DECADENCE is not a dirty word in Margaret River, Western Australia.
But visitors will need to get used to allowing themselves to indulge in such a rich array of decadent foods before them, not to mention world-renowned wines.
On a recent trip, I couldn’t help but see parallels between the Margaret River region and the Sunshine Coast for availability of fresh lines and the creativity of local producers.
But the marketing of those home-grown products seems to be on an even grander scale in the west to the point where Margaret River has become a food and wine mecca for people from all over Australia.
The Margaret River brand now extends throughout the pantry, fridge and cellar, delivering a diverse selection of gourmet provisions and farm gate-fresh produce from venison sausages to fudge, organic olive oils to ice-cream and cheeses to berries and coffee.
Yallingup Coffee Company, The Margaret River Venison Farm, Elixir Dwellingup Honey, Blue Cow International Cheeses, Rivendell Jams and Pickles, Olio Bello Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Yallingup Wood-fired Bread, Holy Smoke Manjimup smoked fish and chicken and Boscastle gourmet pies are household names in the region and further afield in WA.
And The Larder, on the Bussell Highway, right in the heart of Margaret River township, is one of the specialist businesses bringing these cottage industry products together in one place and showcasing the region’s paddock-to-plate philosophy.
But The Larder is much more than just another gourmet deli.
Intimate cooking classes, boutique caterers and chef-prepared meals also help make this business something special.
There’s nothing better than grabbing a hamper from The Larder and driving to nearby Surfers Point for lunch to watching the local boardriders show off their skills, or for sunset over the water.
And I can definitely recommend the South West Picnic ($110): Margaret River double cream brie; Capel Club cheddar; The Larder rocket and basil pesto; Pemberton smoked trout dip; antipasto olives; Margaret River venison salami; poppy seed lavosh; Yallingup wood-fired bread rolls; chargrilled zaatar-spiced chicken sticks; wild mushroom and goats cheese risotto balls; and The Larder cranberry and cherry pistachio nougat.
The reasonably-priced, chef-prepared, take-home range is also ideal after a day at the wineries.
Chef Andrea iLott knows a thing or two about giving customers what they want and desire, having worked all over the world and pandered to the gourmet and dietary requests of the rich and famous, including The Rolling Stones, Sting and the Dalai Lama.
Her extensive CV from the past 20 years lists the kitchens of Hempel Hotel in London, Hayman Island in the Whitsundays and the Margaret River’s Clairault and Vasse Felix winery restaurants, as well as cooking for families in private dinners in luxury villas in Europe and America. All this week, she is cooking for world surfing champion Kelly Slater at his home as he competes in the Margaret River Pro.
Andrea has an inherent love of cooking that has developed from a passion for food from an early age and a desire to discover a world of gastronomic pleasure in her travels. Now, she challenges herself to keep creating elegant meals to enjoy with a glass of wine at home.
To try a little homemade decadence, here’s a couple of Andrea’s favourite meals.
Phone The Larder on (08) 9758 8990. Visit www.larder.biz.
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