A visit to Western Australia’s south-west is always a good idea, but the annual Margaret River Gourmet Escape presented by Westpac is a particularly good excuse to check the tyres, fill the tank and hit the road. Held in November each year, the event sees heavyweight food and wine talent from around the planet descend on the region for three days of feasting in the scenic coastal town.

As always, much of the action takes place at the festival’s spiritual centre, the Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate Winery. While all of the village's most popular crowd-pleasers are back for another year – cooking demonstrations and live music at the Chef’s Amphitheatre, wine tastings, craft brewery battles – 2018 sees the introduction of plenty of new, accessible attractions.

Acclaimed wine writers Mike Bennie and Nick Stock, for instance, will present Nick & Mike’s Snack Bar, with snacks catered by seasoned Melbourne chef, Scott Pickett. Meanwhile, Stock and a bevy of local experts including newly crowned Australian Gourmet Traveller sommelier of the year Emma Farrelly (State Buildings) will also host casual and informal tastings. Elsewhere from the department of good drinking: The West Winds Gin will be hosting gin masterclasses, and Black Brewing Co will be championing the pleasures of drinking farmhouse-style ales.

There’ll be plenty of food for thought too. Rebecca Sullivan (Warndu) will host cooking demonstrations featuring produce and producers from the region and WA food writer Max Brearley will host Consuming Conversations, a series of intimate talks with some of the biggest and most influential names in food.

This year’s Gourmet Village isn’t just for adults. Entry is free for children aged 16 and under, while The Little Kitchen Garden hosts half-hour classes to show parents and children the value of growing their own food.

See you in Margies. Last one in the water is a rotten (63-degree) egg.

Westpac Gourmet Beach BBQs
As far as al fresco Margaret River dining options go, Castle Rock Beach is hard to beat. Unless, that is, you throw a beachside barbeque and invite some international cooking talent (Matt Stone! Rick and Jack Stein!) to throw both the proverbial and literal shrimp on the barbie.
Details and tickets.

Feast in the Forest
There are barbeques, and then there’s Feast in the Forest, a series that sees big name chefs from around the world presiding over whole beast barbecue feasts and serving guests at Leeuwin Estate’s charming Safari Club hidden in a karri forest. This year’s line-up includes flavours from Vietnam, West Africa and Australia.
Details and tickets.

Smith & Daughters ’90s Trattoria Dinner
Shannon Martinez, the plant-happy chef behind cult Fitzroy eateries Smith & Daughters and Smith & Deli will be preparing a one-night-only feast of Italian classics. So it’s no to lentils, veggie stacks and 50 shades of tofu, but yes to vegan meatballs, pasta and a party-starting playlist.
Details and tickets.

Caves Road Cantina at Black Brewing Co
Five local craft breweries will be showing their wares while a dream team of Mexican chefs including Edgar Nunez (Mexico’s SUD 777, number 64 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list) and Rosio Sánchez (Copenhagen’s world-renowned taqueria Hija de Sanchez) take care of the cooking.
Details and tickets.

Cape on a Plate with Luke Mangan
Traditionally reserved for visiting Gourmet Escape chefs, Cape Lodge is inviting guests to its lakeside restaurant for an intimate white-tablecloth dinner. Celebrated Australian restaurateur Luke Mangan and Cape Lodge chef Tony Howell will be celebrating Margaret River produce while guests enjoy gold-medal-winning wines from the Langton’s Margaret River Wine Show.
Details and tickets.

Margaret River Gourmet Escape will run November 16 to 18. More information here.

Broadsheet is a proud media partner of Margaret River Gourmet Escape presented by Westpac.