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Tasmania

Western Wilderness, Tasmania

August 24, 2014

bird river walk Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bed
Returning to Tasmania last month was a pleasure. Though we set sail in the middle of winter, our suitcase was filled with woollens and puffy jackets, gumboots and gloves. Ben and I were prepared. The cold simply enhanced our experience, assisting in making the beauty feel more tangible. In a place so stunning and seemingly surreal, our frost-kissed cheeks and chilly toes acted as a reality check, a playful pinch reminding us that yes, this is real. We’re here. It’s freakin’ cold and it’s spectacular.

Here is the link to my words for Tourism Tasmania and the Spirit of Tasmania. Writing for them has been a real treat. And because I can’t help myself, I’ve included oh, just a few more photographs from our three day Western Wilderness journey. Happy Sunday, folks x

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Inside West Coast Heritage Centre Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bed

West Coast Heritage Centre Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bed

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fog 2 Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bde

Penghana Bed & Breakfast breakfast room Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bed
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hyro power station lake margaret Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bed

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Hydro power station abandoned house Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bed

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dinner empire hotel staircase Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bed

Dinner Empire Hotel Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bed 

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snow! Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bed

Neslon Falls Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bed

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Carringa Farm 1 Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bed

Carringa Farm 3 Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bed

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Carringa Farm 2 Heidi Sze - Apples Under My Bed
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West Coast Tasmania
What we saw: Queenstown Heritage Tours – Historic Hydropower Tour and Lost Mines, Ancient Pines. Then a visit to Nelson Falls and Tarraleah Estate.
Where we stayed: Penghana Bed and Breakfast and Curringa Farm.
What we ate: raw treats and smoothies at Alchemy Cafe, Tasmanian Mountain Berry leaf (what a rad, bitter digestive!), then the Empire HotelSilver Hill restaurant and Hamilton Inn for pub food.

Heidi xo

 

 

 

 

Bruny Island, Tasmania

February 24, 2014

After our visit to the Huon Valley, we packed onto a ferry and headed to Bruny Island. My second article for Tourism Tasmania‘s “Go Behind the Scenery” campaign focused on this quiet corner of Tasmania.

Bruny Island is unpretentious, despite being abundantly wealthy in Australian wildlife and history and seafood… Here we discovered incredible oysters and meditated amongst the moss and trees. We did some ardent cheese research, spoke with a few seals and left dreaming of fish soup. And I want to do it all again…

Day 1

Holidays are for relinquishing routine and making it your full-time job to delight in all the things you fancy. Before leaving the Huon Valley and heading to Bruny Island on our Tasmanian getaway, my husband and I thought it most appropriate to delight in croissants and coffee in our cozy bed at Woodbridge Hill Hideaway. The perfect way to start your day, don’t you think?

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The fact that one must catch a ferry to reach Bruny Island is both charming and paramount to keeping the Island special, untamed and uncluttered. Venture across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and you begin to feel like you’re in a whole new world, an old world. There’s space here, space to breathe and wander and swim and snooze, all without seeing another soul. Well, you might come across a wallaby.

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My husband and I spent three glorious days on Bruny Island. And despite the spacious landscape there are many great spots to tour. Beyond the nature walks and swimming spots, which you may correctly assume are stunning, there’s an abundance of foodie destinations. Just down the road from the ferry terminal is Bruny Island Smokehouse, where you can taste creative, award-winning spreads, chutneys and smoked fish. I suggest you stock up on goods here for a picnic or eat in and enjoy a platter with a view.

We purposefully got lost on the way to our next destination and in doing so stumbled across some bees and their keepers from Tasiliquid Gold honey, as well as some hidden rocky coves. I encourage you to get lost once in a while, you’ll never know what gems you might find.

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The dedicated cheese master and team at Bruny Island Cheese churn out divine cheese to sample and purchase, as well as Leatherwood honey ice-cream, breads and preserves. My particular favourite was the raw milk C2 cheese, though we enjoyed debating this at leisure over our delicious platter. A word of warning, you might also like to share one of their super delicious woodfired sourdough pizzas. Trust me, if you see a neighbouring table receive theirs without ordering one yourself you’ll instinctively lunge at them to claim your pizza territory and things will end badly. Nobody likes a fight in a cheesery.

Full of calcium, we headed for a hike at Mount Mangana and had ourselves the most peaceful and invigorating afternoon, treading and talking amongst the leaves and moss.

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Afterwards we headed to Alonnah and checked into Kestrel Studio, a modern, self-contained cottage. Abiding by the holiday loafing law, we spent the evening lazing on the deck drinking Tasmanian cider. Though we did manage to muster the energy to assemble a meal with goodies collected over the course of our travels, including Bruny Island Smokehouse pomegranate quail. Mid-way through dinner on the deck overlooking Daniel’s Bay, I turned to my husband and proclaimed that I wouldn’t be mad if the ferry workers took a break for a week. He agreed. We were quite happy on Bruny Island, thanks.

Day 2

The next day we woke with the sun for a morning date with a couple of oysters.

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Get Shucked is a Bruny Island business run young entrepreneur, Joe Bennett and his partner, Nicole. In the ten years since purchase, their oyster farm has grown from a humble roadside caravan to a thriving wholesale business. The newly opened oyster bar gives everyday folk the opportunity to taste their farm fresh oysters natural and dressed (or in wontons!). These guys are passionate about encouraging Australians to eat oysters, good oysters, and boy are these babies good. My husband and I felt very lucky to have the chance to participate in the morning oyster farming rounds for a sneak peek into the world of Get Shucked. Tasting oysters straight from the ocean was shucking unreal. We were “living the dream”, as Joe says.

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Our next stop was the Bruny Island Berry Farm, to pick some little beauties for snacking. I grew up with berry-stained fingers from our bush at home, so was tickled pink by their 13 different varieties. Though we couldn’t stay long on this raspberry-jam packed day – we were off on a Bruny Island Cruise!

What a fun way to spend a day, zooming around the bay, greeting cheeky seals and speedy dolphins and marveling at the phenomenal rock faces and caves, the colours and contours of which were overwhelmingly beautiful. I am thankful this corner of Tasmania is protected and celebrated. During the cruise our guides gave fascinating insights into the history and science of these natural wonders. They also handed out ginger tablets to keep nausea at bay and ended with celebratory Tim Tams. Bravo boys, we had a ball on our Bruny Island Cruise.

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All that boating excitement left us ravenous. The Hothouse Café was the perfect spot for lunch, satisfying our keen craving for vegetables and giving us the chance to linger on their picturesque lawn. The owners were warm and attentive, prioritising good service and homegrown produce. We adored our picnic platter with herb damper, and their fish soup was perfection in a bowl. They also serve eggs, killer banana bread and good coffee at breakfast, and are super popular come scone o’clock.

