DID you know the Margaret River Gourmet Escape is only a few weeks away?
A day at the Gourmet Village ( Leeuwin Estate Winery, November 19 and 20) is a must-do for residents and visitors to the region, but with 70 wineries to visit and more than 350 wines to try, not to mention chef demonstrations and interactive masterclasses to experience, planning is the best way to make the most of your day.
Here’s a list of 10 unmissable attractions and tips to help you make the most of the festival:
1) Check out the Chef’s Theatre schedule to know when your favourite chefs will be on stage cooking up a storm with local produce. Special guests include Nigella Lawson, Rick Stein, Dominique Crenn and Frank Camorra, to name a few, with host Adam Liaw.
2) Love a sweet fix? Join the new Sweets and Treats Masterclasses with the wonderful Rebecca Sullivan. Instead of using refined sugar, Rebecca will show you how to use gorgeous alternatives such as local honey, Bahen & Co chocolate and seasonal fruit to create treats with a little less guilt to take home with you. There are four sessions per day at $10 each, and you can book on the day.
3) Meet Nigella! If you get in quick, there are still a few places left on Sunday to pre-book your place to meet the UK’s queen of cooking and have her latest book signed while enjoying a glass of Margaret River wine.
4) Have your say in the Battle of the Breweries presented by Mane Liquor. Beer connoisseurs will be able to taste and learn about some of the South West and WA’s best beer when breweries go head-to-head in a battle that will ultimately crown Gourmet Escape’s Best in Brew 2016.
5) Sharpen your skills at the free-to-attend Wüsthof Knife Skillery workshop. Learn from the best with Guy Grossi, Ben Knights, Scott Pickett, George Cooper, Hadleigh Troy, and Mike McEnearney all taking turns on the knives. Hone your cutting skills whilst preparing local cuisine and enjoy eating it at the end of each session.
6) Appreciators of wine will enjoy Around the Barrel. Wine expert Nick Stock will unlock the secrets to what makes the perfect wine and how to enjoy it, featuring the region’s top wineries and their winemakers. Book on arrival.
7) Take advantage of trying dishes from some of the region’s top restaurants, chefs and produce in the one location. There will be 10 to choose from including Leeuwin Estate, Vasse Felix, Xanadu and Rustico at Hayshed Hill and each will provide a tasty signature dish to enjoy throughout the day.
8) Sample the region’s best produce, wines, beers, spirits, treats and temptations from more than 100 artisan producers. Think of the Gourmet Village as your one-stop South West shop.
9) Get up close to the stars of Margaret River Gourmet Escape at the Gourmet Greats presented by Winning Appliances – pairing our visiting chefs with local produce and cooking demos - and Consuming Conversations in association with Food Network where some of the world’s best discuss the latest food trends and thought provoking topics. Both are free to attend.
10) Plan ahead. Check out the program online to schedule in your favourite activities –gourmetescape.com.au/programme/gourmet-village/ and pre-book your tickets online – it’s cheaper and you can avoid the queues.
Gourmet Village entry starts at $40 ($30 for seniors) plus booking fee and there are a number of packages available, which include Village Currency, tasting glasses, premium experiences add-on events or for those of you who do not think one day is enough, a weekend pass.
Village Currency Cards are new for 2016 and used to purchase food and wine.
These can be purchased in advance (for collection on the day) or from roaming currency sellers inside the village in $30 increments.
Currency can be topped up throughout the day and importantly any unused currency can be refunded at the end of your village experience.
Bus transfers are available via Southwest Coachlines from Bunbury, Busselton, Dunsborough, Yallingup, Augusta and Margaret River. Check online for details.
Tickets are available via Ticketek. For more information visit gourmetescape.com.au.