All culinary eyes were on Melbourne, Australia on April 5th at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony; however, Tasmania – a remote island off the coast of Australia – boasts lesser-known, and arguably, more unique culinary experiences for the adventurous foodie.
Begin your culinary journey in Hobart, capital of Tasmania, at the Henry Jones Art Hotel, where high culture is absorbed through sight (as opposed to touch, taste and smell). Begin on a micro level – market hopping in Hobart. On Saturdays enjoy local food samples or a full course meal at the Salamanca Market, one of the biggest outdoor markets in the world. Sample even more fresh produce and delicious eats at the weekly Farm Gate Market in Bellerive on Saturdays and Hobart's city center on Sundays. For seafaring folk, spend a long weekend at Bruny Island, located off the Tasmanian mainland near Hobart. Harvest fresh oysters directly from the shore and sample wines at Australia’s southernmost vineyard. End the journey with Tasmanian Seafood Seduction: Enjoy more oysters shucked straight from the water, rock lobster and see your guide dive for abalone and sea urchin. Your catch is turned into a delicious seafood feast accompanied by gourmet local produce and Tasmanian wines, boutique beers, ciders and juices.
Speaking of local spirits, Tasmanian distillery Sullivan's Cove was named the world's best single malt whisky. If whiskey is your drink of choice, be sure to check out the Tasmanian Whiskey Trail. Later, pair your favorite Tasmanian whisky with recipes made from your farmers market produce. If you are in need of more formal training first, boost your culinary knowledge at The Agrarian Kitchen, a sustainable farm-based cooking school offering “paddock-to-plate experiences” in a 19th century schoolhouse at Lachlan, 45 minutes from Hobart in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley, Australia.
Set on five acres, The Agrarian Kitchen is a working farm using organic principles. Also in residence are rare-breed Wessex Saddleback and Berkshire pigs, Barnevelder chickens, milking goats, a flock of geese and honeybees. Cooking classes are led by Rodney Dunn, former Food Editor of Australian Gourmet Traveler magazine and one-time apprentice to Australian chef, Tetsuya Wakuda, as well as a supporting cast of Tasmanian cooks and producers. The range of seasonal cooking classes is extensive, sourcig produce directly from the farm or nearby suppliers and the school has a no-waste philosophy that is seasonal, sustainable and traditional.
For a change of scenery, a 2 ½ hour scenic drive takes you to the stunning Saffire Freycinet Lodge, perched on Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula, on Tasmania’s beautiful East Coast. Don a pair of waders and go on a tasting visit (with champagne, of course) at a working oyster farm within an internationally significant wetland and ornithological site.