The south-west corner of Western Australia is becoming the
place to visit not to mention to sample the local produce.
Margaret River is a beautiful area offering excellent accommodation, vineyards and Indian Ocean surfing. The increase in tourism has resulted in other attractions opening, meaning there is plenty to keep visitors occupied.
Just 10 minutes north of Margaret River is the hamlet of Cowaramup, right in the centre of the northern wine district. It was a timber town in the 1930s and is traditionally known as a dairy area, but now it has come into its own as a tourist stop.
Getaway discovered some wonderful things in Cowaramup. Here are some examples of places well worth calling in to.
Candy Cow started when Ed and Fran Mangano wanted a new challenge. They developed delicious honeycomb recipes using pure honey from the West and progressed to lavish fudges, soft and firm nougat and other delights.
Now their son, daughter and son-in-law run the family business. It's a place of colour, aroma, new and old-fashioned sweets and the busy sound of wicked things being made.
It's difficult to pick the most delicious product, but the creamy, buttery fudges are hard to beat. They churn out gourmet fudge in four basic flavours, vanilla, caramel, dark and milk chocolate. All lend themselves to amazing additions coconut, cherries, chilli, ginger, coffee, marshmallow, orange oil, lemon, passionfruit, lemon myrtle, Irish cream, ouzo, cloves and nutmeg not all in the same batch of course!
Their sweets are perfect for nibbling while driving. Most people take packs to give as gifts when they arrive home.
Margaret Riviera is a divine gourmet shop, which stocks 100-percent local produce. Kim Murray and Marcia King realised there was a void for local epicurean delights and now their shelves and refrigerators are an Aladdin's cave of goodies, everything from jam to chilli, wine, olive oil, cheese and pickles. They also have smoked trout, chicken, handmade pasta, sauces and pre-cooked meals, easy for holidaymakers.
Moon-Haven creates lotions, potions and soaps from natural products. Owners Leonie and Eric Gully began dabbling in herbal and non-chemical products and came up with products so good, their hobby became a business.
Visitors can see them mixing, pouring and cutting their range of 18 soaps onsite, including one for dogs. They have potions for aches, pains and dry skin, as well as relaxing massage oils. Each Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm you can see a soap-pour.
Settler's Ridge is Australia's only internationally-accredited organic wine producer. Wayne and Kaye Nobbs purchased their 40-plus hectares in 1994 when it was part of a dairy farm. They set about creating an organic vineyard and their first crop was picked in 1997. Since then they have won numerous awards. No synthetically-compounded fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides are used and only a minimal quantity of naturally-occurring sulphur, taken from the air, is taken.
Visit their tasting room and learn just what sets organic wine apart.
A new industry in the south-west is olive oil. At Olio Bello you can taste a range of oils, including premium extra virgin. Apart from oil, the owners produce a range of gourmet goodies, absolute holiday essentials, gifts and wickedly self-indulgent lines. Some are cooked up in their own kitchen using organic produce from their farm. Depending on the season, there may be Mediterranean dips, tapenades, pesto, aioli, bread and marinated olives.