South West Tour Part 4: White Elephant Beach Cafe, McHenry’s Farm Shop, Cowaramup Brewing Company, Howard Park Wines and Gabriel Chocolate
White Elephant Beach Cafe, Gnarabup Beach
The coffee at the White Elephant Beach cafe is good, but the view is spectacular. It’s the Western Australian coast at its breathtaking best with impossibly turquoise water, the constant surge of white crests and crashing of waves.
After our bushtucker feast, it’s time for coffee and cake. Our early morning coffees seem an eternity ago – so we don’t hesitate to order large flat whites all around, served in mugs.
After chomping down on crocodile, smoked roo and emu and chewing the bum end of a witchetty grub, I’m more than ready for cake – on the plate are slices of carrot cake with cream cheese icing, halva cake topped with roasted flaked almonds and apple and cinnamon tea cake.
It would be too easy to just sit and watch the beautiful world in front of you for hours and hours.
The White Elephant Cafe is operated by the same people behind the Gnarabar, a bar and bistro located within Margarets Beach Resort with Gnarabup Beach just 500 metres away.
White Elephant Beach Cafe
Gnarabup Beach Boat Ramp, Margaret River WA 6285
Telephone: (08) 9757 1990
Open daily 7.30 to 4pm
McHenry’s Margaret River Farm Shop
McHenry’s Farm Shop sells produce of the family farm of Dave Hohnen, the man who established Cape Mentelle and Cloudy Bay wineries. Everything the shop sells is locally farmed and produced, including Arkady Wiltshire lamb, Jarrahdene freerange pork, Hairy Marron olive oils and a range of sausages, bacon, chops and hams. Lunch and homemade cakes, tea and coffee are available on weekends.
Dave Hohnen himself shows us around the shop. His knowledge on the produce and Margaret River region is vast.
The weekend lunch menu is simple fare that makes use of seasonal local produce. Today it’s cauliflower and blue cheese soup (AU$12), lamb kleftiko with crusty bread (AU$25), winter vegetable frittata with greens (AU$14) or a good old toastie with bacon, cheese and tomato on organic bread (AU$8).
The farm shop butchery’s recipe of the week is french onion lamp chops (free recipe flyers are available). The featured meats today are Boatough Black Angus (Karridale), Arkady Wiltshire lamb (Rosa Glen) and Jarrahdene Big Red Pork (Witchcliffe) and there is a carnivore’s delight waiting in the meat fridges. Next time I visit McHenry’s Farm Shop, I’m bringing an esky.
McHenry’s supplies some of Perth’s top restaurants as well as restaurants and wineries in the Margaret River region. Dave gives us a sneak peek into the cool room where the carcasses are kept.
The farm shop is also the cellar door for McHenry Hohnen wines. Dave Hohnen, his daughter Freya and her partner, Ryan Walsh are the winemakers, using grapes grown across four vineyards in the Margaret River wine region.
We enjoy a tasting of McHenry Hohnen wines with sliced pastrami and chorizo.
McHenry’s Margaret River Farm Shop
5962 Caves Road, Margaret River WA 6285
Telephone (08) 9757 9684
Open daily 9am to 5pm
Cowaramup Brewing Company
Cowaramup is located on Bussell Highway, 10km north of Margaret River. Don’t worry if you can’t say “Cowaramup” (“Kuh-wara-mup”). Locals call it “Cow Town”, which is much easier.
Cowaramup Brewing Company is a family-owned microbrewery which produces hand-crafted ales and lagers. The property includes the brewhouse, bar and restaurant with a shaded deck and beer garden. Nine varieties of hops are grown onsite, some of which are used to produce the beers. It may be a brewery, but it’s a family-friendly place, with plenty of space for the kids to run around and a children’s playground.
We are met by bar manager Ross tells us all about the brewing process and the workings of the microbrewery.
After our lesson in brewing, we’re each served a tasting paddle of six beers. A quick intro by Ross, and it’s time to taste and enjoy.
