Tasmania has built its reputation as a foodie destination on the back of hardworking salmon & oyster industries, distilleries and wineries. My first trip to the “Apple Isle” was to the capital, for a weekend of eating & drinking in Hobart.
The Salamanca Market is one of the biggest open-air markets in the world. Every Saturday, between 8:30 am and 3:00 pm, more than 300 stalls pop up in Salamanca Place. Surrounded by the historic Georgian sandstone warehouses and the yachts moored along the waterfront, it’s surely one of the prettiest outdoor markets in the world too.
Go hungry, because there is plenty of piping hot gourmet food and fresh produce to try. Tasmania is one of the premier food destinations in Australia, and Hobart’s major attraction is a great place to mingle with the locals while sampling Tasmania’s local specialties.
Tasmania’s nickname is the “Apple Isle” for a reason. Our first stop at the markets was the apple juice stand for a fruity sugar hit after an early flight. We tried the strawberry & apple and the blackcurrant & apple, and both were so delicious I couldn’t pick a favourite!
Don’t be fooled by the clear blue skies, Hobart is very chilly in June. It didn’t reach ten degrees once! Luckily, we were able to warm up our fingers and our tummies with a delicious jam donut from Jasper Coffee.
We stayed at Hadley’s Orient Hotel, which hosts a daily High Tea (bookings essential!). On Saturday afternoon, we enjoyed freshly-baked petit fours, scones and mini quiches and sandwiches, washed down with iced fruit tea, piping hot French Earl Grey and champagne. We practically rolled out of the atrium afterwards, and back to our suite upstairs for a delicious food coma-induced nap.
Chew with A View
Cafe at MONA
The Museum of Old & New Art, owned by benevolent (and eccentric) Tasmanian billionaire David Walsh, has got the whole country talking and seen a spike in Tasmanian tourism.
After we finished at the museum, we had lunch at the onsite cafe. My dijon mustard & smoked ham toasted cheese sandwich was exactly what I needed in the chilly weather, but the best part was without a doubt the idyllic view over the River Derwent. David & I kept saying to each other how much the Derwent and the surrounding scenery reminded us of the scenery around Norwegian fjords. Unlike anything else I’ve seen in Australia!
We got our post-market caffeine fix at Cargo, a hole-in-the-wall pizza & pasta place in Salamanca Square.
At Brooke St Pier
The super cool glasshouse at Brooke St Pier is full of local producers hawking honeyed salmon, single malt whiskey and local wines, but we made a beeline for the coffee stand at the entrance. Go for great coffee, with pretty harbour views from the glasshouse.
Waterman’s Beer Market
Also in Salamanca Square, Waterman’s Beer Market is a cozy, cavernous gastropub with a beer list a mile long. I don’t drink beer, so I went straight for the sparkling wine. Just as you can order different sizes of beer, here you can order 200mL of sparkling (the glass on the left) or the standard 150mL.
I tried the Sugarloaf Mountain Cuvee, which was nice, but the Lake Barrington Alexandra Sparkling was a real winner! We were only there for drinks and a snack, but if I’d had another night in Hobart it would have been the perfect place to cosy up with friends over beers & pizza.
Lark Distillery has made a name for itself the world over, after winning Craft Distiller of the Year at the World Whisky Awards in London and Australian Distiller of the Year and Best Australian Whisky awards in Australia.
David ordered the whisky flight, I ordered a pear cider and we both devoured their Tasmanian cheese board. I’m not a whisky drinker (unless it’s in a Whisky Apple at Lefty’s in Brisbane!), but I had a taste of each and even I could appreciate that this was the goods.
Lark is about a block away from Franklin Wharf, so no designated driver necessary!
Moorilla Winery Cellar Door
We stopped in for a tasting at Moorilla Winery, conveniently located right next to MONA. The tasting was just $10 per person, but we got to try at least six or seven different wines – maybe more! I forgot to take any photos at the tasting because I was enjoying myself too much! We tried a great variety of wines and the staff were really chatty & knowledgeable.
My favourite was the White Cloth Label Late Disgorged Sparkling, which is the most unusual wine I have ever tasted! It had a strong, honey and berry-like aroma, a lot like royal jelly, and even tasted a little like manuka honey and Turkish delight. Despite all these yummy flavours, it wasn’t sugary sweet or overpowering.
I asked the bartender at Waterman’s Beer Market to recommend a nice dinner place that wasn’t fine dining, but would have an interesting menu & delicious food. Somewhere between a white table cloth and a gastropub.
She recommended BarCelona, which serves (not surprisingly!) Spanish-inspired tapas in a centuries-old warehouse in Salamanca Place. We shared a few small plates, as we were never starving by dinner time – we ate non-stop all day too! This was my favourite spot to dine in Hobart & I’ll definitely be back next time I’m in town.
We popped in for drinks & oysters at the newly-opened The Glasshouse restaurant on Franklin Wharf. This was the most design-savvy place we visited, and I really liked relaxing on the lounges by the floor-to-ceiling windows, with views over the water, a glass of wine in hand. We were planning to come for dinner, but we soon realised we weren’t super hungry, after another day full of eating. The oysters were divine though, of course.
Before our flight, we had a light meal at Smolt, also in Salamanca Square, just opposite Barcelona. We were lucky to get the table built into the bay window, facing out into the street. Craving something a little healthier by this stage, I had the salmon cerviche which was light, fresh and tasty.