I'm a freelance writer and photographer living in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. I'm planning a huge trip to Canada in 2018. You can follow my musings at https://www.jennifermorton.com.au/
Published January 6th 2018
Gourmet food, flowing wine and stunning scenery - everything you need for the perfect picnic Down South.
Fill your picnic box with the gourmet eats of Margaret River
Celebrated for its gourmet food and wine scene, Margaret River offers up everything you'll need for an overflowing picnic basket.
The region, which runs from Busselton to Augusta, attracts foodies from around the world who appreciate fine wine, artisan eats and farm-fresh produce. If you like to eat (and who doesn't?), and you love to spend time in nature, Margaret River is like heaven on earth.
Margs (local-talk) is a year-round destination but of course, you'll find the best al fresco weather between November and May.
To help plan your outdoor dining, here are my favourite food spots around Margaret River that will help you build the best picnic basket in the south west.
Every picnic basket needs bread
Hands down the best hand-crafted bread is Yallingup Wood-Fired Bread. You can buy loaves of freshly baked bread straight from the bakery, a simple shack on a rural road between Yallingup and Dunsborough. The bakery supplies bread to many cafes, restaurants and small grocers too.
Did you know that extra virgin olive oil is very good for you? Studies have proven its positive effects against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. That, and it's delicious. Eagle Bay Olives on Cape Naturaliste Road is the place to go for quality olive oil and marinated olives. They also have dips and dressings that will add flavour and flair to your hamper.
Tip: Buy Yallingup Wood-Fired Bread here too.
Farm Shop hours:
Friday – Monday 1030am-5pm
Every day during December and January
delicious piggy platter
And add a little cheese
Cheeses. There are many fine chesses to be had around Margs. Yallingup Cheese Company has the best feta – it's nothing like the stuff you'll find at the supermarkets. This stuff is little soft fluffs of curd bathing in marinated olive oil. It's almost too good to pair with Greek salad fixings or crackers. It's too easy to eat it with a spoon straight out of the container. Yum.
Cheese factory hours:
Wednesday – Sunday 10am-4pm
You can't have cheese without wine
Okay, Margaret River is wine country so there are hundreds of good drops to choose from. The area has perfected Chardonnay (even I like it and I used to think Chardonnay was the worst wine ever). It's hard to go wrong here. You will do well to pop into any of the region's cellar doors for a wine tasting and walk away with a nice red or white to sip at your afternoon picnic. But for the record, my absolute fav is the Graciano from Woody Nook Wines. It's a red that can be drunk room temp or chilled. Simply delicious.
Woody Nook Cellar Door hours:
closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Good Friday
If you're more of a carnivore...
The best cold meats come from The Farm House. The term 'paddock to plate' sums up the freshness of The Farm House's smallgoods perfectly. You can pick-up their free-range ham, lamb sausages and yummy pastrami at the McHenry Hohnen cellar door on Caves Road (where you can grab a gorgeous bottle of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc too). If you're around Margs townsite on a Saturday, seek out their stall at the Farmers' Market.
McHenry Hohnen cellar door hours:
Add fresh, healthy produce
Round off the gourmet basket with some fresh fruit, crisp veggies and locally made dips. The Shed Markets in Abbey, near Busselton, is an indoor marketplace hosting a large selection of local vegetables and seasonal fruits. In the green grocer's refrigerator, you'll also find some yummy dips to go with your carrots and celery. Down the hall is Conscious Craves Foods, featuring bulk bins full of all things dry and healthy.
The Shed hours:
Thursday, Saturday, Sunday 9am-5pm
Calling all chocolate lovers. A picnic basket is nothing without a little sweet indulgence. To satisfy your cravings, visit the Margaret River Chocolate Company and be wowed by the warehouse size sweet shop. Upon entering, shift directly left to the mammoth bowls of white, milk and dark chocolate chips that are purely for sampling. Once the smooth, creamy chocolate drops melt on your tongue, you'll be hooked. The only problem is choosing which products to take with you (because you can't take them all).
Margaret River Chocolate Company hours:
Daily (except Christmas) 9am-5pm