There’s a reason why MasterChef and pretty much every other cooking show spends some time in Tasmania. Apart from its landscape looking great for the camera, it’s the quality local produce (grown and reared in a clean and green environment) that make celebrity chefs go weak at the knees. Things like organic vegetables, leatherwood honey, black truffles, cheeses and fresh seafood such as abalone, ocean trout, oysters and salmon – the latter of which is a favourite of famed Chef Tetsuya Wakuda of Sydney restaurant Tetsuya’s. Even the local water here is touted around the world for its pureness and sold in New York and London restaurants.
It’s not just celebrity chefs and big city restaurateurs that are attracted to Tasmania’s food bowl though. The state is also a perfect location for aspiring chefs to try their hand at making the most of quality ingredients with local cooking schools teaching classes with produce grown and reared on site.
If you’re less about the cooking process though and more about the eating process (we don’t blame you), then Tasmania is more than equipped to cater to your tastebuds. Taking great pride in its paddock/ocean to plate experiences, many of the niche restaurants in Tassie offer local and seasonal produce with a focus on food miles and knowledge of where the food comes from.
With the clean-eating and organic food movement gaining in popularity, Tasmania is quickly becoming a hub for foodies with local restaurants embracing a modern mix of old fashioned values and cutting edge cooking ideas. Artisan food is also alive and well in Tasmania with gourmet food being produced using traditional methods and makers talking, sharing and working together to create a sense of food community.
Community bonding is also no doubt aided by the local wine as well, with Tasmania producing some spectacular drops of sparkling and pinot thanks to its cool climate. Even the local red wine is still highly regarded though with Tasmanian Shiraz (Mon Pere 2010 Shiraz) taking out the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for best young Australian red wine – a significant win considering the island is famed for cool-climate varieties such as pinot noir and chardonnay. For something heaver, Tasmania’s Redlands Estate in the Derwent Valley is one of only two distilleries in the world that produces whisky using barley grown on the property.
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The rock making up the cliffs is old, so old, it predates life on earth. Let that sink in for a moment.
“I can’t see any fossils in any these rocks,” I ask my guide Carly.
“These rocks were formed before there was anything to fossilise,” she replies plainly.