Wednesday, 15 May 2013

tasmania

Venue list updated May 2014


A fair bit of time has passed since my last Friday Delicious on FBi Radio and for those who don't stalk me on Twitter or Instagram, I didn't die. I've been busy getting my hands dirty in Tasmania while Myffy Rigby, food editor at Time Out Sydney has been filling in for me, along with a host of brilliant Sydney chefs including Jared Ingersoll, Darren Robertson and Dan Hong.

Why did I leave Sydney for wilder climes? To put it plainly, Sydney really got to me, and not in a good way.

Don't get me wrong - I love my home town of Sydney. It has a dynamic food scene, some nice people and some tasty drinks. But every once in a while, we need a reality check - our view of produce and how hard it is to cultivate/rear/kill/process/deliver is pretty screwed up at times. Take for example, the locavore chef who wants 200 lamb rumps per week from a small holder producer a few hundred kms away. Not going to happen, buddy - do you KNOW what small holding is about? But really, It's no surprise. We live in a city where we can pretty much access anything we want, whenever we want it and without it costing a whole lot. I'm not knocking urban apiarists, restaurant kitchen gardens growing their own herbs or inner city community gardens, but  this isn't where the real produce industry happens. 

I know it's disgustingly trendy these days to go foraging but more seriously, it seemed to me to be disingenuous to talk the talk day in and out [about high end restaurants and brilliant produce], without walking the walk... at least for a little while, I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to walk a mile in someone else's trashed work boots, or something to that effect. So I ended up being taken in by some pretty generous folk in that tiny, stunning island we call Tasmania.

I managed to crash with the good people at Grandvewe Cheeses down in Birchs Bay, about 45 minutes south of Hobart. The only organic sheep dairy in the country, Grandvewe produces some pretty crazy and delicious cheeses, made by Diane Rae and her daughter Nicole Gilliver (also a rather impressive cheese judge and flathead fisherman), her wonderful team of WWOOFERS and their very cool family. God knows why, but they let me milk their sheep, pour yoghurt, make cheese, learn about affinage first hand... and the holes in their Sapphire Blue cheese? That was totally me.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. From working in an abattoir to picking chestnuts, I've been blown away by the warmth and complete lack of bullshit offered up by the good people of Tasmania and I'm the better for it. 

This is not an advertisement for Tourism Tasmania, by the way. But if you do love food, I encourage you to occasionally consider where it comes from and if you're able, go out there and discover how the hell it gets from the ground, into your face. You'll find that producers are genuinely pleased to show you, and who knows, you might learn a thing or two.

So what have I learnt about Tasmania? Well, a lot. In part, where's good to eat, shop and play. So below is an evolving list of places I've responded to friends with, upon receiving the "So, I'm coming to Tasmania...where should I go?" email.

Updated: October 2014:

After a year and a half of insight in living on the island, I have decided to remove the contents of my guide from this post...because I've gone and done a thing: I published a guide.


A handy, succinct and heavily curated guide to the best of Hobart and southern Tasmania, it features 44 pages of restaurants, bars, fashion, antiques, road trips and accommodation finds that will help you get the best out of your next visit to Hobart and southern Tasmania. Click HERE to find out more or to pick up a copy.  


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