The countdown is on for greatest food and wine festival in the county, the Margaret River Gourmet Escape this year held from 16 to 18 November 2018, and in the event’s six-year history, this is not one to miss.
Why go this year?
In my opinion, the biggest reason to go this year isn’t Nigella Lawson or Rick Stein. Next year, the Gourmet Escape will evolve to align with the State Government’s strategy to drive more tourists to Perth (to fill all the new hotel beds), so a new element will be added in a different location, namely, in the Swan Valley. The Gourmet Escape will also take place next year in Margaret River and they say it’ll be similar … but one can never be too sure. That said, this year’s line up is as epic as ever with so many amazing dinners, lunches, talks, cooking demos, book signings, masterclasses and more – you’d be crazy to miss it. Besides, FOMO! We all know that feeling of seeing everyone else post about an epic event.
I’ve posted in the past some simple steps to follow to make the most of your Gourmet Escape weekend – read it here.
The major festival component, the Gourmet Village, returns to Leeuwin Estate Winery on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 November from 11am to 6pm, where visitors can sample the best food, wine, beer, cider and produce the Margaret River region and WA has to offer.
Festival goers can meet some of the world’s most-loved and respected culinary talent including Nigella Lawson, Rick Stein, Skye Gyngell, Ashley Palmer-Watts and more as they appear at attractions within the Gourmet Village throughout the weekend.
A party vibe is assured with live music across the weekend, provided by some of WA’s most exciting artists, including DJ Rio De Niro who will be resident DJ on the Chef’s Amphitheatre on both days.
This year will see the return of some of the Village’s most popular attractions and installations along with new experiences for both the budget-conscious and the high flyers.
What’s new at the Village this year:
- Kids 16 and under gain free entry and there’s plenty to keep them entertained.
(I’m not sure how I feel about this. I like that most people don’t bring their kids to the Gourmet Village – it means the parents can relax for once and enjoy themselves, and for the non-parents out there, there’s no need to tolerate other people’s little darlings running around or whining that they are bored / hungry / tired / hot / sick, or worse, wandering off causing panic, etc. I say, parents, have a day off and leave the little ones if you can.Just imagine all those uninterrupted conversations you can have. p.s. I love my friends’ kids, it’s fun when they are free of them.)
- The Little Kitchen Garden will prove the Village isn’t just for grown-ups. Children, and the whole family, can learn the importance of food and community. Each half-hour class will introduce children and their parents to the pleasures of growing and cooking their own food. Note keywords: “and their parents” – this isn’t a babysitting service or a kids club.
- Consuming Conversations – an intimate gathering with some of the world’s most influential foodies, hosted by food writer Max Brearley.
- The Wine Hub – a series of informal and engaging wine tastings hosted by acclaimed wine critic Nick Stock.
- The West Winds Gin Masterclasses – Over 50% of the botanicals used in The West Winds Gins are indigenous to Australia. Visitors can learn more about their blends, the distilling process and enjoy a range of tastings in these informative and interactive masterclasses.
- Regional Flavours – cooking demonstrations hosted by Rebecca Sullivan (from Warndu) with local chefs showcasing local producers from around Margaret River and beyond.
- MasterChef 2018 finalist and local Samira Damirova will be keeping her MasterChef mates Reece and Brendan busy as they serve her delicious menu at her pop-up restaurant – Lavash by Sam’s Foodie Goods.
- Black Brewing Co farmhouse ale & food matching – guests can sample limited release farmhouse ales by Black Brewing Co, paired with food matchings from their Caves Road Collective kitchen and learn about this lesser known seasonal beer style that’s rapidly growing in popularity.
- Wine & Sign – the most fun anyone is likely to have at a book signing. Limited tickets still available for Rick Stein’s session – includes a copy of his new Road to Mexico book and a glass of wine.
Popular returning attractions and experiences:
- Chef’s Amphitheatre – hosted by multi-talented comedian, actor and TV and radio presenter Matt Okine. Guests can enjoy on-stage demos, talks and taste-offs by some of the world’s best food talent – this year appearing in pairs for even more entertainment. Includes Nigella Lawson, Rick Stein, Monica Galetti, Ashley Palmer-Watts, Skye Gyngell, Laetitia Rouabah and more.
- The Butchers Block presented by Australian Good Meat – Past My Kitchen Rules winners Will and Steve will host meat mastery cooking demos and meat and wine pairings with canapés and more.
- Meet the Makers – festivalgoers are invited to talk and taste wine with some of the sharpest palates in the game including Emma Farrelly (State Buildings) and Chris Morrison (award winning sommelier, wine communicator and educator)
- Bar Felix – a fusion of food and wine innovation and a sophisticated refuge featuring Vasse Felix wines, a wine school with the makers and delicious meals from their chefs.
- Leeuwin Estate Wine Theatre – an immersive food and wine pairing experience featuring five iconic Leeuwin Estate Art Series Wines perfectly matched with seasonal canapés.
- Devil’s Lair Winery and Masterclass – guests can meet the winemakers and take a masterclass with matched cheeses.