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. Voyager Head Chef Santi’s Native Honey, Milk and Camomile at Voyager Estate.

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 Head Chef Santi’s seasonal menu is a reflection the transformation happening both in the vineyard and wider natural world around them. A prime example is his Almond, Apricot, Jasmine course from the spring menu. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the name – the elegant plate is a study in heavenly flavour combinations, with an apricot puree binding an almond blanc manger covered in jasmine malto snow.

Just down the road at Leeuwin Estate Winery you might need to steal a bite from your neighbours plate;  previous dessert offerings include Cambray Ashover, stone fruit, and gingerbread brioche, or chocolate, cherry, wattle seed, and amazake. Bonus points if you already know what amazake is.

Then again, at Xanadu Wines you can get a serious sweet treat with the white chocolate parfait, cherries, rose, meringue and pistachio.  Get the picture? Yes, it’s a dessert lovers 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
Indulge in life’s simple pleasures with Yallingup Cheese Co.

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! Towards the northern end of the region you can pop into Yallingup Cheese Co for a chat and some seriously delicious hand crafted cheese.


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 down south?

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 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 are 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 make.

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.


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. Alternatively, you’ll finish up with a belly full of laughs and lunch from a class with Tony Howell at Cape Lodge. Or try your hand at sourdough baking and about learning sustainable growing practices at One Table Farm.


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’.

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

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.

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 are a mouth-watering array of flavours, from Mango & Macadamia through to the indulgent Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl.

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

Platter of meat by Burnt Ends at Beerfarm
Dig into a feast with Smokin' Saturdays 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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