A Taste of Tasmania
When we conducted a photo shoot in Tassie recently, the photo shoot Director hadn’t planned on needing to diet when she got home……
If someone had told me about the dark chocolate covered raspberries, I wouldn’t have indulged so much at the hotel’s buffet breakfast.
Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm’s Peta explained “we freeze the berries, dust them in icing sugar and dip them in chocolate before quickly refrigerating them again. This keeps the berry fresh inside the delicious dark chocolate”.
It was fast becoming clear that I’d be letting a notch or two out on my belt this trip and it was only day two. When I joined up with an AAT Kings ‘Tassie Food & Wine Trail’ Guided holiday to shoot for some new brochure photos, I expected to be tasting my way around Tasmania, but had no idea the quality and quantity of food would be so good.
To be honest, day one was a bit of a blur thanks to not one, but two amazing vineyard visits. Not accustomed to drinking wine in the middle of the day, it was a lovely way to break the ice and get to know our fellow travellers. This process was enabled by our friendly Driver Guide who made sure our glasses were topped up and we all introduced ourselves to each other. With the wine matched to fresh local produce, with a choice of a chicken, steak or fish dish, no-one wanted to move at the end of the meal, but it made for some great smiles in the photos!
To see cheese being made through glass panes in the side of the Ashgrove Farm Cheese Factory was a real delight, it didn’t feel like you were getting a watered down tourist presentation. This was the real deal. But tasting the cheese was even better and it certainly was in abundant supply. The taste plates in the shop were great, but the taste platters including crackers and ham were delicious. Do not miss the Wasabi cheese, a local speciality and a definite highlight.
There’s no rest for the stomach and taste buds though, it was time to visit the quaint 41 degrees Salmon and Ginseng Farm. The enthusiasm and information imparted to the group by the owner Ziggy, was a delight. Ziggy and his family emigrated from Germany in 1995 and planted ginseng. When Ziggy found out it would take 7 to 8 years for the ginseng to grow, he threw a few salmon in a pond and so became the beginnings of the salmon farm today. Don’t miss the smoked salmon and be game and try the drop of ginseng oil on the back of your hand, apparently it will slow your ageing.
The windy road up to Cradle Mountain creates a sense of anticipation and the arrival does not disappoint. International and Australian passengers alike all delighted in the wallabies and paddymelons that grazed on the lawns of our accommodation in Cradle Mountain. This felt like a true Aussie experience, with the tranquillity of Dove Lake enjoyable for all. While a walk around the lake is not for everyone, the walk down to the boatshed seen in typical Dove Lake photographs was achievable for young and old alike. The weather was overcast the day we visited, but it created a mystical feeling and my fellow travellers and I found ourselves whispering almost reverently.
Seemingly too soon, it’s time to depart the photographers’ paradise of stunning Cradle Mountain, leaving the views, wild life, bushland and history behind. However, the views as you travel from Launceston along Tasmania’s North Coast are also spectacular. Even when the weather is a little inclement, it seems to suit the ruggedness of the location.
A warming whiskey offered at our next stop was unique for those of us more accustomed to drinking wine. Learning about the history and process of distilling this interesting liquor, imparted by our Driver Guide will surprise you. It’s tempting to buy a bottle to take home, but there’s not much space between the cheese and wine already in my suitcase and it was at this point my Driver Guide told us to save space for the Anvers chocolate factory. It looks like I might be letting out two notches on the belt. Finishing up the tour with a cruise down the Tamar River, revisiting some of the local wine and beer we’d tasted along the way was a wonderful way to finish our foodie indulgence. It allowed us to sit back and reflect on the surrounding pure air and water that make all the food and wine we’d indulged in taste so darn good.
And let’s face it, I was sitting back to let out another notch on my belt. I’ll be back, Tasmania.
Spend some quality time in Tasmania our one of these brilliant holidays.