Underrated Foodie Surprises

If you think you’ve done the food scene in the Margaret River Region, think again.

The region is pumping with amazing produce, award-winning chefs and lots of yummy products to take home with you, so sometimes it can be hard not to head straight to your tried and true favourites. And while these will always have a special place in your fridge and heart, dive a little deeper and you may be surprised at what else is on offer.

We’ve gathered up 9 delicious ideas for your next food-filled adventure down south.

Voyager Estate Dessert Underrated Foodie Surprises
Satisfy your sweet tooth with incredible food experiences in the Margaret River Region.

Save Room For Dessert

Margaret River is home to some of the best pastry chefs in the state. Don’t believe us? Be sure to save your appetite for the last course and have a gander at the dessert menu before that long lunch.

Dining rooms that always get it right include Voyager Estate, where recently appointed Head Chef Travis Crane is building on solid foundations. The seasonal menu at Voyager is a reflection of the transformation happening both in the vineyard and wider natural world around, and Crane’s desire to showcase ingredients unique to the estate and a little beyond. Mulberries taken from a century-old tree at Wallcliffe House, caramelised puff and orange, is something you’ll be daydreaming about long after visiting.

Just down the road at Leeuwin Estate Winery you might need to steal a bite from your neighbour’s plate; dessert offerings include Nannup nectarine, elderflower, white chocolate and lemon verbena, or Cambray Farmhouse Gold, endive, orange and lavos.

Then again, at Xanadu Wines you can get a serious sweet treat with flavours of dark chocolate parfait, plum pate de fruit, chardonnay poached pear, and watermelon and vanilla consommé.

Prefer to skip the lunch and just focus on dessert? Head straight to Maison Lassiaille, where French master chef Romain Lassiaille creates beautiful sweet treats that are part dessert and part work of art.

Get the picture? Yes, it’s a dessert lover’s paradise.


Eat One of the Best French Crêpes in Australia

Who would have thought that one of the most authentic French experiences could be found in Busselton? Fanny and Thibaut set up Bistro Breton after they moved to Australia from Brittany (the birthplace of the crêpe) in 2014, and with them they brought a wealth of knowledge and passion for these delicious buckwheat delights.

If you think a pancake is even close to an authentic crêpe, you’ll quickly realise how much better the real deal is. With authentic French flour imported from Brittany and a linage of French crêpe chefs behind them in the family, you’ll want to make sure you arrive with an appetite so you can sample both the savoury AND sweet versions. C’est si bon.

Yallingup Cheese Co
Cheese is one of life’s simple pleasures, and matches perfectly with a glass of Margaret River wine.

When Cheese is not Just Cheese

Did you know that cheese is a seasonal product? Seriously, it comes as a surprise to most people, but it makes total sense. Just think of what Mother Nature is dealing out to those beautiful cows year-round. Winter is full of green grass, spring is lush with flowers and clover to nibble on, while the heat of summer leaves little fresh food and cows are fed hay and stock feed to keep them going through the hot months.

When you look at it that way, of course it’s going to change what comes out the other side. Milk production, flavour and nutrients shift with the seasons, so pop into one of the region’s artisan cheese producers to learn more from those that know best: the cheesemakers! Pop into The Margaret River Dairy Company in Cowaramup for a chat and some seriously delicious hand-crafted cheese.

Want to take your cheese education to the next level? Jardin Estate Cheese School offer regular classes where you can learn exactly how to make delicious fresh cheese, followed by a two course lunch that showcases the cheese of the day.

Now, not cheese, but this special place was originally an old Dairy farm: Whirlwind Olives and Oil. Sure, the closer you get to Cape Leeuwin, the more locals will mention the brisk Southern Ocean winds – but that’s not where its namesake’s from. And while Whirlwind’s range of curated olives and olive oils will have your tastebuds dancing (try the Chilli Burner olive oil, if you dare), that’s not where it’s from either. A visit to Karridale is a must to connect the dots, and to enjoy olives, of course.


Chocoholics Rejoice

Yes, we hear you. Who doesn’t participate in an annual pilgrimage to The Margaret River Chocolate Factory when they book their holiday to the Margaret River Region?

However, did you know that there are enough chocolate producers in the region to keep chocoholics busy chomping for hours? The Margaret River Chocolate Factory is a great kid-friendly start to your journey, with floor to ceiling walls filled with chocolate bars, samples for kids and adults alike to enjoy, and a glass window to watch the chocolate pouring and truffle making.

