If Western Australia has not been on your bucket list, it's time to put it there. The region around Margaret River has been described as the "Food Bowl of Australia" -- producing more than half the country's fruits, vegetables, meats, seafoods, and wines. There is no doubt that this is the prime place to visit if you really and truly want to taste the best that Australia has to offer. So if you're looking for the best food to try in Western Australia, this is the list for you.
And taste we did, from Albany all the way up to Fremantle, the group of us hugged the most southwest shoreline of the great Down Under, eating and tasting our way North, while enjoying the most incredible sights and inhaling the sweetest air. This is what I found to be the best food in Western Australia:
1. The Best Nature Can Offer: Fruits & Nuts
Unsurprisingly, the first thing that blew our collective minds, as well as shot our expectations for the rest of the trip through the roof was our trip down to the farms. Specifically Oranje Tractor Farms in Albany, and Fontanini's Fruit and Nut Farm in Manjimup.
Oranje is a smaller farm, and for $35AUD/person, you will be taken on a tour throughout their grounds, learning about and tasting whatever is in season. Better yet, you'd get to take whatever fruit or vegetable you forage, home with you! It was our first taste of what truly organic, fresh-off-the-tree, lovingly grown produce tasted like, and when you grow up in a nation that doesn't value such quality, the experience was incredible. The juiciest, sweetest, and most intense flavours.
At Fontanini's, expect to be taken around a much larger farm, with rows and rows of incredible fruit-bearing trees, and hopefully on Mr.Fontanini's adorable tractor. Be on the look out for the avocados!
2. Meats Smoked to Perfection
The quality of Western Australia's produce however, doesn't stop at just fruits and vegetables -- but also in their meats.
In a place called Denmark, we stopped by The Lake Housefor lunch and what a beautiful location it was. Tucked behind a forest and across a bridge, is this wonderful restaurant, known for their meals, wines, and homemade dips.
To enjoy the most wonderful array of meats in combination with this breathtaking view was rather intense, and oh so glorious.
In Walpole there is also a farm, the Thurlby Herb Farm, that fed me the juiciest smoked duck I have ever had. Thinking about it now makes my stomach hurt with sadness.
3. That See-Food Diet
Oh my, oh me, oh man. My favourite meal (although Permberly farms, to be mentioned later, is a close second) of the entire trip was served to us in the most spectacular fashion.
That's right, on a boat provided by Mandurah Cruisesdid I have my most enjoyable meal to date, cruising along on crystal waters, with dolphins popping up every now and then to say hello, under the bluest of skies. We had the best seafood of our lives.
Now I'm a big fan of tasty, saucy, spicy, and rich crabs and prawns. Something I will never say no to is Salted Egg Yolk Crab, or Butter Cream Prawns, but even the best of the best of those in Malaysia and Singapore cannot compare to just simple boiled prawns and crabs from this region. Firm, juicy, and bursting with incredible flavour. The meat falls off the shells and I cannot help but slurp them all up.
What made the whole experience even more intense was the fact that we got to learn how to catch our own crawfishes, and with our own experienced and lovely chef on board, she whipped up the crawfish we caught with some garlic butter on the barbie (Aussie slang for barbeque). I think I have ran out of adjectives to describe the beauty of the dish, so let's just leave it at YOU HAVE TO TRY IT.
When served with fresh oysters and wine of our choice, everything was just utterly delightful.
4. Great Things Take Time...
Perhaps not exactly a type of food, but to not speak about the wine in a region such as this would be a great disservice, to the people that have dedicated their lives to perfecting this art, and to you, dear reader.
Pemberly of Pemberton, or Pemberly Farms, is an excellent example of a place that has found success due to the love and care the owners put into their day-to-day work. Farmland stretching for as far as the eye can see, they raise cattle and chickens; breed Labradors and Bengals; catch Marron; and dig for truffles. All these while also growing a huge variety of fruits and vegetables... And they are also the region's number one producer of grapes.
When asked how many people help on the farm? Only a meagre number of four is both unbelievable and humbling. With an array of well-deserved awards to show for their endless hard work, this visit to Pemberly farms was sweet, educational, and eye-opening. And their Pinot Noir is just divine.
If given the chance, do stop by and dine with them! Unlike traditional wine-tasting, the Pemberly family would love to have you join them for the most incredible dinner ever! For us it was freshly caught Marron, accompanied with BBQed steak, chicken, sausages and potatoes. And all from their very own backyard!
But if you're looking for a more modern take to wine-tasting, do pop into Manjimup's Tall Timbers where this contraption is set up. With local wines available from all over the southwest, you can have your fill and taste all that you could want here.
The food at Tall Timbers is also really good. Give their homemade Gnocchi a try - tossed with haloumi, rocket, kayle, and mushrooms, and dosed in this deliciously decadent truffle butter, it's definitely a winner.
Alas, I can only hope I was able to convince you of the wonderful foods that Western Australia has to offer, and not to mention this is only the very tip of the mouthwatering iceberg. If you don't believe me, go try them yourself! And when you get back, hit me up so that we can rave about how amazing Western Australia is together.