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Tasmanian Travels Part Two: Munching our way around the Apple Isle

March 27, 2012

Before we left for Tassie when I was asked where we planned to go I regularly answered “We’re planning to follow our noses”. But in the end I think we followed our stomachs. We seemed to eat our way around the state.

Tassie is famous for having excellent produce, including salmon, beef, apples and berries, and some of the creamiest dairy products on the planet. So, as we traveled around Tasmania where do you think we found the finest food? Perhaps in a swanky restaurant in the state capital of Hobart? Or in one of Launceston’s many Melbourne inspired cafes?

Actually we found some of the best meals of our trip in rather out-of-the-way and unexpected places. My favourite meal of the entire trip was in a tiny town inhabited by less than 250 people, (it was the steak at the Mole Creek Guest House and Cafe). And that same day we had also enjoyed a delicious home-made made lunch at the tiny Marakoopa Cafe which is technically in Mayberry, but I can’t say I could actually detect the whereabouts of Mayberry as it was so incredibly small – lets just say this cafe is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but just down the road from the beautiful Marakoopa Caves. We also enjoyed excellent meals in Swansea (pop. <600) at the strangely named Ugly Duck Out and at St Mary’s (pop. <550) at the Purple Possum. What all of these places seemed to share was a passion for creating interesting and delicious meals and treats made from high-quality ingredients – often both organically produced and locally sourced.

The best food we found in the cities followed the same trend. We didn’t find any noteworthy eateries in Hobart, but in Launceston we particularly enjoyed the vegetarian offerings of Fresh on Charles and the yumacious lunches and organic milkshakes found at Milk Bar Cafe and Workshop. Once again, these were eateries that embraced the philosophy of using the really good stuff to make awesome eats, and like Marakoopa Cafe and the Ugly Duck Out, they also adhered to another trend found in many of our favourite eateries – they exhibited and sold artworks and pieces made by local artisans. The places we liked best tended to also have a real community feel to them – often with posters and flyers on the walls about environmental workshops, yoga classes and art exhibitions. Fresh on Charles even has a bar/venue which hosts various events including a comedy night once a month, (and we were lucky enough to be in town for the last one, which we thoroughly enjoyed), while Milk Bar hosts craft workshops which sound awesome. I didn’t just like these places because I liked their style, their philosophies or their politics though. This was just an added bonus. I loved them most of all because their food was absolutely delicious!

So now that we’re home I’m looking forward to eating simple, light, home-cooked meals for a while. But once we feel like getting back into the eating-out thing, I’m planning to try to find the best places in Melbourne for organic/local/wholefood/free-range or vegetarian meals, perhaps with a side serving of art or environmentalism or comedy.

If you know a Melbourne foodie place that fits the bill please let me know in the comments below.

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