We were told by many that we shouldn’t stay in Margaret River because the accommodation would be up to 30% more expensive..so from the glossy tourist brochures, and the web we settled on Busselton. Situated in Geographe Bay, Busselton seems to be the equivalent of Batemans’ Bay for Canberrans. A lovely seaside town, not too far from home, with some decent restaurants and cafes…The main attraction being the historic Busselton Jetty… So I managed to find a wine and food tour of the Margaret River that wasn’t for old people!
Margie’s Big Day Out suited us perfectly. Beer for Da Boyfriend and chocolate and cheese for me!
We got picked up from our place in Busselton, then driven to Dunsborough to pick up more people, then on to Margaret River to pick up the last of the group. It was at this point, driving through the countryside that I regretted our decision to stay in Busselton. Both Dunsborough and Maragret River offered better swimming, better food, and scenery than Busselton.
On to our tour!
Our first stop was Brookwood Estate. This gorgeous place is everything you expect a winery to be: Picturesque vines, gorgeous looking homestead and great wine…For someone who is not a big drinker, I loved their wines so much that I bought 6 bottles. Far more than I could ever hope to drink on my own…I bought the 2008 Autumn Harvest and the 2008 Mellow Rouge..I was sooooo excited when we got back to Sydney and my box of wine was delivered! A wonderful reminder of our trip and my early tipsyness at the tasting!
Next stop was the large and expensive looking Evans and Tate Winery. In the last two years, Evans & Tate have gone bankrupt and been bought by wine conglomerate McWilliam’s. In comparison to Brookwood the setting was amazing…huge vineyard fronted by a sleek and modern building with private dining room, commercial kitchen etc. Now, I’m nowhere near a wine expert, but I didn’t like any of the wine here, and I wasn’t the only one. Our tasting at Brookwood was conducted by an apprentice winemaker completing his degree. He was knowledgeable, passionate and happy to answer stupid questions from tipsy novices like me..he also offered the wine from heaviest and dryest to lightest and sweetest, not muddying our palates. In contrast at Evans & Tate, the wine was served in any old order, which was Moscato first and their award winning Reserve Shiraz last.
Then, into the private dining room for lunch! Rich, the tour leader and his wife put on a lovely spread suited for a day of wine tasting. Local cheese, homemade pate, fresh bread, dukkah, pickles, sun dried tomato and a range of other nibbles. Da Boyfriend noted that some appeared disappointed with the offering, expecting a three course meal, but I thought it suited the ambience of the day perfectly.
Next, the bit I was waiting for, The Margaret River Chocolate Company.
This Western Australia based operation is a favourite amongst all visitors to the area, and it’s easy to see why. Chocolate in all forms: Icecream, hot chocolate, chocolate truffles, sauces, cooking you name it, they make it!
It is here that I went on a true frenzy:
Of course, we were the last to leave the shop, with everyone waiting for us back in the van…embarrassing…Purchases were, a block of dark chocolate rocky road, a block of chilli chocolate, three small containers of chocolate bits, two dark and one milk, a box of Jamaican Coconut Rough and a box of Cherry Ripe like pieces…We actually found some of the chocolate to be reminiscent of the cheaper varieties..but the Chilli chocolate packed a hefty heat punch, and the coconut rough was divine. The Rocky Road had no nuts, or at least none of the bits I had did!
Then to the cheese: The Margaret River Dairy Company This spot was great as Da Boyfriend loves their rich and luscious yoghurt. WE also tried all the cheese and loved the vintage cheddar…
On to the beer, and at last Da Boyfriend was able to partake and catch up with our tipsyness…For me, unremarkable, but the boys loved it…Our first stop was Bootleg Beers…
Our second and last beer stop was Occy’s Brewery back in Busselton…
A wonderful adventure, with what we covered just a small nibble on the tasty treats that the Margaret River has to offer…
Margie’s Big Day Out
0416 180 493
08 9755 5604
Evans and Tate
Caves Road and Metricup Road
08 9755 6244
Margaret River Chocolate Factory
Cnr Harman’s Mill Road and Harman’s South Road
08 9755 6555
Margaret River Dairy Company
08 9755 7588
08 9755 6300
737 Bussell Highway
08 9755 8300