This is WA July 2019

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July 2019


Travel and Lifestyle News from Western Australia

Welcome to a special culinary edition of This is WA, bringing you the latest food and drink updates from across Western Australia, including an exciting snapshot of the new Western Australia Gourmet Escape. 

Culinary stars to headline Western Australia Gourmet Escape

Sandalford Winery will host Gourmet Feast in the Valley.

The new Western Australia Gourmet Escape, which has been expanded to ten days and will now include signature events in Perth, the Swan Valley as well as its spiritual home of Margaret River, will be headlined by revered identities Marco Pierre White and David Chang.

British chef, restaurateur and television personality Marco Pierre White, who attended the festival in 2015 and described the experience as ‘life changing,’ will participate in a one-off collaboration dinner at Sittella Winery in the Swan Valley, as well as appearances at the new family-friendly Gourmet Feast in the Valley.

To be held on the grounds of Sandalford Winery, Gourmet Feast in the Valley is a food and music event that will see authentic culinary experiences complemented with a live music program, and headlined by Australian alt-rock favourites The Rubens. The Swan Valley will also host the inaugural World Gourmet Symposium – a trade event designed to educate, dissect and debate the future of food, beverage, tourism and hospitality industries.

David Chang from New York’s legendary Momofuku restaurant empire, will headline the ever-popular Westpac Gourmet Beach BBQ in the Margaret River region, teaming up with his Sydney-based Australian counterpart Paul Carmichael. Other returning event favourites include the Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate, Cullen Chardonnay Wine Tasting and Lunch, and Sunset Beats and Bites.

Marco and David will join an impressive line-up of global culinary leaders including Danny Bowien (USA), Amanda Cohen (USA), Pierre Koffmann (UK) and Ivan Brehm (Singapore), who’ll be welcomed by Australia’s brightest stars including Alla Wolf-Tasker (Vic), Jock Zonfrillo (SA), Josh Niland (NSW) and WA local Seth James.

Guests will have more chances than ever to feast, sip, dance and discover their way through a diverse program of more than 50 events, taking place from November 8 to 17. The full program of events can be found on the Western Australia Gourmet Escape website, with details on the Perth events expected to be released in August.

MasterChef Australia showcase WA’s gourmet delicacies

MasterChef Australia contestants at Optus Stadium

One of Australia’s most loved reality TV programs MasterChef Australia, will finish airing a WA Week series of episodes tonight on Network Ten. The final seven contestants have put their culinary skills to the test at a range of stunning locations around WA, showcasing Perth’s incredible transformation, the State’s natural beauty and the abundance of fresh produce on offer.

The contestants started the week off at Perth’s state-of-the-art Optus Stadium, before plating up at highly-awarded fine-dining restaurant, Wildflower - located atop COMO The Treasury at the historic State Buildings - under the direction of Executive Chef Matthew Sartori.

Just a 25 minute drive from Perth city, the contestants then visited the Swan Valley - Australia’s first humane food region and birthplace of the wine industry in WA – where they cooked at the iconic Sandalford Winery, using produce from local providores and producers, including House of Honey, Whistlers Chocolate, The Cheese Barrel and Morish Nuts.

The Margaret River region was next on the agenda, where contestants battled it out at two of the region’s most revered wineries under the guidance of head chefs Dan Gedge of Leeuwin Estate and Santiago Fernandez of Voyager Estate.

WA Week ends at Perth’s iconic Rottnest Island, with a MasterClass at the new Discovery Rottnest Island glamping resort.

While filming in WA, MasterChef Australia judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris dined at Perth’s top foodie locations – from well-known favourites to some recent additions to the culinary scene. Keep reading to discover George’s preferred picks.

Helloworld Travel is offering ‘WA Foodie’ holiday exclusives starting from $399 per person, giving east-coast based visitors the opportunity to choose from a Perth foodie adventure, Margaret River food and wine getaway and tickets to Western Australia’s Gourmet Escape. The offer ends on August 30.

Margaret River and South West named number one in Asia Pacific

Kangaroos at Lucky Bay in Esperance. Photo by Sean Scott Photography.

Global travel authority Lonely Planet has named Margaret River and Southern WA the number one Asia-Pacific destination to visit in the year ahead.

