What to bring back from Australia

As those of you who subscribe to the C&Z newsletter already know, I am just about to fly off to Australia for the Perth Writers’ Festival. I will be spending time in Perth and Albany — that’s it for this trip, but I’ll be back! — and participating in four fun events (detailed list here) with fellow writers.

I hope to have a little time to explore both cities and I am wondering, excitedly: besides Vegemite, what edibles should I be sure to taste and/or bring back? How about drinks, tools, books, magazines, small animals? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Update: Read the follow-up post What I brought back from Oz and see which of your fabulous suggestions I was able to explore!

  • Myrtle

    Try Tim Tams. mm.

  • http://www.toomanychefs.com Meg

    I don’t know if it’s local to Perth, but Barramundi is a lovely fish – a beautiful delicate flavour and tender texture. And you could check out the growing local olive oil market: a friend of mine from Adelaide has a olive farm and the oil is delicious, peppery and complex.

    I’m so jealous – we visited for our honeymoon and just fell in love with the country, the food and the people!

    Bon voyage!

  • M.

    Bush tucker! You should be able to find someone who can tell you about bush tucker!

    I second the barra recommendation BUT I think it’s an east-coast fish. You should still be able to find it, but it might not be as fresh as a lot of the other fish you find – and Perth is a great city for fresh fish!

    In particular, the coast north of Perth (around the Geraldton area) has a native lobster (well, it’s not really a lobster, but that’s what they call it) which is smaller than real lobster and the flesh is sweeter. Certainly worth trying.

    You probably already know about Australia’s native macadamia nuts – if not you really must try some, as fresh as you can find :) And talking of oil – macadamia oil is also pretty special, and fantastic on salads!

    Pleaaaaaase make sure you try some kangaroo (and emu and crocodile if you can, but DEFINITELY the kangaroo). If you cook it yourself: it’s best rare (it is easily overcooked and toughened, but rare it is sublime) and goes really well with lemony (although I recommend lemongrass rather than actual lemon) and peppery flavours.

    I would stay away from Australian cheese unless you see something really interesting, if you can cope without it, because you WILL be disappointed. It is a lot better than it used to be, but the best stuff is expensive and nowhere near as good as even the cheaper cheese in Europe (especially France).

    In general, I think you will enjoy the freshness and the range of the produce. mmmmmm mangoes … especially if you can find a farmers’ market. Plus Australia in general has a much bigger range of south-east asian food than Europe does, and a bigger range of south-east asian-type ingredients.

    I wouldn’t expect too much of Albany, by the way (although they should have decent fish) – it is actually a pretty small town, and still relatively provincial (for that matter, Perth can be, too, in some ways). Although that may be/seem different during the writers’ festival.

    It’s also worth checking out some Australian wines. Some of our best wineries are in the Margaret River region (south of Perth), and the Barossa Valley (in SA) is another good region.

    Have a fantastic time!

  • http://adrianmoore.blogspot.com adrian

    A change purse made from a kangaroo scrotum! They’re all the rage now!

  • Laura

    A Tim Tam Slammer!

  • siobhan

    This is really exciting. I’m Australian, but live in London. I’ve never been to Western Australia but have heard only good things.

    Barramundi fish is available, but may not be local – it actually is native to the far north of Australia.

    Something that I thought you might be interested in is an ice creamery that I’ve heard of (but unfortunately never had the chance to visit). It’s called Simmos.

    If you’re interested in wine, then the Margaret River region has some of the best wine in Australia, as mentioned above.

    Have a great time.

  • http://threedogsandababy.blogspot.com kim

    I clearly can’t compete with kangaroo scrotum but when anyone I know goes to Australia I usually persuade them to bring a package of Tim Tams back.

  • http://fidgetyknitting.wordpress.com stinkerbell

    as many boxes of caramel tim tams as you can fit into your luggage :)

  • Constancia

    The breakfasts in Australia are the best I’ve ever had when traveling, though I never made it to the west coast, so I don’t know if what I saw up and down the east coast holds true in Perth. Brisbane has the very best crystallized ginger, but I had trouble finding it in Sydney and Melbourne, so snatch it up if you see it and don’t count on getting it later in the trip.
    I love reading your blog, which I discovered when searching for restaurants near our Paris neighborhood (Abbesses), and have since tried several recipes, both there and back home, 50 km north of NYC. The orange-ginger cake was fabulous, and I served the cauliflower gratin for Xmas dinner.
    Bon voyage!

  • Donina

    Memories of meals in Melbourne. Yes, I know you’re going to Perth and Albany, but perhaps there’s time for Pearl, Vue de Monde (spelling mistake intentional), Attica and Taxi Dining Room. And perhaps Movida

    It seems such a shame to come all this way and not visit Melbourne.

    But if you can’t come to the east coast, do get hold of some Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey. Also, Australian shiraz (or syrah – whichever you prefer) is very different to the French equivalent. Australian shiraz is bolder, more peppery but wonderful. The best shiraz comes from the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Hopefully a Perth person can give you a recommendation of a decent bottle/wine shop.

    I also second the olive oil suggestion.

    Hope you enjoy your stay :-)

  • susanna

    There is a woman making beautiful goats cheese in WA, I think her name is Gabrielle Kavella (?) her cheese is definitely up to international standards. There may be other cheese available made by South Australian and Victorian boutique cheese makers that are definitely worth trying. A number exhibited in Italy last year.

    Try some of the indiginous fruit, and don’t forget to try Australian truffles from Tasmania!


  • pamela-jane

    Just for the record, Barra(as it’s known locally) is a very ancient species belonging to the perch family, indigenous to the Ashburton River in Western Australia to the Noosa River in Queensland. So West Aussies do consider it a local fish (even though the northwest of WA is many thousands of km away from Perth).

    The western rock lobster or western crayfish, Panulirus cygnus, is a spiny lobster found off the west coast of Australia and is Australia’s most valuable fishery. Also native to the southwest of WA is the freshwater crayfish, called Marron…sweet & succulent and well sought after. Some argue that it’s tastier than it’s eastern cousin, the yabbie.

    The Great Southern Wine Region, which incorporates Albany, Mt Barker, Denmark, Porongurup & Frankland, produces world class wines – particularly cool-climate Shiraz.

    Balthazzar, Jacksons, Star Anise, Must Wine bar (in the Perth metro area) and Wild Duck (Albany) feature in Gourmet Traveller’s top 100 Restaurants….and are exceptionally good, in my experience.

  • Donina

    Hmmm I forgot to think about books and magazines. Look for Maggie Beer’s book Maggie’s Harvest and Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion. Both of these books are by wonderful Australian women. The books are also terribly heavy, so beware excess luggage!

  • Mike Wascher

    Never acquired a taste for vegemite.

    On a drive through the wine country we found some wonderful wines that aren’t exported to the US.

    During a stay at an apartment in Queensland, when stocking the kitchen we found the spices (just off the shelves from the supermarket) were of high quality so brought a few jars back.

