Candy Abalone and Saltbush Vodka: meet the creators of some of Tasmania’s most unusual flavors
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Tasmania’s culinary scene is full of incredible taste experiences centered around local, seasonal ingredients. If you’re the kind of traveler looking for wild flavors that deviate from the norm, the island offers a remarkable collection of makers specializing in unique creations made with the finest produce.
No matter which corner of Tasmania you decide to explore, you’ll find inventive producers carving out their culinary niche. We collaborated with Tourism Tasmania to showcase the region’s most imaginative farmers, fishermen and distillers, ranging from Australia’s first truffle growers to small-batch potato vodka pioneers. Let’s dig.
DISCOVER EDIBLE UNDERGROUND MUSHROOMS
It’s not every day that you stumble upon a disused 19th-century railway tunnel and find incredible gourmet cuisine there – but that’s precisely what visitors discover when they travel to Tunnel Hill Mushrooms in the charming community of Mount Rumney on the outskirts of Hobart.
With the perfect conditions inside the dark, damp tunnel for growing tasty mushies, this excellent farm specializes in winter strains of oyster mushrooms. You will find the varieties of white, gray and fire oysters alongside shiitake. Go on a tunnel tour to explore this underground farming practice – reservations are essential.
TAKE A SALT SOMMELIER TOUR
Any good foodie worth his salt (pun intended) can appreciate the difference between inexpensive table salt and the premium flakes you find at specialty stores. You can deepen your appreciation with the Visit of the salt sommelier – an exploration of how the nutrient-rich waters of Tasmania deliver superior flavor and texture from one of Australia’s top salt producers, Tasmanian Sea Salt.
Throughout this in-depth journey into the world of salt, you’ll journey through the salt pans to see how this famous maker combines centuries-old techniques and clean energy to harvest their pure product. Along the way, you’ll be served small, locally produced bites, topped with a sprinkling of goodies.
EXPLORE LAVENDER AND OLIVE PLANTATIONS
Set on 52 stunning acres in the Huon Valley, Flori Camp (pictured above) is a destination loaded with indulgent experiences. The property is renowned for its plantations of lavender, saffron and olive trees, which you are invited to explore up close with a guided tour from owners David Peck and Lisa Britzman.
If you consider yourself an olive connoisseur, you can test produce from the farm via a tasting and learning experience that delves into each of the property’s nine cultivars. You can also wander the rows of award-winning lavender on a walking tour that includes a sample of the Campo de Flori farm-grown lavender tea and sparkling lavender lemonade.
LEARN THE SECRETS OF THE TASMANIAN Abalone
The white waters of southern Tasmania make it home to some of the best abalone in the world. The expert team of Abalone Candy use traditional Japanese drying techniques to produce the luxurious product which you can explore in detail on a one-hour guided tour of its impressive facilities.
First, you’ll get an overview of the drying and processing rooms before heading down to the beach to see the Oyster Bail in action. Punctuated with views of the Barilla Bay Oyster Farm and Coal Valley, the tour ends with a tasting of organic ginger beer and freshly shucked oysters.
Over the years, truffle farming has exploded beyond the borders of Italy and France to finally arrive on the shores of Australia. As the first kid on the block, The Truffle Farm in the town of Deloraine, north of the center, launched the national industry by extracting beautiful black truffles from the earth in 1999. From there, a burgeoning local movement in produce was born.
Join Anna, a second-generation truffle farmer, and her truffle hunter, Doug, for a 75-minute experience that’s a truffle lover’s paradise. A selection of tours and experiences will introduce you to the truffle farm, discover black pearls hidden in the earth and, of course, you can feast on a farmer’s-style lunch platter or a magnificent truffle pizza accompanied by local wine and beer.
SMALL BATCH POTATO VODKA SAMPLE
Perched above Marion Bay, the Hellfire Bluff Distillery did not start producing vodka, but he certainly mastered it. With the first crop of potatoes planted over 30 years ago, this place has long supplied Tasmanian supermarkets with a top-notch product – but rather than feeding cows discarded potatoes, a vodka distillery idea was conceived. True Tasmanian ingenuity!
Today, the distillery has attracted international acclaim for its small batches, from paddock to bottle (it was recently awarded Australia’s Best Varietal Vodka at the World Vodka Awards in 2022), and also produces gin, coffee liqueur and limoncello – among other drops. With the door to the distillery open seven days a week, those cruising Tassie’s Turrakuna/Tasman Peninsula with a yen for brilliant spirits can’t miss a stop at the farm.
ENJOY WASABI CHEESE
Ashgrove cheese has been manufacturing exceptional dairy products for over two decades. Located between Launceston and Devonport, the sprawling farm’s free-range cows produce everything from cheddar and havarti to gloucester and feta. However, no visit is complete without a sampling of Ashgrove’s Extra Strong Wasabi Cheese.
Using Tasmanian-grown wasabi to add a delicate yet tangy heat, it’s perfect on an adventurous cheese board or melted into a steak. Head to Elizabeth Town in northern Tasmania to savor a menu ranging from pastures for breakfast and lunch. There’s even a selection of fine cheeses served with tea, coffee and sparkling wine. who is hungry?
Ready to plan a trip for your taste buds around Tasmania? To learn more, visit the website.
Top photo: Samuel Shelley