1. Sip cider in the Apple Valley
There’s a reason the Apple Isle name has stuck. At Willie Smith’s Apple Shed in the Huon Valley, find out all about Tasmania’s apple-filled past. Four generations of growers carved out a living here, beginning with Willie, planting his first tree in 1888. Explore the museum, sip organic mulled cider to live tunes on a Friday eve and order from a rustic menu packed with local fare. These folk have Australia’s first alembic copper still, purpose-built for apple brandy, so add this to your sipping list. Combine this with a tour of the Tasmanian Cider Trail and stay a while to sing to the apple trees by firelight at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival from 13-15 July 2018.
2. Taste the cheesy difference
At Pyengana Dairy Company, tucked away in the lush hills of north-east Tasmania, they have a secret contraption to make sure they have the happiest cows on earth – it’s a giant cow backscratcher. At Pyengana, they’ve been perfecting traditional cheese-making techniques for more than a century. Be sure to also try a farm-fresh milkshake and their handmade ice-cream, both are delish! Just down the road is St Columba Falls, and if you didn’t already know, the waterfalls are pumping in winter in Tassie, so don’t miss this seasonal show.
3. Cut into the best steak of your life
A steakhouse located in a former art deco butchery shop in Launceston – it’s an apt locale for much-needed comfort food and the best steak ever. The Black Cow Bistro specialises in premium Tasmanian grass fed, free range, dry aged beef. Perhaps a Cape Grim rib eye on the bone, aged 40 days, takes your interest? There’s tender eye fillet, fat-studded scotch, full-flavoured porterhouse or slow-cooked Robbins Island wagyu rump (marble score 4+), cooked pink and served sliced with roasted garlic jus, sauerkraut and leaves – all this served with colourful cow murals on the side.
4. Hone your cooking skills
Curious about how to milk a goat? At the Agrarian Kitchen in Tasmania’s south, you’ll find yourself doing just that under the watchful eye of Rodney Dunn, as he shows you how to conjure up delicious meals. This farm-based cooking school is housed in a 19th century schoolhouse, ideal for the shared feast that follows paddock-to-plate learning. In winter, Rodney always has some warming winter classes in store.
5. Gourmet walking and eating
Taste.Walk.Talk invites a taste of Launceston’s foodie hot spots. Brock takes you to hidden gems and watering holes, from lolly makers to pastry chefs, restaurateurs to cider makers. All you need do is walk and eat and talk. Gourmania is the island’s southern version of being guided through town by a knowledgeable foodie friend. Hop along with Mary to all her best haunts and enjoy brekkie roving style. On Saturday’s, Mary includes a saunter through Salamanca Market, pin pointing the best local produce.
6. To market to tasty market
Get your produce straight from the farmer’s hand in Tassie. If you can’t eat it, drink it, grow it or meet the producer, you won’t find it at Hobart’s Farm Gate Market. Every Sunday the market hums with locals, farmers and producers. Same goes for the Harvest Market in Launceston where an inner-city car park is transformed into a bustling farm gate affair, featuring everything from truffles and organic dairy to artisan pastries, berries and ciders. Back in Hobart at Salamanca Market, you only have to hear the call of ‘apples, apples, apples’ to know we’ve got your fresh produce covered.
7. Foodie road tripping
The Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail calls for a relaxed drive peppered with delicious stops. Think craft beer at Seven Sheds in Railton, cloth-matured cheddar at Ashgrove Cheese, smooth cool-climate pinot at Ghost Rock Vineyard and perhaps a hearty salmon burger at Tasmania’s – and likely the world’s – only ginseng and salmon farm, 41 South Tasmania. Then there’s Southern Wild Distillery, where distiller George will take you from the mountains to the meadows to the ocean through his gin flavours. With over 40 stops on the trail, you might need days to satisfy your hunger on this tasty road trip across Tasmania’s north-west.
8. Crafty ales
Those looking for a boutique brewery in Tassie need never look far. There’s micro-breweries sprinkled across the island, powered by passionate brewers. At Two Metre Tall, meet a brewer who happens to be two metres tall, serving up ales in his Derwent Valley paddock bar. Seven Sheds in Railton is a tiny outfit that’s claimed big notoriety for their Kentish Ale and wintery brews. If you prefer your brew by the east coast, Ironhouse Brewery it is. There are so many oldies and new kids on the block that The Tasmanian Beer Trail is a great compass. Our list might go on forever – the Hobart Brewing Company, T-Bone, Shambles, Little Rivers, Bruny Island Beer Company, Saint John Craft Beer Bar, Captain Blighs….
9. Cellar door hopping in the Tamar Valley
The frantic harvest period has come to an end, so what happens in the Tamar Valley during winter? The answer is lots. It’s the ideal time to meet winemakers and even taste some brand new releases as space is cleared at cellar doors for new wines. Pinot is an all-weather winter favourite and Tasmania happens to produce some of the best in the world. Voluptuous on the nose and with its sweet edge, it might just be the island’s most romantic drop. Try a 2015 Ninth Island pinot noir at Pipers Brook Vineyard, paired with lunch. Make the trip from east to west Tamar Valley across the kanamaluka / Tamar River and make a winter stop at Moores Hill Wine in Sidmouth. The winery has a roaring fire, a cuddly dog named Otto and beautiful wines to match the warm welcome. There are even Tassie whiskies on offer here, along with hearty tasting plates of venison sausage, smoked quail, pate and salami.
10. Indulge in Tassie’s dining scene
Finding somewhere to cosy-up and taste hearty Tassie food isn’t a hard task. In Hobart head for a floating building for dinner – The Brooke Street Pier. At Aloft Restaurant, the ambient lighting and candles are designed for winter dining – add to this the warmth of a fiery open kitchen. In the north at Geronimo Apertivo Bar and Restaurant you can devour purely seasonal fare. Most of what is served is grown on the family farm including beef, lamb and wintry vegetables. On the east coast, retreat to the log fire at Freycinet Lodge for their Tasmanian wine, whisky or gin tasting experience then move onto a menu inspired by the finest regional produce at The Bay Restaurant.