When we arrived to live in Bunbury nearly five years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. It was a small regional town set deep in an area I knew little about, and a big part of me yearned to live in Sydney or Brisbane.
“I bet nothing goes on in Bunbury,” our kids said deprecatingly, and deep down I thought the same. It took us a while to uncover Bunbury’s bounty which includes the fact that it’s a vibrant city situated on three waters; The Indian Ocean, The Leschenault Estuary and the Leschenault Inlet.
Since our first days in Bunbury, the city has widened its girth and grown both in population and popularity.
It’s Western Australia’s third largest city, and not only does it have great beaches but it’s host to a growing number of wine, food, arts and crafts festivals,
One such event is the Geographe Crush Food and Wine Festival, or The Crush as it’s known locally, which is an annual event held in Bicentennial Square where wine makers and wine producers from the Geographe region come together to showcase their wines.
I couldn’t attend the Crush this year, so roving reporter and ZigaZag reader, Catherine Curnow kindly took my place and had a wonderful time sampling wine and food and chatting to attendees and participants.
So a big Thank You to Catherine, and here’s her story…
The Geographe Crush Food and Wine Festival
It was all systems go in the lead up to the opening of the 7th Geographe Crush Food and Wine Festival. For two days before the event I’d been watching with fascination as everything came together.
Having cycled past the venue early on Saturday morning, my husband and I saw the hire company in full swing setting up tents, marquees, tables and chairs ready for the big event.
On the day itself, we arrived soon after the gates opened so that we could take photos and speak to some of the stall holders before the crowd started strolling in.
What’s included in your ticket?
As this was the first Geographe Crush we’d attended we weren’t sure what to expect but we were pleasantly surprised. Included in the ticket/entry fee are lots of wine and food samples, so if you’re attending next year make sure that you’re not only hungry but that you have a designated driver with you.
You can also purchase a broad array of delicious food if you’re feeling hungry, or buy beer, wine or soft drinks to enjoy with your lunch.
Lucky Draws and Competitions
One lucky visitor was destined to win a 3 night stay at the new Bonking Frog Wines vineyard cottage. Speaking of Bonking Frogs, I remember a letter to a local newspaper chastising the winery for using a rude name for their business.
I was very interested to read the owners’ reply the following week!
Bonking frog is the nickname given to the Western Banjo Frog which is found on the Bonking Frog Wines’ property. The frog’s call is a very loud “bonk” noise.
People come back year after year
We met up with Colleen Maguire who said she and her family have attended all seven Geographe Crush events. Colleen says they wouldn’t miss it for quids. As she says “Bunbury has many fabulous events. All are enjoyable, and well worth supporting”. Colleen’s favourite winery in the region is Pepperwood Estate.
Then we caught up with our South West Cycle Club buddies, Lynn and Graeme, who had chosen the healthy option of cycling to the event with their friends.
It was a pleasure to meet Mick Ryan and Pauline North of Preston Valley Grove in Donnybrook We sampled Preston Valley Grove’s delicious Chilli Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil which won a silver medal for “Best in Western Australia” at the recent Perth Royal Show. Equally delicious was their Rosemary Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil which won a gold medal for “Best in the South West”, also at the Perth Royal Show.
Grape growing and viticulture in the Ferguson Valley
My husband Greg enjoyed chatting with Victor Bertola of Talisman Wines. Victor shared a wealth of information about growing grapes and making wines in the fertile lands of the Ferguson Valley. Talisman Wines won “Best White Varietal” for their 2013 Sauvignon Blanc at this year’s Geographe Wine Show. They also won “Best Sauvignon Blanc” for their 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Fume. A favourite taste test for us was the multiple award winning 2010 Talisman Shiraz.
But it’s not all about the wine …
Spice is Nice
The crowd descended upon the Whittington’s spice stall just moments after I asked to take some photos and have a chat with them. Ernest handed me his business card and directed me to their website for more information. I have copied the following spiel directly from the Whittington’s homepage:
“Whittington’s have been blending fine herbs & spices in Perth Western Australia since 1975. This Australian owned company takes pride in supplying customers with one of the broadest ranges of herbs, spices, essences, essential oils, traditional herbs and mustards.”
We enjoyed tasting the piquant flavours of both Whittington’s Chilli Mustard, and their Mustard Spiced Dukkah.
Pizza Queens an innovative new business
Even though Jules Colson and her team were flat out preparing tapas, tortillas and tasting plates for a number of customers, she still made time to have an enthusiastic chat about her business. A brilliant business concept, Perth based Pizza Queens is the brainchild of Jules and her business partner, Izabel. They can bring their mobile pizza and/or tapas ovens to your home or business, catering for your party or work function on site. As the day’s temperature was rising we didn’t feel up to the delicious looking hot Potato & Chick Pea Curry so we settled for a delectable antipasto tasting plate instead.
Music and Entertainment
What do some of us like to do when we’re indulging in our favourite food and wine? Listen to music, of course!
We enjoyed the entertainment before meeting Lee and Brian, Perth based importers of SSASS Vibration Speakers. These tiny gadgets are designed to work with most portable audio devices. To quote a comment from the SSASS Facebook Page: “It turns your iPod into a Boom Box!”
Old friends, new friends and wine
A highlight of the day for me was meeting up with an old school friend, Kathryn Keefe (our mothers have also known each other since childhood, so yes, we’re locals from way back!)
Kathryn and her husband Ashley own Green Door Wines which is situated in the picturesque Ferguson Valley. We recommend Green Door’s 2011 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre, which a group of us enjoyed with dinner after the Geographe Crush. I’ve just done a bulk order online and found their website very easy to navigate.
I very much enjoyed tasting St Aidans’ Myra Muscat Blend which won a silver medal at the 2013 Geographe Wine Show. The wine was released to the public for the first time at the Geographe Crush event.
We resisted the temptation to take on the crowd and walk a second lap of the venue, despite the fact that we had intended to return to some of the stalls to make purchases to take home.
Oh well, there’s always on-line ordering or, better still, a visit to some of the fabulous wineries in the near future.
If you’d like to read more about the festival or Geographe Bay wines, then why not click on these links to previous posts about Geographe Wines and the Geographe Crush Festival or The Ferguson Valley.
Catherine Curnow : I’m a middle aged woman who’s tried several careers including Nursing, Teacher Aide andOffice Admin (which I still do). I’ve FINALLY worked out that I want to be a writer when I grow up!
Once our 3 sons left home my husband and I embarked on a health and fitness regime, walking for miles and losing 70kg of excess weight between us for a start. These days I tease my husband that we’re in our honeymoon phase (kids aren’t dependent on us, nor are our parents - yet!) and we’re lucky that we get to do as much swimming, running, hiking & cycling as we want. In this picture I’m completing my 3rd Women’s Triathlon which was a real blast.
I currently run the office/admin side of our small construction business, and I look forward to the day my husband retires so I can get stuck into my new writing career.
My WordPress name of jkriter came about because I tell our sons that I COULD be the next JK Rowling, writer. It doesn’t hurt to dream on a grand scale, does it? Here’s a link to my blog JKWriter if you’d like to read what I’m up to.
Just wondering if you have a favourite festival that you enjoy attending? What is it and Where in the world is it? Please share in the comments.