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With an abundance of fresh air and clean water, Tasmania fosters the perfect conditions for agriculture and rolling vineyards. The result? A lush and fertile land rich in gastronomic merits. Join us, why don't you...
1. Sweet treats from nature's pantry
Blue Hill Honey tasting
A little sweet treat will perk anyone’s afternoon up, and there’s something about breathing in Tasmania’s pure air that makes the honey at Blue Hill Honey taste even more sublime. Unique to Tassie, this is the only place you’ll lock lips with the signature syrup: Leatherwood Honey. Sourced from Eucryphia Lucida, a blossoming tree species native to the Tasmanian rainforest, it goes without saying the bees go gaga for it. Pop in for free tastings and guided tours. The honey farms’ been in Robbie Charles’ family for over 60 years. We know NZ immigration won’t allow his golden creations across the border, but there’s no harm having a jar in your Tassie pantry.
2. Have a yarn with a vodka shepherd
Sheep whey vodka
Sometimes, as any Kiwi can appreciate, when you reside on a small plot of land (and one that is bountiful in natural resources), inventors – and their inventions – just seem to blossom. Ryan Hartshorn, a born-and-bred Tassie, makes small batch vodka and gin from the discarded sheep whey at his family’s Grandvewe Cheesery. A world first. You’ll often find him pouring the shots at Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier. Or, you could simply head down to Birchs Bay, and the cheese farm itself. As the only Organic Sheep cheesery in Australia, it’s a must-see in its own right. Open 7 days from 10am-5pm and year-round.
3. Create a culinary masterpiece
The Red Feather Inn Cooking School
Can’t cook, won’t cook? Ah but you will after an afternoon with Lydia Nettlefold. At The Red Feather Inn Cooking School, just 15-minutes by car from Launceston in a pretty pocket of Tasmania called Hadspen. With Lydia’s guidance, her in-house chefs, and a wealth of quality Tasmianian produce all at your disposal, learn how to create delicacies your tongue will thank you for long after the holiday ends. Whether you choose to partake in ‘sushi explained', ‘perfect pasta' or ‘to market to market', one thing’s guaranteed – you’ll be sipping plenty of wine as you do so. Hurrah.
4. Tasmanian hot toddies
Bill Lark. The Godfather of Whisky
It’s never a bad day for a soul-warming thimble of Tasmanian whisky. But first, a little history. For this, we must go back to the early 90s, when whisky-lover, Bill Lark, realised the verdant Tasmanian terrain was ideal for whisky brewing. A wild, rugged land, abundant in rich fields of barley, highland peat bogs and the purest of water. Better yet, the perfect climate for making magic. Today, while still using traditional time honoured methods, guests can sip on over 150 premium malt whiskies at Lark Cellar Door and Whisky Bar, on the Hobart waterfront.
5. Purchase local produce for the pantry
The perfect long weekend starts with a farmer’s market. And you might as well start with an award-winning one. The Salamanca Market, next to the Hobart waterfront, erupts every Saturday morning, from 8.30am – 3pm, with over 300 jostling stallholders, bulging with hot food and handicrafts; bath products and bespoke Tasmanian jewellery. A sensory overload of fresh flowers, just-baked bread and crisp, morning air. Boasting the biggest selection of locally made produce, gather artisan cheese, breads and wine. Load up on culinary comforts to stock your weekend larder.
6. Eat fresh from the farm
The Harvest Launceston
On an island blessed with such rich and abundant flavours, why stop at just the one market? The Harvest Launceston is a mecca for food foragers, and embraced the farm-gate food trail for which Tasmania is famed. Every Saturday from 8.30am to 12.30pm, begin with a locally roasted coffee and then delve into a smorgasbord of local meats and organic dairy; craft beers and glistening fruits. Grab a bag of roasted chestnuts, or a handful of sun-kissed cherries. And if you’re lucky to be visiting May through to September, decadent truffles will just have been dug. Bon appetit!
7. Dare to try a black margarita
Let art and artisan cuisine spectacularly collide at MONA. Artworks aside, the gourmet diner is presented with an entire menu of culinary experiences. From wine tasting in the barrel room, to meals at Source Restaurant, where the focus is on local and seasonal fare. The pièce de résistance is arguably Faro, Mona’s latest culinary extravagance. The most ostentatious venue for a sangria, or a pig’s eye margarita if you so wish (literally a charcoal-black cocktail garnished with a pig’s eyeball encased in ice), guests can purchase the Art + Dinner package and gorge themselves silly on both modern dishes and dramatic artworks, such as Turrell's Unseen Seen and Weight of Darkness.
8. Pucker up for wine tasting
Tasmania wine tasting
Granted, we’re rather proud of our wine varietals in NZ, and if you love meandering across our own fine land, discovering unique cellar doors, then you’ll certainly fall for Tasmania. Rich in retina-pleasing views, the tumbling vineyards are home to all manner of intimate wine makers. From the Tamar Valley region, of which The Pipers Brook Cellar Door is a favourite, to the Bay of Fires, with wineries lurking behind every grape vine, there’s nothing better than a day of lazy wine tasting paired with an equally lazy lunch.
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