Save the date: Ord Valley Muster 17 – 26 May, 2019

Mark 17th to 26th in your diary and start planning an unforgettable Kimberley experience at the 19th Ord Valley Muster held in Kununurra in Western Australia’s northeast.

Considered one of the last wilderness frontiers in the world, the beautiful untouched Kimberley landscape is as much of an attraction as the Ord Valley Muster’s usual star line up. It’s a destination that every Australian needs to visit once.

Ord River. Credit: Tourism WA

The bucket-list ‘Muster’ is like no other event in the world, culminating in the Kimberley’s biggest party with iconic Australian musical talent that rocks an audience of thousands.

Take the glamorous option of black-tie dining under a starry sky with its exclusive dance floor, or pack a picnic and enjoy the same amazing show in the general admission area of the Aviair HeliSpirit Kimberley Moon Experience.

Kimberley Moon Experience

Kimberley Moon Experience. Photo: Ben Broady

The Aviair HeliSpirit Kimberley Moon Experience will be held on Saturday 25 May 2019 and has been headlined by Australia’s biggest artists in the past including Jimmy Barnes, Paul Kelly, Daryl Braithwaite, Lee Kernaghan, The Cat Empire, Bernard Fanning, Guy Sebastian and Eskimo Joe.

Over 10 days, the Ord Valley Muster includes indigenous culture and dance, foodie event FEASTival showcasing the Ord’s food bowl producers, the Gibb River Road challenging bike ride, a local talent quest where everyone has a go, rugby matches, a proper country rodeo and laugh-out-loud entertainment from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow.

The Muster is a popular festival that consistently sells out every year. Visitors are urged to start planning their trip now and stay to explore nearby attractions including the Mirima National Park, El Questro, Lake Argyle, Zebedee Springs or take a river cruise along the Ord, the life force of the region or a scenic flight in order to really appreciate the vastness and beauty of the landscape. Travel packages that include flights, tours and tickets to shows will be released soon.

Kimberley Fine Diamonds Dinner. Credit: Ben Broady

The Ord Valley Muster is a nine-time Festival and Events winner at the WA Tourism Awards, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017, 2011 and the Kimberley Moon Experience in 2008. In 2015, the Ord Valley Muster won ‘Best Regional Event’ at the Australian Event Awards.

The host town Kununurra is the gateway to magnificent East Kimberley, which rewards visitors with spectacular gorges, natural springs and watering holes, red earth, big bright blue skies, unrivalled natural beauty with the country dotted with fat boab trees. Kununurra is about 800 kilometres from Darwin and about 3,000 kilometres north of Perth.

More information including talent line up, travel packages and ticket sales will be announced soon.

The Ord Valley Muster will take place from Friday 17 May to Sunday 26 May 2019 in and around Kununurra, Western Australia.

Snapshot

  • The Kimberley’s biggest party featuring 10 days of exciting events
  • Fine dining under the stars on the banks of the Ord River plus a rodeo, music, food festival, art, culture, comedy and unique Kimberley experiences
  • The magic of the Kimberley and its ancient untouched land creates an unforgettable experience

www.ordvalleymuster.com.au

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Ten things you need to know about Truffle Kerfuffle

Truffle Kerfuffle from 22 to 24 June celebrates one of the world’s most luxurious ingredients, fresh black truffles and will be held just minutes from where they are unearthed in Manjimup. Here are ten things you need to know about the festival and the prized nuggets of “black gold”.

1. The real stars of Truffle Kerfuffle – truffles from the Southern Forests 

At the epicentre of Truffle Kerfuffle is the true star of the show, the Tuber melanosporum, otherwise known as the black Périgord truffle, which is prized for its rarity and beguiling aroma. Truffles are affectionately known as “black gold”, a reference to their value, fetching prices between $2 and $3 a gram. Their season is short from June to August, and you only need a small amount to transform a dish from ordinary to sublimely extraordinary. Truffle Kerfuffle chefs will show you how in the free demonstrations in the Festival Village. There’s no better place to buy freshly unearthed truffles than at the marketplace at the Truffle Kerfuffle Festival Village.

