I love a good plate of food as much as the next ravenous traveller, but Tasmania really takes the cake. Or should that be blueberry pie? I should not have been surprised. Tasmania’s reputation as a gourmet paradise preceeds it, with cooking schools and culinary tours now a popular part of visitor itineraries. Mum and I were there primarily for the scenery, but as we drove around the island with cameras in hand, we succumbed to a marvellous tastebud adventure as well.
I knew that salmon would take pride of place on many restaurant plates in Tasmania and I was able to view a well stocked salmon farm off the coast near Strauhan. I ordered a serving of the local pink fish at Blue Skies on Murray Street Pier, Hobart, and greatly enjoyed the crispy skinned serving with herb polenta, grilled vegetables and pesto. My Mum tried gravadlax, cured salmon that was very delicate and melted in the mouth.
Arriving in the portside city of Launceston we asked several locals for recommendations for a good seafood restaurant. We found our way to Hallams Waterfront Seafood Restaurant and were lucky enough to be seated without a reservation. After perusing the fishy menu I opted for a Seafood Laksa. A spicy broth served with fish, prawns, mussels and calamari – a totally tasty meal that I
savoured for hours afterwards. Next stop was Beauty Point, half an hours drive to the north of Launceston at the mouth of the Tamar River. An area named not for the prettiness of the scenery but after a bullock named Beauty! It was the view of the river that initially enticed me into Carbones Café, but it turned out to be one of the culinary highlights of the trip. Although a bit chilly, we went alfresco on the big deck outside, playing musical tables to manoeuvre ourselves into a patch of warming sunshine.
Before looking at the menu I went inside to check out their display of cakes and sweets. Ogling the amazing homemade banoffie pie I knew I had stumbled onto something special. I ordered zucchini fritters with smoked salmon and murmured appreciatively through the whole meal. I was so incredibly full at the end of that plate of heaven that I could not even consider tackling a slice of banoffie pie – I nearly cried with disappointment.
All the guide books were spruiking about Kate’s Berry Farm, just south of Swansea on the east coast – so we pulled in to see what all the fuss was about. I was rewarded with the most amazing slice of blueberry pie in the world. Although touristy, the farm café serves up a range of hefty fruit pies, scones with home made jam, ice cream and waffles. Definitely worth a stop… (even if you’ve just had lunch).
On the way to Port Arthur we stopped at the little town of Sorell for brunch where I devoured one of the famous Tasmanian Curried Scallop pies at Penny’s Bakery and Café. This was followed closely by a gargantuan slice of lemon meringue pie. Luckily I had a big day of walking ahead as I could barely move after this bout of early morning gluttony.
Our last supper was at Squires Bounty in Salamanca Place, back in Hobart. It was only 12 degrees outside so we were delighted to get a table next to the roaring fire. I opted for a vegetarian tasting plate with eggplant fritters, cauliflower kofta and fried haloumi, which was outstanding. I followed this up with a hot mango tart with coconut custard and cranberry syrup – pure bliss on a plate. We had arrived back in Hobart after 10 days of eating our way around Tasmania. The cafes and restaurants we visited were sourcing locally and taking great pride in the food they were serving. My appetite seemed to double while I was there. I put it down to all that fresh air – the cleanest air on earth!