Chapter 3: Food and Drinks To Not Miss When In Western Australia
With over 10 million tonnes of grains produced annually, WA has a rich agricultural history. Nurtured by the Great Artesian Basin, various kinds of crops are grown in WA; namely, Wheat, Lupins, Barley, Canola, Peas, Cotton, Sugarcane, Apples, Potatoes, Macadamia Nuts, Lentils and wool.
Western Australia is also known for fresh seafood and world-famous fine wineries. For a caravanner, there is no better place than WA to treat the taste buds!
FOOD IN WA
Thanks to its proximity to the Indian Ocean, Western Australia offers the freshest seafood and a variety of delicious cuisine, including Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai and traditional Aussie.
Known as a smart region for inoculating French Truffles, Manjimup Truffles are an exclusive variety. Started since 1999, Manjimup truffles are a result of 8 years of hard work. WA is known as the key truffles region of Australia because it produces 80% of the nation’s truffles. Manjimup owes its unique flavour to the surrounding Karri Trees, loamy soil and WA’s befitting climate, i.e., balmy in summer, and tepid and wet in winter.
When in WA, make sure to have the popular WA truffle shavings on Porcinis, Truffle Toasts with fresh seafood or as Truffle Pie and even as Truffle soups or infusions.
Seafood cuisines in Perth, WA
Perth seafood cuisines include both the freshest seafood and freshwater fishes. Some trademark seafood to try when in Perth is at the waterside eateries. From the succulent Fish ‘n’ Chips to delicious lobsters, Perth has everything a seafood lover could want!
At Fremantle, you can even go boating while having freshly caught seafood on the boat! The best fishing spots in and around Perth are Exmouth, Rowley Shoals, Leeman, Fitzroy River, Rottnest Island, Leederville and Mount Lawley.
The seafood hotspots to check out in WA are the NW Barramundi, SW Trout, Yabby & Marron, Exmouth Prawns, Geraldton Lobster, Mandurah Crab and Rottnest Scallop.
Food bowl in Carnarvon
With a thriving agriculture, Carnarvon offers an annual food bowl with the freshest produce of the region. Known for the endless varieties of bananas, some common and uncommon vegetables to find here are Carambola Melons, Papaya, Grapes and specialty Mangoes. Situated at the gateway to the Ningaloo Reef in the South west, Carnarvon is circled around the Gascoyne River; Carnarvon Food Bowl has a tradition of providing the freshest produce directly from their farms. Carnarvon Grower’s market is the best place to get a sackful of the freshest produce of WA. These markets offer free tasting of beef, seafood, fruits and vegetables as well.
Caravanners visiting Carnarvon must take the Gascoyne Food Trail and eat at the renowned eateries on the trail. Some other interesting ways to make the most out of the Food bowl in Carnarvon is by fishing at One Mile Jetty, Long Table Lunches or visiting the Lunchbox banana. Make sure to go on a Banana Plantation Tour and have at least one of the local organic bananas!
Mango Madness in Broome
For 3 decades now, the Broome Mango Madness is held in the last week of November every year by the Lions Club of Broome. This yearly Mango festival includes Mango Jamming, The Great Bartenders of Broome, Mango Chutney, Mango Cake, Mango Samples and Mango Quiz to raise money for charity as well as to make the most of mango season.
With the entire event focused on Mangoes, guests can win many trademark edible goodies at the event too.
Visit Matso’s for an extravagant Mango Tasting and on the last day of Mango Madness, guests vote for their favourite Mango and rate them for flavour and texture. Caravanners who visit Broome and Kununurra must enjoy the Mango Madness which began in 1986.
Made during the visit of a Russian Ballerina- Anna Pavlova, Pavlova is a traditional WA dessert cake with cream, fruits and meringue. Resembling the beauty and breezy dance movements of Anna Pavlova, the dessert itself is incredibly lightweight. A new cake made out of meringue and real fruit toppings than ones inside the cake of the bygone era was a trendsetter.
WA has an abundant list of seasonal fruits. And fruits traditionally used with Pavlova include Apples, Avocados, Bananas, Grapes, Kiwi, Figs, Mandarins, Passionfruit and strawberries, which are also used toppings.
Lamb Chops and Lupins
Being the producer of 80% of World’s Lupin, and Australia’s livestock, it is no surprise that Lamb chops and Lupins were recently voted the signature WA dish. Lupin has been used to feed livestock since ages such that the human consumption began merely ten years back! Recent studies have found that lupins are high in protein and gluten-free, perfect for a healthy diet.
Make sure to try the WA special Dorper Lamb Chops in Lupin flakes and salad when in WA.