Truffle Kerfuffle Festival Village. Photo: Jessica Wyld
2. The heart of the action – the Festival Village

The beautiful setting at Fonty’s Pool offers an amazing truffle experience and is the perfect place to smell, taste, buy and learn about black truffle and Southern Forests wine and produce. There’s free tastings, free cooking demonstrations, truffle dog demos, children’s activities, a chance to chat to producers, farmers and wine makers, live music and much more. There’s even a chance to win fresh truffle by playing Truffle Bocce and Tombola. The Festival Village is the vibrant hub of Truffle Kerfuffle weekend and offers a unique chance to indulge in black truffles at their freshest, minutes from where they are unearthed. The Festival Village is at Fonty’s Pool open 10am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $35 and include all weekend access, a free tote bag and tasting glass – more info here.

Truffle Kerfuffle Festival Village. Photo: Jessica Wyld
3. Take your experience to the next level 

Indulge a little and have world-renowned chefs prepare decadent truffle dishes at one of the many events on during Truffle Kerfuffle. There are a few extra tickets just released for the Hunter’s Breakfast with Scott Brannigan, a new Fervor lunch and masterclass on Friday (BYO), Dark Delights Dinner with George Cooper on Saturday night, Foragers Seasonal Truffle Dinner with Sophie Zalokar also on Saturday night, and an extra truffle hunt added to Sunday. At the Festival Village there are a few spots available at The Shed wine sessions and a couple of seats around the table at The Chef’s Cabin series with Mark Best, Bruno Loubet and Marianne Lumb.

Photo: Jessica Shaver
4. Manjimup produces more truffles than the rest of Australia combined

Almost 90% of black truffles produced in Australia come from Manjimup. As the largest producer in the southern hemisphere the region has secured its place on the global culinary map. You see, Truffle Kerfuffle really is in the heart of Australian truffle country.

Photo: Jessica Wyld
5. Truffle hunts

Fossicking through forests of hazelnut or oak tress with clever canines hunting for truffles is a quintessential truffle experience. The Truffle Kerfuffle hunts are selling fast but there are a few places still available. Choose from renowned truffle growers Oak Valley Truffles, Australian Truffle Traders or with chef and truffle grower David Coomer at his truffière. Most tickets include shuttle buses from the Festival Village to the truffle orchard and self-drive options are available on the Friday.

Photo: Richard Jefferson
6. The best fresh produce

The Southern Forests is a food producer’s dream and in the Festival Village you’ll have the chance to taste your way through the region. The pristine environment, rich loamy soils and crisp mornings produce the best quality fruit and veg including avocados, finger limes, potatoes, apples and the prized Bravo apple, pumpkins, persimmons and stone fruit, in fact, the region produces over 50 different types of fruit, vegetable and nuts as well as milk, beef, marron and a host of other food types. And let’s not forget the reason we’re here, the revered black truffle.

Photo: Jessica Wyld
7. Free kids cooking classes and activities Saturday and Sunday 

There’s heaps to keep children entertained at Truffle Kerfuffle on both Saturday and Sunday. At the Truffle Experience kids will be able to look at a truffle through a microscope and learn about the science behind great truffles, there’s a drawing station with worksheets, Kids Cooking School with Sophie Budd powered by Winning Appliances which is free with festival entry, just put your name down for the time slot on arrival. Times are 11am Southern Forests Sliders (12-16years); 12.30 Karri Country Gnocchi (6-12 years); 2pm Bravo Apple Fritters (6-12years); 3.30pm Potato Play Dough (little ones).  This is a hands-on class and a parent is required to attend.

Lots of free activities for the kids at the Festival Village. Photo: Jessica Wyld
8. Truffle Donut 

Yes, you read that right. The clever folk from The Heritage Wine Bar have created a delectable donut with truffle infused crème patisserie, Southern Forests honey and Pottinger truffle. Enough said, get in my belly now. Only available at the Truffle Kerfuffle Festival Village.

Truffle Donut
9. Truffle Negroni  

Don’t miss the experiencing possibly the best cocktail ever invented, a Walnut and Truffle Negroni at the Campari Bar at the Truffle Kerfuffle Festival Village.  They’ll also be serving up classic Italian cocktails including the Classic Negroni, a decadent drink in its own right with bitterness from Campari mixed with the sweetness from vermouth giving it a rich flavour profile. Our tip is to indulge a little and pimp your drink with walnut infused gin, dark chocolate bitters and finish with a garnish of fresh truffle shaving. Walnut and Truffle Negroni, keeping you warm this winter and only at the Truffle Kerfuffle Festival Village.

