2014 is the year that I finally made it to the Gourmet Escape festival! The PFEs had been helping to promote the festival over the last couple of years but had never been able to visit due to timing clashes. This year I decided to attend the Gourmet Village with my family as part of my birthday celebration. A big thank you to the Gourmet Escape organisers for sending us some entry tickets to the Gourmet Village Sunday afternoon session!
The Gourmet Village is really the heart of the Margaret River Gourmet Escape festival. It is described as “a buzzing world of culinary excitement and the perfect opportunity to experience the delectable delights the region has to offer. It’s where the celebrity chefs come together across an action packed weekend program filled with cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, masterclasses, intimate Q&A’s and panel discussions. One can explore, indulge and share in some of Australia’s best produce from Western Australia”. Awesome!
We arrived 1/2 hour earlier than the starting time and there was already a queue out front! I was very excited! It didn’t take long before we got in. We proceeded to get some GEMs which are the official village currency used to purchase dishes and drinks at the event. 1 GEM = $7. Restaurants, bars and exhibitors that sell food and drink to be consumed at the event can only accept GEMs, while both GEMS and cash can be used to purchase products which can be taken home. OK, got it!
All loaded up with our GEMs, we made our way to the “Restaurants” stalls. Here are some of the dishes we tried…
Xanadu Wines – “The Farm House” free range pork croquette, remoulade, apple, celery leaf (1 GEM). This was quite tasty, jam packed with pork, there was no fillers as far as I can tell. The salad was refreshing.
The Apple Daily Bar & Eating House – Smoked ocean trout from Huon with green mango salad, nim jam (1 GEM). This was one of my favorite, with the smoky flavor from the trout infusing into the sourish mango salad. Loved the cracklings that came with it!
Leeuwin Estate – Grilled mushroom slider, chipotle mayonnaise, parmesan (1 GEM). Huge field mushroom which basically filled up the entire mini slider. Not bad!
Cowaramup Food – BBQ’d lime salt WA tiger prawns, family grown snow pea and sugar snap salad, aioli (1 GEM). This was the dish of the day for me, the tiger prawns were grilled to perfection and were so juicy. I had to get two to satisfy my cravings!
Besides being able to enjoy a taster from some of WA’s most esteemed restaurants, there are a whole lot of activities going on in the Gourmet Village as well. There was the Siemens Chef’s Theatre where many culinary identities showcase series of live cooking demonstrations and panel discussions. Here were Sat Bains (Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms, Nottingham) and Jock Zonfrillo (Orana & Street-ADL, Adelaide) being interviewed by Poh Ling Yeow from Masterchef! Quite entertaining!
There was also Masterchef star Julia Taylor running the Lurpak Table Talks, demonstrating how to “weave your magic” into any recipe in a series of 30 minute cooking demonstrations focusing on simple, local quality ingredients. This was the Conchiglie pasta, beurre noisette and local greens session. She looked so good!
Having satisfied my tummy and curiosity with all the foodie talks, I turned my attention to the Exhibitors so that I can buy some goodies home! There were so many Exhibitors there (I think over 100), I didn’t know where to look! Here are a few I visited on the day before I had to rush off to a satellite event, Food for Thought at the Voyager Estate.
- Gulliver’s Tea, specializes in handpicked South African teas.
- This Little Pig Went to Market, a business who delivers gourmet recipe meal kits to your door! I had the taster of kale quinoa beetroot salad, it was delicious!
- The Juicist, cold pressed, nutrient rich, fresh, raw juices. We taste tested the G1 – leafy greens, apple, zucchini, celery and lemon. It actually tasted quite good and refreshing which was a good indicator for me as the G1 made up the majority of the two days Yogi Cleanse I ordered from the Juicist the following week.
- Bites by D Gourmet Cupcakes
- The Honeycake, delicious combination of light honey flavored layers and smooth milky caramel topped with ground walnuts. I can’t get enough of this. A must buy at every festival!
- Karvan Coffee, love this coffee stall! It was so busy on the day!
- Great Southern Truffles, stocking up on all the truffles product. They were selling a gift pack for $25 consisting of the oil, mustard and salt. Christmas gift sorted!
- Duck Duck Mother Goose, specializes in fine food range of chutneys, relish and jams using locally grown produce. I bought a Beetroot Relish from them and it was delish in my salad. Very happy to discover this!
- Manjimup Farmers Market – we also bought a pumpkin chutney from here and it was delicious as well! Loving all these local products!
Audi was one of the major partner of the Gourmet Escape and there was a VIP Oasis set up overlooking the beautiful surrounds and vibrant atmosphere of the Gourmet Village. There was free flowing sparkling wine and water in the Oasis which was a great escape for us when we needed a rest!
Overall, attending the Gourmet Village was such a great experience! Loved the ambiance, the buzz, the talk shows and most importantly the variety of food and drinks available there. I hope to visit again next year with more time allocation to see all the other stalls I had missed out on!
Narration by: Miss L