Monday, April 11, 2011

Esperance. Food, wine, snakes and beaches….

 An Esperance Beach from Twilight Beach Road 7 April 2011 (Photo Louise Percy)

Our exploration of Esperance is complete. From the rugged, secluded beaches of the Cape Arid National Park to the expansive beaches reached by Twilight Beach Road we have swum, walked, romanced and dined along the Southern Ocean coastline.

Jo at Tentacles  (Photo: Louise Percy)
And the food we have had! Esperance is renowned as a place for wonderful fish and we met Jo at Tentacles of Esperance seafood on our second day of discovery. She is very knowledgeable about the local fish and advised me almost daily about what was fresh and gave suggestions on how I should try to cook it. I love cooking and came to Esperance with the intention of trying many new, particularly Asian recipes. I bought my wok and bamboo steamer…and the tasting sensation of Kylie Kwong’s recipe for line caught bar cod steamed with ginger and shallots was sublime, even if I do say so myself! The bar cod had arrived fresh from the fishing boat only a few hours before I cooked it. We are actually taking about 3kgs of fresh fish back to Perth with us when we leave in a few days.

Picnic at Dolphiin Cove, Cape Arid National Park (Photo Louise Percy)
During one of our day long excursions to Cape Arid we discovered Dolphin Cove, a perfectly shaped bay, with talcum powder coloured sand and azure, crystal clear water…we swam, walked the stunning beach, met a baby dugite snake slithering between the rocks and enjoyed a picnic between swims. A truly magical day in a small piece of paradise.

And sometimes when exploring it is possible to find a hidden gem. About 40 kms from Esperance is Dalyup River Estate winery. We met with Tom and Jenny Murray and they explained to us the skepticism of their neighbors when they began planting vines in 1976. No-one had ever attempted to grow grapes, let alone make money from wine in the Esperance area. But their neighbors soon changed their mirth to merriment when the Murrays began winning awards for their wine. We will go back to the vineyard today to stock up on their Duke (cabernet sauvignon, merlot, shiraz) and Stokes (shiraz)wines – named for various aspects of the Esperance region – to take back to Perth.

The Duke 2008 with flowers from the garden at Paperbark Cottage (Photo Louise Percy)

At the Tanker Jetty from Thursday to Sunday evenings Beryl’s Eats van pulls in alongside the beach and sells some of Australia’s most famous hamburgers. The family run business has been going for over 30 years and the current owner, John, is rightly proud of his heritage…and his products. It’s a real institution in Esperance and as John explained when we visited, he started going there as a teenager and now owns the business. When asked to recommend his favourite hamburgers replies….”all of them”!

John and his Beryl's Eats Van (Photo Louise Percy)
So, tomorrow our adventure takes us to Woody Island, the only island in the Recherche Archipelago able to be visited. We are staying overnight in an eco-safari tent. The gourmet meal will include kangaroo on the barbecue, with a perfectly matched bottle of Dalyup River Estate Duke…I wonder what the wild, native kangaroos on the island will think of that!

2 comments:

  1. Stop teasing us with these spectacular views, gorgeous food and wines! This really sounds like Paradise to me :) Martine

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  2. Yes, it's a perfect part of the world...a little piece of paradise, indeed!

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