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Dinner was at Hotel Bruny. The cheerful and hardworking owner of this much-loved pub, has created an ace spot where diners can feast on local produce while taking in the view of the great bay. What sets these Tasmanian pubs apart is the opportunity for their chefs to play with supremely fresh, local produce. I mean, where else can you get a chicken parmigiana made from local free-range chicken and Bruny Island cheese? I’m so pleased to see how popular this pub is, to know the patrons are not only having a lovely meal and getting a real taste of Bruny Island, but that they’re also supporting local producers. That’s something to toast your glass of Tasmanian wine to. Cheers!

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Day 3

Not wanting to miss out on another beautiful Bruny morning, we woke early and headed to the northern tip of the island, Dennes Point. Strolling the pier and cove, chatting with a flock of local birds and playing ‘which holiday house would you buy? was a lovely way to ease into our last day on the island.

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Come 10 o’clock when the Jetty Café and General Store opened, we devoured a delicious breakfast of kale and tarragon pancakes with a fried egg, bacon, preserved lemon and dukkah. This café has a small menu but outstanding options, skillfully crafted with beautiful local produce. The prune and brandy brownie, which I begrudgingly shared with my husband, had me swooning. I am going on the record here to say that this is why chocolate wins the dessert game. Because of food like that brownie.

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If you only have time for one activity on Bruny Island, make sure you get out of your car and walk or climb stairs and hike to a high point and gaze at the mountains and water before you leave. Feel like an explorer and savour that moment, take it with you when you leave. You’ll find stellar views at both The Neck and Cape Bruny Lighthouse. Then, if you’re lucky and blessed with loud sunshine or if you’re ballsy and don’t care, go for a swim. Get dunked by waves and celebrate the fact that you’re here, in the ocean, at the very edge of the world. It’s a special place, Bruny Island.

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Dinner on our last night on Bruny was a celebration of Tasmanian produce. We baked Bruny Island ‘Otto’ cheese (wrapped in prosciutto) and served it with roadside plucked asparagus and nectarines grilled to sweetness, alongside a pile of toasted Summer Kitchen Bakery Bread from Ranelagh in the Huon Valley and washed down with Bruny Island wine, amid frequent sighs of appreciation. It was a meal replete with local flavour, the perfect way to celebrate our visit to this abundant region of Tasmania.

Holidays are for indulging, restoring your reserves and exploring the land before you. Tasmania ticks all those boxes and then passes you a cider.

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Recipe: Bruny Island Produce Platter.

Bake your Bruny Island ‘Otto’ cheese (or alternatively find a nice soft, fudgy, pungent cheese and wrap it in prosciutto yourself) in a hot 200 degrees Celsius oven until oozing and bubbling (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile cook thin slices of nectarine in a bit of butter in a non-stick pan until golden and caramelised. Steam or grill your asparagus spears and toast thin slices of bread then plate it all up and dive in. Olives, fresh tomato, caramelized onions and Bruny Island Smokehouse hot smoked salmon would be splendid accompaniments.

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Bruny Island

What we sawMount Mangana (a fantastic hiking trail, 1.5 hrs and 571m elevation), Seals, dolphins, rocks & flora with Bruny Island Cruises, The Neck, Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Where we stayedKestrel Studio (a modern, self-contained cottage with a large private deck)
Where we ateBruny Island Smokehouse (fish chowder and pomegranate smoked quail), Bruny Island Cheese (cheese platter, including my favourite raw milk C2 cheese, and woodfired sourdough pizza), Get Shucked (fresh oysters with a mix of dressings, although their wontons are apparently brilliant too!), Bruny Island Berry Farm (freshly picked raspberries, blueberries and other delights), Hothouse Café (a picnic platter of local produce including cheese and smoke salmon with herb damper, fish soup, banana bread and a good old BLT), Hotel Bruny (local oysters kilpatrick, chicken parmigiana made from Nichols Free Range Tasmanian chicken and Bruny Island cheese, and lamb cooked in local ale with smashed pink eyes), Jetty Café and General Store (a delicious breakfast of kale and tarragon pancakes with a fried egg, bacon, preserved lemon and dukkah, and a homemade chocolate brownie).

Heidi xo

 

 

Huon Valley, Tasmania

February 21, 2014

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Last month I travelled to the Huon Valley and Bruny Island to discover and eat and write for Tourism Tasmania. It was such a pleasure. Dancing across South Eastern Tasmania, cider in hand and lungs full of fresh air, Ben and I had an absolute blast.

You can find my articles (one and two) on the Discover Tasmania website, as part of the “Go Behind The Scenery” campaign. These articles are a trip snapshot with recommendations for where to eat, visit and stay in the region. Some places were encouraged by the wonderful Tourism Tasmania team, quite a few from locals of the region, others from my own research and a number stumbled upon as we journeyed… It’s not hard to do, discovering your own tasty Tasmanian tale.

I’ll share more of my trip to Bruny Island in a future post. For now, let me pour you a cider and we’ll head to the Huon Valley.

Day 1

There’s a feeling you get when you step onto Tasmanian soil, disembarking from The Spirit or onto the tarmac. It’s a feeling of achievable serenity. You’ve arrived in a not so far away land that feels entirely far away. You’ve escaped, you’re here, and you’re going to have an incredible time.

My husband and I spent four nights in the Huon Valley, meandering over hills dotted with cows and sheep, having the merriest, cider-charged time. Driving from Hobart through the undulating valley was a pleasure. Within 30 minutes we were at the Huon Valley market admiring handcrafted capes, sampling vegan carrot cupcakes and deciding what homemade pie to purchase. We went with chicken curry, followed by a darling, Summer-sweet apricot bite. A German spiced apple cake also found its way to our table…

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Just down the road from the market we found The Cat’s Tongue Chocolatiers. How many spots encourage you to grab a stool and marvel at rows of delicately crafted chocolates while slurping down a delicious order of ‘Jewish Penicillin’, chicken soup with matzo balls? We chatted with the treat technician and all-round cheery guy, about his chocolates, their subtleties and balance of sweetness. Open only by appointment during the week, visit their café on weekends for all the smoked salmon with caper mayonnaise buns and hot chocolate you desire. The real decision is which cocoa delight you will purchase to take home? The limoncello truffle, the nougat or the peanut butter log? The correct answer is all of the above, plus the salted caramel.

