Last week, when Shag royally put his foot in it about cherries being the only good thing to come out of Tasmania, I thought it would be fitting to come back in defense of the apple isle, and talk about a few (of the many) amazing gastronomic gifts Tasmania has to offer.
1. Bruny Island Cheese
1807 Main Road, Great Bay,
Bruny Island, Tasmania
Celebrating their 9th year of living the cheese life, just off the coast of Tassie on idyllic Bruny Island, cheese maker Nick Haddow has the kind of life most people spend fantasising about: Living in a remote, wildly beautiful environment, making renowned artisan cheese. I'm not in the least bit jealous.
After twenty or so years of fromage, to say that Nick knows a thing or two about cheese is an understatement. Working at dairys such as Milawa Cheese Co and Meredith Dairy in Victoria to training and travelling in France, Italy, Spain and the UK - his cheeses are a combination of pristine Tasmanian produce (their animals are farmed in an environmentally sustainable way) and old-school technical skill combined with a new-school approach to technology.
Cheeses include 'the bastard' - a cow & goat's milk cheese with a hard, natural rind. Named due to the fact that the cheese is made up of the leftover milk harvested to create other cheese, the result is a cheese that's great with wine...just don't ask who it's daddy is. '1792', the year the French first landed in Tasmania is name to a stinky baby cheesus matured on Huon pine boards and is Haddow's comment on what might have happened if the French would have stuck around.
The pink-orange rind obtains its colour from hand-washing in brine, giving it an aromatically pungent flavour to this soft cheese.
For more, including information on le fromage, workshops and tours, click here.
2. The Agrarian Kitchen
650 Lachlan Road
t: +61 (0)3 6261 1099
If you've ever wanted to take an Aussie culinary holiday that encapsulates the ideals of sustainability, farm-based cooking and gorgeous scenery, overseen by a teacher who is not only a former apprentice of Tetsuya Wakuda but also a former editor of Australian Gourmet Traveller, then the Agrarian Kitchen is a hole-in-one.
Situated in a 19th century schoolhouse in Lachlan, 45 minutes from Hobart in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley, Rodney Dunn and his wife Séverine started the Agarian Kitchen in July 2007 to create a real first hands-on, farm-based cooking school experience.
The farm experience includes being able to check out the vegetable garden, berry patch, herb garden and orchard, which are spread around the 5 acre property and are grown using environmentally-considered, organically-principled techniques. The rare-breed Barnevelder chooks, Wessex saddle back pigs and geese enjoy a pretty luxurious life here, too.
The combination of heirloom produce, locally-sourced ingredients and rare-breed animals is enough to have most foodies vying for a sea-change, but to see just how hard it really can be, check out Matt Evan's new SBS series The Gourmet Farmer.
3. Barilla Bay Oyster Farm
1388 Tasman Highway
Half the fun when going away is bringing back a souvenir. If you're nice, it's for someone else. If you're a hoarder, then the Barilla Bay Oyster Farm is for you. Situated about 5 minutes from the airport just outside of Hobart, schedule this as your last stop-off before you get back on that plane: selling vacuum-sealed packs of schucked oysters in the half shell, they're perfect for taking home as a (short lived) memento of your Apple Isle holiday.
If you've time to stick around, you can take tours of the oyster farm to find out how these little babies are grown. If that's too much work, there's also a restaurant in which to sample the home-grown produce from the farm..doesn't get much fresher than that!
Barilla Bay Oyster Farm and Restaurant has half-shell oysters packed for travelling at $14 a dozen. Guided tours are $9.50 for adults and $4.25 for children.