  • http://www.winosandfoodies.typepad.com barbara

    Perth is my home time although I now live on the east coast , which is far from Perth. Movida in Melbourne is fabulous but not an option from Perth.I visited Albany two years ago and didn’t find anything of interest food/wine wise in Albany itself. However I’m assuming you will probably drive through areas like Denmark, Franklin River, Mt Barker and possibly Margaret River and Manjimup. Depends on whether you do a circuit or Albany there and back. WA cannot compete with the architecture and ambience of a big European city so enjoy the space and lack of people, beautiful beaches with white sand stretching to the horizon,dark towering karri forrests, colours of the land at sunrise or sunset, brightly coloured and loud birds, the kangaroos who are out early morning or at dusk. Watching them is an entertainment in itself, especially if two of the adolescent ones are trying to be top roo. The wine region of Margaret River is more sophisticated than the upcoming areas around Albany ( Denmark, Franklin River)Do visit Madfish Bay at Denmark on the way to Albany just to see the ocean. Enjoy some of the rustic cellar doors. Castle Rock and Old Kent I seem to remember have fabulous views from their cellar door. For wines look for reisling, cab sav, shiraz. You will find the usual wine cellar door souveniers including local olive oil, lavendar products, macadamia nut, fudge (try lemon myrtle flavour). Dining out try marron (a fresh water cray), calamari,prawns, blue swimmer crabs. Always ask if the seafood is local as much is imported from Asia. Barramundi is from further north but available in restaurants in Perth and Albany. Meats like kangaroo, ostrich and venison are all farmed and freely available. Crocodile is from further north and often available also. You will get mangoes but they will have been grown further north. DON’T FORGET to take a can or Aerogard as there are flies. If you are going to do a lot of walking outside I would even take a hat with a veil to keep the flies off. Strawberry Tim Tams in a pink packet are my favourite but they are only available in October to support Breast Cancer research. Try the original Tim Tam or caramel and they come in dark chocoalte also. Avoid the Black Forest flavour – awful synthetic taste. A Tim Tam slam is where you bite one corner off the biscuit and the diagonally opposing corner and then use it as a straw to drink your tea or coffee. The slam is getting the biscuit into your mouth before it falls into your drink. Have fun Clotilde. I’m sure you will love it.
    Check page 4 of the following link for some WA photos.

  • http://www.cook-books.com.au Judy

    Clotilde, have a wonderful time. Cherry Ripe chocolate bars, Fruit Tingles (Princess Mary of Denmark misses them!), Margaret River wines.
    And at least one Tim Winton novel – Cloudstreet, Dirt Music, The Turning. He captures the essence of WA like no other author. Take one back to Paris, read it and you’ll feel like you’re back in WA. Hope to see you in Paris in April.

  • http://www.winosandfoodies.typepad.com barbara

    I meant to include Spice the magazine which features all local prodcue and people.
    It is edited by popular blogger Anthony http://www.manthatcooks.com/

  • http://www.winosandfoodies.typepad.com barbara

    One more thing Yallingup Wood Fired bread.

  • Tracy

    Hi Clotilde
    I had hope to attend one of your events while you’re in WA, but as luck would have it, will be in Sydney the whole time you’re here… sigh…
    I would say Pamela-Jane’s restaurant recommendations are spot on. Wild Duck in Albany is sensational. Must and Star Anise also brilliant. A couple of local products worth trying to get your hands on are Elixir Honey – local raw honey, not heat treated and with wonderful flavour and lots of varieties from local native plants. Also Rochelle Adonis Nougat. Made in Perth by a small producer, using free range eggs, organic nuts, top quality chocolate etc – sensational. New Norcia nut cake (like a panforte) is a useful edible souvenir to take home.
    Cambray Sheep Cheese is also worth trying, but can be quite hard to find. Yabbies are also worth trying (a version of fresh water crayfish). There should be opportunities to try them and marron (similar) around Albany. Barramundi is a local fish (from our north coast), and worth trying, as is dhufish, snapper, local prawns and much else. Albany oysters are also wonderful. If you would like to know where to find any of the above please contact me and I can let you know stockists. Hope you have fun in our part of the world and our super hot weather stays at bay while you’re here.

  • http://abstractgourmet.com Matt of Abstract Gourmet

    Hey Clotilde…

    Finally a little bit of love for Perth and Western Australia, so often left out when it comes to talk of the culinary scene in Australia.

    Of course we do get a little overlooked because we’re so far away from everyone else, but that’s not to say there’s isn’t a lot to love.

    Firstly to address some of the comments… Barramundi is very popular in W.A, but in general Perth is not a great place to get fresh fish (unless you catch it yourself).

    Secondly, Kervella goats cheese is no longer being made. The goats were sold recently and Gabrielle is not making cheese, which is a shame because it was truly world class.

    Thirdly, there are a number of great restaurants in Perth, many of which have been listed here, but plenty more than that too.

    Fouthly, beer and wine ! There are a number of fantastic micro breweries in W.A, Little Creatures being one of them, which has a wonderful bar/restaurant at the brewery. There isn’t much better than watching the sunset there with a drink in your hand.

    The wine in Western Australia is (in my opinion), some of the worlds best. In terms of new world cabernet, Margaret River is close to unrivaled. You’ll find a swath of excellent wines all the way from Perth down to Albany.

    Vegemite is great if you develop a taste for it… which most people don’t unless they live here for a bit, and tim tams… well… they’re chocolate biscuits… not something I’d travel around the world for… but I could be mistaken clearly :)

    I’ll be trying to get to as many of your engagements as I can. Would be great to catch up while you’re here.


  • http://threeforks.wordpress.com Liz

    My significant other is from Perth, and so I visit from time to time. The Fremantle markets are worth exploring, if you want a feel for what locals produce and eat. You can try all sorts of local honeys — the most interesting one I tried was a redgum variety, which tasted like eucalyptus-infused honey. As for barramundi, which many people have recommended, I’d go check out Cicerello’s (http://www.cicerellos.com.au/index.htm). They have gorgeous grilled barramundi and chips, and are a local institution.

    Drink-wise, local wines are good, but you should try a Bundaberg ginger beer. It’s not local to WA, but is delicious and worth trying anyway. So are mint slices, if you’re already in the biscuit isle for Tim Tams.

    A few other items to try / look into:
    -Anzac biscuits, which feature golden syrup and oats
    -Pavlova, which was either invented in -Australia or New Zealand (depending on who you’re talking to)
    -The Cook and the Chef have some interesting ideas (http://www.abc.net.au/tv/cookandchef/) and are the most endearing odd pair I’ve seen on a cooking show in a while.

    Finally, there’s a local source for truffles in Perth. I haven’t tried any myself, but am very, very curious…

    Enjoy your trip!

  • Justine

    Re Bush tucker: Lemon myrtle leaves (can be found dried or powdered) give a lovely zing to meat/fish and even biscuits/cookies (your sables come to mind); pepperberries likewise; Davidson’s plum relish/jam is good too.

    I second the Maggie Beer recommendation; also Margaret River & New Norcia monastery.

    Seafood would be good in Perth I imagine (am from Brisbane and have never actually made it over to the West) – particularly marron; lobster; prawns I think.

    Vegemite is definitely an acquired taste; once you do though, there’s no going back and it’s addictive!
    Enjoy Oz!

  • c

    my fave australia food experiences are the simple, every day ones with pleasant surprises:

    Ordering coffee anywhere is so fun and quality is good wherever you go — the lingo is completely differnt ! I love “flat white”. Australia milk tends to be really good too! Aussies are also big on hot chocolate (with marshmallows!)

    and already lots of mention of tim tams.

    plus great selection of potato chips and snacks in the everyday supermarkets – lime and black pepper, chili lime, and soysauce chicken (?) potato chips, sundried tomatoe and cracked pepper doritos!

    it is a great country – have a wonderful time

  • jean

    I would second the kangaroo recommendation – delicious when barbecued to rare (and of course far more sustainable than beef).

    Also try sparkling shiraz, which is delicious and goes very well with duck and lamb.

    When I lived overseas I always took back jars of gourmet spice pastes and condiments, which are of a quality i couldn’t get in the States. I would especially recommend the Reuben Solomon(husband of Charmaine Solomon) harissa, the Peter Watson chilli jam (made with apple and delicious with fried eggs and bacon) and the Christine Mansfield range. All should be available at david jones and myer department stores.

    Haighs chocolates are also very good, but I’m not sure they have a store in Perth.

  • Lord Daniel

    As an Australian and a cheese connoisseur, I can only say this: avoid Australian cow milk cheese. It is all made from pasteurised milk and although the first bite can be decent, there is no depth of flavour and the aftertaste is severely lacking. The sheep and goats milk cheeses seem a little better, though I have been unable to find European equivalents to test them against.
    In addition to vegemite and tim tams, I’m told the Cherry Ripe chocolate bar is not available outside Australia, so perhaps worth a try. It is akin to a flatttened dark chocolate bounty, with the addition of minced glace cherries.
    It is a pity you are missing Melbourne, it is the food capital of Australia
    Do not expect to find seafood any cheaper near the coast. Unless WA does things differently, the vast majority of seafood goes for export and we locals are left paying ridiculous prices for the remains. Australian restaurants also have a disturbing tendency to drain oysters completely, so you do not get the lovely oyster-seawater mix that you get in oysters served in Brittany, for example.

