Escape to gourmet heaven

Gourmands and wine lovers from around the world have good reason to zip over to the land Down Under in November - Margaret River Gourmet Escape, from Nov 20 to 22. Joining the fourth instalment of the event as presenting sponsor is luxury car maker Audi.

Ranked among the world's top wine regions, Margaret River is home to more than 200 vineyards and 187 wineries. Over three glorious days, you get to sip on the finest wines from the region, and savour delectable meals prepared by the who's who of the fine dining world.

Star chefs

Headlining the three-day food and wine extravaganza is the original British bad boy chef, Marco Pierre White. White is best known as the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin stars and the author of White Heat - "the coolest cookbook ever written".

He will host The Godfather Dinner at the Vasse Felix Winery. Three of his former proteges will re-create signature dishes they produced when they worked in his restaurants.

Then, meet the man himself at the talk, An Audience With Marco Pierre White on Nov 21. Listen to the acclaimed chef talk about his approach to running his kitchen, and his philosophy on food and life.

Another renowned chef making an appearance at the festival is Tetsuya Wakuda. The Japanese chef will be involved in a collaboration dinner with Shane Osborn, the Michelin-starred chef from Hong Kong's Arcane Restaurant. The meal will be paired with a range of Margaret River wines.

Dine in the great outdoors

The lush surrounds of the Margaret River region make the destination as much an attraction as the gastronomic fare. Be sure not to miss three iconic outdoor dining events: the Audi Gourmet Beach BBQ, Feast in the Forest and Dining on the Jetty.

The Audi Gourmet Beach BBQ (choose a lunch or dinner slot) will be held at Castle Bay Beach. Sip wine and tuck into a sumptuous spread while the salty sea breeze caresses your skin.

Guest chefs Matt Moran, Guillaume Brahimi, James Viles, Gaggan Anand and Fulvio Pierangelini will be preparing the menus. Capping the seaside meal is a Q&A session hosted by celebrity cook Anna Gare.

Feast in the Forest promises to be an enchanting dining experience. The destination is an authentic Aussie barn tucked away in the Leeuwin Estate Safari Club. George Calombaris, Sat Bains and David Moyle are among the top chefs who will whip up the decadent lunch.

At the Sundown Soiree at Fraser Gallop Winery, indulge in award-winning wines from the winery, while nibbling on canapes by Hadleigh Troy from Perth's Restaurant Amuse. Get to know other vino lovers - and the chance to rub shoulders with White, who will host a Q&A session.

New on the festival programme this year is Dining on the Jetty. Dinner will be served at the end of Bus selton Jetty - said to be the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere. Take in the view of the glorious sunset and pristine waters of Geographe Bay as you sup. Chef and restaurateur Rick Stein is the man behind the menu at this event.

Bazaars, beer and more

At the heart of the festival is the Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate Winery. This is where you will get to sample the freshest produce from Western Australia. You can watch cooking demonstrations, participate in wine tastings, attend master classes and pick the brains of chefs at Q&A sessions.

Be sure to mark the event's key attractions on your festival planner: Miele Chef's Theatre, Chef's Table, Wine Lounge, High Tea with Adriano Zumbo, and beer and cider master classes. If you drive an Audi, flash your car key to enjoy exclusive privileges at the Audi VIP Oasis.

The Food Quiz also returns by popular demand. Are you a true blue gourmet guru? Test your culinary knowledge at the Food Quiz. Participants will be quizzed on all things food related: famous foodie films, popular reality TV cooking programmes, ingredients, spices and grape varieties, among other trivia topics.

For beer lovers, the must-attend event is the Battle of the Breweries at The Common, a new beachside bistro. Sit down to a blind beer tasting before tucking into dinner. The menu is prepared by The Common's executive chef Tony Howell, and dishes will be paired with local boutique beers from Colonial Brewery and Cheeky Monkey.

If you think a picnic is perfect in Margaret River's idyllic setting, get on the foodie trails. There are two themed trails to choose from: a meat and cheese trail, and a meat and chocolate trail. Both include a delicious picnic lunch and a butchery demonstration.

The Saturday farmer's market at Margaret River town also promises to be a fun, vibrant and delicious affair. Get a taste of the freshest produce cultivated and harvested by local farmers and growers. Held at the Shire Building grounds, Margaret River's farmer's market also gives visitors the chance to chat with the local producers to find out more about Australia's produce.

Win a gourmet holiday

From now to Sept 13 during the Eat-Drink-Buy Western Australia campaign, you stand a chance to win a trip for two to the Margaret River Gourmet Escape. Worth $4,000, the prize includes airfare for two, a tour, accommodation and tickets to the Gourmet Village at the festival.

Simply buy any Western Australia product at selected retailers or dine at any participating restaurants. Four pairs of tickets will be given away, along with other attractive prizes worth some $17,000.

Visit for the list of restaurants, retailers and participation details.

This article was published by the Special Projects Unit, Marketing Division, SPH.

This article was first published on August 30, 2015.
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