A Guide To Tasmania’s Most Indulgent Culinary Experiences
Go behind the scenery and discover some of Tasmania’s best-kept secrets.
Tasmania’s incredible landscapes and abundant paddock-to-plate experiences set the scene for truly luxurious escapes. The most successful local operators take raw product – native abalone, for example – and showcase it in its pristine natural environment, with a flute of world-class sparkling wine to sweeten the deal.
The island’s natural beauty segways into man-made marvels at The Islington, a boutique hotel in South Hobart. Owned by two avid art collectors, the 1800s building has been given a thoroughly modern update, punctuated by original artworks from Brett-Whiteley, Grayson Perry, Monet and Picasso.
A central observatory-area is more living room than hotel bar, with a well-stocked liquor library of Tasmania tipples, so you can stir down the perfect martini while watching the sunset over Mt Wellington.
Each of the 11 private guest rooms are equipped with a host of luxuries including T2 teas, Aesop toiletries, wi-fi enabled ipads and a mix of modern and antique furnishings.
If you have limited time, choosing a Hobart restaurant can be challenging. Do you go for the uber cool Franklin, where Quay alumni Analiese Gregory has recently taken over as head chef to serve up seasonally-powered fare that’s equal parts clever and simple? Or Peacock and Jones, the dockside restaurant designed for cozying up for a long lunch with a bottle of old-world red and Euro-slanted snacks such as chicken parfait with brioche.
Mona, the island’s famed Museum of New and Old, is a must-do for every visitor, with no limit to luxe upgrades. Kick back in the Posh Pit lounge as Mona’s dedicated catamaran ferries you from Hobart to the museum, with complimentary drinks and canapes for the duration of the ride.
At your destination, descend down to the Void, an underground bar at the museum’s entrance, serving creative libations such as the Cherry Bounce Sour (Sazerac rye whisky with vermouth and house-made cherry bounce) or a spiced mulberry-laced bourbon and absinthe concoction to get you in the right state of mind.
The next day, keep the water vibes going with the ultimate hunt and gather exhibition, Seafood Seduction, a day-long cruise from Hobart that takes visitors on a seafood collecting tour.
The itinerary includes a stop at a salmon farm, an oyster lease (where fresh molluscs are pulled from the water and instantly shucked to eat), and a bay at Bruny Island, where guides shallow dive to pluck sea urchins and abalone. Cooked and served on the boat, alongside the sashimi salmon, it’s next level fresh. The feast is served with local crayfish and gourmet trimmings, with plenty of Jansz sparkling wine.
From Hobart, head north to Launceston, where the drive alternates between windy, forest-lined roads and bridges and charming Georgian towns along the Heritage Highway.
For wine lovers, a pitstop into Josef Chromy Vineyard is essential. Produced in the classic champagne methode traditionelle, Josef Chromy’s sparkling is an excellent expression of the state’s cool climate wines, as are the straight chardonnay and pinot noir wines.
Book into the Go Behind The Label tour for a comprehensive guide of the winery and the opportunity to try wines at various stages, followed by a two-course lunch with matched wines (we particularly love the salmon with smoked leek and creme fraiche with a glass of chardonnay). Home to possibly one of Australia’s prettiest vineyards, the grounds also deserve your attention.
Quamby Estate, less than a half hour drive from Launceston’s centre, is an excellent base for exploring the island’s north. The 150 acre estate offers off-the-grid privacy, with just ten luxury bedrooms inside the restored 1830s homestead. There’s a private chef on staff, plus a tennis court, golf course, hiking trails and a library, for fireside reading sessions.
From here, the world-class views and hiking trails of Cradle Mountain can be conquered within a day trip. The Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail offers a bevy of gourmet producers and is worth exploring along the way. Book in a tour of the country’s first truffle farm, Tasmanian Truffles, or tuck into hot smoked salmon sandwiches at 41 Degrees South Salmon Farm. Ashgrove Cheese is also a fun stop – the farmside cheesery lets you pick up a few fresh hunks of cheese and bread from their extensive local produce filled showroom.
Cheeses range from traditional cloth-matured cheddars, to the ‘Uniquely Tasmanian’ range, spiked with wasabi from the nearby farm or native bush pepper. Pair it with a tart, strong Tasmanian cider from their selection and grab a table in the sunshine for the ultimate afternoon snack.
If you can’t make it to the cheesery, Launceston’s Stillwater Providore offers plenty of Tasmanian fromage. Upstairs from the award-winning Stillwater Restaurant, the local-focused providore has everything from truffled Tasmanian Butter Co butter, to Cape Grim Beef and an enormous range of whiskies and gins from the island’s distilleries.
Across town, the Black Cow Bistro is a temple to beef. The simple steak-geared menu highlights Robbins Island Wagyu, Great Southern Pinnacle and Cafe Grim beef producers, alongside Tamar Valley pinot noirs and other red varietals.
While Black Cow sits firmly in the special occasion category, it’s further proof that local, fresh produce close to the source truly is the new luxury.
(Lead image: Cheese plate from Josef Chromy. Photo: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett)
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Published 08 September, 2017