Tasmania do provenance well. But to do provenance well, you need to have a wonderful source of provisions to do it well with. We are talking food of course. Fresh, regionally produced and sourced food.
Regional produce features strongly on menus throughout Tasmania and so do the stories. As I am sure I have mentioned many times before, I love a good story, especially when it is about the origins of our food, even more so when it is somewhere new.
We spent 12 days travelling around Tasmania. My husband’s objective was a nice relaxing holiday; mine was discovering all of the regional produce available, essentially grazing my way around Tasmania. Fortunately my husband is equally interested in food, so he is happy for me to do the sourcing, and he will just turn up at the table for the result. To his credit he is willing to try everything.
We were travelling through the north of Tasmania. I had discovered via Facebook (who says social media doesn’t work), a wonderful locale called the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory. I was intrigued.
I admit it was the building that attracted me first. It is one of the things that I love about Tasmania the most – its unexploited cultural heritage – so many beautiful historical buildings, and all so pretty. The building that houses the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory is one such building, even if its history is a little more recent.
The conservatory is indeed, beautiful. Built some 40 years ago, it was an elaborate folly to house the grand piano of the designer who had newly returned home from Austria musically inspired. There were concerts and weddings, and a temporary life as a teahouse, until the music stopped altogether and the building was left to languish for some 20 years. However, it has now been restored to its former glory and through a stroke of good fortune, the same beautiful instrument that inspired the creation of the conservatory all those years ago, was discovered within and now sits proudly in the heart of the room.
The space now echoes the distinct European flavour of its predecessor. The food however, is pure Tasmanian. The food could not be truer to Tasmania if it tried.
So often regions boast provenance and then do not follow through with the finer details. That is not case with the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory. Baskets are filled with seasonal fruit, cabinets with locally produced cheese, charcuterie, smoked fish, cakes and slices. Shelves are lined with a spectacular array of teas, preserves, conserves, sweets and condiments as well as pretty much every Tasmanian wine and spirit that you would come upon in your regional Tasmanian travels.