It's a simple truth in the culinary world: food tastes better when it's grown better. From the soil or the water it's grown in to the climate it thrives in to the people who farm it, local produce conveys a sense of place.
Nowhere is this concept more beautifully evoked than Western Australia's Margaret River and Great Southern regions, home to sustainable and ethical produce such as the Leeuwin Coast Akoya. Traditionally grown for pearls, Leeuwin Coast's farm in Albany is the only place in the world to grow Akoya commercially as a culinary delicacy. A delicate pearl oyster native to Western Australia, grown in the pristine waters of Albany and harvested using innovative aquaculture techniques, the Leeuwin Coast Akoya is featured on the summer menus of some of the region's finest restaurants.
Guided by his Galician heritage, Voyager Estate's head chef Santi Fernandez uses a light, minimalist touch in his continually evolving seven-course signature Discovery experience, aiming at all times to pay tribute to the wines, honour the ingredients and create a true culinary sense of place.
"Some might think sourcing only locally is restrictive, but we find it liberating," says Fernandez.
"I love to see where the produce I use comes from and was lucky enough to visit the Albany Akoya farm to see Leeuwin Coast's sustainable techniques in practice. We are lucky to have such a strong and aligned community."
Highlighting just how versatile local ingredients like the Akoya can be, chef Tony Howell at Cape Lodge showcases the Leeuwin Coast Akoya in his weekend Ultimate Summer Brunches menu for an interesting taste experience – a true conversation starter.
"We get fish straight off the boat, vegetables, olive oil, dairy and of course the amazing Leeuwin Coast produce from the beautiful Albany waters all sourced with ethical practices and sustainability in mind," says Howell.
"Western Australia has the most pristine environment and waters and to top it off farmers and producers that really care about the product – and you can taste the difference!"
Brought to you by Harvest Road.