A sumptuous four-course menu laden with locally grown produce, enjoyed beside a warming bonfire in the middle of a paddock.
This is just one of the more than 40 amazing experiences available to patrons of this year's Taste Great Southern festival, which will return from May 4-14.
This year the popular event is billed as 11 days of fresh local food, boutique wines and the amazing flavours of the Great Southern among majestic landscapes and features more than 20 local, State and nationally acclaimed chefs.
Events will include a range of long lunches, dinners, degustations, premium pairing events, community markets, music events, wine sessions and more.
On Friday, May 5, Gloria Dieu Orchard, at Mt Barker, will host Fire and Feast, which Annecke Theron said was their first involvement in the event and promised to showcase the value-added products produced by her, husband Johan and their three children on the property.
The family produce fresh apricots from their 2000 tree-orchard, but in recent years have looked to value-added products to make a better return.
This has meant they now offer a range of freeze-dried fruit, jams, chutneys and carob and yoghurt-coated product to make the most of their own fruit, along with strawberries and apples from nearby properties that they buy and process to help achieve zero waste.
"We came to the realisation that it wasn't about the volume or taste of the fruit that we were producing that would dictate our income - it was the commercial market that set the prices," Ms Theron said.
"So we came up with a brand and the value-added products and we are using those to tell our story to people who are starting to want to know more about food and where it comes from."
Over the past five or six years they had done more capital building on the property and now had a premises that served as a farm shop, café and point-of-sale.
They live five kilometres from a strawberry farm, from which they started taking seconds and other strawberries destined for waste, and started to make freeze-dried produce and wine from them.
They also produce grass-fed lamb from their Australian White and White Dorper flock, which they sell direct to customers.
Ms Theron was looking forward to the intimate on-property outdoor event, for which 35 tickets were available, as the menu had a bit of a twist in homage to her and Johan's South African roots.
The entrée is a grazing table including baked camembert with apricot, Gloria Dieu yoghurt-dipped fruit chips, South African lamb sosaties, Gloria Dieu strawberry relish and apricot chutney, Great Southern olives and other artisan products matched with its strawberry wine.
This will be followed by a main of a wooden fire spit, grass-fed lamb with jus, baby potatoes with garlic and lemon, with matched wine from West Cape Howe.
Dessert is apricot crumble served with vanilla ice cream and Gloria Dieu apricot port, then another grazing table.
"It's the first time we've been involved with Taste Great Southern and we've grown almost everything on the menu, so it's exciting to be able to showcase that," Ms Theron said.
"And to be able to eat the meal next to the orchard and paddocks where the food is grown is very exciting.
"With 35 people it will be small enough to be cosy and casual and allow us to conduct the evening on a personal level, explaining what we do and why."
Supported by the WA Government, through Tourism WA's Regional Events program, Taste Great Southern has been running since 2004 and has grown to become the most significant wine and food tourism event in the region.
The Djeran Celebration with Fervor at the 6000-year-old Oyster Harbour Fish Traps, in Lower King, will promote the cultures of the Menang, Koreng and Pibelman people at their traditional meeting place and food source and will include a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony, followed by a foraging tour focusing on foods available in the Djeran season.
The inspirational role of women in regional areas will also be highlighted at the annual Women of the Region lunch at The Dam, Denmark, with locals sharing their stories as part of the 2023 focus on successful female small business owners who have made a difference.
Some events over the 11-day period will be free, including the Shop Local - Eat Local appearance by celebrity chef and restaurateur Gary Mehigan at the Albany Farmers Market on May 13, a Sunday Sundowner at the Katanning Leisure Centre on May 7, Saturday Jazz on the Green at Plantagenet Wines, Mt Barker and Jazz@Eve at Eve late night bar in Albany, both on May 13.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
The full program of events and booking links are available at wineandfood.com.au/taste-great-southern/
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