Truffle Negroni
10. Truffle Kerfuffle attracts big names

Jack Stein, Paul West, James Viles, Anna Gare, Matthew Evans and Guy Grossi have appeared at Truffle Kerfuffle in the past and this year the line up is more impressive than ever before. Guy Grossi returns this year and joins Australian legend Mark Best, Sam Aisbett (Whitegrass, Singapore / Australia), Marianne Lumb (Marianne’s, London UK), Bruno Loubet (UK/Australia), Scott Brannigan (Bread in Common, Perth), Tony Howell (Cape Lodge, South West), Paul Iskov, Fervor (South West), Aaron Carr (Yarri, South West), George Cooper (Food by The Chef, South West), David Coomer (Southern Forests / Perth), Sophie Zalokar, (Foragers, South West), Sue Hutchins (Shadow Wine Bar, Perth) as well as wine expert Rachael Niall (Budburst Bar, Perth), chocolatier Sue Lewis (Perth) and food journalists Max Veenhuyzen (Broadsheet, Qantas, Gourmet Traveller) and John Lethlean (The Australian).

Bonus: Know the lingo

Truffière – the French name for a place where truffles are grown. It is pronounced TRUE-fee-air. If you can’t find the grave è in Word, it is ok to write it ‘truffiere’ or call it a truffle orchard or truffle patch. But there’s no such word as ‘truffery’ or ‘trufferie’ in any dictionary.

Truffier – the person who grows truffles is, in French, a truffier without an accented e, pronounced TRUE-fee-er but they call themselves truffle growers.

Essential Info

Date:  22-24 June 2018
Location: Fonty’s Pool, Manjimup, Western Australia
Tickets: trufflekerfuffle.com.au

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Ten moments of greatness during the Margaret River Pro

Now, if you’ve been living under a rock you might’ve missed that the Margaret River Pro 2018 was cancelled by the World Surf League (WSL) on 18 April 2018 after two shark attacks happened 15km north of the event. With beached whales to the north and south of the event site, together with some high profile surfers publicly voicing concerns about safety, the WSL made the call the cancel the event.

Before going on, I’ll disclose that the Margaret River Pro is a client – I was engaged again by Surfing WA to manage the local PR for the event.

Naturally, having worked closely with the event team, I was devastated for them, a truly disappointing way to end the event. If you’ve ever worked in major events, you know what’s involved – the many months of hard work, many hours of working around the clock (what weekend?), the logistics, the Gov approvals, dealing with sponsors, vendors, stakeholders and the community, and managing the media (my job).  On the flip side, had the event continued and a pro surfer was attacked, that would have been so much worse. So I understand the decision: better to be safe than sorry.

Despite the anti-climatic end to the Margaret River Pro, there were some epic moments to remember both in and out of the water, I suppose like discovering a barrel while surfing a wave of disappointment. Here’s my top ten of great things that happened during the 2018 Margaret River Pro:

  1. Watching the world’s best tackle North Point – some say it’s one of the best waves on the WSL Championship Tour (CT) and that was clearly demonstrated during Round 1 of men’s competition at the Margaret River Pro. North Point is known for some of the longest and most intense barrels in the world.

    North Point wave

    North Point, Margaret River. Photo: joliphotos.com

  2. Witnessing history being made as the WSL CT women’s Round 1 competition took place at North Point for the first time ever. Tatiana Weston-Webb was most impressive scoring a 9-point wave and the highest score of any surfer, both male and female, at North Point.

    Tatiana Weston-Webb at North Point

    Tatiana Weston-Webb at North Point. Photo: WSL/Dunbar

  3. Hosting the first-ever surf off between third-placed WA Trials finishers Jack Robinson and Jerome Forrest – the winner of the surf off, Jack Robinson, earned a place in the Margaret River Pro replacing injured WSL CT surfer Caio Ibelli who broke his foot the day before the competition started.

    Jack Robinson at North Point

    Jack Robinson surfing North Point, Margaret River. Photo: joliphotos.com

  4. Cheering for locals competing on their home breaks. Margaret River’s Jack Robinson made the most of his opportunity impressing everyone as he competed on one of his favourite waves, North Point. Dubbed the unofficial King of North Point, Robinson caught barrel after barrel, no doubt putting the fear in some of the pro surfers who were hoping not to be matched against him in Round 3 and beyond. Kael Walsh was another local wildcard who shook things up in his maiden CT event taking down CT world title challenger Matt Wilkinson to progress into Round 3.