We work right to left, starting at the pale gold pilsener and finish with the last, malty dark ale. They’re all quite bitter to my taste and the Bavarian style wheat beer Cowaramup Hefeweizen is my favourite.
We have some fantastic nibbles to go with the beer – The Brewer’s Choice (AU$30) includes cold meats, dips, cheese, pickles, sundried tomatoes, olives and a potato salad I can’t stop eating. There’s local olive oil and dukkah and hot crisp pizza wedges that taste good even on their own.
Our pizza lunch arrives. Cowaramup Brewing Company’s signature dish is the Cowaramup Special (AU$24), featuring Margaret River venison chorizo, ham, BBQ chicken, roasted capsicum, kalamata olives, mushrooms, sundried tomato, spring onion and BBQ sauce (AU$24).
We also share a Vegetarian Delight (AU$20), with sauteed baby spinach and leek, grape tomatoes, olives, goat and mozarella cheese on Napolitana base with shaved parmesan and blobs of pesto.
The Spicy Chicken (AU$22) has quite a kick. The pizza base is spread with a spicy Asian-style chilli sauce and topped with BBQ chicken, capsicum, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and roasted cashews.
All the pizzas are fresh and loaded with toppings on crisp bases with not a hint of sogginess. My favourite of the three is the Cowaramup Special.
The tasting paddle is great value at AU$14.50 for six tasting glasses of beer. I reckon Jac will love the beer, Brewer’s Choice and pizza – will definitely have to return with her in future.
Cowaramup Brewing Company
229 North Treeton Road, Cowaramup WA 6484
Telephone: (08) 9755 5822
Howard Park Wines
Howard Park is WA’s largest family-owned boutique winery, producing wines using grapes grown in the Margaret River and Great Southern regions. Howard Park is the winery behind the very popular MadFish Wines.
I’ve had enough alcohol by the time we get to Howard Park but am quite content to hang out while the others taste the wines. The cellar door staff are friendly and knowledgeable, happy to keep pouring and talking about wine.
Howard Park Wines
Cowaramup WA 6284
Telephone: (618) 9756 5200
Open 10am to 5pm, 7 days a week
Open 12pm to 5pm on Anzac Day
Closed on Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day
Gabriel Chocolate is makes bean to bar chocolate right here in Yallingup, Western Australia, roasting single origin cocoa beans. You can see sacks of cocoa beans throughout the shop. Like grapes and coffee, cocoa beans grown in different regions around the world under different conditions, temperature, humidity, rainfall and so on develop their own characteristic flavours, reflected in the chocolate. The cocoa beans are hand-sorted and roasted, the chocolate bars produced on the premises and sold in the shop.
Gabriel Chocolate bars come in milk and dark varieties and there are free samples to taste. The staff are happy to guide you through the tasting and share insights into the background and origin of the cocoa beans and the processes involved in making the chocolate.
There’s an ice cream stand inside the shop where you can get scoops of homemade ice cream or handmade chocolate dipped ice cream bars.
The hot chocolate comes out of a special mixer, thick and glossy, before hot milk and froth are added. While you watch your hot chocolate oozing out, you may be tempted by the homebaked treats on the counter – cake, cookies and macarons.
Gabriel Chocolate is currently the only Western Australian company producing single origin bean to bar chocolate. A visit to Gabriel Chocolate may broaden your chocolate horizons and leave you with a deeper appreciation for single origin chocolate and the nuances in the flavours of chocolate. Of course (and importantly), it’s superb chocolate that you can enjoy without worrying about tasting notes. Definitely worth a look – and taste.
Lot 14, 3220 Corner of Caves Road and Quininup Road, Yallingup WA 6282
Telephone: (08) 9756 6689
Open 7 days: 10am to 5pm
TFP visited the Margaret River wine region as a guest of the Wyndham Resort Group. This is the final post in this series.
See the full list of posts in reading order: South West trip, May 2012.
There is so much to see and do in Western Australia’s South West – this really has been just a taste, covered in two and a bit days.