To sum it all, WA offers an endless variety of flavours and tastes to explore. WA delicacies are not available elsewhere!
Wineries of WA
Known internationally as the wine hub of Australia, WA has numerous wine-producing regions. Additionally, WA is known for coffee. Proof of how much Aussies love their coffee is the fact that 61 out of 81 Starbucks outlets have closed down permanently!
WA makes 20% the nation’s total wine with 6 outstanding wineries earning an international reputation for producing high, consistent quality wines. Their handcrafted beer also enjoys a comparable reputation.
Margaret River Wineries
Known globally as a major wine producer, Margaret River Wineries has won innumerable accolades for its signature blends. The trademark brews of Margaret River Wine Region are Malt, Pilsner, Chardonnay, Semillon, Cabaret Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. With its 215+ wineries, the Margaret River Region has the perfect climate for wine growing. Margaret River Wine region has 12,397 acres of Vineyards and produces up to 7000 tonnes of wine annually.
The six best vineyard regions to visit in the Margaret River area are Carbunup, Treeton, Karridale, Wallcliffe and Yallingup.
Hand Crafted Beer
Began at the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour, the first handcrafted beer was made in 1984 by Matilda Bay Brewing Company at the Sail & Anchor Pub. Today, despite the availability of foreign beers, Sail & Anchor pub remains popular with 27 taps of various blends of beer. Today, there are many microbreweries in the primary wine regions of WA.
The best beer to check when in WA are the blends- Bright Beer, Pale Ale, Pipsqueak Cider, Belgian Pale Ale, Märzen beer, American Pale Ale, Hop Hog Pale Ale, Watermelon Warhead wheat beer , Freo Doctor Pale Lager and Hefeweizen wheat beer.
Swan Valley Wineries
Popular as the hottest wine area in Australia, Swan Valley boasts the best vineyards, owing to its prime location adjacent to the Indian Ocean. The wineries boast vernacular expertise and are usually semi-rural in its infrastructure. The harvests are done in early January and Swan Valley is considered as one of the biggest wine producers of Australia.
Caravanners must take the Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail, which loops 32km around 150+ wineries of Swan Valley. If you’re lucky, finding fresh wine stalls along the road is common too. The major grapes in Swan Valley are Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot Shiraz and Verdelho.
The Best Coffee in WA
WA’s first Coffee Palace was built in 1834 and still stands under the name of Burnett’s Coffee Palace and Temperance Hotel. Coffee Palaces were introduced in 1880s as part of the Temperance, to build eateries that do not serve alcohol.
Coffee is the trademark of a healthy breakfast for the true Aussie.
The best coffee to have when in WA are in Halo Espresso, South Perth; Boho Espresso, Scarborough; Roasting Warehouse, South Fremantle; Brew Shack on Margaret River; Moore & Moore in Fremantle and Yahava in Swan Valley.
The Great Southern
The largest wine region of the nation, The Great Southern is 200km long and 100km wide, with over 5 primary wine regions. Known for its diverse climate and unique terrain, the best varieties of wine in the Great Southern are Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Riesling, Shiraz, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. The total area of vineyards in the Great Southern is estimated at 5,775 acres with 48 wineries.
Make sure to visit the five prominent wine regions in the Great Southern:
Denmark – Moderate humidity is observed in summers and the region has a Mediterranean climate. Some wineries to visit are Howard Park Wines, Silverstream Wines and Whitfield Estate & Pawprint Chocolate.
Albany – With a pleasant maritime weather, nurtured by the Southern Ocean, Albany wineries experience wet winters and dry summer. The best wineries to visit when caravanning in Albany are The Alkoomu Cellar, Orange Tractor Wines and Wignalls Wines.
Porongurup – One of the 34 international biodiversity hotspots, the 1.4 billion year-old Porongurup Range is teeming with wild flora. The region is known for growing wine grape varieties such as Pinot Meuniere, Traminer and Riesling.
Frankland River – Adjacent to Manjimup, the Frankland River region is known for its rich soil, ideal for wine-growing. The main wine varieties produced in the area are Bordeaux styles and Shiraz.
Mount Barker – One of the coolest wine regions in the Great Southern, Mount Barker has a rare mix of marri soils perfect for multiple blend of wines. The best varieties to enjoy when in Mount Barker are Pinot noir, Shiraz, Riesling, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Make sure to enjoy the diversity of wine-trails in WA’s wild south and explore the 6 international premium wineries in the world.
An interesting fact about WA’s gastronomy is that the popular dessert of the region- Pavlova became controversial due to its historically ambivalent birthplaces. The same even led to Pavlova Wars between the countries Australia and New Zealand in the past!