No matter how much I get done, there’s always still more to do.
I’m not sure whether my “to-do” is actually necessary, or if it’s a by-product of my incessant need to feel productive by achieving something every day. Why sit back and watch Netflix when I can be reading, writing, working, exploring and learning? Wasted days are like the ultimate boogey man; they scare me shirtless. This is a finite life with finite time, and when it’s all said and done I want to be proud of eking the most out of life possible.
Each week, I force myself to shut down the computer for one day, and usually that day is a Sunday Funday. In NYC, Sunday Fundays usually involved brunch (I am a stereotypical millennial after all, and if you want a cheap NYC brunch click HERE for my brunch secret), but now that I’m in Tasmania, Australia, I can’t get enough of the nature. After calling a concrete jungle home for 5 years, the change of scenery is literally a breath of fresh air.
This past Sunday, Jeremy and I adventured out to the Huon Valley, which is on the southern tip of Tasmania, despite the rainy weather for a day of exploring, and, of course, delicious food!
1.9am: Summer Kitchen and Bakery
Summer Kitchen Bakery Café is a quaint family owned shop in a town called Ranelagh that is nestled away in the Huon Valley. It specializes in wood fired sourdough among other savory and sweet pastries, pies, and treats, and is a major bread supplier to Hobart cafes. You can also find a Summer Kitchen Bakery stall at the Salamanca Market on Sundays.
We got a beef and onion pie, an almond croissant, a piece of flourless chocolate cake, and a loaf of pumpkin bread to take home. I was pleasantly surprised that the whole order was just over $20 AUD!
- Almond Croissant: the massive croissant had a beautifully flavored almond paste in the center that complemented the buttery croissant nicely without being overbearingly sweet. However, the croissant itself was more bready than flakey with an almost gooey texture, which I wasn’t particularly fond of.
- Flourless Chocolate Cake: This slice had an unbelievably rich dark chocolate flavor with only the slightest hint of sweetness. The cake was dense, but slightly on the dry side. While I thoroughly enjoyed my first forkful, it was a touch too rich and dense for my pallet to appreciate more than one bite.
- Beef and Onion Pie: Meat pies are extremely popular and common in Australia, and I’m intrigued as to why the dish hasn’t boomed in the United States. Sure, there is chicken pot pie, but it isn’t quite the same as a hand held meat pie. This pie was perfection! The crust was warm, flakey, and fresh, which held in the tender beef to perfection. The slightly sweet caramelized onions balanced the savory beef, and it was a treat that warmed my soul.
- Pumpkin Sourdough: We whipped this baby out when we got home, and oh man was it delicious. While there wasn’t a strong pumpkin flavor, the texture was soft and spongey without being chewy. There was a nice sourdough flavor, but what set this loaf apart was a wood fired taste that gave it a rustic warmness.
2.9:20am: Random Apple Stand
Fifteen minutes down the road, we saw an apple shed and immediately pulled over. I had no idea Tasmanian apples were a thing, but lo and behold, they are! What blew my mind was the fact that there was no one there. It was just two refrigerators and an “honesty box.”
“You’re telling me they just TRUST you to pay?!?!”
Jeremy shrugged his shoulder with a yes.
In New York City, those apples would have been ransacked as soon as the owner walked away. I am slightly distrusting of how trusting people in Tasmania seem to be.
We bought a massive bag for $3.
3.9:40am: Whispering Spirit
Jeremy and I are quite spontaneous with our outings, and a sign that said “Whispering Spirit” was too intriguing to pass up. We took off down a backroad through seemingly endless farms with grazing sheep and cattle before arriving at an impressive farm with a huge garden, horses, chickens, roosters and goats. There was a little shed with produce, eggs, ice cream, an baked goods for sale. Once again, no one was there. We put our money in the honesty box for a dozen eggs and little container of cookies and cream ice cream.
I proceeded to gawk at the animals for 10 minutes.
There was a whole field full of croaking roosters proudly strutting around. There was one big fella with a puffed up chest and impressive stature that couldn’t quite get his cockadooledoo out. “COCKADOODLE d…………..” He was clearly upset with himself and kept on trying to no avail.
Next store, two little goats came running out of a shed that read “bobby” and “jasper”. Animals tend to run the other direction when I come close, so this was quite a nice surprise.
4.11am: Tahune Adventures
Tahune Adventures, a popular Huon Valley destination, features an airwalk that goes through the treetops, hang gliding, and rafting. An abysmal rainy day is not ideal for an outdoor stroll, especially not for the $29 entry free. But we were there, so we were doing it. We went on the stable, closer airwalk, and I can’t say it was too exciting. It was like walking through a forest, just higher off the ground.
Bonus Tip: If you can prove your Tasmania residence, you can come back at no cost for 18 months.
The best part of the experience was what came on the way out.
A young man named Israel in a “University of Tasmania” sweatshirt approached us asking if we could do an interview for his research studies. I know what it’s like to be ignored and rejected over and over when asking someone for a few minutes of her time (oh the joys of the gig economy), so we happily sat down and got started.