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On we drove to Franklin, a small town on the Huon River known for their boat-building prowess. My eyes darted to Village Antiques of Franklin, located over the road from The Wooden Boat Centre. Here I wandered the rooms filled with olden-day gems and pondered the lives of the people who once owned them. Tempted by an antique school desk, though with neither the need nor the means to get it home, I left with two ornate plates and called it a day.

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Stopping for fruit at Franklin’s roadside stalls for farm fresh produce is a must. The smell and flavour of a perfectly ripe nectarine is something magical.

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On the road to Woodbridge Hill Hideaway I took advantage of the lush display around us and lost myself in the green, debating my favourite shade. The Tasmanian countryside is ever generous in its green decoration. From the soft, yellowing, sun-kissed, whispy grass to the deep, almost dirty greens adorning the tree tops. And of course the vibrancy of the paddocks after rainfall. You can breathe the green into your lungs and, even after one day in this land, feel revitalised. Though you’re going to want to linger in the Huon Valley for more than one day, especially when staying at Woodbridge Hill Hideaway…

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These self-contained cabins are soul-nurturing and indulgent. If you can get past the gasp-inducing view of Bruny Island and appreciate the stunning spa bath, kitchen, fireplace and reclining couch, you’ll find yourself so at peace you might never want to leave. Well, maybe just to sneak out for fish and chips from Bugsy’s Takeaway in nearby Margate…

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Day 2

On day two of our visit to the Huon Valley I awoke to the smell of Boks Bacon sizzling on the stove, which promptly went down in my notebook as my preferred wake-up call. We enjoyed breakfast on our balcony at Woodbridge Hill Hideaway, with a cup of Nespresso coffee and a good yarn with a friendly local bird, followed by a wander around the property.

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The first thing you see when driving into Huon from Hobart is The Apple Shed, a refurbished barn deliciously devoted to the humble fruit, which has for years been the livelihood of the region.

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In recent times, Tasmanian apple orchardists have started making cider from their surplus fruit. Willie Smiths is Australia’s largest organic apple orchard. This family-run business has been growing apples in the Huon Valley since 1888 and now, along with their cider, they’ve created The Apple Shed, where visitors can learn the history of apple growing in the Huon Valley. There is, of course, Willie Smith’s Organic Apple Cider on tap to welcome you and your palate to the Huon Valley in the most spectacular fashion. Take your glass, sit in the outdoor area and relax for an afternoon. If you’re lucky you can snag a slice of the most scrumptious homemade apple pie you’re sure to ever find. There are also beautiful local cheese and meat boards to swoon over and cakes to delight.

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But let’s get back to the cider…

Willie Smith’s Organic Apple Cider is crafted in the traditional European style. It’s cloudy and only lightly carbonated. I’m not one to throw around tasting notes or use words such as ‘tannins’ with any real understanding of what they mean, but I am able to articulate some thoughts on Willie Smith’s cider. The head cider maker, has done a fantastic job in creating a brew that tastes the way apple cider should, only slightly and nicely sweet. It’s apple truth. My husband is now justifying regular glasses of this ‘adult apple juice’ because it’s organic and surely good for you. Well, it’s hard to argue after taking a sip of Willie Smith’s.

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Next on our food-touring list was Grandvewe Farm and Cheesery, where we sampled some of their famous sheep cheese. Do try the blue cheese at Grandvewe, it’s sure to convince any non-blue lover. And the Pinot paste? Divine. We left with two packs, as well as a wedge of manchego-style cheese and a newfound respect for mothers (and I don’t just mean sheep) after viewing the milking demonstration.

We also stopped by Meredith’s Orchard for fabulous local produce, including this award winning spelt flour, which I am itching to bake with.

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Oyster Cove Inn in Kettering has everything you could want in a pub, plus a side of local Tasmanian scallops. We had a great chat with the cheerful and helpful owner, and happily followed his recommendations for food, wine and local touring. Their fresh menu is sure to please, as our scallops and salmon did. This is good pub grub, pleasantly elevated in class by both the use of quality, local produce and a skilled, creative chef. The view of Oyster Cove doesn’t hurt, either.

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Day 3

Our third day in the Huon Valley began with a hike at Mount Misery Habitat Reserve. We chose a moderate, hour-long walk in the rainforest and found it to be completely restorative. It was grounding too, stepping outside of our bubble and for a short while listening only to the land and the tales of the trees.

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Lunch was at Home Hill Winery. World famous for their Pinot Noir, this vineyard, cellar door and restaurant is a sleek slice of heaven. We met the owner for a chat about the space, their fantastic wine and our superb lunch, which started with warm sourdough and local oysters with cuvée sorbet, then melted into confit duck with blackberry jus and truffle butter-kissed steak. Did I mention the goose fat potatoes? Forgive me, they certainly happened. It was all lovely and refined, yet relaxing.

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As the designated driver on this Pinot Noir scented day, I drove onward to meet the Franklin local working to renovate the old church hall (where she did Sunday school and recitals as a kid) into a museum celebrating Lady Franklin and a cellar door and café for visitors to enjoy Frank’s Cider. The mix of historical tales, old churches and family-run cider from local apples makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And I’m certain that’s due to a blend of equal parts nostalgia and cider.

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Frank’s use golden delicious apples, left on the tree at their Franklin farm until they are exquisitely ripe; this is what makes Frank’s cider so special. They also brew pear cider and a cherry pear blend, which is quite unique and different from Pagan Cider’s cherry apple blend up the road. Both these modern style brewers are creating a fantastic product. Our loot of Franklin and Pagan ciders, intended as gifts, are now chilling in our fridge for our own enjoyment. If you’ve tasted their cider you will understand our cider selfishness.

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Dinner was at The Cove Kettering, where we were welcomed by the owners, a genuinely lovely couple who have been completely hands on in the creation of this gem. From falling in love with the stunning marina view and sourcing the property, to designing and building the structure (which includes three guest suites), to now catering to visitors eager to explore the Huon Valley and beyond. It’s no surprise people keep coming back to stay at The Cove Kettering. Along with handmade chocolate truffles, guests receive breakfast made from local produce and have the option of dining in. Oh, please choose to have dinner at the suites in the relaxing lounge. We are still dreaming of the slow-cooked pork and crackling with the Asian salad. Excuse me while I run off to make a booking. I’m thinking September…

Day 4

Our final day in the Huon Valley was a colourful one, starting with wholesome pies at Summer Kitchen Organic Bakery. These friendly folk use organic and wholemeal flours in their sourdough breads and pie crusts, appreciating the value of nutritious food, crafting it with love and then sprinkling it with pumpkin seeds.

