Cook like a local: Tasmania
From fresh-off-the-boat seafood to award-wining wine and fragrant indigenous honey, try a taste of this unique Australian island at home
Want to learn about Tasmanian food? Looking for Tasmanian recipes? Read Analiese Gregory's guide.
Recipes extracted from How Wild Things Are: Cooking, Fishing and Hunting at the Bottom of the World by Analiese Gregory (£22, Hardie Grant). These recipes were supplied by the publisher and not retested by us.
A tiny but wild island-off-an-island at the end of the world. The last stop between Australia and Antarctica, Tasmania is a pristine wilderness abounding in natural beauty and ingredients with a purity of flavour. From the abalone (large sea snails) that pepper the whole coastline, to oysters, mussels, sea urchins, fresh seaweed and rock lobsters, the seafood options are ingrained in the eating culture of the island. Wild local game and bush food plants, part of the indigenous diet, are in abundance, too.
Another taste of Tasmania is leatherwood honey. Unique to the island, it comes from a rainforest plant that flowers for just six to eight weeks of the year. The flavour has been described as a taste of the Australian bush after it rains: buttery, creamy and distinctive.
This is also a place of farmers’ markets, oyster shacks, cult fish ’n’ chip shops, food festivals, distilleries and vineyards. Tasmanian wine is particularly hot right now – House of Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged 2004 was named best sparkling wine in the world in Decanter’s Wine of the Year 2020 tasting. The island is cooled by the Southern Ocean, making ideal growing conditions for classic sparkling wine grapes such as pinot noir and chardonnay. Production is small but there are some great bottles to try.
Pickled mussels and octopus with XO aïoli
Love seafood? Let it shine in this medley of pickled mussels, octopus, fresh herbs, thinly sliced turnips and a quick homemade XO aïoli.
Flavour your next batch of madeleines with honey (the leatherwood variety, used in this recipe, is from Tasmania) to add subtle sweetness to an elegant bake.
Salt-baked beetroot with macadamia and mulberry
A new way to serve beetroot, this recipe makes the most of juicy mulberries (or blackberries) and a sharp sherry vinegar dressing.
Three Tasmanian wines to try
House of Arras Brut Elite £34.99, majestic.co.uk
From the same producer as the Decanter winner, but much more affordable.
Jansz Premium Cuvée NV £17.99, waitrose.com
Well balanced with delicate fruit flavours and a creamy finish.
Devil’s Corner Pinot Noir £15.49, rannochscott.co.uk
Ripe plum and cherry flavours with a hint of spice.
Tasmanian honey to try
Leatherwood honey, £4.95, harveynichols.com
A golden-yellow honey, smooth and buttery in texture with an intense perfume and a clean, lightly spiced flavour.
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