  • jean

    ps re magazines
    delicious, Vogue Entertaining & Travel and Australian Gourmet Traveller are all great food magazines.

  • Melissa

    Hi Clotilde

    Love your blog but this is the first time I’ve commented. Perth is my home town although these days I live in Melbourne, way over the other side of the country. Some good suggestions from people above, definitely try the wines, Simmo’s icecream is pretty good, and there are a few good gelati bars around the place. Have brekky (Australian slang for breakfast) at one of the cafes by Cottesloe Beach and a swim to follow! Van’s cafe in Cottesloe is also very nice indeed. If you have a chance on the way down to Albany, stop in Margaret River for some wine tasting, Cullen, Vasse Felix, Cape Mentelle, are three of the best down there — quality-wise and also fairly reasonable prices. Great reds from that area and whites range from middling to yummy (a semillon-sauvignon blanc is the popular choice). The cheese lady mentioned above, although I heard she’s retiring. Lots of locally grown olive oil these days. Fremantle market is the closest you’ll get to a farmer’s market there at the moment. Little Creatures Brewery down in Fremantle has great beer and decent food. Fish and chips for a greasy but delicious meal, gummy shark is the fish of choice.
    Oh and be aware, the service in Perth restaurants leaves a lot to be desired as there is a bit of a shortage of staff due to the mining boom up north. And my husband reckons coffee in Perth is substandard, so consider yourself warned.
    And definitely come back to Australia to visit Melbourne and Sydney sometime, fabulous food available here!

  • Marcia

    I saw your cookbook for the first time today in Atlanta, GA.

    I know your dilemma as I am going to Hawaii in mid April and wonder what I should bring back. I always get a cookbook and a calendar of the places I visit. All books will be in a shopping bag as a carry on.

    Maybe you can find a calendar. With each month, you can remember your trip. A cookbook is a good way to learn about the culture, I have about 700 and at least 80 are from places I have visited in the last 20 years.

  • Sophiamariabarrister

    What a great part of Australia for your first visit – its wonderful and wild.

    Any produce you encounter from the Margaret River region (particularly the wine) is fantastic.

    I concur that you might see if you can try Barramundi, Kangaroo. And the unique flavours of bush herbs/spices/berries. And in the same breath – any restaurant with a modern Australian bent should leave you grinning.

    The Little Creatures Brewery at Freemantle is not to be missed – a great boutique beer brewery with casual but great restaurant attached – housed in the factory space – tapas style sharing plates and great ambience.

    I agree on Tim Winton- Cloudstreet is probably the best, and easiest to get wrapped up in.

    Also the recommendation on Maggie Beer’s book Maggie’s Harvest and Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion (and the weight warning!)

    finally though, I’m sorry but whilst some love them (clearly) I find Tim Tams fairly average, low quality over processed chocolate blah.

    But that’s just me – you decide. And I hope have a brilliant trip…


  • http://niallniallorangepeel.blogspot.com Niall

    During a trip to Perth (from Sydney) last year I was very pleasantly surprised by the wines from the Swan Valley. It’s not nearly as well known as Margaret River – but has the advantage of only being about 20 minutes drive from the Perth CBD. My pick of the vineyards was The Olive Farm.

    I’d certainly second everyone else’s comments about WA seafood. The other time I visted Perth I was served some prawns that were about 20 cm long – and delicious!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Honey. Definitely a lot of honey. Australia is perhaps to best honey producer in the world (ok, New Zealand might have a problem with that.)

    Honey you can get there are very different than what you can get in at home. Try Stringy Bark honey or Tasmanian Leatherwood honey. They are intensely delicious. Or even the more common Red Gum or Blue Gum honey. Bring back some Jellybush honey too if you could find them, they are not only delicious but reputed to have better antibiotic property than many modern drugs.

    Have a great time!

  • Samantha

    Not quite as sophisticated as some of these other suggestions, but I highly recommend you pick up some Violet Crumble bars while in Australia.

    These are chocolate bars with a honeycomb centre, and are completely delicious. You can also break them into little pieces for a compound butter that will go wonderfully with pancakes and other breakfast delights.

  • or

    make sure to have lunch and do some wine tasting at the Cullen vineyard (http://www.cullenwines.com.au/) around Margaret River.
    The setting is lovely, food is delicious and wine even more delicious. Also in the area is Olio Bello, local olive oil producers… they have some very nice blends (http://www.oliobello.com/).

  • http://www.herestheveg.blogspot.com Cindy

    You might like to take home some native spices, such as lemon myrtle and wattle seed. They are still something of a novelty, but can be found in many gift shops and gourmet food stores.

  • http://www.toomanychefs.com Meg

    Just thought of another and a quick skim of the comments makes me think it hasn’t been mentioned: sparkling Shiraz wine. Find a good wine shop and ask them if they have a really nice one – it’s a complete trip having a dry, complex, RED, sparkling wine. Definitely worth bringing back to surprise your friends here in Paris!!

  • swan

    Hi Clotilde
    I’ve just spent a week in perth and surroundings and really enjoyed it. I second Fremantle because the habourside is nice and informal and has beautiful sunsets, the brewery is nice and it’s just a nice village. In Perth there’s a little shop in ‘london court’, a side street from hay street, with lovely local specialties like chocolates, olive oil, spreads, jams, chutneys, nougats – mostly from margareth river and swan valley area.

    In King st. there’s a café/restaurant which is called ‘king ‘or ‘ king street’ as well (nr 74??NR 94??) – Nice food but GREAT olives :-), I charmed them in to selling me a ‘home filled old jam-jar’full of them – a challenge to fly home with but a lovely taste!

    And TimTams ofcourse( original and dark – did not like the caramel) – and milobars – because they’re so australian.

    Also nice to buy – not on the food side – might be a world map with Australia in the middle instead of our usual european view …

    ENJOY a lot!!!

  • Margie

    I’d agree with just about all the suggestions above, but the things I particularly hanker for when I’m not in Australia are Yarra Valley Persian Feta, kangaroo meat, bush spices, honey and fresh fruit, especially mangoes. Oh, and pashmak even though it’s not Australian – I’ve not been able to find it in London and it’s divinely fabulous.

    Hope you have a wonderful time and have some seriously strong sunscreen.

  • Ananke

    Anything with bush tomato – it’s a strange sort of peppery-sweet taste. Makes a great jam or chutney.

    Kangaroo is lovely, but rare is a must (it’s almost totally fat free).

    Macadamias, freshly cracked open with a hammer, are a wonderful thing.

    It’s a pity you can’t head to the Barossa – wonderful produce and one of the few truly sustainable farming areas (well, that whole area).

    Some local producers do have boutique milk, but the only ones I know of are in Queensland.

  • http://bringingupbaby.blogspot.com/ Ceylon Sapphire

    If you want to see what ‘real’ people eat every day, then take a trip into a supermarket:

    BBQ Shapes biscuits and other types like Anzacs, although home made are definately better than store bought. Dont forget to give Arnotts Mint Slices and Chocolate Teddy Bears a try (right next to the Tim Tams!) Heck! In my opinion, the whole biscuit aisle is worth cruising to see what takes your fancy.
    (biscuit {biccy} aisle)

    Freddo Frogs {lots of flavours}
    Caramello Koala
    and Australia has a great reputation (at least in Nth America) for white chocolate {Cadbury brand} (choccie aisle)

    Cheezels and Twisties (chips aisle)

    do you have jelly lollies (candy?) in France such as snakes, jelly babies and the like?

    Nutri-Grain (cereal aisle)

    These are just some of the things off the top of my head that I miss desperately when Im living in Canada.

    Enjoy your trip and for the record, what a pity you are missing the food and cultural capital of Australia by missing Melbourne!

