Tasmania’s reputation for seasonal, high-quality produce has soared in recent years, and there has been high global demand for many of our products. Seafood, wine and dairy are some of the most obvious inclusions on a list of top Tassie tastes – but there are some more unexpected items too. Anyone for a cup of saffron tea?!
There’s an increasing variety of fresh produce on offer as we move into spring and summer, so we’re taking this opportunity to highlight some of the best foods to try, and the best food producers to visit, during your time in Tasmania.
As you’d expect for an island state, Tassie’s seafood is pretty special. We are the world’s largest supplier of wild abalone – a succulent shellfish with a delicate flavour that is hand harvested along our rugged coastline. Other great seafood options include oysters, crayfish or scallops – make sure you find time to track down a quintessentially Tasmanian scallop pie! We recommend visiting Freycinet Marine Farm, which is just over the road from Freycinet Resort, or head up to Bicheno for a meal at The Lobster Shack.
Most of Tassie’s meat comes from farms on the north and north-west of the state. Flinders Island lamb is renowned for its tenderness and the distinctive buttery flavour that comes from the lambs being milk-fed; and Cape Grim raise cows in the lush pastures of Tasmania’s north-west, resulting in some of Australia’s finest grass-fed beef. If you want to experience the full paddock-to-plate experience, take some time to visit Mount Gnomon Farm – a free-range pig farm that sells incredibly delicious, ethically-produced pork products. They offer a restaurant and tours – check the website for the latest details.
Veg, glorious veg
It’s estimated that there are around 2.5 million vegetarians in Australia, and an additional 500,000 people who follow a vegan diet. If that’s you, then you’ve come to the right place. Tassie’s environment, climate and passionate farmers mean we have easy access to some of the best fresh vegetables in the world. Farmers Markets can be the best way to get a sense of the full variety. There’s a Sunday Farm Gate Market in Hobart, Harvest Market in Launceston every Saturday, and on the East Coast you’ll find seasonal markets at Swansea, Coles Bay, Triabunna and St Helens. Keep an eye on the East Coast What’s On page for the latest listings.
The dairy industry in Tasmania is an absolute treasure trove of delights, with numerous small-scale, artisan producers making unique cheeses. From the delicious sheep’s cheeses of Grandvewe, to the sweet, rich cows’ milk cheeses from King Island; and from the seasonal offerings of Bruny Island Cheese Company to the award-winning cheddars of Pyengana, there’s something to suit every palate. If you want to add a little spice to your cheeseboard, you can’t go past the Ashgrove range, which includes a unique cheese flavoured with Tasmanian-grown wasabi.
When it comes to filling your fruit bowl in Tasmania, it’s definitely worth paying attention to what’s in season. Spring is when our citrus fruits are at their best, and it’s also a great time to enjoy the apples that the island is so famous for. (If you’re in the south of the state, treat yourself to a generous slice of apple pie at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed!) In summer, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of all the stone fruit – our cherries, plums and peaches are second to none. For the best summer berries, and a beautiful view of the Freycinet Peninsula, head to Kate’s Berry Farm, near Swansea.
Sweets and Treats
Tasmania punches well above its weight when it comes to artisan chocolate makers. Anvers, Federation and Coal River Farm all welcome visitors for tours and tastings. In the warmer months, you’ll also want to try some of the delicious, creamy ice cream that is made around the state – in a dazzling variety of flavours! The Coles Bay Ice Creamery is a must-visit spot not far from Freycinet Resort. Further afield, you’ll find Van Diemen’s Land Creamery at Elizabeth Town in the north of the state – or they also have a punt at the docks in Hobart.
And now for something a little different…
We mentioned earlier that there are plenty of unique (and a few unexpected!) foodie delights to be found in Tasmania. How do these sound: lavender ice cream at Bridestowe Estate; Blue Hills leatherwood honey, sourced from the pristine Tarkine wilderness; Freycinet Extra Virgin Olive Oil, straight from the East Coast; French black truffles, unearthed from Australian soil; Tasmanian saffron tea from the Huon Valley; and Hazelbrae Hazelnuts from Hagley – home to Australia’s only hazelnut festival!
– Ruth Dawkins ( commissioned by Freycinet Resort)