both eyes and taste buds. The rustic building is nestled amongst beautiful native bushland, and is a family-run business headed by husband and wife team, Duncan and Ali. Duncan will ensure your gastronomical desires are realised on the plate, with his hearty, fresh and understated fare highlighting the incredible produce of the region. Open for breakfast and lunch, kick the day off here with a unique bush breakfast and follow through with a wander of the gallery. Filled with local artwork, jewellery, textiles and homeware designs, the gallery also unearths emerging artists by providing them an audience on the café’s walls.
A feast for the eyes
It’s time for your eyes and your mind to soak up the creations at Busselton’s creative hub for visual and performing arts. The ArtGeo Cultural Complex is a union of art and heritage, with the town’s colonial courthouse transformed to a modern day art house. Two artist in residence studios are tucked out the back, featuring ceramic artist Tracie Anderson and jewellery designer Nalda Hoskins. Discover some of the region’s unique artworks in the gallery and see these artists at work, perhaps even leaving with some inspiration of your own. Pop over the road and the ArtGeo Gallery is home to regularly changing exhibitions in the historic building. Free to visit, throughout May and June 2019 you can catch the Liaisons exhibition by Juliet Stone and Mary Knott, a collaborative exhibition of painting and sculpture.
Paddock to plate. The real deal.
You might have heard the rumours about this down to earth boutique farm and vineyard in Karridale, just south of Margaret River. Sasha and Ben of Glenarty Road have transformed the family farm in recent years to become a foodie destination. Featuring true produce to plate dining, poke your head out the door and you can see the veggies growing, the lambs frolicking and the grapes getting ready for their next vintage. With 26 acres of vines, over 270 fruit trees, numerous vegetable gardens and several thousand sheep, this is the real deal. Their wines are paired with their delicious seasonal lunches, though it’s advisable to book as it’s a small team that put together the feasts. Get in for a Sunday roast – you won’t find a fresher one in the state. Fact.
Learn a skill to last a lifetime
Ever fantasised about living the dream? Setting up life on a farm and cooking from scratch? Baking bread as the kids play in the paddock, gathering veggies from the garden for the evening meal and waiting patiently as that home-made cheese matures? Well here you can derive pleasure from the simple things in life, without going through the big move yourself. Cree and Tim at One Table Farm have been building their home, now open to all, since 2014. Now established, the couple invite you to join them at one of their workshops, experiencing farm life and their approach to creating an ethical and sustainable way of living on the land. Learn about the seasons, the needs and welfare of animals and how to work your newfound knowledge and skills into your life back home. Take your pick from their full day farm food experience, or specialise with one of their classes on sourdough, cheese making or the art of kefir creation.
Unlock the mysterious world of spice
Margaret River‘s official Spice Mistress, Sarina Kamini is an encyclopaedia of knowledge. Not just about spice, either – about pleasure, taste, sensory exploration and communication. “Spices are my touchstone and my love. I feel the most alive when I talk of them. Teaching spice classes evolved organically – those that knew me and knew my approach to food wanted to learn more. Spice is complex. It is its own landscape. When I teach, we touch and taste a lot. Food is sensual. You can’t understand a flavour you haven’t previously digested. I story tell, too – spice is so complex and fickle that its character shifts and mutes and steps forward depending on which other of its aromatic friends you pair it with.” Jump into one of her classes and step out with your preconceived ideas about spice swept away. In three hours, you will taste raw, released and cooked spices while learning to make dried spice masalas (blends) via an understanding of the interaction between the palate and the six tastes. Your time with Sarina will finish with a traditional Kashmiri meal and classes can be booked to take place in your own private accommodation or in a Margaret River farmhouse kitchen just a few minutes from town.
While you salivate, check out some of the region’s most amazing breakfasts.