Oh hi! Long time no see. I know, where have I been, right? Good question and the simple answer is, away… Remember at the start of the year when I said I wanted to spend more time practicing and creating art? Well, that’s basically the reason and believe me, it hasn’t been an easy task to shift my time and attention from food blogging to art making, especially because my love/passion for food is so strong. So here I am back at it again trying to pursue both of my dreams. I’ve also been far away, literally, as in interstate, all the way in WA. We initially drove here (yes, you read that right and it was an amazing/highly recommended road trip/experience by the way) for a brother’s wedding, but it’s turned into a gifted extended family visit and stay. And here we are still, in our final stretch of our travel, in the beautiful Margaret River region, I bring this post to you.
[dropcap]Green[/dropcap] and blue. That’s how I would describe the paradisiacal Margaret River region of Western Australia’s South West. Although, being winter now, there’s also a lot of grey, especially on the day that we drove into town when it was overcast and drizzling. But we’ll just brush that aside shall we? Besides, from grey comes green and blue, and despite it being winter, there’s still an unusual amount of sunshine and colour around that I’m not familiar with.
The region is a varied landscape of luscious green undulating hills, a profusion of native flora, serpentine waterways and idyllic towns and villages. To the west, it is edged by a scenic coastline of ancient rocks, powdery white sandy beaches and mesmerizing crystal clear blue waters. 1
Located in a nook just three hours’ drive south of Perth, between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin (at what appears on the map to be the teat of a mother’s breast), the region is foremost famous for its world-class wines and breathtaking surf beaches. As we drive around, this is clearly evident.
Wine wise, the region is defined to have a maritime influenced Mediterranean climate, which is similar to Bordeaux. The wine produced here are some of Australia’s best and even though it’s only a small producer of Australian wine, the region produces a massive 20% of Australia’s premium wine. It is recognised as a premium producer of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, and it also produces a signature style of wine with a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. 2
With over 215 wine producers dotted across the landscape and many of them open to the public, wine lovers are spoilt for choice here, as they can easily pop in to visit, taste and buy. 3 Just remember to call and check the opening hours first to prevent disappointment and if you’re driving, don’t be a bloody idiot.
When there’s good wine, there’s often good food to complement it. Besides wine, the region also offers a cornucopia of delicious local produce. These include olives, cheese, honey, truffle, venison and marron, to name just a few.
Some of these local produce can be found at The Good Olive, a wonderful gift store located in town. We fortuitously discovered the store after we had been disappointed from driving to a local producer’s farm and then finding out that they were closed. 4 Anyhow, I’m glad the other place was closed, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have made it to The Good Olive at all.
We arrived at the store a little late, thanks to the ridiculously slow but safe traffic before us. We had only about twenty minutes of opening time left and unfortunately, the tasting table had already been packed up for the day. Alas, it doesn’t matter because we know what we like and I’m confident all of the products on display are delicious.
What I like about The Good Olive, other than their focus on showcasing local producers, artisans and artists, is the convenience that shoppers have of being able to browse and buy a range of products from different sources all in the one place. There’s no need to waste time driving from one producer to another and then risk them being closed. Friendly and knowledgeable staff, as we experienced on the day with Julie, the store manager is also an added bonus.
Some of the local goodies available at The Good Olive include olives and olive oils (of course), truffle products, pickles and relishes, jams and preserves, honey and sweets. If you’re the indecisive type or looking for a special gift for someone, there are gift baskets and hampers to choose from. And if you prefer, you can also order online.
Next time you’re in the Margaret River region and want to explore and buy some local gourmet produce but not waste time travelling from one place to another, make sure you visit The Good Olive in town. They have an excellent selection of local delicacies to choose from, along with other gift items by local artisans and artists.
The Good Olive is located on the main street, at 97 Bussell Hwy (corner of Bussell Hwy and Churchill Ave), just across the road from the ‘Zygomaturus trilobus’ (try to spell that) sculpture. I’m certain you’ll find something deliciously good!
- If you’re driving on Caves Road, find the time to detour off to one of the many beautiful beaches, in particular Prevelly, Yallingup and Eagle Bay. The incredible Indian Ocean will welcome you and likely put on an impressive show of crashing waves and massive swells. If you look carefully in the distance, you might also spot surfers and whales doing their thing. ↩
- Reference: http://www.margaretriver.com/wine-gourmet/wineries/. ↩
- Some of our favourites include Vasse Felix, Cullen Wines, Evans & Tate and Brookland Valley. ↩
- Remember to call and check if places are open before driving there! ↩