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Next stop was the Cygnet Folk Festival, the annual event drawing talented folk performers from all over the globe. We met with the committee’s president for a chat before getting lost in the happy, relaxed, tie-dye clad crowd. Hours later I emerged with a feather braided into my hair and a cup of soy chai in my hand, while my husband had bought three organic goat milk soaps and hugged a hippy masseuse. We had a swell time. A highlight was sitting in the Town Hall listening to The London Kelzmer Quartet and their Eastern European tunes. It was at this point we realized that we might just be folk festival people after all.

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Upon encouragement from Huon Valley locals we visited The Lotus Eaters Café for lunch, and soon appreciated what all the fuss was about. These ladies serve scrumptious, healthy, soul-fulfilling food. We got our vegetable curries and coffees to go, as well as the most divine rugalech pastry swirled with Tasmanian walnuts and sultanas. I am contemplating returning to the Huon Valley solely for the purpose of buying 10 more of their rugalech.

After dancing under the Cygnet sun to Maharaja’s Choice, we were in the mood for some luxurious indulgence. Luckily we were due to check into Villa Howden. I was sold as soon as I laid eyes upon this Tuscan-style castle. The glass of bubbly upon arrival kind of sealed the deal, too. Villa Howden’s lovely staff can advise should you wish to stroll along the beach at nearby Tinderbox, however I would not judge if you chose to hibernate in their stunning rooms or laze on a day bed in the lounge with a magazine and another glass of bubbly (hey, it’s your holiday!).

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The restaurant at Villa Howden excels in terms of both food quality and menu creativity, not to mention value for money. The saffron broth with local seafood springs to mind, so does the lavender butter to go with their homemade dinner rolls, the entrée of confit abalone and, oh, the lime and coconut chiboust with banana sorbet, candied macadamia and kiwifruit puree for dessert. Incredible.
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Eggs for breakfast in their bright dining hall was the perfect way to refuel after a morning swim in Villa Howden’s stylish indoor pool. Though we had plans to continue exploring the Apple Isle, I quite fancied staying for High Tea. Scones, anyone? I wonder if they are served with that dreamy lavender butter?…

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Huon Valley

What we saw: The Apple Shed Museum and Willie Smiths, Village Antiques of Franklin, roadside fruit stalls in Franklin, Frank’s Cider, Pagan Cider, Hiking Mount Misery, Huon Valley market, Cygnet Folk Festival, Meredith’s Orchard produce shop, Grandvewe Cheesery.
Where we stayed: Woodbridge Hill Hideaway and Villa Howden. Cove Kettering Suites is a great option, too.
Where we ate: The Apple Shed Museum and Willie Smiths (charcuterie board, cider and apple pie – pure produce bliss), The Cat’s Tongue Chocolatiers (incredible chocolates and comforting brunch food like chicken matzo ball soup), Oyster Cove Inn (great pub food – scallops!), Cove Kettering Suites (dinner is offered to their guests and I am still dreaming of Bronwyn’s slow-cooked pork, crackling and asian slaw), Bugsy’s Fish & Chips (classic takeaway joint), Home Hill Vineyard (delicious and elegant dining), The Lotus Eaters Café (soy chai, curries and pastries), Summer Kitchen Organic Bakery (organic and amazing) and Villa Howden‘s restaurant (just divine).

Heidi xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tasmania, Day Four.

November 8, 2013

So here we are, day four of our Tasmania trip. The final day. The day that further cemented my love for this state. Not that I needed more encouragement or persuasion. Tasmania really put on a show for mum and I during this visit, my very first time crossing the strait to the apple isle. And that’s it, it’s done and I’m sold.

From the nature (oh, the nature) with generous greens and golds and bountiful browns and magnanimous magentas decorating the land…the undulating scenery of rocks and hills and water and mountains and paddocks…To the food and produce of the finest quality, crafted with sincerity and integrity. And then there’s the people behind this stellar food and produce, their pride and neighbourly warmth.

My affection comes after only treading so far as the North West region of Tasmania, there is so much more to see. I hear that Hobart is brimming with food and culture and art, so that is next on my list.

Stanley

Let’s end our visit on a high! We’re off to Stanley.

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Have you been to Stanley? It’s incredibly charming. The giant rock you see above is called “The Nut” and it’s probably what Stanley is most famous for. We climbed The Nut and it is indeed a fabulous feature of Stanley, however I was more thrilled to simply be in the place where Bill Mollison was born. There’s something special about this place…

Stanley feels like a quintessential English seaside town. There are cobblestones and pubs and fishing boats and scallop pies. Heck, there’s even a red phone booth, encouraging cheesy tourist posing. The clouds came and went over the course of our visit in a terribly fickle manner, but that just made it feel all the more like England. We just loved our stay in this town. Stanley gave us the perfect dose of comfort and exploration on our last night in Tasmania.

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Mum and I arrived in Stanley quite tuckered out after all our travelling and tasting. We went for a wander around the town and took a few photographs, before heading to the pub for a drink and a chat with some locals. The Stanley folk were so welcoming, we had a nice chat about the area and were keenly encouraged to sample the local pickled octopus. The girls working at the pub even took our details to see if we could tour the factory and pick up a pickled octopus supply to take home (alas, it wasn’t possible, but we did find some at the local supermarket).

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The Ark Stanley

After our pub visit we checked into our accommodation at The Ark. This bright home is an excellent place to stay, it’s clean and spacious and has all the amenities you’d desire (including really fabulous, large, sleek showers). The Ark is situated below The Nut and overlooks the water, so it’s in an ace location. We could have quite happily stayed here for a few more days.

Mum and I tried multiple times to get a table at Xanders Brasserie, an incredibly popular restaurant in the heart of the town, but it was completely booked out. This was a real shame, as we hear it’s an amazing, innovative restaurant (they had possum on the menu – possum!). We’ll have to save it for our next visit. Though I must say we were very happy to collapse in our room and enjoy our night in such lovely comfort – hot showers, white robes and a picnic dinner in our room. Not too shabby at all.

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Picnic Dinner

That evening we devoured a veritable feast of Tasmanian goodies. There was 41 Degrees South hot smoked salmon, incredible cheese from Ashgrove and King Island Dairy, the divine Ashgrove cultured butter and a bottle of Ghost Rock Two Blocks 2012 Pinot Noir (oh, that wine!). Whilst delighting in our spread, we had a bit of a Kathy Bates marathon, courtesy of The Ark’s ace DVD supply. First up was Fried Green Tomatoes, which is such a favourite of mine, and then Misery (creepy, creepy)! I felt like I was thirteen again sitting with my girlfriends watching scary movies.