    Jack Robinson

    Wildcard Jack Robinson (AUS) advances directly to Round 3 of the 2018 Margaret River Pro after winning Heat 3 of Round 1 at North Point, Margaret River, WA, Australia. Photo: WSL/Cestari

  5. Watching local surf inspiration Bronte Macaulay, the only West Australian on the WSL CT, rip, shred and generally look impressive on her home waves, earning herself quarter finals spot – she really shone at Main Break during Rounds 2 and 3. Unfortunately the competition was cancelled before she had a chance to possibly finish with her best career result to date.

    Bronte Macaulay surfer

    Bronte Macaulay. Photo: joliphotos.com

  6. Saving a life. A member of the public was knocked unconscious while surfing at South Point on Saturday 14 April, a break opposite the bay to North Point where the Margaret River Pro was taking place. The surfer went under and was spotted face down in the water by someone in the car park and the quick-thinking local promptly called Margaret River Pro’s safety team leader at Water Patrol Australia. Jet skis were immediately deployed and they brought the surfer to the North Point competition site where the event doctor and ambulance treated the man and administered oxygen. He was airlifted to Bunbury Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. Had it not been for the swift actions of the Margaret River Pro safety team and WSL medics, it almost certainly would have been a fatal surfing accident.

    Water Patrol Australia North Point

    Water Patrol Australia North Point. Photo: Instagram WaterPatrol_australia

  7. It’s been heart-warming to see the community rally together to support a fellow surfer and Margaret River Pro site crew member, Alex Travaglini, who was attacked by a shark while he was surfing (on a day off) at Cobblestones, 15km north of Surfers Point. Surfing WA and WSL donated signed surfboards from John John Florence, Julian Wilson and Filipe Toledo, Jeep Leader vests signed by Stephanie Gilmore and Julian Wilson, merchandise packs and more which, together with other donated items from local businesses, were auctioned and raffled at a fundraising event held at The Common in Gnarabup on Friday 20 April raising almost $11K.  A Go Fund Me page for Alex has raised in excess of $15K to date.

    Raffle and auction items

    Some of the prizes on offer to fundraise for Margaret River Pro site worker Alex Travaglini who was attacked by a shark. Photo: WSL / Cestari

  8. Hearing that Alex Travaglini is going to make a full recovery after he was attacked by a shark attack near Gracetown. Fellow surfers who were on the scene applied tourniquets to his legs and paramedics commented that those actions almost certainly saved his legs and possibly his life. Good news indeed. A reminder that Surfing WA offers free first aid training designed for surfers – just 2.5 hours in duration, it could save a mate’s life. Visit http://www.surfersrescue365.asn.au/ for more.

    Alex Travaglini fundraising

    Alex Travaglini Go Fund Me page

  9. Trawling through social media seeing world-famous surfers enjoying themselves in the Margaret River region. Sebastien ‘Seabass’ Zietz went abseiling, John John Florence visited caves and lunched at Leeuwin Estate, surfing siblings Owen, Tyler and Mikey Wright lunched at Robert Oakley Winery, Lakey Peterson and Joanne Defay had a behind-the-scenes tour of Stella Bella winery and WSL commentators enjoyed lunch at Aravina Estate. John John Florence had three floats at Floating Europhia (it’s amazing if you haven’t tried it). Some ventured further afield, Stephanie Gilmore was spotted at Rottnest Island with Sally Fitzgibbons and Coco Ho and Owen Wright with his family did a road trip to Kalbarri, staying in WA for a week after the event. Adding to the warm and fuzzies are the messages of support for Margaret River posted by some surfers after the event cancellation was announced.

    John John Florence at Floating Europhia.

    John John Florence at Floating Europhia. Photo: Instagram floating_euphoria

  10. Seeing the awe and delight on the faces of local kids who watch the contest and line the fence waiting patiently for autographs and selfies with their surf heroes. The groms are Western Australia’s future surf champions, quite possibly future Olympians, and seeing them so inspired is always one of the biggest rewards of staging the Pro and this year was no exception. New WSL partner Hurley immersed themselves in the community running the surf club for local groms, managing the surf caddies and taking some pro surfers along to join the Hawks Margaret River Junior Football Club training session.

    Kael Walsh signs autographs

    WA wildcard Kael Walsh signs autographs for groms. Photo: Pronto PR

Since WSL cancelled the Margaret River Pro, many of the world’s best surfers posted that they are looking forward to returning to Margaret River next year, and we’re looking forward to hosting them.

The Margaret River Pro has a long history holding surfing competitions and there is one more year in the contract with WSL.

coco ho instagram

WSL CT surfer Coco Ho on Instagram stories – love you WA

 

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Emotions and elation at inaugural Margi Gras

I have spent the better part of the summer working on a beautiful event called Margi Gras.

