A wine and culinary side trip from Perth
12.21.2011 - 12.23.2011 80 °F
Kevin’s parents were waiting for us when we arrived back to Perth from our road trip. After some discussions on timing, it was decided that the four of us would head down to the Margaret River region for some wine tasting while Anya and Justin finished up their work before the holidays. We spent three days and two nights in the Margaret River region tasting local cheeses, local wine, local venison, local sodas, local fudge, local wood fired bread, local olive oils, local breweries, local coffee, and local yogurts, don’t u know I’m loco! It was a foodies paradise! The top three highlights were visiting the Yallingup Wood Fired Bakery, having a formal coffee tasting at Yahava and wine tasting at The Growers lake side cellar door. The map below shows all the places that we tasted and traveled.
The bakery is located literally in the middle of the bush between Cnr Biddles and Mclachlan roads. There is no website, it’s not on a paved road, but they supply farmers markets and local shops with their tasty breads. The ovens are built of volcanic stones and are heated with wood fires. When we arrived, they had three varieties of bread hot out of the oven and more on their way. We admired the setup as we took notes for our future bakery. :-)
Another top highlight was hanging out at Yahava’s Koffee roasting café. While chatting with the roaster and admiring the beans, she asked us if we wanted to try some coffee. ‘Why not!’ we said as she turned us over to a barista who handed us a menu (like you would find at a wine tasting) and asked us which varieties we’d like to try! We received a detailed talk on each bean as the barista made us a mini French press of each of our selections. Very friendly bunch and a must do if you visit: http://www.yahava.com.au/
Being raised near Napa and Sonoma, and then living a short drive from Washington State’s Yakima Valley, we had some wine tasting expectations that were fortunately shattered by Western Australia’s Margaret River. The wineries were plentiful along quaint roads with sweeping views of old growth forests, yet minutes from squeaky clean white sandy beaches with snorkeling and surfing. The tastings were all free, the grounds were spectacular and the people were shockingly friendly. Our favorite cellar was called The Growers (http://www.thegrowers.com/). The owner was a blast to chat with and they had bottles from just $5! Two of their cheeky brands were “Legs” and “Shag on a Rock” (Apparently a shag is also a name of a bird in this region).
We were fortunate enough to score a two-bedroom apartment last minute with a kitchen and BBQ near the beach. Kevin and Robin used their new found Aussie BBQ skills to grill Tasmanian Salmon one night, and Margaret River Venison the next. Our apartment was located in the heart of the fire that had occurred just one month prior to our visit, and the devastation was still very evident. The street signs and lamp posts were melted and you could still smell the smoke in the air. We did a drive through the neighborhood and went up close to some of the evacuated houses that had nothing but metal shelves left standing. It really put things in perspective and had us thinking about how life can turn on a dime. Thankful and lucky to be spending the holidays with family, we packed up our new found bounty of wine and headed back to Perth.