  • http://bringingupbaby.blogspot.com/ Ceylon Sapphire


    forgot to mention things like lamingtons (how’d I do that?) in the cake section and you have to try a meat pie and a sausage roll and if you can find a bakery that sells vanilla slices, well that has to be worth a try too.

  • Rose

    Something that you should try, if you can find it in Perth, is a Farmers Union Iced Coffee. It is from South Australia (my home state) and is a very addictive milk coffee drink, with a luscious caramel flavour. I have a French cousin in Lyon who often pines for this drink!

    A cute souvenir to bring home are the bright yellow and black road-sign wild life stickers. ie “Kangaroo crossing 10km” etc. They take up very little luggage space, and are distinctly Australian.

  • antipodeesse

    Obviously TimTams, Cherry Ripes and wine, but not so obviously: Budlerim Ginger-infused honey, also lemon pepper.

    I had some fabulous sparkling red wine (!) once. Moreton Bay bugs in the seafood line, prawn filled rolls (prawn salad sandwich in a soft bun)…

    Bon voyage, surtout!

  • Cath

    Hi Clotilde.
    I’m a Melbourne girl trying to get hold of the C&Z book – do you know of any way of getting a copy here? Amazon etc. won’t do it and it’s proving pretty hard to track down!

    I agree with the people who aren’t fans of Tim Tams, (or chips/meat pies/sausage rolls! yuck) and with the people who say check out Margaret River produce; wine, cheese – we had Cambray sheep’s cheese, if you see that name anywhere follow it! – and I think it was near Albany where we got hold of some Karri Marri honey. This wood only grows in the south of WA. Great advice to try marron and I agree that Little Creatures brewery is worth seeing if you’ve got the time.
    Wattle seed is a great Australian spice too.

  • Emily

    If you get time try and pick up Cuisine Magazine – it’s a New Zealand publication but you should be able to find it in Australia. It recently won best food magazine in the world at Le Cordon Bleu World Food Media Awards – and is full of wonderful recipe ideas and food stories.

    Check out their website http://www.cuisine.co.nz – if you search the site under ‘Australia’ you’ll find some interesting recommendations/articles – from cheese mongers to restaurant/wine reviews. Plus they have a GREAT recipe search of all their published recipes.

    Bon voyage!

  • lisa

    Ok this seems to be emerging as an archive of all good aussie foods, but so far i’m still missing one thing… the aussie burger!
    The “milk bar” (corner store) burger with tomato, lettuce, cheese, beetroot, pineapple, and an egg (and sometimes bacon). Mmmmm!

    Can’t wait to hear all about your experiences and impressions after your return Clothilde! Have a “bonza” trip!

    - LM

  • Christophe

    TIM TAMS! You can’t go without trying the Tim Tam Slam. Geez, you might as well try out the entire Arnott’s range of biscuits, sure beats the heck of what you can find in UK supermarkets!

    I’ve been living in London for 3 years now, after living in Oz for 10 years, and that’s made me realize how much better and much fresher some of the fruits are down under, things like watermelons seem to have so much more FLAVOUR!

    Also, best seafood in the world.

  • http://www.hotmail.fr celine

    Dear Clothilde, I spent a month in Perth over Christmas. First of all, you need to stay in Fremantle, it’s probably the best part of the city. Go for coffee (or for a ‘flat white’ as they say) at Gino’s. It’s the place to be. For beer and food, I’d recommand Little Creatures Brewery. For fish and chips, Clancy’s and Cicerellos. For a drink, The Norfolk Hotel and The Sail and Anchor. There is also a lovely deli called Kallula Sisters. I can’t remember the exact spelling. Don’t miss the market, you’ll need to go there to buy a hat. In Fremantle, you must buy some Crocs and a ‘rashie’ if you want to do as the Australians do, then go to the beach, Cottesloe is the best one. Breakie by the beach is the thing to do.Don’t forget to take your beautiful crocs. You also have to have a BBQ experience. Try the river. If you want to see some bizarre creatures called Kokka, go to Rottnest Island.Food options are limited on the island but the dome is a safe option, go for the carrot cake.
    If you have enough time, I’d strongly recommand Margaret River. Try to stay at Wildwood River, it’s fantastic. There is also a beautiful eco retreat. Then, I’d recommand the following wineries: Vasse Felix, Voyager, Clairault, Cape Mentell, Pierro. They usually have a cellar door and a restaurant. Have a fantastic trip. Don’t forget to by some Anzacs. Pavlova is technically from New Zeland so I can’t possibly encourage you to try one. Do order Lemon lime and Bitter though or a soya babyccino!!!???, I am not sure Italians would approve of this. xxx

  • Alv

    Try an emu pie (with ketchup) from the Emu Pie Shop on State Route One as you travel south from Perth, around Busselton (cannot remember if it’s north or south of the town but it is sign-posted, on the left hand side as you go south). Suprisingly tasty. The shop has all sorts of emu products from meat pies to emu oil balm, is good for aching muscles!

    In Perth a great place for breakfast or lunch is Fraser’s in Kings Park which has a fantastic view down to the city on the river Swan. Mead’s Oyster Bar for fab seafood and Blue Duck café in North Cottesloe Beach for lovely food and great views over to Rotnest Island.

    Down south great vineyards to visit (as mentioned by others) would be Vasse Felix, Cullens, Cape Grace (we just drank a lovely Chenin Blanc we brought back from WA over the weekend), Eagle Vale (Decanter rated their Shiraz as one of the best in the world!) But don’t forget the vineyards around Perth in the Swan Valley. Pretty good too most have good restaurants attached.

    Near Yallingup there are two great galleries to visit: Yallingup Gallery and nearby Gunyulgup Galleries (has a lovely restaurant attached) we always visit and purchase something (some lovely glassware and wooden bowls). Wooden bowls are definitely worth bringing back along with your Tim Tams (try the chilli chocolate version – v good), Cherry Ripes and Promite (much nicer than Vegemite I think)

    Between Margaret River and Albany make sure you see some of the fantastic forests of Karri and Tuart trees – huge. There’s a tree top walk you can take near to Walpole which is worth it if you can cope with being 38 meters above ground as you walk through the top of the forest.

    I visit WA regularly (my husband comes from Perth but we live in London) and I know you’ll have a great time. No doubt you’ll have many a good barbie. Have fun

  • http://travellust.wordpress.com/ Kailie Bennett

    Antipodes Water (beautiful packaging)
    Pat & Sticks Ice Cream Sandwiches
    Firefly Tonics (http://www.fireflytonics.com/newspage.cfm)

  • http://travellust.wordpress.com/ Kailie Bennett

    + Jones the Grocer (a store)

  • http://www.delactesse.com Merav

    MILO BARS! they’re yummy. :)

  • http://www.mycookinghut.com mycookinghut

    I was in Perth for my Uni many years ago and I agree with M. that you should try Emu’s meat. I tried it at a Chinese Restaurant in Northbridge and it was absolutely delicious. It was a simply stir-fry with Ginger and Spring Onions!
    Also, not to miss Abalones!! They have loads there.
    Fremental is definitely worth a visit – try Fish and Chips there! A Classic!
    If you like Japanese food, I used to go to Matsuri. Or Samurai, which is famous for fried chicken! yum!

  • Jonathan

    Ooh if you like your teas make a visit to T2 (t2tea.com.au), I recently stocked up there while in Melbourne but I believe they have shops across Australia. Beautiful shops and amazing selection of teas from all around the world, not to mention funky pots & cups etc. Then you can do what I do and start matching all the different flavored teas with your favorite foods… Mmm :)

  • FatBoy

    Hahaha. It brought back memories from reading the entries above. It’s been a few years since moving back from Perth to Vancouver (Canada).

    Margaret River wineries – Cullen, Vasse Felix, Cape Mentelle are all good. I particularly liked the little cafe at Rivendell Winery with twin sisters serving the customers.

    If you’re adventurous, do give kite boarding, surfing, wind surfing a try. Or at least watch. Perth & region is world reknown for windsports.