Israel was part of a team studying bush fires, and he asked us questions about what we knew and how we felt. Some of the questions were straightforward, such as “what are your sources for hearing about bush fires?” and “Do you trust the information you hear?” Other questions were more open ended: “How does the idea of bush fires make you feel”, “what do you think the forest is feeling?”, and “what do you think of scientists?”
The point of the research is to get data on the public perception and knowledge of bushfires, compare it with the intentions of the scientists giving out the information, and to see how they can bridge the gap between science and public knowledge.
It got my wheels turning as I realized I know embarrassingly little about bush fires, and I’ll certainly be taking some time to educate myself moving forward.
5. 1:00pm: Masaaki Sushi
We had two goals in Geevestown: a little café called The Old Bank of Geeveston and Masaaski Sushi.
The Old Bank of Geeveston was closed, but we still managed to score a salmon sashimi platter from Masaaki. The main dining area wasn’t open, but there was a little roadside truck with platters to go. Masaaki Koyama, who is known as the surfing sushi chef, has gained quite a following after his sushi was featured on a tv program by Rick Stein, a famous British chef. Apparently, people come from far and wide from Tasmania to Geeveston to taste some of “the best sushi in Tasmania.”
Perhaps it’s because we didn’t get the full dine-in experience, but our salmon sashimi was nothing more than perfectly good. It wasn’t mind blowingly fresh or particularly impressive, but I was still happy to eat it.
6.1:30pm: Frank’s Cider House and Café
While Australia may be heading into Spring, my American blood is still pulsing with the need for Fall. Mulled cider and apple pie from Frank’s Cider House and Café certainly got the job done.
Important Note: If you order cider in Tasmania, assume there’s alcohol in it. The term “hard cider” doesn’t really exist.
Frank’s humble origins start in 1836, when the first white settler in the area, John Clark, opened Woodside Farm. Our man Frank was the third generation to the Clark family, and he got the ball rolling on the orchard. The orchard began producing heaps of apples, which were put to good use via ciders. Word about the top quality of Frank’s ciders spread through the Huon Valley, and they began shipping apples and ciders throughout Tasmania.
In 2014, Frank’s Cider House and Café opened, and you can enjoy tasty drinks, food, and sweet treats in a rustic barn setting.
The classic apple cider was crisp, refreshing, sweet, and everything you want in an apple cider. The mulled cider has a solid level of warm spices that paired nicely with the ambient music being played by a long-haired singer/songwriter. The apple pie was warm, tart, and sweet with a beautifully latticed crust. It was lacking cinnamon and nutmeg, but the pure apple flavor made up for it.
7. 2:00 pm: Circle of Life Donuts.
Okay. So we KNOW Circle of Life Donuts isn’t good. But we flock to food trucks like a moth to a light, so we couldn’t resist the urge to get a Halloween themed donut from the truck parked outside a vegan food shop.
It was just as disappointing as the donuts we tried at the Hobart shop a week prior.
Dry and flavorless. Oh well. You can’t win them all.
8. 2:30pm: Willie Smith’s
A hard cider shop draws a different crowd than a brewery or winery. Cideries feel family friendly, a bit more working class, and homier. I admittedly have only gone to four cideries in my entire life given the fact I don’t particularly care for hard cider. (If I want juice, I’ll just drink juice!)
Willie Smith’s is a fourth-generation apple farm in the Huon Valley that is known for it’s wide range of seasonal ciders, and you can find the products on tap at various Hobart bars. We got a flight of ciders, and while I would never go out of my way to get a cider, I could appreciate the clear flavors and high quality.
Despite three pastries, sushi, and apple pie, we couldn’t say no to the giant apple pie staring at us from behind the glass. The huge slice was underwhelming and the apples tasted slightly bitter and, dare I say, old, as oppose to being crisp and fresh. However, there was a good spice profile with ample nutmeg and cinnamon, and the scoop of vanilla on the side was delectable. I wouldn’t recommend it to a friend, but if we hadn’t have had it, we would have seen it as “the one that got away.”
9. 4:15 pm: Home sweet home
After an indulgent day with sweets and cider, we needed a real meal. Plus, we were dying to try out the Whispering Spirit eggs.
Jeremy poached the eggs, sautéed some spinach and chicken sausage, and put it all on top of two slices of the pumpkin sourdough from Summer Kitchen and Bakery. And OH MAN were those eggs delicious. Usually, “free range” and “organic” eggs from the grocery store taste like any old eggs, but these were undeniably fresh. The yolks were velvety, rich, and smooth and even the egg whites had flavor. They were well worth the $7.50 aud.
Usually, I spend nearly 8 hours a day staring at a computer screen. I never realize how badly I need a day away until I finally get one. This Sunday Funday through the Huon Valley had a perfect balance of food, adventure, and exploring. The best part? We only scratched the surface of what Huon Valley had to offer, and there’s so much more to see and do.
Plus, I’m not sure how I can go back to eating grocery store eggs….