The impressive accolade highlighted the South West regions’ food and wine experiences, breathtaking coastline, national parks, ancient forests, surfing, whale watching, wildflowers and culinary events such as Truffle Kerfuffle, Taste Great Southern and the Western Australia Gourmet Escape, as some of the many reasons why it topped the list.

In addition to the world-renowned Margaret River region - which produces around 20 per cent of Australia’s premium wine, and is the only wine region in Australia that combines ancient forests, caves, pristine beaches and world-class surfing – the listing also includes the tall forests of the Great Southern region,  the beaches of Esperance in Cape Le Grand National Park and Albany.

Discover why this region achieved the number one spot on a Great South West Edge road trip.

Sample your way through the Swan Valley’s Food Trails

Swan Valley food gathering.

Just a 25-minute drive east of Perth will see visitors indulging their senses in WA’s oldest wine region; where charming family-run wineries are mixed in among big players; and award-winning local produce such as olives, cheeses, preserves, chocolate, nougat and ice creams, are complemented with local art, heritage and culture.

Discover the wonders of the region on one of the many trails that showcase the variety of culinary delights. 

Fine Wine Trail
The Fine Wine Trail is the perfect way to sample some of the region’s most exquisite and award winning drops.

Swan Valley Cider and Ale Trail
It may be the oldest wine producing region in WA, but the Swan Valley is also home to nine fantastic breweries and cideries producing contemporary and creative beers and ciders.

Fresh Seasonal Produce Trail
The Swan Valley has a wide and diverse range of fresh seasonal produce available any time of year.

Bush Tucker and Beyond Trail
Before European settlement, the Swan Valley provided substantial seasonal food sources for the traditional owners of the land – the Wadjuk people. Taste traditional bush tucker on this unique trail.

Sweet Temptations Trail
Indulge your sweet tooth with a journey of world class, artisan produce handmade in the Valley.

A word from George Calombaris on his top places to eat in Perth

George Calombaris at Long Chim, located within Perth's State Buildings precinct.

George Calombaris is one of Australia’s top chefs and is equally recognised as one of the country’s favourite judges on Masterchef Australia. George is also a WA enthusiast, having spent time in the State filming, and appearing at various foodie events. Here’s his top picks of where to eat, while visiting Perth.

  • Hampton and Maley, Hadleigh Troy is a fantastic chef cooking great brekky and lunch.
  • Breakfast at Petition Kitchen located within the State Buildings is excellent. They do a delicious egg white omelette. I promise it’s fantastic.
  • Wildflower are is at the top of their game and cooking great fine dining fare with local indigenous ingredients.
  • Bunn Mee is owned by Jenny Lam of MasterChef contestant alumni. I am so proud of her. The place is rocking and the food is so delicious.
  • Another MasterChef contestant, Brendan Pang, has recently opened Bumplings. It’s so good and again makes me so proud that our contestants on the show go on to great things following their experience.
  • Garum by Guy Grossi is a wonderful all day, hotel restaurant.
  • Lulu La Delizia is my pick for hottest and coolest restaurant in Perth right now. It’s honest and so very good. Be sure to try every pasta – they are ridiculously good.
  • The Shorehouse is a fun daytime place on the beach, really good for wines and snacks.
  • Tiny’s is a brilliant wine bar with terrific cured meats.
  • Sneaky Tony’s is another great bar. OMG beware of a drink called ‘The Zombie’..!
  • King Somm Wine Bar and Store is a cool wine bar serving freaking amazing pizza.
  • Sal’s Pasta Deli for more exceptional pasta. Try to visit on a Saturday; they do great porchetta rolls. Ask to see Sal and tell him I sent you!
  • Monsterella Pizza for a casual pizza and right next door to the same owners' from Ombra Salumi Bar in Melbourne, Italian salumi place called Mummucc.
  • Madalenas Bar on the strip in South Fremantle is wonderful for casual, European-inspired seafood whilst sitting on the footpath watching the world go by over a Georgian Chardonnay. The chef trained under Josh Niland and this venue is awesome on a Sunday arvo.
  • Island Market Trigg and Canteen Trigg are both on the beach at Trigg. George Kailis is one of your brothers and part of the WA fishing family. Both options are brilliant for a beachside breakfast or lunch.

Sips and bites - What’s new in Perth this month?

Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour. Photo by Garry Norris.

