Taste bud pampering in Tasmania
Tasmania. Tassie. Tazza. What an amazing state. Although, just a warning, beware of the wildlife on the roads. I noted down the amount of times I saw roadkill: 50 times.
Exactly one year ago, during a typical night of rummaging through dozens of unread emails, I had stumbled upon a subject line that read “Jetstar 10 cent flights.” My adrenalin immediately came kicking in. However, to my dismay, all flights were already booked out except those to Hobart. It took 15 minutes for the Jetstar website to load due to the heavy traffic, but I managed to book 3 return tickets for a total cost of $30 return. The extra $29.70 was due to taxes. This was by far the cheapest flight. My traveling companions had thought I was joking!
Piggie at Salamanca Market (should I be in here? :))
Being an urban dweller, I was looking forward to the 3 hour long mountain treks and seeing ghosts at Port Arthur. But most importantly, I was really excited about devouring the infamous delights that Tassie was known for – scallop pies, Valhalla ice cream, farm fresh juicy apples that make you slurp, oysters and cheese. One of my friends is an extreme perfectionist, so of course a daily if not hourly agenda was put into place.
To avoid this turning into a college thesis, I have kept this post as short as possible.
Located in the south east tip of Tasmania, is made up of two islands. Bruny Island, known for its penguin and seal inhabitants, has only 600 residents! There are vast deserted beaches and wildlife. Most spectacular is the scenery- make sure you have enough memory in your camera. There were many berry plantations near the dock, so we grabbed a bag and started picking, as you do. Nothing beats freshly picked fruit.
It was highly recommended that we try out the award winning Bruny Island Cruise. For $100, wearing a large poncho, we were taken for a 3 hour eco cruise around the coastline at high speeds. It felt like I was on a roller coaster ride. The best thing about the experience was seeing ‘”the breathing rock” blowing out water like as if a giant was living in there and watching countless smelly seals sleeping on the rocks. Too bad we had forgotten the camera in the damn car.
Rain, hail or shine, the Salamanca Market runs every Saturday from 8:30Am to 3Pm. Eagerly arriving at 9am, we started our venture down the crowded stalls. I was amazed at the amount of fresh local produce- from Gandvue Cheeses, glorious Valhalla Ice-cream , organic veggies to deep fried battered mushrooms, leather flat fruit and homemade fudge.
Mind blowing Valhalla Ice-cream. This sent me to rehab. I want more! Blueberry flavour was luscious and creamy indeed. Since the trip, in sheer desperation, I had called up up Valhalla to find out where I can grab a tub in Melbourne. One store, yes only one store sells them- Leo’s Fine Food in Kew. My mission has been attacking one tub on a weekly basis.
From a scale of 1 – 10, how much do I like fudge? Take wild guess! The House of Fudge stall (located near the the entrance) have tastings available across their whole range. Of course I tried each flavour whilst my friends looked upon me with shameful disgust. Nonetheless, my top pick went to Rum and Rasin. Juicy pieces of fruit in amongst a sea of smooth rummed up fudge.
Need I say more?
Where do I begin with these Apple Pies. Firstly, they are to be consumed at room temperature with a dollop of double cream. For $5, you could be eating one of these golden crusted gems filled with an abundance of sliced up cinnamon spiced apples. It tasted so fresh, as if it just baked that morning. The lovely lady at the stall later confirmed this was the case even offering me a free cupcake! I was actually quite shocked as I was just picturing myself hoovering down one of their cupcakes seconds beforehand. Could this be the Law of Attraction working its wonders?
I felt so grateful for the cupcake, that I bought some Almond and Chocolate Meringues. They immediately melted upon tongue impact.
There were accolades lined up throughout the stall so I had to try it out. I went for a Mild Bratwurst with all the trimmings. Served on a fresh crusty wholemeal roll, I can see why so many awards have been won.
Jackman and McRoss Bakery
Details: 57-59 Hampden Rd, Battery Point 7004 TAS Phone: (03) 6223 3186 Map
Teaser: Scrambled eggs wrapped in smoked salmon on danish pastry served with rocket and aioli.
The rest of the Jackman and McRoss entry to come soon. I thought that it deserved its own post.
Details: 140 Cascade Road, South Hobart Tasmania, Australia, 7004 Phone. (03) 6224 1117 Tour costs: $20 p/p which includes beer tokens
Tour: After a hearty breakfast at Jackman & McRoss, it was time for beer at Cascade Brewery. I mean, we were on holiday so why not?!