Just a short drive to Cowaramup’s main street and you’ll find Temper Temper, equally filled with lots of single origin options and flavour combos. The passionate duo is constantly coming up with fun, wacky and downright delicious flavour combinations to tickle your tastebuds. Top tip: visit the cute cellar door at Arlewood Estate just south of Witchcliffe for a tasting matched with Temper Temper chocolate, that has been carefully designed to match the flavour profile of the wines.

At the northern end of the region is Yallingup Chocolate, which emanates relaxed beachy vibes. Grab a coffee from Commonage Coffee Co next door and peruse the rows of beautiful bars, wrapped in packaging featuring iconic surf photography. Then settle in outside in the shade, with a sweet treat to keep you company.

For true chocoholics, you’ll want to step things up a notch and go the whole hog with a bean to bar experience. Gabriel Chocolate produce bean to bar, single origin chocolate; importing the raw cocoa beans before the full production happens on-site, from conching through to pouring and packaging. Taste the different varieties, and you’ll be blown away at what a different the origin of beans can make. Plus the chocolate chip cookies are legendary.

Fishing Cape Cultural Tours
Get cultured on Wadandi Boodja and local delicacies with Koomal Dreaming.

Follow the Seasons

The traditional owners of this land have been living on country for thousands of years, so there really is no better source of seasonal and culinary knowledge than that of the Wadandi People. Take the time to learn about the Noongar six seasons – Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang – and how they are recognised by changes in the environment and nature’s cues.

Head out for a tour with Koomal Dreaming’s cultural custodian Josh Whiteland, and you’ll never see the landscape – or your dinner plate – the same way again.

Now the appreciation for dishing seasonal has grown, a stone’s throw from Koomal Dreaming you’ll find Wise Wine serving plenty of seasonal plates. Think delicious smoked akoya with pickled fennel and Wise Mandarin Gin infused salsa for example. Then let Wise further season with a side of Indian Ocean and Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park views, and you’ll comfortably find yourself sipping gins far into the late afternoon.


Learn Your Craft

There’s a well-worn saying “never trust a skinny cook”, well, it could also be true that you should never trust the opinion of a diner who doesn’t know how to hold their own behind a stovetop. Actions speak louder than words, so if you are an eater who is yet to master the basics in the kitchen, why not use a trip to the Margaret River Region to brush up on those skills and understand the hard work that has gone into the masterpiece on your plate?

There are plenty of options to try out, Wildwood Valley Cottages and Cooking School hold regular hands-on classes from their picturesque Yallingup base. Or try your hand at sourdough baking and learn about sustainable growing practices at One Table Farm.

Margaret River Farmers Market Local Producers
Stop for a chat with local producers at the Margaret River Farmers Markets.

Have a Chat

Now, this might seem a bit of an odd suggestion, but you’ll be surprised what you learn when you actually talk with the producer rather than just buying that jar of relish and tucking it in your bag. The Margaret River Farmers Markets are one of Australia’s best food markets, but not many people experience a farmers market as whole-heartedly as they should. The Margaret River Farmers Markets have very strict guidelines when it comes to producers and products, so you know that you’ll be directly connecting with local food artisans and producers that live here.

Next time you visit take your time, stop for a chat, and you’ll come away with a newfound respect for your food and the people that tend to the land to grow it. You might even come away with a killer recipe for dinner, from all that newfound ‘insider knowledge’.


Taste A Secret Family Recipe

A visit to Bettenay’s ticks a lot of boxes; delicious wine, tick. A picturesque location overlooking the vineyard and a pretty lake, absolutely – tick.

But it’s their nougat that really sets them apart. Made from a top-secret family recipe that has been perfected over many years, each bar is handmade in small batches to ensure perfection every time. There is a mouth-watering array of flavours, from Mango & Macadamia through to the indulgent Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl.

For the full experience book in for their Nougat + Wine tasting, which includes five different matches enjoyed at your leisure.

Platter of meat by Burnt Ends at Beerfarm
Dig into a feast by Burnt Ends at Beerfarm.

The Place to Meat

Line up with the local carnivores for weekly BBQ goodness at Beerfarm, by the ‘masters of meat’ Burnt Ends Co. The next level menu focuses on local produce and sustainable farming practises to showcase the on-site Black Angus, with the only dilemma being which plate of deliciousness to choose.

Join them for their weekly “Smokin’ Saturdays” menu, where they deliver seriously epic BBQ platters, brisket and more BBQ’d eats every Saturday from 11am (until sold out).

We recommend a nap is scheduled afterwards!

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