I recently headed to the land down under the land down under: Tasmania. After three flights and 35 hours of travel, I stepped off onto my 5th continent with little to no expectations and uncontrollable excitement to see Jeremy’s home and experience somewhere new.
Over the course of 8 days, we saw mountains, beaches, wallabies, wombats, friends, family, and, of course, dived into the local food. Prior to this trip, the culinary scene of Tasmania was unbeknownst to me. Sure, I ate at the Outback Steak House a couple times growing up, but I had a hunch bloomin’ onions and sirloin might not be 100% authentic Aussie fare. My intuition was correct, and let me tell you, Tasmanian food is something special. Even the smallest cafes serve locally grown and raised food that is extraordinarily fresh, flavorful, and thoughtful.
I’ve always stood by the idea that if you want to understand a culture, you need to experience the food, and I certainly did just that.
These are the things you absolutely cannot miss when traveling through Tasmania!
Breakfast and café culture is a BIG deal in Tasmania, and I discovered that shi-shi “Australian” Cafes in NYC that serve up 100s of avocado toasts every day don’t compare. Every dish at every spot we went too was delectable, from savory French toast, to ricotta pancakes, to berry crumpets, to simple poached eggs on toast.
What sets Tasmanian brunch apart is that fact just about every single thing on the plate is locally sourced. Strawberries straight off the bush and sausage that hasn’t been pumped full of additives and chemicals have a beautiful freshness that is simply better. Free ranged eggs, homemade sourdough, local cheese, and house sauces in relaxed, wifi-less cafes served by chilled-out Aussies was the best way for me to gain an insight into what Tasmania is all about.
My favorite brekkie of the trip was at Ginger Brown Café in Hobart. The crumpets topped with fresh cream and raspberries were divine, the garlic omelet had an amazing flavor profile of salty ham and buttery eggs, and the poached eggs were cooked to perfection. It was so good, we went twice!
While driving through the country side, we passed thousands of cows roaming around at leisure, chomping on the grass. Who knew Tasmania has a lot of cows? Not me!
My first beef experience came in the form of a juicy hamburger at The Winston, which is ironically an American pub. The patty was thick, and jammed with flavor that made for the perfect Friday night meal. However, I’ll admit, it was on par, if not slightly below, burgers I’ve had in New York.
My second beef experience at the Farm Gate Market in Hobart is a different story. After weighing up our lunch options, we decided on some brisket from the BBQ food truck, and oh man was it delicious The piece of beef practically fell apart at the touch of a fork, and the perfectly charred edges surrounding the smoky meat is a culinary experience I won’t soon forget.
With lots of cows comes lots of dairy, and let’s just say thank god I’m not lactose intolerant.
I’ll start with the cheese. My first cheese experience was at the Pepper Lodge in Cradle Mountain, where we were welcomed with a fancy cheese plate. That night, we sat on our cabin’s back porch, sipping wine we bought from Freycinet Vineyard while watching the wild wombats and wallabies (obviously my life sucks….) From sharp cheddar to light brie to smelly blue cheese, each had a unique creaminess and unfiltered taste that was to die for.
Australian Greek yogurt was another unexpected culinary discovery, and it’s safe to say I’ll never look at Chobani the same. The local tangy, yet slightly sweet yogurt has an unbelievable thickness and creaminess that practically weighs down your spoon. There’s no need for honey or fruit, and I ate some every day.
I saved my favorite Tasmanian dairy product for last: ice cream. Each town on our East Coast road trip had an ice cream shop, and it was a news flash to me that Australian ice cream was a thing. One of the most wide spread brands is Van Diemen’s Creamery, and it scoops out the creamiest, dreamiest ice cream with delectable flavors, notably mango and salted caramel. The texture boarders on the line of gelato, and is worth every single dollar and calorie.
I am no somaliea, and “9 Crimes”, a budget wine, was the only Australian vino I was privy too prior to this trip. I was shocked to find out that Tasmania has 230 individual vineyards, and going to a vineyard is a must. We stopped by Freycinet Vineyard on a whim, and decided to do a wine tasting. I may not know much about wine, but I know I liked 90% of what I tried. We walked away with a bottle of merlot and Sauvignon Blanc, both of which were out of this world.
Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and cherries are all native to Tasmania, and the hot sun and absence of harsh pesticides make for some solid berries that are outrageously sweet as well as amazing jellys and jams around every corner. I scored some amazing ones at the Salamanca Market as well as the local grocery store, but my best berry experience by far was at Kate’s Berry Farm which elicited one of those “how do I deserve to exist when this is THAT good” experiences.
Kate’s Berry Farm is 90 minutes out of Hobart, and you can buy fresh berries, amazing jams, and great desserts. Our raspberry swirl ice cream featured a thick, indulgent creamy base with a tangy and tart fresh berry swirl that was, dare I saw, the best ice cream I’ve ever had. We also went for the gold and ordered scones. Aussie scones are like an American biscuit, and the perfectly flakey pillow of happiness was an ideal base for the freshly whipped cream and tart jam. It was one of those eating experiences where the only conversation we could manage was “OH MY GOSH this is amazing.”
Do yourself a favor and put Kate’s at the top of your list!
Other Tasmania foods to try out if you get a chance:
- Seafood: Salmon, oysters, scallops
- Craft beer
- Local Gin
Other travel tips:
- It gets cold at night, so pack layers.
- Tax and tip are included in the final bill.
- At most cafes you pay at the register.
- Check opening hours because places tend to close early .
- Asking for an Americano is like getting “TOURIST” tattooed on your forehead. Order a long black, flat white, or latte instead.
- Walk on the left side of the sidewalk.
I absolutely loved Tasmania, and I’m sure this will be the first of many trips!