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The Nut

In the morning we headed straight to The Nut for a super steep hike and walk around the top of the rock. The views of Stanley, the water, the land, the space, were truly stunning. What a refreshing way to wake up in Tasmania.

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Hi, wallaby, how are you doing?

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Touchwood Cafe

Back in the town we enjoyed a fabulous takeaway coffee at Touchwood cafe, a lovely local gem with cottages, a gallery and cafe/restaurant. The owners are very friendly and they serve Genovese coffee, what more could you want? Cake? Well yes, they do that too, with an excellent selection – check out these gorgeous wholemeal savoury buttermilk muffins!

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I was about to devour a muffin but instead we saved ourselves for some local scallop pies. These pies were a bit of fun, one mornay style and one curried. Though I am still thinking about that muffin…

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Highfield House

After brunch we visited Highfield House and explored the grounds. You can do tours at Highfield, which would be a fun activity if you’re anything like me and love history and homes. You can also hire the venue for Weddings. Wouldn’t that be divine?

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Home…

All our senses satisfied, feeling completely full of gratitude and inspiration and seafood and wine and cheese, we bundled up and headed back towards Burnie to fly home.

Tasmania, you’re a true beauty. Thanks for the superb scenery and food, your natural charm and warm spirit, and the chance to spend this special time with my mum.

Thank you also to Tourism Tasmania and Deb from We Are Social, for being so generous in offering me this trip. I’m feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.

All I have left to say is…

boat harbour 5

 

Heidi xo

* Disclaimer: although I traveled courtesy of Tourism Tasmania, my opinions and recommendations are most sincerely my own.

Tasmania, Day Three.

November 1, 2013

Travelling to Tasmania, I never predicted I would be bidding at an auction. I had never even attended an auction, let alone gone in to bid. But I did. And I won! I’m now the proud owner of some retro cameras.

It was an antiques auction, you see. And I am now a little obsessed with the idea of an auction, the high you feel while trying to play it cool, scoping out your competition and then going in for the kill! Oh boy, this could be dangerous…

Let’s head back to Tasmania and talk it out.

Burnie Farmers’ Market

Day three of our trip to Tasmania to explore the abundant North-West coast, saw my mum and I leaving Penguin early Saturday morning and driving to Burnie. We were there to visit the Burnie Farmers’ Market, the very first farmers’ market established in Tasmania.

I had been hoping to visit  a good farmers’ market on our trip, with dirty carrots, bags of potatoes and the scent of bacon and egg rolls filling the morning air. Burnie gave us just that.

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We sampled some fabulous local Dexter beef from Preston Gourmet Produce. Usually my body believes 9am to be too early for chunks of meat, but the smell of these products sizzling and caramelising was deliciously persuasive. These guys were ace, very friendly and passionate about their produce.

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I just loved this market and am thrilled, though eternally jealous, to read that there is a new Cradle Coast Farmers’ Market that will be running every Sunday in Ulverstone (near Burnie). This market sounds absolutely fantastic. Oh, to have access to such brilliant Tassie produce every week!

For breakfast I picked up the most gorgeous spinach and feta pie, made superbly and skilfully by The Pie Man.

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Island State Antiques, Collectables and Estate Auctions

Right next to the market we came across an antiques auction that was brimming with finds, from ornate tea sets to kitsch nick-nacks. We had arrived right before it was about to start, and so mum and I darted from table to table inspecting what was on offer before sensibly settling on a few that we simply had to have and requesting that we pull each other in line if the bidding got out of hand.

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Luckily it didn’t come to that. I don’t think I would have been able to depart from the set of antique bone-handled cutlery with much grace or poise…

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Mum and I each got some outrageous steals including an antique porcelain jelly mould for $9. I was contemplating bidding on the most stunning wooden desk but it was just too difficult to figure out the logistics.

If you’re in the market for antiques, I highly recommend visiting Burnie as you’ll likely pick up some amazing gems and have a nice holiday in the process. This auction runs quite regularly, so check out the website for more details.

Hellyers Road Distillery

After all that bidding excitement we left with our goodies and headed to Hellyers Road Distillery for a stiff drink. Here I learnt a great deal about whiskey and their single malt peated variety (which was voted Australia’s best). I’m really pleased to say that I began to appreciate whiskey at Hellyers. And it wasn’t just the whiskey-flavoured fudge they serve, I swear. No, previously having directed most of my liquor love towards gin, I feel this may be the start of a beautiful relationship with brown varieties.

Cheers to that.

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Burnie Makers’ Workshop

Mum and I took our groggy gift packs (happy birthday, Dad) and drove back into town to the Burnie Makers’ Workshop for a bit of art and design education. This centre is a great place to shop for gifts, too. I was dying to leave with this hat by local artist Susan McArthur, look at the craftsmanship. And that colour! Major millinery respect.

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Delish Fine Foods

Next we dashed to Delish Fine Foods and stocked up on deli goods for a picnic dinner. We left with more 41 Degrees South salmon (can you ever have enough?) as well as some local cheese, and enjoyed a lovely coffee while pondering our next move…

Flowerdale Detour

I am all for planning when taking a holiday. It’s important to make sure you’re at the right place at the right time so you don’t miss out on gems such as Farmers’ Markets, festivals, dinner bookings, etc. But there’s something special about stumbling across events, such as the antiques auction in Burnie. These sudden delights become instant trip highlights, as you simply weren’t expecting them. They’re a true treat.

This is how mum and I feel about our detour to the pleasant town of Flowerdale. Driving past fields of dazzling red tulips, we felt compelled to pull over and soak up the beauty before us.

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We then decided to drive through the winding town and chat with some local cows. Taking a few quiet, contemplative moments. I’ll always fondly remember Flowerdale for this…

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Boat Harbour and Harvest & Cater

We happened upon the town of Boat Harbour in a similar fashion, actually – by pure chance. And it turned out to be another Tasmania highlight.

Boat Harbour is the most charming, small sea-side town on the North-West Tasmania coast. It feels calm, with it’s soft sunlight and gentle breeze. I hear in Summer it gets busy, as families tumble in for beach days and BBQs with neighbours. What a great family holiday spot it would be. I’d like to visit during Autumn or Winter, when it’s quieter still. Fleeing to the harbour to escape the noise and expectations…yes, I quite fancy that.

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boat harbour 1

Mum and I had lunch at the local cafe, Harvest and Cater. This fabulous spot is run by a friendly, casual and clearly very talented couple named Nick and Suzie.

