When my brother Jason said yes to spending a weekend in the South West for foodie cravings, he didn’t expect to love it so much that he’d be writing a novel in the form of three blog posts about it 🙂 Here’s his final post…if you missed his first two, read them here before scrolling:
After checking out of Pullman Resort, it was game time… final meals in Dunsborough before we headed back to Perth. Our original first stop was Palmer Wines, so we headed down Cape Naturaliste Road, but not far out of Pullman Resort we drove past a sign for Eagle Bay Olives and immediately chucked a u-ey and went back. I love my olives.
I was in olive heaven… I tried every single olive on display. The texture of freshly grown and prepared olives were out of this world, you’re gonna see this repeated throughout the post, but you could really taste the freshness like it was just picked off a tree. I usually don’t like kalamata olives because of the strong flavour, but Eagle Bay Olives kalamatas were much more subtle in flavour. I liked them just as much as my usual green olives. If you love olives too, also check out Michelle’s post on how her mother-in-law marinates & prepares olives.
My fiancé and Perth food blogger Little Miss Bacon doesn’t like olives so she tried all the Chutneys instead…
We ended up buying olives, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a chutney.
While talking to the lady at the front counter, we asked her which Winery we should head to for lunch, she recommended we head to Aravina Estate, which is by far her favourite winery in the area. So we did… always trust a local 😉
But before we make our way to Aravina, I wanted to check out Yallingup Roasting Company and get some grounded coffee beans. I love a good coffee, so having fresh grounded beans at home for my AeroPress is a must at all times! If you’ve never heard of the AeroPress, it’s a nifty little device that costs about $50 and uses air pressure to create a delicious filtered coffee in just a few minutes.I drink mine without milk (Long Black), but for the Latte, Flat White or Cappuccino lovers out there, armed with the right beans and a milk frother, you can brew a coffee that tastes almost as smooth as if it was made by a decent Barista. Check out this YouTube video on how easy it is to make an AeroPress coffee using the inverted method. I got both my AeroPress and a Milk Frother from eBay for under $100.
I drink multiple coffees a day so on days when I wake up early enough I’ll have my first coffee at home. A 250g bag of beans usually costs about $15 and I have two scoops (28g) of coffee per cup, so I’m getting about 9 cups per 250g or $1.66 per cup.
Yet again, before we could leave for Aravina Estate, we were drawn into Dunsborough Bakery by their enticing sign. Making meat pies since 1941… I just had to try what 74 years of perfection tastes like.
I wanted everything, but we knew we had to save room for lunch.
So we got a beef, cheese and bacon pie to share.
The pie filling was a perfect balance of mince meat to cheese and bacon bits ratio. Similarly with The Crooked Carrot, the pie crust was flaky and shortbread like, must be a country thang. Pre-entree down, it’s now time to get to Aravina Estate.
So we finally made it to Aravina Estate and still had capacity to eat. Looking at the menu, it was a no brainer to get the 3 courses for $65 per person.
For entree, Little Miss Bacon got the Pork and Rabbit Terrine with preserved melon, bitter greens and pickled mustard seeds. Everything was fabulous, if you saw Michelle’s instagram post on this, the star of the dish was definitely the salad. It was the first time in my life meat didn’t matter. Each vegetable was crisp and tasted like it was from farm to fork. I’m still looking for quality produce like this in Perth.
My entree was braised ham hock with slow cooked egg, cauliflower and hazelnut crumb. I was expecting an actual ham hock but instead was amazed by a deconstructed dish of gastronomic proportions. Every ingredient in the dish complimented each other both in flavour and texture. You had the smoked soft ham hock, smooth cauliflower puree, creamy egg taste with a crunch at the end from the hazelnut crumb… 10/10 for me, seriously. Check that video out.
For my main, I got the Suffolk lamb rump with local onions, fresh peas, salt bush and Cabernet jus gras. Aravina Estate’s philosophy is sourcing the finest local ingredients from growers and producers to develop a range of uniquely flavoursome dishes that showcase the quality range of ingredients available in the Margaret River region. With this dish, I could really taste that. I’ve never had such tender lamb in my life and the tempura like frying of saltbush leaves was a great addition to the dish. I think this experience was that defining moment where I finally tasted something that screamed out Modern Australian cuisine to me, coupled with the elegance of fine dining.
Little Miss Bacon got the pan-fried gnocchi with erusalem artichoke, broad beans, manchego cheese and garden leaves. Again, similarly with my dish you could really taste the Australian influence through the use of crispy garden leaves in what is a traditionally italian dish. Every ingredient complimented the soft yet crispy gnocchi and each bite like every good dish… was a flavour explosion. Little Miss Bacon said this was one of her favourite gnocchis to date, we prefer pan-fried gnocchi over the saucy ones these days as they’re less sickening.
For dessert, Little Miss Bacon got the bitter chocolate with salted caramel, blackberry and olive oil. Another divine chocolate dish that is to die for. The most heavenly part of the dish was the chunks of soft salted caramel that goes so well with the chocolate.
I decided to get the Yallingup camembert, pickled walnuts, preserved melon and baguette. We were so stuffed that we couldn’t finish it. But the cheese was so good we had to google where we could get some local cheese before heading back to Perth.
Before leaving Aravina Estate, I had to checkout their Sportscar Gallery and do some wine tasting. I wish I had a car collection like this.
After doing some winetasting, I fell in love with their 2013 Shiraz and bought a case of 6 for $144. Highly recommend checking out Aravina Estate for top quality food and wine.
Little Miss Bacon and I had one last objective before truly driving back to Perth, cuddle some animals. So we made one last stop at Country Life Farm.
To finish off, the following night we went over my mum’s house and shared the bounty of our Dunsborough trip with our family :). We managed to pick up some yummy cheese from Bunbury Farmers Market along the way as well. Good wine, fresh olives, WA cheese with family… lifes good.