Tasmania Food and Wine
Tasmania is a gourmet paradise, where people live close to the land and the sea and there is an easy flow from harvest to plate. The island state is a place where a fantastic lifestyle and innovative ideas accompany a temperate climate.
The island has four distinct seasons that make it perfect for producing prime cheeses, mouth-watering berries ripened slowly for maximum flavour, wide-ranging vegetables, stone fruits, herbs, premium beef, specialty honey, mushrooms, chocolate and fudge, cool climate wines and some of Australia’s leading beers. Whether you are browsing at a local market stall or dining in a restaurant, visitors to Tasmania are spoilt for choice.
In Tasmania, the locals can still dive along coastal reefs for abalone, harvest oysters from the rocks, or catch a wild trout in a highland stream. And visitors quickly learn that the man in the vineyard with his sleeves rolled up is just as likely to be the property owner.
Cheeses are consistent award winners; made by international and boutique producers and include specialties like wasabi, sheep’s milk pecorino and goat’s milk varieties. Seafood and fish is highly sought after interstate and overseas, including Atlantic salmon that is the only farmed salmon in the world not requiring chemical treatment to remove impurities; ocean trout; blacklip and greenlip abalone; scallops; pickled octopus; rock lobster (crayfish); and Pacific oysters.
As well as premium beef and milk-fed lamb and veal, quail, deer and other game are farmed for the table. Tasmania grows nearly ten per cent of Australia’s vegetable exports and 60 per cent of its apple exports, plus berry and stone fruits from strawberries and raspberries to apricots. It produces rare gourmet treats like black truffles, saffron and leatherwood honey – produced only in Tasmania.
Organic farming is also growing and includes production of vegetables, herbs, milk, cheese, yoghurt and honey. Speciality mushroom varieties such as Tasmanian white, honey brown, shitake and oyster mushrooms are plentiful. Other quality produce includes wasabi, gourmet sauces, the velvety smoothness of handmade chocolates and fudge, and icecream featuring organic berries and rich Tasmanian cream, or fruit preserves that have proven popular with the Asian market. And just when the food selection is under control, a whole new world of choice opens up with a wide selection of distinctive cool climate wines and locally-produced beers.
Tasmania has more than 200 vineyards along the Tamar Valley Wine Route, east coast, north-west and the south, producing superb sparkling wines that attract national and international attention, as well as delicately flavoured pinot noirs (one lays claim to being the country’s most expensive), sauvignon blancs, chardonnays and rieslings.
The island also grows top quality hops for its own beer producers and those interstate. Its two major beer producers, J Boag & Sons and Cascade Brewery make two of the best-selling premium beers in Australia with Boag’s Premium one of Australia’s most awarded beers. Cascade also makes apple ciders and fruit juices. It was 200 years before a new brewer emerged in the form of the East Coast’s Hazards Ale, and in 2005 Moorilla vineyard released a boutique brew under the name Moo Brew. Meanwhile, the Lark Distillery in Hobart produces single malt whiskys and a range of liqueurs.
Restaurants in cities and the regions offer superb food. Hobart highlights include Prosser’s Seafood Restaurant, Gondwana, Lebrina, Marque IV, Moorilla Estate and just out of the city, Meadowbank Estate. In Launceston, try national award winners, Fee and Me, and Stillwater Café, or top Tamar Valley restaurants like Strathlynn or Rosevears Estate.
In the north, regional fare features the stunning Georgian homestead Calstock, near Deloraine; on the west coast, gracious dining on the edge of the wilderness at Franklin Manor, Strahan; in the south, the stunning architecture of Peppermint Bay restaurant and providore at Woodbridge; or the rammed earth restaurant at Home Hill Winery.
On an island with so much bounty, food and wine is good cause for celebration. Leading the food and wine festivals is the waterfront favourite, the Taste of Tasmania, in Hobart (late December-early January), where the buzz of the finish of the ocean racing classic, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, sets the pace.
Other include the Festival of the Senses (mid-February), 10 days of indulgence in food and wine around Launceston and the popular Tamar Valley wine area, including Festivale; the Estia Greek Festival (March), highlighting Greek food and culture; the Taste of the Huon (March); and vineyard-based festivals that celebrate harvest-time and wine-making.
For more information on Tasmania.
Article: Tourism Tasmania