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Harvest and Cater serve up scrumptious seafood with skill. There are non-seafood bites on the menu also, but I encourage you to run with the theme, as they do it well. Their seafood chowder was truly delicious and understated, and mum’s fried fish burger was super fresh and really, really yummy (as were the hot chips). I only wish I could have returned to try their seafood curry (next time!).

h&c lunch

h&c lunch 2

Luckily we saved room for a scone. These lightly golden mounds had a lovely, slightly crisp crust and were super fluffy (yet without a hint of excess metallic leavening flavour, which can be so common and disappointing). We were so in love with these scones, a display of truly good baking. Dressed up with vibrant jam and whipped cream, we were tickled raspberry pink. I tried to get the recipe for you but alas, it’s a Harvest and Cater secret. You’ll just have to visit and try for yourself.

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Sisters Beach

Completely sated, we packed up and drove further along the coast, stopping before Rocky Cape National Park at Sisters Beach for a walk on the stones and sand. The scenery changed here, it was less green and more, well, rocky.

Mum and I walked in silence, feeling the cool breeze kiss our cheeks somewhat less affectionately than before, in Boat Harbour. A reminder that it’s not all sunshine and green hills in Tasmania. But it’s still life, it’s still beauty. You just need to take out your umbrella and live it, with your head held high, admiring the pretty pebbles that turn up as you stride through the storm. We like to stop and look at the pebbles, mum and I.

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pebble beach 2

There is one more post to come, day four. We’re going to Stanley. It’s one of the most charming towns in Tasmania.

Heidi xo

* Disclaimer: although I traveled courtesy of Tourism Tasmania, my opinions and recommendations are most sincerely my own.

Tasmania, Day Two.

October 27, 2013

I think it is pretty evident from my recap of day one of our Tasmania trip that I fell hard for this gorgeous, green state. And there is so much more to tell you. Let’s get lost in Tasmania once more…

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Day two was a particularly delicious day involving chocolate, cider, wine and wallaby wellington. In the morning, after our homemade croissants and blood orange jam, mum and I waved goodbye to Glencoe Rural Retreat and headed to Cradle Mountain…

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Cradle Mountain

As I mentioned in my first post on Tasmania, I love to hike, to get lost in nature, treading on twigs and pebbles and feeling completely swallowed by trees and mountains. Cradle Mountain was a spectacular space to do just that. Have you visited before? Definitely put it on your ‘to do’ list, if you haven’t.

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Mum and I chose the Dove Lake Loop, which was an easy introduction to Cradle Mountain. I would have keenly continued our lakeside limber and hiked some more, however we had to scoot to meet important chocolate folk. Though not before a takeaway coffee from Cradle Mountain Lodge and a bit of wombat spotting.

cradle coffee

cradle wombat

House of Anvers

It’s not every day you have a date at a chocolate factory. House of Anvers is incredibly endearing, both aesthetically and in terms of their company history. And their blatant love for chocolate, for good chocolate, Belgian chocolate no less. I quite fancied setting up house right here in cocoa heaven…

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We were greeted by Todd, the very knowledgeable and friendly marketing manager, and went on a tour of the factory. Visitors are able to tour the factory also, and grab a chocolate bite in the cafe and gift shop if they please.

The tour was wonderful. Despite being mesmerised by the liquid chocolate in front of me, I managed to learn a great deal about the history of Anvers and their company beliefs and aspirations. Igor, the owner and founder of Anvers, is from Belgium and has a well renowned infectious love for all things chocolate.  He has created a company that really respects their customers and strives to create a continually exceptional product. I could see that the staff are completely hands on when crafting their popular goods, which are made with natural, quality ingredients. The staff are trained intently to foster true cocoa craftsman skills. We also viewed a range of gorgeous vintage chocolate moulds and developed a serious chocolate craving (which was surely satisfied later on).

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anvers moulds

Anvers chocolates are very well loved by it’s consumers, wherever we went people raved about this company. And I now count myself a cocoa-loving friend of Anvers too. I’m a bit chocolate mad, this is most certainly not news. So why am I singing and dancing about Anvers? Was it their famed fudge or truffles that got me? Or perhaps their Belgian waffles with chocolate sauce satisfying hungry visitors fresh off the Spirit of Tasmania?

Not quite (though these are all surely scrumptious). I am particularly taken with Anvers’ new product, an organic chocolate called Fortunato No. 4. Let’s talk.

This incredibly rare product is from the Marañón Canyon in Peru, where special wild cacao trees containing white cacao beans grow. I encourage you to watch this fascinating Anthony Bourdain video for insight into the cocoa beans and the land where the pods are grown and harvested.

Anvers’ Fortunato No. 4 chocolate is a pleasure. Let’s be real, most chocolate I find pleasurable (particularly if it’s dark chocolate) but this product is truly, phenomenally pleasurable. No bitter assault on your taste buds, rather an extremely friendly yet intoxicating flavour that affectionately greets you and lingers a long while after you’ve finished. As Igor said in this comprehensive article, it’s “a very complex, powerful chocolate”. This product is made with a high percentage of cocoa butter and no cocoa powder, which may help you to understand why it’s so darn good. It contains organic pure Nacional cacao (68% dark chocolate – 60% bean mass and 8% cacao butter), organic cocoa butter and organic sugar. That’s it. As the New York Times stated, “the chocolate is intense, with floral aroma and persistent mellow richness. It’s lack of bitterness is remarkable”.

Yes, this chocoholic is a bit smitten.

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Anvers has the exclusive Australian rights to this chocolate, while Anthony Bourdain has joined forces with others to bring it to the USA. You should be able to find this product in David Jones by the end of the year (hurry up, DJs!), but it’s probably a good idea to visit Anvers’ website and order some. Today. Soon. Like, now. It’s not your $4 block of chocolate but it is completely worth the extra cost. It’s a case of quality over quantity, most certainly.

Before leaving Anvers, we enjoyed a few hand-made bites and hot chocolates with chilli powder, which provided a delightful, lingering chilli hit and fuelled us until out next stop.

anvers hot choc

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Anvers is a big supporter of the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail (see this link for more info). Essentially it’s the map of deliciousness for the region, so there’s really not much to disagree with. It’d be a nice tool for people who aren’t keen on doing a whole bunch of research but want to taste the local flavours. Be sure to stop by Anvers, it really is a gem.

Spreyton Cider Co

After all that chocolate we felt it was high time we have a little fruit, so we headed to Spreyton Cider Co. for some apple cider.

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This cider is made by the folks behind the popular and longstanding juice company, Spreyton Fresh, using their local apples (and sometimes pears). I’m not usually a fan of fruit juice as I find it too sweet, but upon tasting Spreyton’s apple juice at the cidery and I appreciated how much this product tasted so true, like BAM!, pure apple goodness. I prefer my cider to really taste like apples so I was happy with Spreyton’s full flavour. I left with a classic cider after paying $10 and tasting all of their blends. Not a bad deal, hey?