    Not sure if anyone mentioned visiting Rottnest Island off Freo (Fremantle)/Perth. It’s a resort island overrun by quokkas (a type of marsupial) that look like giant rats that stand up on their hind legs!

    Of course, sampling local seafood is amazing but catching your own crayfish or fish is even better. I remember fondly diving into the ocean, catching crayfish and cooking it for dinner!

    There’s a tradition in WA called “sunday sessions” in which one starts inbibing in large amount of alcohol from early afternoon on Sundays. Perth is the first place on earth that I saw grown men & women pissed out of their trees & passed out in the streets every Sunday (in 30+ degree weather)! The bar/pub at CBH (Cottesloe Beach Hotel) is a good place to partake in sunday sessions & to take in the view of the beach.

    I remember outdoor cinemas. Not drive-in theaters like in USA but grass field walk-in theaters with seating where you can picnic or dine alfresco and watch films in the evening. I think there’s one in Kings Park & Mosman Park.

    Other than the experience of being in WA/Perth & area, PEOPLE are wonderful. Maybe you can bring a few of them back to Paris with you in your luggage (I am sure many would love to visit Paris)??

  • Claire

    I have a lovely cookbook that features recipes from various chefs around Australia, these Perth restaurants feature:
    Star Anise
    Jackson’s Restaurant
    Vasse Felix
    No 44 King Street
    Lamont’s East Perth
    Absolutely chez Uchino
    C Restuarant

    I too would be looking to grab a copy of any of Maggie Beer’s cookbooks or products (her verjuice is super!). It is heavy so a fun idea would be to purchase her DVD ‘the cook and the chef”. Check out Donna Hay’s cookbooks as well, all very simple but inspiring, I use her “Food Fast” regularly.

  • Donina

    To Cath who asked about the C&Z book in Melbourne, I’ve seen it in the window of McGill’s on Elizabeth Street. Good luck.

  • Kalena

    Get a set of Splayds, a unique piece of Aussie cutlery. It is an all-in-one utensil: a fork, a spoon and a knife.
    I also enjoy The Australian Woman’s Weeky cookbook series in soft cover.
    Enjoy yourself!

  • http://www.healthyhelpingstv.com/ Michelle

    I’ll agree with a lot of the above recommends. Specifically the wattle seed (taste like vanilla and coffee great in icecream and cookies), lemon myrtle, Little Creatures beer, honey & Tim Tams (do read up on how to do a slam though). Delicious mag is great as is anything Maggie Beer and Stephanie Alexander. Will Stud has a good book on Aussie cheese too.

    I don’t know where they are in Perth (I’m an Adelaidean) but try to get to a farmers market. Here they feature all the best dairy, local ingredients and confectionery and you get to chat with the producers.

    My best friend who lives in London swears she misses Paris Creek blueberry yoghurt (bdfarmpariscreek.com.au). It’s an adelaide product but they do decent distro through Woolworths.

  • http://thebakerandthecurrymaker.blogspot.com/ Sathya

    Yes! You must must must try Tim Tams while you are here. And of course the wine! Especially over there on the Margaret River. Also please try some of our Aussie cheeses. Wine nor cheese will be like the French but it is wonderful. Um what else. Try a Caramello Koala. They’re small chocolate shapped koalas you can buy in any convenience store. I find these are always a cute little gift when coming from Australia for overseas people. Enjoy! I can’t wait to hear what you think.

  • Sue

    As an Australian living in Paris, my French friends *always* ask for Tim-Tams! I agree that the original and caramel ones are the best.

    I also second (third, fourth, tenth??) that you should try kangaroo. It’s extremely low fat, nutritious and delicious. It’s best marinated for a few hours beforehand in a quality Aussie shiraz served rare.

    No-one has mentioned King Island cream! I haven’t found anything quite like it overseas. Nothing like it served with a slice of tart lemon tart.

    Definitely avoid the cheese – there’s absolutely no comparison with what you get in France. Stupid Australian laws prevent the making of cheese with unpasteurised milk.

    Wine: I love a red from Coonawarra or Margaret River; whites from Tassie.

    Enjoy the sun on your trip!

  • http://www.sallyhammond.com.au Sallyh

    I am a West Australian, and although I live in Sydney now I research Australian regional food. Check my site http://www.australianregionalfoodguide.com for places to see and also the trip diary I wrote about travelling to Albany which is a lovely small coastal town. The Bay Merchants Cafe & Village Store at Middleton Beach is worth visiting as is the Farmers’ Market if you are there on the right day.
    Make sure you go to Fremantle when you are in Perth. It is the port for Perth and has good markets. The Loose Box is also a well respected restaurant just out of Perth with a French chef.
    Pearl meat is something you may come across in an upmarket restaurant. It is the ‘meat’ from inside the oysters which produce pearls in the far north of the state. Abalone is also farmed in WA.
    Have a wonderful time.

  • http://thecanberracook.blogspot.com Cath

    Hello Cath from Melbourne, I’m Cath from Canberra. I got my copy of C&Z from the uni Co-op bookshop, no problem. I’m sure they could order one for you, if your local is out of stock.

    I feel a bit too late to comment; all my suggestions have been made already – kangaroo, emu, wattleseed, lemon myrtle, native pepper, local seafood, mangoes, honey, New Norcia bakery, Freo markets, Margaret River wines, Buderim ginger, King Island dairy for yoghurt & cream & even the cheese. You can get a lot of these things, even the ones you might think obscure, in mainstream supermarkets.

    And the mass culture food – vegemite, timtams, cherry ripes, BBQ shapes etc etc… I heretically prefer crunchie bars to violet crumbles. Small bakeries often do good meat pies and sausage rolls, but the big mass market ones are pretty horrible.

    Clotilde, do be careful with the sun. It’s very strong. Wear a hat and sunscreen, drink plenty of water. Perth can be bloody hot in February; 40 degree days are not at all unlikely.

  • http://bretzeletcafecreme.blogspot.com/ Flo Bretzel

    What a trip! I dream about it. Enjoy!

  • mehdi


    TimTams and Vegemite, I’ve got to know them form my Aussie labmates. Vegemite is an acquired taste, the trick is to put a “very” thin layer on toasted bread, and it’ll quench your salt craving.


  • Andrea

    Some Murray River pink salt flakes. They’re lighter than fleur de sel and have a different texture from Maldon – definitely worth bringing home. Also Australia has some great, grassy olive oils… try Joseph. King Island cream is also delicious!

  • Hilla

    Hi, I know this might sound weird, but something that I always make my Aussie friends bring back for me is tinned tuna in all these cool flavors – curry, roasted pepper, tomato and onion, etc. They’re smaller than US or European tins so they carry easily :) Just a thought!

  • Jacqui Guglielmino

    What a pity you are not coming to the East Coast, you have many fans on this side too.
    If you have a chance to go to New Nocia, they have a fine bakery there and their Biscotti and bread is fabuous! http://www.newnorciabaker.com.au/
    I hope you enjoy your trip, pack you togs That is austrlaian for swimsuit.
    Best wishes
    Jacqui G

  • http://www.tomatom.com Ed

    I’d recoomend two local wine books. James Halliday’s Australian Wine Atlas and his Wine Companion. The former wil give you a great insight in the variou sregions and the later is simply the most comprehensive guide and point rating for Australian wines. It will tell you about many wines you won’t be able to get hold of in Europe. then if you get time go to a good quality bottle shop and take a few bottles home. I’ve noted that many people have nominated Australian herbs and spices. In my experience they are a dissapointment as is Vegamite (an acquired taste) andthe various swets which are really jazzed-up candy (TimTams are similar to English Penguins). Enjoy Perth. It’s a shame you couldn’t make it to the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival where bloggers are on the agenda for the first time.

  • Lord Daniel

    Oh, Cakes. Lamingtons and Pavlova are a must.You would want to find a good restaurant to try the Pavlova I would imagine, store bought ones, even from good franchises, are often a bit dodgy. The very best are made by my aunts but clearly aren’t readily available.
    Peach Melba is believed to have originated in Perth, so worth trying in its ancestral home.