One of Fremantle’s iconic seafood restaurants, located in the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour – Kailis Fish Market Cafe is set to receive a revamp, scheduled for reveal this September. Plans are underway for a new 80s-inspired look, with a dedicated raw food bar serving oysters, poke bowls and ceviche. With a focus on under-utilised fish and seafood, a fry section will cook-up herring, white bait, sardines and fish wings, with prawns and lobsters going on the barbeque, and seafood chowder served in sourdough rolls.

The cultural hub of Mount Lawley will welcome the opening of a new bar and restaurant - Le Rebelle - along the popular Beaufort Street strip next month. Owners Sarah and Liam Atkinson each bring more than 20 years hospitality experience to their new venture, which takes inspiration from classic French bistros, with a menu focusing on European classics such as duck liver parfait, truffle butter, roasted chicken and frites, complemented by a specially curated wine list.

One of Perth’s historic venues, Moana Chambers, has recently reopened as Moana Hall – a multi-function café, bar and events space. The beautifully restored space features heritage ceilings, restored floor boards and floor to ceiling Federation Free Classical arched windows. Serving Margaret River Roasting Co coffee and simple takeaway food in the morning, by evening its Gatsby-inspired cocktails, local beers and lo-fi wines complimented with meat and cheese share plates.

Former Masterchef Australia contestant and Perth local Brendan Pang opened his first dumpling kitchen this month. Bumplings Perth operates from a repurposed Airstream travel trailer, serving Chinese-inspired dumplings at the Sunshine Harvester Works space in Fremantle.

Kukan Izakaya is a traditional-style Izakaya that has recently opened in Perth’s cultural hub of Northbridge. Serving authentic Japanese cuisine, the menu features sashimi sets, tuna tataki and charred skewers of beef, chick or seafood; alongside a selection of sake, wine and beer.

Popular foodie brand Hunter and Barrel has recently opened its largest restaurant venue in Perth’s Raine Square entertainment precinct. Inspired by age-old traditions, the restaurant brings its ethos of unpretentious communal dining to Perth diners, with a menu featuring charcoal fired meats, feast boards and small plates.

Margaret River region’s new craft beer trail

The Margaret River region is known for its world-class wineries, but an emerging craft brewing scene has seen an influx of new family-friendly breweries. To help travellers plan their visit to sample the locally produced brews, a new Margaret River Region Craft Beer Trail has been released. The trail maps out 10 local breweries in the region - from Busselton to Eagle Bay, and south to Margaret River. Included in the trail are Bootleg Brewery, Caves Road Collective (home of Black Brewing Co), Cheeky Monkey Brewing Co, Colonial Brewing Co, Cowaramup Brewing Co, Eagle Bay Brewing Co, Margaret River Brewhouse, Rocky Ridge Brewing, The Beerfarm and Wild Hop Brewing Co.

Create your own Gourmet Escape in WA

Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate features on the Western Australia Gourmet Escape program.

Long celebrated for their natural beauty, the Perth, Swan Valley and Margaret River regions' food and drink scene have come of age. And, for locals and travellers, there’s a bounty of restaurants, bars, providores and artisans - catering to every palette.

Here’s our pick of experiences for a five to six day itinerary starting in Perth and road tripping three hours south to Margaret River. And, if you’d like to stay a little longer and create your own gourmet escape in WA, there’s plenty more to explore.

Wishing you delicious travels….

Plating it up in Perth
Sitting pretty on the Swan River, it seems like every other week a tantalizing new restaurant opens in Perth, so if you’re finding it hard to choose where to dine, head for the beautiful State Buildings. This historic site has been revitalised to accommodate world-class restaurants including Wildflower, Petition Kitchen and Long Chim.

The State Buildings is also home to award-winning, luxury hotel, COMO the Treasury. Thanks to a recent hotel boom, Perth also has plenty of other new and recently refurbished hotels to suit all budgets such as The Westin, QT, InterContinental Perth City Centre, DoubleTree by Hilton, Crown Towers, The Alex, The Melbourne, Peppers, or the recently opened Quay overlooking the sparkling Swan River.

To explore Perth’s new entertainment and cultural precincts such as Elizabeth Quay and Yagan Square, including small bar hotspots and hidden laneways, join one of the city’s guided walking tours, such as award winning Two Feet and a Heartbeat. If sport and big concerts are more your thing, head to Optus Stadium where good food is also on the menu at The Camfield.