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Ghost Rock Vineyard

Onwards we travelled to Ghost Rock Vineyard for more tastes (note: I was the designated driver and passed mum the majority of my tastes. I take driving very seriously and have absolutely ZERO tolerance for drink drivers).

Ghost Rock is delightful spot. It would be wonderful to park right here and wile away the afternoon with a glass bottle of wine and some cheese, enjoying this lovely view.

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At the cellar door we spoke with Cass about Ghost Rock’s award winning wines. We sampled a few tipples (sparkling wine love) and purchased a bottle of their Two Blocks 2012 Pinot Noir to savour another night, as well as some Cradle Coast Olives award winning olive oil. This fragrant and rich oil, generously drizzled over fresh sourdough with a little sea salt, tastes like heaven.

Yes, we left Ghost Rock very happy indeed.

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Penguin

Heading along the coast, we were never short of spots to stretch our legs. As we drove I imagined one day loading up a campervan and moseying from place to place, from lush rainforest to sparkling coast, stopping whenever inclined…what a splendid holiday that would be. We’d surely need to pause at the sweet seaside town of Penguin.

penguin

Penguin holds a famous market every Sunday, which we unfortunately did not visit. But perhaps this isn’t such a bad thing…it would no doubt have resulted in mum and I leaving with a coin collection and an arm chair or two, which are just so not on the list of necessities right now. We did, however enjoy a splendid dinner and a stay at a gorgeous hotel in Penguin.

You know what? A large part of what made this trip so special was spending it with my mum. Being the only girls in our family, mum would often make time for just the two of us, with dates to the city or the ballet. We even went to Europe together after I finished school. Though we remain very very close, it’s been a while since mum and I have done a trip together. This Tasmania vacation was so nice.

penguing mum & I

That night, we went on a date to Wild Cafe upon sincere encouragement from locals. They’re proud of this spot by the water and I can see why, we had a lovely meal at Wild. The wallaby wellington (yes!) particularly stood out. I hear that Wild is relocating to Devonport later this year and rebranding as Mrs Jones, so do be aware of that.

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The Madsen Boutique Hotel

Back at our hotel…

penguin bed

Mum and I stayed at The Madsen Boutique Hotel, which is a four and a half star gem. Wow, this hotel is really really lovely, very classy. After acting quite composed upon check-in, I promptly danced around our beachfront spa suite room feeling oh so spoilt and a little bit like royalty. I would recommend booking a back room if street noise bothers you, but as it was a quite night in Penguin we had no trouble.

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After dinner, we got into our white robes and sat cozy on our giant bed, indulging in complimentary tipples of port and Anvers chocolates while watching Bridesmaids. It was the perfect girls night in.

In the morning, we woke to this view…and the promise of another glorious day in Tasmania.

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Day Three of our Tasmania jaunt sees us visiting a farmers market and stumbling across the most divine scones. It’s a good one. And funnily enough, revolves entirely around food. Again.

Heidi xo

* Disclaimer: although I traveled courtesy of Tourism Tasmania, my opinions and recommendations are most sincerely my own.

Tasmania, Day One.

October 10, 2013

I’m not quite sure how to start this post, there’s so much I want to tell you. About this trip, this land I visited and all I saw. Heidi Apples, visiting the Apple Isle for the very first time. It was so perfect and without a hint of cheesiness the previous sentence may imply. Though I did eat a lot of cheese over the course of my visit…

I suppose I’ll start at the beginning.

When asked if I wanted to pack my bags, head to Tasmania and document my finds along the North-West region, I quite literally jumped at the opportunity. Four days winding through the countryside, visiting producers and finding “hidden gems” as the generous brief encouraged. Oh, yes, I could manage that.

My mum joined me on this jaunt. As well as being one of my most favourite people, she has excellent taste in the realm of food and hidden gems. And so early one late September Thursday morning, we boarded a flight to Launceston.

green

My first vision of Tasmania was green. Green like I had not encountered since touring the English countryside with mum in 2003. Tasmania feels like a slice of Europe in that sense, and I intend that in the most complimentary way. It is stunning. As much as I appreciate my home state, Victoria, Tasmania really excels at the whole “rolling pastures” thing. I adore green, it’s my favourite colour, and I found myself entranced by the intense shades all around me. And not just green, but browns and oranges and reds. From the soil to the hills, the contours and mounds, all of it was so lush, so fertile, so breathtakingly beautiful.

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I had hired a car as my way to get around and I found this to be a very easy, efficient and cost effective mode of transportation. I cannot really imagine doing it another way and being able to gain such excellent access to all of Tassie’s corners.

Elizabeth Town Antiques

Our first stop for the day was Elizabeth Town, where we stumbled upon an antique shop and small history museum. Always a sucker for antiques, mum and I snagged a few gems (including an old jug) and debated our ability to take a vintage 30kg pudding/crayfish boiler home on the plane. We left without the boiler. This store, casually known as “Elizabeth Town Collectables”, is located on the Bass Highway, very near Ashgrove Cheese. If you like antiques and a bit of history, it is definitely worth a visit.

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museum shop

Ashgrove Cheese

Our bellies hungry for a bite, we scooted to Ashgrove Cheese, where I met with Richard Bennett and learnt about the history of the company and how they make their fabulous cheese. As well as observing how the dairy goods are made, we got to taste our fair share of cheese (there are lots of yummy samples for hungry visitors). We also tried their cultured butter (oh my), so naturally we had a great time at this friendly spot.

cheese

Ashgrove Cheese is a family run business. They have three dairy farms surrounding the cheese factory, where they create their award winning cheese. Ashgrove Chesse also make milk, cream (100% cream with no thickeners!) and hand-cut butter. My family was familiar with Ashgrove as we buy their butter back home, and adore it, but visiting the factory and sampling some of their other bites was a real treat. Ashgrove Cheese produce really delicious goods. Their cheese is honest, rennet-free and crafted from the very best, local ingredients. When you start with well nurtured produce, you get a stellar product. It really is that simple.

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Ashgrove are particularly famous for their cloth matured cheddar (photographed above), but I was personally taken with their wild wasabi and lavender varieties, which are crafted using local plants. Normally I’m not one for flavoured cheese, but these were delicious with just the right hint of true wasabi and lavender flavour. I bought 4 packets to take home…You can find Ashgrove Cheese goods outside of Tasmania or you can order online.