Our friendly tour guide took us through the various components that make up this beautiful beverage. One thing to note was the strict safety rule: no drinking during the tour. A rule that was extremely hard to follow. My friends were distraught.
The size of the brewery, which was founded by Peter Degraves, an entrepreneur who emigrated from England, is actually quite deceiving. What looks to be an enormous castle like structure, it is in fact just a thin facade! The surrounding gardens however, were stunning. Fertile and full of hedged bushes, roses and sculptures.
My tokens were used on my personal favourite, the Cascade Blonde- which is a premium beer made up of various barely and wheat malts. A perfect summer drink with a very subtle citrus taste. Through the tour, interestingly, we got to taste the actual barley that goes into the end product.
Wineglass Bay @ Freycinet
After all the food we had eaten so far, we were all keen as mustard to do the 3 hour trek to the secluded beachfront of Wineglass Bay.
The weather was around the 32 degree mark which was actually pretty hot considering we were in Tassie. Clad with sunscreen, the walking trail was definitely challenging with rugged pathways, rocks and bushes to dodge in amongst the sounds of huffing and puffing emitting from the worn out fellow trekkers. But the reward was about to come.
Like a mirage, Wineglass Bay appeared. Boys being boys, despite our tiredness, we immediately stripped off leaving behind a trail of clothes plunging into the crystal blue waters in our boxer shorts.
I can see why they named it Wineglas Bay- with the spectacular surrounding mountains encasing the area forming a wineglass like shape.
Grandvewe Cheese being Tasmania’s only sheep’s milk cheesery, was also the first organic only sheep’s milk cheesery in Australia.
Two quick facts about Sheep’s Milk:
1. Dairy Intolerant friendly
2. Reduces cholesterol
There was plenty to do at the farm that included sheep petting (they were surprisingly pet like loving the chin tickles), milking demonstrations, feeding and of course what we came here for- cheese tasting homeboy!
Farm overlooking the bay
My personal favourite was the Primavera- slightly sweet, smoothly buttery and a little crumbly. Liking it so much, I couldn’t leave without buying any. What was supposed to be used for the next day’s road trip, I ended up finishing it all that night in the hotel room. Bad boy.
On the way back from Freycinet, hungry and sore, we came upon a miracle. A sign that read: Oyster Farm.
The very casual outdoor dining only establishment, was impressive. Straight to the point, there are three things available. Of those we oredered too many oysters and a bowl of delicious steamed mussels.
I have to admit, the mussels were the winners. I’ve never had mussels so juicy and soft that there was hardly any need to chew.
Whilst the rest of Australia pawns over the good old beef pie, It seemed like Scallop Pies were the local choice. They were seen prominent in supermarkets, cafes, Salamanca Market and on the road to Bruny Island.
Encased in golden pastry, the abundance of generously sized scallops, were juicy, tasted quite fresh and served in amongst a mild curry gravy. Just a tip, when you get the chance to treat your taste buds to these delights, make sure you ask if the pie is piping hot. I had one that was a little luke warm which didn’t taste that appetising.
Apples, Apples and Apples
Hearing so much about how unbelievable the apples were in Tassie, sinking my teeth into one was vital. After a few stops at various farms in Huon Valley, I can confirm that they are in fact, amazingly good. The first bite being the best part, I love hearing that ‘crunch’ as you try and open your mouth as wide as possible almost giving yourself lockjaw!
Another worthy stopover was the Apple Museum, located in Huon Calley. Filled with apple jam, apple juice, wooden apples, memorabilia and other exhibits. We didn’t have time for tour though. Next time.
Last but not least, Port Arthur
Not to extend this post out any longer, I thought it would be best to let the pictures taken at Port Arthur speak for themselves. I was hoping for some ghost shots…didn’t happen.
Can you see the ghost? Shadow on the right window.
It’s a wrap
Ten cent flights. A chance to walk off all the food eaten. Hardly any traffic. The wilderness. Scallop pies. An abundance of ginger beer. The best mussels ever had. Let’s just say that Tasmania was full of welcomed surprises.
Apart from the amount of roadkill and a rental car which had no power- with a well planned itinerary, we were able to see Tassie in its full glory. Launceston is next baby!
Did I miss out on any other great things to do in Tassie?