While Ireland may have appropriated the term “Emerald Isle”, we can justifiably borrow it to describe Tasmania, Australia’s very own pastoral paradise. I have always loved the place (enough to choose it as a wedding venue in fact!), lived and worked there once and recently published an article about it.
Last year, inspired by having completed a food writing course, I submitted an article to the editor of Taste & Travel, an international magazine about “the world of culinary travel”. It’s hard to imagine a phrase more evocative of indulgence and pure hedonism than that one, so I was keen to give it a try. My article was accepted and was published in their Winter 2015 edition. It’s about The Agrarian Kitchen, a cooking school with a difference, located in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley. You can read it here T&T_Issue16_Agrarian_Kitchen. And hopefully you will, as I won’t repeat what’s there, except to say if you ever get the chance, go there. I met Rodney Dunn, who established the school, at a food conference last year. As well as being very knowledgeable about gastronomy in all its forms, he’s charming. It’s always a delight talking to someone who is passionate about what they do and Rodney’s a prime example.
Several years ago, HWMBF and I spent two weeks in Tasmania, arriving at Launceston, where we secretly wedded in the gorgeous Cataract Gorge. From there we travelled south to Ross, a picturesque Georgian style village, where I once lived and worked as a chef. Then we headed east to take in the stunning scenery of the east coast at Bicheno, St Helen’s and the Bay of Fires. Following a vaguely circuitous route, we toured around the north eastern region, back to Launceston, then along the north coast to Stanley and finally southwards again to Cradle Mountain. Two weeks was far too short a time to do justice to the entire island and we have plans to return and see the places we missed, especially the wilderness areas of the west coast, the Derwent Valley, Hobart and of course, King Island, the home of the world’s best dairy products.
It’s a place of spectacularly beautiful scenery, superb food and wine and world class accommodation and restaurants. Highlights of our trip included River House at Launceston, the Pyengana Dairy Company, the Bay of Fires, St Helen’s oyster farms, Bicheno, Cradle Mountain Lodge and the Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary (some of which are pictured below). With the Aussie dollar languishing in the doldrums, overseas trips are perhaps on the back burner, but if you’re feeling the urge to get away, Tasmania is right on our doorstep. In terms of culinary travel experiences, it’s up there with anything overseas destinations have to offer.
by Anne Green