For the drive I bought an iced-coffee made using their beautiful, creamy milk. You know when you have a milkshake craving and nothing else will do? That. It totally hit the spot.

me cow drink

For cheese lovers, I was also informed that Meander Valley Dairy is another great place to visit. Alas, we were off in another direction…

41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm

Upon encouragement from a lovely lady in Elizabeth Town, we left our cheese-fest and meandered off the highway towards 41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm for tastes of the most incredible hot smoked salmon and zesty salmon rillets.

41 south salmon

This sustainable salmon farm is an ace place to visit. You can try their goods and take a tour around the property for a small fee. You can also try to avoid leaving with 100 packets of salmon (go on, try). But if you do fall short it’s ok, you can find 41 South’s delicious salmon in delis and cafes all around the region (and in some locations outside of Tasmania, too).

For lunch, mum and I took our hot pack of hot smoked salmon and Ashgrove Cheese goodies and had a delightful little picnic.

picnic

While dining we contemplated our next move. Though watching two ladies tuck into scoops of honey ice-cream from the nearby honey factory did not really leave us with much choice…

R. Stephens Honey

First on our honey agenda was the R. Stephens honey factory at Mole Creek, where we sampled sweet spoonfuls of their famous leatherwood honey. Leatherwood honey is a glorious product, unique to the region and boasting a very distinct flavour. This factory is completely unpretentious, with a strong sense of history. The company clearly has a real passion for honey, their website contains a whole document filled with honey recipes! Mum and I bought some creamed leatherwood honey for my dad then buzzed away (sorry) for some more honey goodness…

honey factory

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The Honey Farm

At The Honey Farm in Chudleigh you can try a large array of spiked honey, from orange to ginger to red chili. Their gift shop is well stocked for all your honey gifting needs but I preferred to bypass the hand creams, heading straight for the ice-cream counter. My scoop of Leatherwood honey ice-cream had a lovely balance of creaminess and sweetness, and was wonderfully full of that strong leatherwood flavour. It was a little golden mound of joy.

honey icecream

Our sweet scoops left us with energy to expend, so we headed to the rainforest for a little nature walk…

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Liffey Falls

I feel most happy when I’m in the woods on a hike. And having heard great things about the beauty of Tasmania and the potential for nature walks, I was terribly excited to plan a few good hikes for mum and I to complete as a bit of respite from all the food touring. Liffey Falls, a simple and pretty 40 minute walk amongst the ferns, satisfied my nature needs on day one. Just take a look for yourself…

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After our walk we headed to Glencoe Rural Retreat in Barrington, our home for the evening. And what a home…

Glencoe Rural Retreat

Upon arriving at Glencoe we were greeted by Ginette, the lady of the house. Ginette is very warm and welcoming, and her property and house are just beautiful. Remi, Ginette’s husband, was at their Hobart restaurant so we did not get to meet him, but we had some lovely talks with Ginette about their house and family, good food and cooking, gardening, travel, of course. Glencoe is the type of place you hope and wish to have when booking a country getaway. It’s indulgent yet homely, spacious yet cozy…there’s nature and comfort and delicious French country-style food. Oh, did we eat some delicious food. But first, a look at the grounds, complete with chickens and Ginette’s vast vegetable garden, with Mount Roland in the background.

Glencoe veg garden

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Glencoe 1

Glencoe  dining room

Mum and I had dinner by the fireplace. In the Summer months Glencoe is busier, with a cafe and more visitors taking advantage of the fabulous cooking on offer. But tonight, we had the place to ourselves. A glass of red wine and a gorgeous three course meal was glorious after a day of travel. The meal was fantastic, with local produce and skilled hands working together to create some of the best food of our entire trip. First was a lovely onion and goats cheese tart with garden greens. This was followed by a dish of twice cooked lamb (one method being sous vide) that was just melting, served on a bed of mashed potatoes with broccolini and jus. For dessert we were given a honey and spiced poached pear with a rich chocolate sauce, pistachio crumble and homemade vanilla bean ice-cream. It was all just fabulous. I’m still dreaming of that lamb and pear… Needless to say we slept very well that night.

Glencoe dinner

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In the morning, after waking with the sun and enjoying a spot of reading on the sill, we had our breakfast.

glencoe morning 2

Ginette served homemade croissants with her own preserved fruits, as well as fresh bread and cereals, yoghurt, juice and coffee. What a gorgeous spread it was. I’m a true croissant snob, after being spoilt with such brilliant bites in Paris and the USA. I just cannot find croissants at home I adore equally (though perhaps some more research is required…but that’s another post). Ginette’s croissants were truly wonderful. I could have cried. But I didn’t, that would have be awkward. I just love croissants so much…

glencoe BF

Alongside our fresh croissants were an array of homemade jams, including a blood orange beauty. Now when I say the words “orange” and “jam”, you may believe me to be speaking of marmalade, however this spread was quite sweet and so I’m taking the liberty of calling it a jam – if for no other reason than to lure in those who may run at the mention of the word “marmalade”. Don’t be afraid, this preserve is most certainly not bitter. Though be sure to use the best quality  blood oranges you can find. Here, delicious chunks of rind marry wonderfully with a complex jelly.

Mum and I fell hard for this jam and bought eight jars between us to take home. Eight. Ginette accepted our love and praise for her recipe and, as she is so very lovely, has allowed me to share it with you today.

Marmalade d Oranges Sanguines (Blood Orange Jam)

Recipe by Ginette and Remi Bancal

Ingredients
5kg of blood oranges
5 kg of sugar
1g of saffron
4 aniseed stars

Method
1. Cover the oranges with water and cook til a knife can go through.
2. Strain and let them cool down, then chop them into chunky quarters.
3. Cook the oranges in the sugar and aniseed till translucent. Add the saffron to the pot 10 minutes before the end of cooking.
4. Bottled when still hot.

Thank you, Ginette and Remi. I’ve been enjoying spoonfuls of your jam with tart Greek yoghurt, dolloped on top of crêpes and French toast. As the label on your preserves so eloquently states, it is all about “Harmonie. Simple pleasures, perfectly balanced. The French recipe for living well.” Indeed.

We had a marvellous first day in Tasmania, ending superbly at Glencoe Rural Retreat. I truly did not want to leave Ginette, her beautifully sprawling and bumble-bee decorated vegetable garden or her haughty rooster the following morning. But Cradle Mountain was calling…

Stay tuned for Tasmania, Day Two.

sheep lamb honey house

 

Heidi xo

* Disclaimer: although I traveled courtesy of Tourism Tasmania, my opinions and recommendations are most sincerely my own.