Emotions were high and the 700-strong crowd elated at Margaret River’s first Margi Gras proudly sponsored by The River Hotel.

Attendees witnessed the region’s first public same-sex wedding on February 10, 2018, when Rebecca Hannan married her long-term partner Sunny Michelle Hannan at the free event that came to fruition as a celebration of equality.

Margi Gras 2017

Margi Gras Sunny Michelle and Rebecca Hannan with Perth Drag Queens. Photo: Jennifer Eliot

The bridal party, along with Perth Drag Queens, arrived in style to the Margaret River Cultural Centre Lawns via a 12-car motorcade that included a 1939 Buick, a black 1950 Mark V Jaguar, a 1955 Mustang, a pink 1960 Thunderbird, a red 1966 Thunderbird convertible à la Thelma and Louise, a grey and white 1964 Chevrolet Belair and a red 1967 Buick Wildcat Sting.

The pair was married under the gazebo in front of the Augusta Margaret River Shire building that was styled with sashes of colour fabric and beautiful fresh flowers and foliage by Miriam Avery.

Photo: Jennifer Eliot

Margi Gras founder Rebecca Hannan said the day could not have been any better.

“The support shown by the community has been nothing short of overwhelming – there were 55 businesses that came on board and a dedicated committee who helped pull it all together,” the professional speaker, coach and trainer said.

“It really made me feel proud to be a member of this community and I’m honoured so many came out to celebrate equality and be a part of our wedding.

“I think Margi Gras has shown that Margaret River is a welcoming place for LGBTI holidays and a wonderful destination for same-sex weddings – I highly recommend it!” laughed Rebecca.

The crowd roared when Sunny thanked all those who voted ‘yes’ during speeches.

Perth Drag Queens entertained the crowds. Photo: Jennifer Eliot

Margi Gras’ MC Jordan Bruno who recently won Mr Gay Pride Australia said Margi Gras was a very special event.

“I love Western Australia and Margaret River and I’m really honoured and proud to be involved in Margi Gras, which sends are really strong message that everyone is entitled to be themselves,” said Jordan, an LGBTI activist and ambassador and a semi-finalist on MKR 2016.

“I feel like we’ve witnessed a little bit of history watching the region’s first same-sex wedding – the whole event had such an amazing vibe.”

Margi Gras 2018

Rebecca Hannan, Jordan Bruno, Sunny Michelle Hannan. Photo: Jennifer Eliot

People signed the dedicated Margi Gras Love and Messages wall, ate delicious food by Willow Grill, drank MargiGras-Rita cocktails and Queer Beer and enjoyed the entertainment by Perth Drag Queens, a surprise Elton John act, Bellyvision belly dancers and the Margaret River Big Band. Children’s entertainment included Kaptain Quirk as Bubble Man, unicorn rides and a giant bouncy castle. Ed Scissorhands added glitter to hair and faces to create a Margi Gras look.

The newly weds were given a cheerful send off with attendees eagerly forming a 100-metre long human archway.

Perth Drag Queens Creative Director Scarlet Adams said she immediately said yes when asked to be involved in Margi Gras.

“Margi Gras is such a fabulous event and the crowd at the After Party were one of the best we’ve performed in front of. We had a ball and can’t wait for next year already!”

Photo: Kelly Harwood Photography

The party continued until late at The River Hotel to a near-capacity crowd as the troupe of five from Perth Drag Queens had the place rocking and everyone dancing as they performed numbers that included ‘It’s raining men’ by Gerri Halliwell, ‘Stop’ by the Spice Girls, ‘Turn back time’ by Cher, ‘Get outta my way’ by Kylie Minogue and ‘It’s my party’ by Jessie J.

The River Hotel business partner Phil Thompson said that Margi Gras was a terrific addition to the region.

“The event was fantastic – we’re thrilled to be a part of it and I’m looking forward to future events,” Phil said.

The night ended with local Mick Marlin from Cape Thunderbirds dressed as Dame Edna Everage being crowned the Queen of Margi Gras, winning the competition.

Visit www.margigras.com.au for more information.

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The greatest weekend in Margaret River

Hello food and wine lovers

What a weekend! About 19,000 of us enjoyed a weekend of amazing food, wine and entertainment in my favourite pocket of the planet, Margaret River in Western Australia’s South West. More than 50 culinary superstars including Alex Atala, Curtis Stone, Jancis Robinson, Rick Stein and Guillaume Brahimi shared insights and experiences at unique events held at wineries, beaches, forests, out to sea and up in the air.

