The Gourmet Village is part of the Margaret River Gourmet Escape Festival, and ran over two days at Leeuwin Estate Winery. Over 40 wineries, breweries and distilleries, as well as dozens of artisan producers of cakes, tea, coffee, sauces, chocolate and truffles, to name but a few, and ten or so food outlets combined in a festive village atmosphere on the lawns of the estate.
As well as sampling the wares on display visitors could participate in Meet the Maker wine appreciation sessions, Gin Masterclasses, Regional Flavours Cooking classes, Consuming Conversations panel discussions with some of the world’s most influential food people – Ric Stein, Nigella, Luke Mangan, Guillaume Brahimi – cooking demonstrations in the Chef’s Amphitheatre and book signings at the Margaret River Bookshop stand.
Despite the rain on day two large crowds got along and into the spirit of the event along with us enjoying wines from producers including Paul Nelson, Goon Tycoons, Flor Marche, Thompson Estate, LS Merchants, Haywood Wine Company, Mountford, Plantagenet and Cape Grace while trying some of the dishes on sale from Bao Wow, Rustico, Brika and more.
Getting out was a breeze too, hopping on the old double decker bus that ran from Margaret River and back about every hour, rumbling along through the countryside via Witchcliffe to the Stevens Road entrance of Leeuwin Estate.
This was the last year of the event being solely concentrated on Margaret River with the 2019 event rebranded as the Western Australian Gourmet Escape and running over two weekends in November. With events held in the Swan Valley, Perth and, of course, Margaret River this will allow even more West Australians and interstate and international visitors to participate and see more of the State and all it has to offer. A full programme will be announced over coming months on the Gourmet Escape website. Should be fantastic – see you there!