Eating & drinking in Tasmania

Tasmanian love of the outdoors will whip up an appetite

Celebrity chef Rick Stein may have recognised Tassie's treats on TV of late, but the island's proponents of slow, local food have been flying this flag for years.

Eating and drinking in Tasmania reflects its lifestyles and landscapes – natural, wild, maritime and magnificent. And this isn’t just in trendy farmers’ markets in the likes of Hobart of Launceston; this is state wide.
Each region in Tasmania has a product to be proud of. And so when you peruse a Tassie menu, you won’t just see, for example, ‘Tassie tomatoes’ but Huon Valley tomatoes. Not just any old rock lobster, but a Freycinet one. And as for cheese, you could hop between King or Bruny Islands. In fact, cheese is a great example of Tasmania’s prolific produce, because Tasmania is an artisanal arcadia when it comes to cheese. The best way to sample it is to visit the dairies themselves, such as Ashgrove and Pyengana, both in the north and north east respectively, or Bruny or King Island as mentioned above, or Grandvewe in Richmond.

There are fair smatterings of cheddars, bries and blues all over the Tasmanian map, but there are also a few wild ones thrown in there too, such as wild wasabi cheese or bush pepper. That is very much a feature of eating and drinking in Tasmania, in fact. To go for classic natural flavours but then, just now and again, add a touch of something wild.
You can find all the cool climate grapes that you could wish for on Tasmania too, with Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Gewurztraminer all grown and produced here. The best way to sample them is to include a wine route as part of your vacation. Head north to the Tamar Valley and south to the winery wonders of Huon, Derwent and Coal River all of which comprise the state’s Southern Wine Route. The east gets a good look in too, with plenty of cellar doors, a wonderful feature of Tasmanian boutique wineries where sampling, sightseeing and snacking wonderful local food, are scattered all along the route between Swansea and Bicheno.
And so, what main course would you like with your wine? Sometimes it can feel a bit like that in Tasmania, although there is certainly no shortage of fine produce for chefs to play with. Topped off with some of the island’s less likely ingredients such as saffron or truffles, which thrive in Tasmania’s GM free terrains, where organic is also prolific and hormones or growth proponents are banned in cattle farming.
Indeed, lamb is everywhere in season, although Bruny Island boasts some of the best legs in Tassie. Wagyu beef reared on Robbins Island is not only exported all around the world, but also famous for the incredible images of the cattle swimming off this beautiful island’s shores, as they are mustered up in order to change pastures. Because, like everything and everyone in Tasmania, you are never far from the ocean.
And it is the produce that comes straight from the ocean that Tasmania is most famous for, of course. The oysters, scallops, mussels, rock lobster, abalone and a variety of deep sea fish. You can go for simple fish and chips – and they really are some of the best in the world, or you can do it Tassie style, go a bit wild and try the curried scallop, a local specialty. Always check that the fish and seafood is locally sourced. You would automatically assume so on an island like Tasmania, but imports do happen. You will also find a lot of salmon on the menu, but mostly farmed. Which is controversial, although Tasmania’s Seafood Council does have strict sustainable guidelines and most marine farms seek out environmental accreditations, such as Friends of the Sea.
However, going back to basics is sometimes the best way to taste Tassie. From honesty stalls outside the farms all around the island. From farm shops or small markets. Or picking your own during fruit seasons. Known as Apple Island, apple picking is almost a national pastime during the season. And for many other months, fruit producers have shed sales for sampling and buying. So, if you want to really embrace slow food, fruit picking, fishing, foraging and farm shopping are the best ways to taste the real Tassie.
Photo credits: [Top box: UpSticksNGo Crew] [Cheese on toast: peter boer] [Grape harvest: Mark Smith] [Lamb dish: Charles Haynes] [Fish dish: Martin Turmine] [Apple picking: Apple and Pear Australia ]
Written by Catherine Mack
B&B self drive tour of Tasmania, meet the locals

B&B self drive tour of Tasmania, meet the locals

Self-drive staying in Tasmania's most charming B&Bs

From AU $1495 10 Days ex flights
Tasmania self drive holiday for Australians

Tasmania self drive vacation for Australians

Discover the hidden paradise on your doorstep

From AU $1495 8 Days ex flights
Tasmania 6 day tour, Australia

Tasmania 6 day tour, Australia

Experience Tasmania’s amazing scenery, wildlife & culture.

From AU $2150 6 Days ex flights
Southern Australia & Tasmania tailor made vacation

Southern Australia & Tasmania tailor made vacation

See Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, tailor-made

From £6450 15 Days ex flights
Tasmania self guided biking vacation, Australia

Tasmania self guided biking vacation, Australia

Biking touring vacation along Tasmania's stunning east coast

From AU $1200 8 Days ex flights
Tasmania East Coast to Cradle Mountain tour, 5 days

Tasmania East Coast to Cradle Mountain tour, 5 days

The very best of Beautiful Tasmania in 5 Days.

From AU $1895 5 Days ex flights
Tasmania wildlife tour

Tasmania wildlife tour

Extraordinary encounters with Tasmania's endemic wildlife

From AU $1295 15 Days ex flights
Tasmania East Coast tour, 3 days

Tasmania East Coast tour, 3 days

Discover the scenery, wildlife and heritage of Tasmania

From AU $1050 3 Days ex flights
Photo credits: [Page banner: TDHai]
Convert currencies