In superb style, Australia’s greatest food and wine festival opened with a function in Perth in the Crystal Room at Crown Towers with sweeping sunset views of the city. The following night was a decadent opening party in Margaret River at Fraser Gallop Estate where we were treated to food by Fervor including BBQ marron, Giniversity Gin cocktails, Fraser Gallop and other iconic wines, Fervor food, chefs chatting, journos everywhere, classy tunes by jazz singer Cassandra Charlick all on a gorgeous Margaret River evening – perfect!

Fraser Gallop Estate ready for the Opening Party – so beautiful

Fervor chef Paul Iskov

There were some new additions to the Margaret River Gourmet Escape event list this year and I was lucky enough to be invited to check a few of them out.

 

Regional Flavours lunch at Amelia Park

I’d heard Amelia Park Winery Restaurant is impressive but holy wow, it’s super impressive. Even if you don’t drink or eat, just go and check out the cellar door and restaurant.

Our Regional Flavours multi-course lunch was prepared by Matt Stone and is his partner, rising young female chef, Jo Barrett (both of Oakridge Wines) along with restaurant owner Blair Allen. Canapes were served on the terrace with Amelia Park wines – the Chardonnay was my pick, it was bang on.  A sit down lunch was MC’d by The Australian food writer John Lethlean and we ate our way through five delicious courses. I even ate lamb sweetbreads – and enjoyed it! This lunch was Zorba’s pick for best event of our weekend.

Matt Stone’s take on fish and chips – yes, they are crisps

What a cracker! It’s made of chicken skin

Rice, blood lime, raspberry, passionfruit and Geraldton wax – light and gorgeous end to lunch

Chef’s Table at the Gourmet Village

Alex Atala of DOM in Sao Paolo is such an inspiration – his passion for food and good produce is infectious. With about 20 other people, we sat around a u-shaped table while he prepared a couple of dishes for us to taste. Pippis in a delicious broth and seaweed cerviche with edible flowers. Simplicity with preparing good produce is something Alex spoke a lot about. The Portuguese speaking chef spoke to me in Italian as he was signing my cookbook and spoke to my friend in French. He also speaks English (as demonstrated) and Spanish – that’s five languages. That’s as impressive as his cooking. It was an intimate experience and I was thrilled to be a part of it.

Alex Atala serving me seaweed cerviche

 

Lurpak Cooking School with Tony Howell

Friends went along to the Lurpack Cooking School and raved about it. I chatted to Chef Tone before he got started and he was all set for a busy two days with 30-min classes every 30 minutes.  Of course Lurpack butter was the star and featured in a local whiting dish with a buerre blanc sauce and crepe Suzette. I’m hungry again now.

Friends with chef Tony Howell

 

Closing Party at the White Elephant Beach Cafe

Super duper fun! The cafe deck that overlooks the stunning Gnarabup beach was cleared of table and chairs and transformed into a jumping dance floor. Fremantle band San Cisco were on the decks mixing old and new school tunes. It was so great to see young and old, locals and visitors carving moves and having a blast, me included. The food by Asian chef Dan Hong was incredible – I devoured about four ‘cheese burger spring rolls’, delicious marron sandwiches and salty crisp white bait (or as I like to call them, protein chips). Singaporean cocktail bar owner Vijay Mudaliar made delicious gin cocktails with wild rosemary – I could’ve drunk those all night, but given it was a one-cocktail-per-person rule, I shared a bottle of Dormilina Rose instead, which was perfect on a balmy night. Punters wasted no time enjoying themselves and the music wrapped up at 10pm, but it felt like we’d only been there for half an hour. It was such a fun night – thanks to all new and old mates that made it awesome.

The gorgeous Scarlett from San Cisco. Photo: Russell Ord Photography

Epic sunset at the White Elephant Beach Cafe for the closing party

Next year

Stay tuned for announcements about the future of the Margaret River Gourmet Escape. Don’t believe the rumours that it’s going to Mornington. It belongs in Margaret River and I reckon the big wigs in Government will be letting us all know for sure sometime soon.

For more, visit www.gourmetescape.com.au

Disclosure:

I was invited to the opening functions, the Amelia Park Regional Flavours Lunch and the Gourmet Village. I bought tickets for the Closing Party.

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