  • Tania

    Fruchocs are a treat – Chocolate balls with apricot centre. Paris Creek Yoghurt is silky smooth. But these are both from South Australia – may be sold in WA?


  • http://www.laroseraie.nl barbara

    there is a fruit from the northern rainforests that are long and green I think and inside there is a caviar looking seeds that taste like lime, nice to experiment with I think. I saw it on readysteadycook UK! good luck

  • London_ducky

    - Tim Tams of course. And don’t forget their friends the Mint Slices.

    - Tasmanian leatherwood honey

    If eating out deifnitely get the local seafood and some pavlova!

  • Chris

    Musk Flavored Lifesavers. Be sure to bring some back no one will believe you. A great little pressie from Down Under.

    Also, I agree with the Tim Tam’s. Get someone to show you the “Tim Tam Suck/Straw”

  • Jo

    Kangaroo meat? Emu oil? Musk flavored Lifesavers? :x. Is there anything vegan/vegetarian in Oz?

  • Eliza

    To Cath from Melbourne who asked about the C&Z cookbook, Tower Books are distributing it locally.

    They have stock and any bookshop that doesn’t have it in stock should be able to get it for you.

  • http://www.bushtuckershop.com/prod24.htm Shannon Rowe

    A jar of wild hibiscus flowers (rosellas) in syrup, an Australian “bush tucker” food.

    Pop one and a little syrup into the bottom of a glass of champagne.

    I had this drink at a very memorable 9 course degustation dinner at Taxi in Melbourne and I’ve never forgotten it.

  • KJ

    I recommend picking up native spices like lemon myrtle, pepper berry and wattle seed. I love it when my aussie in-law send me care packages and I’m curious to see how you might use them in your recipes.

    ….and don’t forget the Tim Tams, not that you would ;) They’re a particular hot item at any Australian Duty Free.

  • http://www.cafe-grendel.blogspot.com Grendel

    Vegetarianism, while not (yet) illegal in Australia, is largely considered akin to supporting terrorists by much of the lamb- munching populace.

    Perth is becoming a great city to visit for food, but much of the focus is on the South West. There are some great olive oil producers – Kalamata oil being a favourite of the locals.

    I’m sure Matt (Abstract Gourmet) will give you some good tips – and from those of us who are lucky enough to be in Perth, but not so lucky as to be able to attend the events, enjoy your stay!

  • http://silvermoon-dragon.blogspot.com/ Suse

    Try a small tin of milo, or if you get the Milo bar, make sure you get the regular sort, and not the milo cereal and milk bar.

    Magazines – delicious is the gourmet type one put out by the Australian Broadcasting Commision, but for a taste of home cooking, Super Food Ideas and Recipes+ are great, and will let you in on how ‘real’ Australians cook.

    I second the Tim Tams, and keep an eye out for the “pink wish” strawberry ones. Yes, they were an October special for breast cancer month, but my local supermarket in Melbourne still sells them – you might get lucky. Also, while native spices might be hard to find or very expensive, most Coles supermarkets stock a range of salad dressings and chutneys etc from Outback Spirit and a few spice blends as well.

    If you have a bit of spare time, Monkey Mia in Shark Bay is less than a two hour flight from Perth, while dolphins aren’t an “Australian” thing perse, it’s still pretty cool.

    Oooh, and you have to try Minties. I don’t know if Allens sell outside of Australia, but I think Minties are an exclusive to us. Seriously, just browse a supermarket, it’s sometimes the little things that are the most indicitive of a nation’s culture.

  • Cath

    Got the book!
    JudyOz (online) in Adelaide sent it to me in about 36 hours.
    FANTASTIC book, can’t wait to get started!!!
    Hope you are enjoying our large country Clotilde. I’m not sure if you will have discovered yet how long it takes to get anywhere in WA… a long time. We’re pretty spread out ey Aussies, and generally take everything slower – more relaxed – than the pace tends to be in Europe.

  • http://spicyicecream.blogspot.com Lisa

    Hi Clotilde, this is my first comment but I love your blog. I actually bought your cookbook when visiting Perth earlier this year. As I was looking through things that came in the mail I saw your name in a brochure about the Writers Festival. But I live in Sydney unfortunately!

    Make sure you try kangaroo meat, it is just beautiful. I definitely agree with trying the tim tams :)

    I also really loved Little Creatures in Fremantle, it had a great atmosphere and great beer.

  • Bob Allen

    I second the recommendation to buy wild hibiscus flowers (rosellas) in syrup, really great in champagne–a sort of bush tucker kir royale. For another bush tucker treat, you should try an Australian version of dukkah, originally an Egyptian almond and spice mixture, but using native Australian bush spices. One brand we bought on a recent trip from California to Australia was “thistle be good”.

    Have a great trip!

  • bonho

    I don’t rate Tim Tams, they’re way too sickly sweet for me, even with strong unsweetened coffee or tea. I do love VitaWeat crackers, though, they’re malty and crunchy and are bliss with cheese, not too overpowering yet keeping their own personality. Did I mention the crunchiness? Also great on their own, I keep some in my car at all times for nibbling whilst driving. My dog loves them too.

  • Wendy Hutton

    If you bring back just one food item, it MUST be Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey. It has the most distinctive, addictive flavour and you’ll never touch lavender or orange blossom honey again!

  • Libby

    We moved from Paris to Perth 3 years ago. It has taken a while to discover the good foodie places. Here are some thoughts in no particular order.

    New Norcia bread is available from a shop front in Subiaco (Bagot Rd) and their cafe in Mt Hawthorn (Scarborough Beach Rd). I recommend the seven grain sour dough (which I love toasted with Vegemite), and also their fruit bread (also good toasted, but not with Vegemite!)

    Barrett’s, in Broadway, Nedlands, is good for breads and pastries. We like the pain au payne (although I never could figure out what payne meant). They have delicious take away sandwiches too.

    Fruit and veg shops which also have some good cheese: Scuttis (cnr Angelo St and Coode St South Perth) and Claremont Fresh (Claremont, Just off Stirling Hwy).

    Also for specialist food ingredients and some cookware, Simon Johnston in Rokeby Rd Subiaco (check out the price of Valrhona chocolate and be happy that you live near G. Detou). They have a good selection of cheeses too. I read recently that Gabriella Kervella has recently sold her goat flock and is no longer producing cheese, whcih is a great loss. Meredith cheeses are good (from Victoria).

    We have only found good coffee in a few places. We highly
    recommend Epic Espresso, in West Perth (Outram St just off Hay St)but they are only open weekdays (there’s a website). Or if you are in the city, Velvet Espresso in King St or Ristretto (Paragon Arcade – coffee only, stand up only).

    I buy fresh barramundi sometimes when available from my local fish shop in South Perth (Meadowvale shops off Millpoint Rd). It comes from ‘up north’ but is always very good.

    Eating out – we’ve been disappointed with some of the much recommended places, but have enjoyed Lamonts in East Perth, and hear that Star Anise is very good (it will be our next birthday treat).

    Personally I don’t like Tim Tams – too many artificial colours and flavours and too, too sweet. I don’t mind a Mint Slice from time to time though.

    I have not discovered any good quality local chocolate, and unfortunately Haigh’s is not available in Perth (although we always stock up when we go home to Melbourne).

    Ice cream – there are a few good places in Fremantle, including Amorina (Italian style), and another whose name escapes me but is just opposite Amorina (could be Il Gelatino or something like that). And whilst in Fremantle, if you are having fish and chips at Cicerellos or Kailis, both popular tourist places, do check that the fish is fresh and not frozen.

    I think you would like wandering around Fremantle, Leederville and Subiaco in general. There are a couple of kitchen ware shops in Subi – one is called the Kitchen Witch, another Epicurious.

    Have a great time, and do report back to us.

  • Libby

    Oh, forgot to mention Leuwin Estate in Margaret River – beautiful food, beautiful wines, beautiful setting.

    Lamont’s is also near Margaret River, great food and wine. And Providore is lovely too – for meals and produce such as jams and chutneys.

