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“Is my face getting rounder? Do I look heavier?”

TC won the crown of longsuffering as he constantly endured my increasingly psychotic questions that popped up involuntarily a few times a day and particularly after each meal. Such questions weren’t totally unfounded actually; I think it’s fair to say that I ate myself out of my pants and thereafter thought guiltily and quite a lot of amping up my exercise routine when I got back.

This is an example, and it’s only breakfast. Eggs from the Dirk’s farm, herbs from their garden and goodness knows what else is organic.

Visiting Margaret River is akin to going on a trail to satiate the senses – it is gastronomic tourism concentrated in a small area, and a fine one at that. It is also bloody ridiculous that so much good food and drink is just up the road from one another. It was like living a life from a few pages of Nigella’s Christmas Feasts where calorie counting is merely fiction.

Our map was getting increasingly bent and worn with the number of circles I drew on it, marking out the sights and food factories that we just had to visit. After all, having a rental car meant that we were invincible – to travelling distances at least. Among the pristine white beaches and coastal walk trails, there were gastronomical delights to be found in the nooks and crannies that veered sneakily off Bussel Hwy and Caves road.

It was not as though our wallets allowed us to visit all of them but I was quite hell-bent on seeing something at least. Most wineries had their own fine dining menus that were set-up to be paired with their wine. I shuddered at the prices but marvelled at the high priority that food was given here and how such the tender loving care was given to the palate.

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We were equally seduced by the local produce and paid tribute to them by simply buying some things at every stop we made, with only a vague concern for our luggage weight. Like giggling, eager children who knew that surprises awaited them at every corner, we played the game of hide-and-seek around the country roads. Each stop was a triumphant find.

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1. Moonhaven’s soaps and creams in Cowamarup was our first stop. TC, who normally turns his nose up at holistic and natural healing methods, was actually inclined to buy some salve and soap.

2. And having visited the Swan valley’s chocolate factory, we still went back to the Margaret River one.

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3. Nuts and Cereals was next. Putting out all the samples for trying was a guaranteed way of making me melt.

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4. The Natural Olive Oil Soap Factory which we mistakenly thought of as a small stall that could potentially disappointed. I stand humbly corrected and remain a newly minted fan of all that they have. Half of the store is dedicated to skin care, and the other half appeals to the stomach.

I remember sitting in the car at the end of the day, feeling rather dazed, and looked at the packages that were steadily piling up at the back of the car. It would have been perfect, TC mused, if there were a tea plantation and factory to cap it all off. It was however, quite enough for me.

Tags : AustraliaMargaret RiverWestern Australia

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