Make sure you catch a famous Indian Ocean sunset while you’re here, only 15 minutes from the city by car or public transport, Odyssea at City Beach offers ocean front dining at one of Perth’s best beaches.

Savour the Swan Valley
The Swan Valley is buzzing, and that’s not just the bees making the local award-winning honey. A short 25 minute road trip from Perth CBD will have you savouring every stop.

Sip on Shiraz at Sandalford Wines, before tasting the freshly produced flavours at The Cheese Barrel. From there, cleanse the palate with a wine tasting at family-owned Olive Farm Wines just next door. Then, drop in for a drizzle of House of Honey’s finest, before breaking off a piece of bite-sized bliss at Whistler’s Chocolate Company. And, there’s plenty more to explore in Perth’s very own pantry.

Self-drive the 32 kilometre food and wine trail, or join a tour; there’s also some speciality food and drink trails that weave through the Swan Valley including the Cider and Ale Trail and the Sweet Temptations Trail.

Rottnest Island
Home to 63 stunning beaches, 20 beautiful bays and the world’s friendliest animal - the quokka - Perth's idyllic island playground of Rottnest is just a short ferry ride from Perth city, the eclectic port city of Fremantle or the northern beaches suburb of Hillarys. You can also travel by helicopter or plane if that’s more your style!

Rotto - as the locals affectionately call it - is car free - so riding is the best way to get around, with bicycle hire available, including electric bikes, and a hop on and off bus to take you to all the secluded beaches and surf breaks.

Make sure to check out Rotto’s newest accommodation located at picturesque Pinky Beach. Discovery Rottnest Island is a beachfront glamping resort that also offers incredible food by Executive Chef Karl Wulf.

Pour yourself into Margaret River’s Natural Wonders
An easy three hour’s drive south of Perth is the renowned Margaret River region. Home to 20 per cent of Australia’s premium wine, it’s also the only wine region in Australia, where you can hop from award winning wineries and restaurants, to breweries and distilleries, art as well as local providores, and art galleries, while surrounded by stunning beaches, tall-timber forests, remarkable surf breaks and ancient caves.

The region deserves at least two nights to enjoy a few foodie highlights. Or, to savour the experience, stay a little longer and intersperse your gourmet adventures with experiences that are closer to nature. There’s plenty of accommodation dotted throughout the region, but if you’re looking to indulge head to Cape Lodge, Injidup Spa Retreat or Empire Spa Retreat.

The Cape to Cape Track in spring - surrounded by wildflowers and with views of humpback whales ocean-side - is a fantastic spot to walk off wine tastings and indulgent lunches at one of the region’s founding wineries such as Voyager, Leeuwin, Vasse Felix, Cape Mentelle and Cullen.

Minutes away you’ll find white sand beaches, shallow turquoise waters, and naturally shaded coves, perfect spots for swimming and snorkelling, and picnicking spots to indulge in some of the cheeses, wines and chocolate you’ve picked up along the way. Coastal cafes such as Bunkers Beach House and the White Elephant Café are the perfect locations for a leisurely breakfast.

Drive or quad bike through Boranup Forest’s towering Karri trees – some 60 metres high or go beneath the surface and explore the underground wonderlands of Ngilgi Cave. Josh Whiteland, a local Wardandi custodian, runs several cultural tours in the region including a special Twilight Didgeridoo Cave Tour as well as a coastal experience where you’ll learn to fish, discover and forage.

Time your visit to coincide with one of Western Australia’s premium wine and food festivals and you'll get to savour many of these flavours in one hit. The upcoming Western Australia Gourmet Escape has expanded this year with events in the Swan Valley, Perth and its spiritual home Margaret River over ten days from November 8 to 17.

Attracting more than 50 of the world’s and Australia’s top culinary talent, and over 50 events – festival-goers will enjoy a range of extraordinary food and wine experiences set in breathtaking and world-renowned locations throughout WA.


Cabin Fever

July 19 to 28 | Margaret River Region | Australia’s South West

Cabin Fever is a 10-day winter adventure showcasing the Margaret River region’s wineries, seasonal produce and restaurants across its cosy winter months. The festival will feature more than 35 unique events at various venues in the South West region – from mystery dinners to cheese and wine pairing battles – with a key focus on sustainability and waste-free eating. Guests can expect collaborations with local and national chefs, including ‘Game On’ – a six-course degustation series designed by award-winning Oakridge Estate chef Matt Stone and local culinary master Aaron Carr at Yarri in Dunsborough. Other events include chocolate, cheese and coffee appreciation classes, wine dinners, degustation menus, bonfires, brews and live music.