  • http://www.winosandfoodies.typepad.com barbara

    I think you will find the pink Tim Tams sold at this time of the year to be old stock. I bought a packet recently on the Gold Coast and they were stale.

  • http://bronnie.org Bronnie

    I’m from New Zealand and I recommend you also try marmite. I had some for brekkie :)
    Most people don’t like it when they try it..lol. But I guess growing up with it you had no choice!

    You should try playing the didgeridoo & eat Pavlova!

  • http://www.thedesignfiles.net/ Lucy


    This wonderful product has replaced maldon sea salt in many australian households… i can’t live without it. plus it’s light and easy to carry home…

    have a great trip. i wish you were visiting melbourne! such great food here… oh well… next time x

  • CelesteWA

    I live in Perth and saw Clotilde today at Frasers.

    Just to let you know that there is quarantine restrictions on Eastern State honey in WA, as there is a bee disease that hasnt made it over here.

    I think it has to be processed before it can come in if at all, so I would recommend some of the local honeys like Karri & Jarrah that come from our indigenous trees, very yummy.

  • Anna

    I was all excited to say Murray River pink salt, but it’s already been mentioned twice.

    Coriole kalamata olives (from SA but often available around Aus) are extraordinary and worth tracking down.

    Of course, if you’re feeling indulgent you could always order some Dello Mano brownies (www.dellomano.com.au) – if you ask very nicely they’ll even make a macadamia brownie which may actually be heaven.

    Otherwise, just do as we all do – relax and enjoy yourself!

  • katie

    Yes, Bundaberg ginger beer is a must along with Smiths salt and vinegar crinkle cut crisps….soooo good! I dare say they are they best crisps in the world. Also, check out the selection of Cabury’s chocolate. Try out rocky road and another bar which has (I think)crushed up brownies in it…oh, and Arnott’s mint cups! (I can’t believe everything I’ve recommended fits into the junk food category!)

  • http://todaywerereading.blogspot.com Lindsay

    Hello Clotilde, fist time I’ve posted but I’ve been reading you for a while. Here are my sugestions:

    Beautiful bowls and servers from Dinosaur Designs.

    Chocolate from Haighs (Adelaide company but you might find some in WA)

    Gorgeous skincare from Jurlique and Aesop

    Inside Out magazine has lovely interior designs

    Australian gelati is the best – I so craved it when I was pregnant and it’s just not the same in the UK, or iced coffees.

    Can’t believe no-one has mentioned the traditional Aussie meat pie! The first thing my husband wants to do when we land in Aus is have a Farmers Union Iced Coffee and a meat pie from the deli!

  • Snowpea

    On the Becks & Posh blog, I’ve seen mention of Champagne Marmite. I dunno how this might taste, but the idea amuses me.

  • Corey

    Try and get a copy of G The Green Lifestyle Magazine it’s only been out a year but a HUGE hit with the French and NZ markets! It offers a greener alternative to all areas including foods, wines, travel. Just what the greenie in all of us craves, Corey

  • Carol


    I’ve never understood why, but you just can’t find tongs in Europe. When I go home I buy tongs to bring back with me! Must be because of all those BBQs we have, but we use them for all sorts of kitchen activities as well – mixing pasta, serving vegies, turning things over on frypans… I can’t live without several, of different sizes, in my kitchen!

  • Hannah

    Definitely prefer Crunchies to Violet Crumbles,so make sure you try both IF you feel obliged to get a Violet Crumble. Lemon Myrtle and Tasmanian Mountain Pepper Berry are fantastic with kangaroo and fish, and I also second the hibiscus flowers in syrup for champagne – they tint the drink a lovely colour!
    Maltesers are yummy, and Minties and Fantails are fun, even if just for the wrappers. Hope you enjoy our wonderful country, can’t wait to hear your thoughts (though it will be very sad if you can’t make it to the East Coast and Northern East Coast… it’s such a long flight, I wish you could really make the msot of your time here!)

  • Hannah

    Oh! And Picnic Bars! You must try one, if only because the tagline is “Deliciously Ugly”, which I feel embraces our whole Australian larrikinism!

  • http://rhid-baked.blogspot.com/ Rhiannon

    licorice bullets! mmmm

  • sparkstar

    as an aussie living in the states for 8 odd years, here are the things i eat when i get back.
    -go to the supermarket and try the dairy: plain old milk, yoghurt, coon cheese, custard and crack open an egg, the yolks are a different colour!
    -once you’re done with dairy try the sweets: minties, cherry ripes, milo bars, violet crumble, caramello koalas
    -check out in fruit and veg: PASSIONFRUIT, mangoes, cherries, YUM
    -while you’re there try a meat pie, pavlova, barramundi, snapper, john dory, fresh oysters on the half shell, sushi, lamb chops, rainbow trout, lamingtons, anzac biscuits, devonshire tea! asian food is fantastic as well, thai, sushi, viet….

  • Sarah

    My best advice is to eat as much seafood as you can. Also, the local lamb is beautiful. I think some of the cheese is not bad at all, to be honest, and I really like (just a supermarket type) Mersey Valley Cheese – so crumbly and delicious! It would be a shame to miss meat pies, hot milo, Arnotts Shredded Wheatmeal Biscuits (not too sweet), Bundaberg Ginger Beer, Kool Mints, Picnics, Cherry Ripes and a “hamburger with the lot” (including beetroot, pineapple, fried egg) – best place to get one of these is at a fish and chip shop. Ooh, and don’t miss the fish and chips! For a soft drink – Pub Lemon Squash, or Solo, is fantastic. I live in the US now, having grown up in Brisbane, and now I am craving all of these foods!! I hope you have a wonderful trip – I love your blog and your cookbook!
    P.S. – In terms of checking out recipe books, “Surfing the Menu” is great, with beautiful recipes and photos, and info about the local produce.

  • http://www.designindigo.com/fullsteamahead.html Kisane

    If you have the time, visit Margaret River – cute town surrounded by magnificent vinyards and olive groves. Check out Olio Bello (olive oil farm) and their robust house blend. Suggest you pick up a jar or two of Dukkah (comes under several labels but all yummy).

    Now…for a truly remarkable cake (I’m not kidding) go slightly south of Margaret River town to Witchcliffe – to the Witchie Cafe, and ask for a slice of their Bird Milk Cake – unusual, delicious and made by a Russian woman. And there isn’t a recipe in sight anywhere!!

    Note: most cakes in Perth come with a huge dollop of cream. Ack.

    If you can, drive to Freemantle about 20 min away from Perth to the Little Creatures for pizza and home-brewed beer.

    TIP: If you’re buying wine back, pop into the post office to buy a styrofoam wine holder. You can then pack that into your checkin luggage and it will get home safe and sound. I brought 8 bottles home that way.

    I was there in October 2006 (and would love to go again!) and you can read more about my trip on my blog here and here.

  • holly

    I guess we’ve come a long way from good ol’ fish n chips but Fremantle Fishermans Harbour wont let you down. Try very hard to get your hands on some bushtucker spices like old man saltbush, lemon myrtle, sea parsley and mountain pepper-Divine ways to bring any food to life. Albany (and nearby Plantagenet/Mt Barker) wine is some of the best and redgum or wattle honey is too and is getting very expensive due to droughts (Beautiful candles too). There is a Sandalwood factory down in Albany too that is worth visiting. Local Albany salmon and oysters are not to be passed up if you get the chance. Kangaroo/emu/croc/venison are all worth trying if cooked properly. Also YABBIES(by the bucket load) easy to come by and you cant come here and not do yabbies. Or even better MARRON. Please dont go home without trying these freshwater treats, maybe with bush spices-even better!!! You will find barramundi at any good seafood restaurant but better off going with the red ruffy or crayfish or Jewfish. Scallops are a big fave of mine. Tim Tams have just been classed as suspect. Micro breweries such as Little Creatures again, in Fremantle, are fantastic. Try and take home some everlasting daisy seeds if customs will allow it and grow some paper flowers of your own-very local. Have a wonderful time here and Happy Travels!!! One more thing- Vegemite is loved so much because its like beer on toast, every morning beer o’clock. We really are happy little vegemites.

  • http://www.danfalkenberg.com Dan

    You should bring back a pet koala … Well maybe not. Watch out for the kangaroos. I heard they can be vicious, and they’re as common as deer in Ohio. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia. Have fun!

  • Kara

    WOW!!! I have nothing to suggest having never been anywhere near Australia but everyone has tempted me to visit sometime! WOW – the array of treats to try. Have a wonderful time and do tell all about your travels upon your return. xo

  • pinva

    I’m with Samantha – who recommended VIOLET CRUMBLE candy bars. So delicious – and so lightweight you’ll be able to pack a suitcase full to bring home.

  • anna

    Milo!!! I’m surprised not many people mentioned this.

    Also: a baby kangaroo.

  • Jo

    The baby kangaroo will send your security deposit for the landlord skyrocketting!…wait…are we talking pet or food? Ew…the vegetarian is not feeling so well anymore.

  • reika

    Syrah from Australia is amazing to say the least – very unique in taste, definitely distinct from California syrah. I’ve recently tried Punt Road and Scotchman’s Hill and thoroughly enjoyed both. But my gosh, Clotilde, you have hundreds of items recommended here!

  • http://www.13mimosa.blogspot.com Victoria

    You’ll have a wonderful time. We’re from Melbourne on the east coast but were in WA around Perth and to Margaret River for 2 weeks in November last year. It’s a gorgeous party of country, so different to other parts, and I could see, having visited there, exactly what it is that foreigners see as “Australia” for it is a very native landscape – unlike here where it’s also somewhat European.

    The wine in WA is all wonderful – you won’t go short for gorgeous wines in many styles.

    Food wise, I don’t know that I would say particular ingredients unless you’re going indigenous and I confess to limited knowledge in that regard. http://www.newnorciabaker.com.au/ Gorgeous bread here; http://www.littlecreatures.com.au/ good beer; http://www.bluecow.com.au/ – cheese. There a few to go on with at least – have a lovely trip.

  • Joan

    “A jar of wild hibiscus flowers (rosellas) in syrup” ‘n liquorice bullets…gotta agree on both those..

  • Joanna

    Breakfasts – I must agree! Try the breakfasts – they’re the best I’ve ever had. (and so not the same as a European ‘brunch)

    Aussie’s love to go out for breakfast, often late in the morning and especially after a big night. It’s typically a savoury affair involving eggs and bacon but many cafe’s are getting more interesting with additions like fetta, beetroot, beans, salsa and avocado dripping with lemon… all on the finest sourdough that can be found of course. Dont take them for granted if you live there!

    Not in Perth but one of my personal favourites in Melbs.

  • http://daysontheclaise.blogspot.com/ Susan

    I’m an east coast Australian now dividing my time between London and the Touraine du Sud. I see some excellent well thought suggestions here which I would second – tongs, vitaweets, rosella’s in sparkling white wine, sparkling red wine, Buderim ginger beer. Do try as many honey’s as you can, but remember – you could get into big trouble trying to bring it back to France. Australian mangoes are the best – they are a different stock to the Indian varieties we get imported to Europe, and are generally stringless and not so kerosene flavoured (‘kerosene’ is not necessarily a perjorative – it is seen as a desirable in certain cultures). Australian macadamias are the best in the world (and are native to Australia). The Hawaiian’s have tried to claim them, but their product is not so good. Beware anything in Australia that is chocolate – Australian chocolate contains an ingredient that prevents it melting when the ambient temperature goes up. It does have a noticeable effect on taste and texture and chocolate has almost always been kept too cold or too hot (or both) at some time in its life. Have a great time, and take the sun seriously – wear a hat and sunglasses and drink lots. Bises.

  • http://countryepicure.wordpress.com Michael

    We are just back from a week in WA. We thought that Wild Duck was terrific, as are Cambray cheeses, which we bought at the farm. The only omissions in the above comments from our experience are Mead’s in Mosman Park and Opus in West Perth, both excellent restaurants. For my blogposts on WA see here.

  • autumn

    tim tams!

  • Marianne Lanczy

    I always bring Carrot Cake Mix from Austrlia. The cake is delicious.

  • http://www.craigmclaughlan.com loki

    no-one has mentioned promite?

    the king of toast spreads! it makes vegemite look like the axle grease it really is.

    oh and twisties, the original cheese, or if you’re really adventurous try the chicken (do NOT read the ingredients, it takes the fun out).

  • http://www.craigmclaughlan.com loki

    get thee to the carpark at the yallingup surf beach (near margaret). go to the cafe, get yourself a veggie burger, and sit on the car roof and watch the sun go down over the indian ocean. (please don’t tell the locals i told you.)

    and while in the margaret area try the vasse felix winery, and leeuwin estate not only has great wines but one of the better private collections of australian paintings.

  • Kristen Rasmussen

    - Melting moments you are sure to find in all the best cafes (make sure they’re homemade).

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com Lorraine E

    Hi Clotilde,

    Some of the things that I think best represent Australia are:

    Balmain Bugs (seafood like crayfish)
    Tasmanian Leatherwood honey
    Tasmanian Island Produce fudge
    King Island Cheeses (although being in France, I’m sure you have so many lovely cheeses)
    Buderim Ginger
    Colefax, Haigh & Belle Fleur chocolates (belgian but with hand crafted and with some Australian fillings)
    Macadamia nuts (Patons brand has a gorgeous toffee coated then chocolate coated white and milk chocolate coated one which is great to bring as presents)
    Kangaroo (yes we eat our coat of arms :lol: )
    There are also the bush spices that others have mentioned, these are sometimes added into chocolates and other foods and definitely worth bringing some back. Herbies spices are excellent herbs and spices.

    Things like Tim Tams, Cherry Ripes Lamingtons and Vegemite are not necessarily the most delicious items but they are undoubtedly Australian.


    Lorraine E

    P.S. I am hoping to get a copy of your “Clotilde’s Edible Adventure in Paris.” before our trip to Paris in June!

  • Michelle

    Arnott’s Spicy Fruit Rolls. Like Fig Newtons, but better.

  • Catie Shavin

    Hi Clotilde,

    A tip on eating vegemite – if its not done properly, it can be quite overwhelming.

    1) on hot, well buttered (not margarined) toast – spread faily thin – a scraping – the first time.

    2) on dry toast, topped with mashed avocado – sounds weird, but a really good taste and texture combination.

    Enjoy your trip!

  • http://omnivoreherbivorecarnivore.blogspot.com Pieds Des Anges (Kyla)

    Bring back barbie tips…

  • http://www.merisi.blogspot.com Merisi’s Vienna for Beginners

    Candied ginger and apricots (in my opinion among the best, if not the best in the whole wide world) would be my favorites.

    Since you are going to be near the Margeret River region, I would recommend you try some of the Shiraz from there, the Black Label (Reserve) from Capel Vale for example, I prefer them to the French Syrah.

    Bon Voyage!

  • http://www.mizztissa.com sexy boots

    A pair of Uggs! The local version is different (read: better) than than many of the exports.

  • Katie

    WOW! Look at how many people think Australia (and Perth!) are great – foodie – places! Brilliant. I am a Perth/Busselton/Yallingup girl living in Melbourne and I always thought that Perth was a bit daggy and lacking in great food. But obviously a lot of people don’t agree with me! There are so many things that we don’t even realise are unique to us, like tongs and cherry ripe bars, until its pointed out. I am going to have to make some notes for my never overseas visitors to visit!

  • ML

    Does anyone know where I can find Tim Tams in Seattle? They used to be at Cost Plus and at the Metro Theater but I haven’t seen them at either place in the last year.

  • papm

    I am visiting from Perth and many recommendations here are quite helpful. I just wonder why the person who asked the question (author) never replied a single word, not even “thank you”.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for writing! I am the author of the post, and my thank you’s came in the follow-up post you can find here: What I brought back from Oz.

Get the newsletter

Receive a free monthly email with a digest of recent entries, plus exclusive inspiration and special announcements. You can also choose to be notified of every new post.