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A Taste of Broome

August 1 and September 5 | Broome | Australia’s North West

Celebrate the rich Aboriginal heritage and diverse cultures in the Kimberley pearling town of Broome with a multi-arts, culinary and cultural festival. Held once a month over Broome’s peak tourism season, the event combines dance and music with film and storytelling to tell the story of the Broome region and celebrate its rich history. The Goolarri Amphitheatre will transform into a miniature old Broome – with arts, crafts and cuisine capturing the sights, sounds and smells of the past.

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Perth Craft Beer Festival

August 16 to 18 | Perth | Destination Perth

The Perth Craft Beer Festival will return to the Ice Cream Factory in Northbridge this year to host a line-up of more than 55 craft breweries and cideries, with more than 350 beers on offer, complemented by a selection of gourmet food options. Local favourites include Nail Brewing, Feral Brewing and Gage Roads, plus limited edition festival beers from Cheeky Monkey Brewing and Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. Special attractions this year include the Feral Biggie Bar, Matso’s Lush Oasis Bar, Alby Full Strength Bar, Cheeky Monkey Silent Comedy Club, a Whisky Saloon, silent disco, plus the new edition Lagerland. Held over four unique sessions, the festival caters to all tastes, with cosy fire pits, a family fun day on the Saturday session and a dedicated wine bar.

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Gascoyne Food Festival

August 7 to September 7 2019 | Carnarvon | Australia’s Coral Coast

The annual Gascoyne Food Festival is a month-long celebration of the produce of the Gascoyne region. Recognised as one of Australia’s top ‘food bowls,’ the region  offers an abundance of tropical fruits, succulent seafood, beef, goat, sheep and a vast array of temperate climate fruit and vegetables. Various events will be held across the region, including a Taste of the Gascoyne Sunset BBQ and a Long Table Lunch in Carnarvon, a Spanish themed Fiesta de Quobba at Red Bluff on Quobba Station, a Six Course Craft Beergustation at Froth Craft Brewery in Exmouth and a Gourmet Island Escape at Dirk Hartog Island. The festival will wrap-up with Australia’s Biggest BBQ at the World’s Biggest Rock at Mount Augustus – the largest monolith in Australia. The festival also features an impressive line-up of local chefs including Stuart Laws of Showcase Events WA, Russell Blaikie from Must Wine Bar, Nic Wood from Santini Bar and Grill, and 2019 MasterChef Australia contestant Kyle Lyons.

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CinefestOz Film Festival

August 28 to September 1 | Margaret River region (including Bunbury and Busselton)| Australia’s South West

A celebration of Australian film, the 12th annual CinefestOZ Film Festival will showcase an extraordinary line-up of new and exciting films - with five in the running for the 2019 $100,000 Film Prize. GO!, H is for Happiness, Hearts and Bones, Judy and Punch and Measure for Measure have been selected to compete for Australia’s biggest film prize, and star well-known Australian actors such as Hugo Weaving, Deborah Mialman, Richard Roxburg and Frances O’Connor. This year the film prize jury will be chaired by award-winning actress turned director Rachel Ward. Set against the stunning backdrop of WA’s South West, the premier destination film festival premieres feature films and events in the region’s cinemas, wineries, boutique breweries, small bars and galleries. Cinema stars, top screen industry professionals and thousands of film lovers will enjoy more than 150 film and event options on offer across the five day festival.

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Shinju Matsuri

September 7 to 15 | Broome | Australia’s North West

Former MasterChef Australia favourites Diana Chan and Brendan Pang will headline this year’s Shinju Matsuri festival. Japanese for ‘festival of the pearl’ – the event is a vibrant celebration of Broome’s proud multicultural and pearling history. It features a stellar line-up of unique events, such as the iconic Sunset Long Table Dinner at Cable Beach, the popular Willie Creek Pearl Meat Cook-Off and the Floating Lantern Festival, which showcase the art, food and culture of the region. Since the late 1800s, Broome’s prized South Sea pearls have brought together local Aboriginal people with Japanese, Chinese, Malay, Koepanger, Filipino and European workers.

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Media contact:
Tiana Anderson

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