Within Australia, Tasmania has a wonderful reputation for food and drink (wine and whisky). It is the ideal location to feature a Compass and Fork dinner party menu celebrating Tasmania’s bounty of great produce. This dinner party menu from Tasmania features two courses and has some great wine pairing opportunities.
For those readers who have been following our travels and recipes from Tasmania, you would be right in figuring out that we really love Tasmania.
In our view, Tasmania remains “off the beaten” track and off most people’s radar. What a shame, as we think it has the best scenery, the best hiking and the least people of any Australian state (that last one is a fact). And less than a 1 hour flight from Melbourne.
If I traveled all the way to Australia, I would be going the extra hour to Hobart to experience everything Tasmania has to offer. If you are renting a car on the mainland, you can catch the excellent ferry (overnight or during the day) from Melbourne to the north coast of Tasmania at Davenport.
Tasmania also has the least traffic and is also the most affordable state in Australia for housing. Most houses in Tasmania have stunning water and/or mountain views. Cooler (which we love) than any Australian state, but not cold when comparing to the Northern Hemisphere. And a great climate and good soil – so is perfect for that dream veggie garden.
And it has a reputation for having the purest water anywhere in the world. The Japanese pay “above the odds prices” for abalone, mussels, scallops, oysters, salmon, rock lobster for Tasmanian seafood. Farming produce in such pure water creates a quality product, earning Tasmanian seafood a great reputation.
Read on to learn more about Tasmanian food and drink and then look for our menu at the bottom of the post.
Tasmanian Food Delicacies
Anyone who has traveled to Australia will understand the meat pie is a very popular lunch or snack and available everywhere. Golden pastry, fully wrapped around a filling of meat and gravy. The traditional, old-fashioned (but still good) meat pie. Indeed, meat pies have become quite gourmet with all sorts of delicious fillings. Think:
- Tandoori Chicken
- Beef in Red Wine
- Lamb and Rosemary
But in Tasmania, the humble meat pie reaches new heights, improving it by producing the delicious, and not to be missed, scallop pie. If you are into pies then this is true heaven with many small, Tasmanian bakers attempting to create the best possible scallop pie.
Some scallop pies are made with a white wine-based sauce, others use leeks and scallops and no doubt there is a multitude of other versions as well. Competition for Tasmania’s best scallop pie is fierce so if you go look out for scallop pies. They are delicious and quite cheap to buy.
Oysters in Tasmania
Some other seafood worth noting is the humble oyster.
That pure, Tasmanian water results in fabulous oysters in Tasmania. There are several oyster producers, particularly in the south of the state (Bruny Island and Recherche Bay come to mind).
You can buy your fresh oysters at the “farm gate” where you buy the oysters right from the producer. And hooray, Tasmanian oysters are usually sold “un-rinsed” meaning the oysters still have a mild, sea water taste. If you haven’t eaten fresh, raw oysters with a mild, salt water taste, then you are missing one of the greatest tastes on earth! The beauty of having pure waters is that there is almost zero risk in eating your oysters a la natural, just how we like them! Oh and they are cheap to buy.
Another quality, Tasmanian, seafood product is smoked salmon. Over the last 30 years or so, Tasmanian salmon has become big business. I don’t profess to be a salmon expert but Tasmanian smoked salmon is a quality product and it is relatively cheap to buy. Try some scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or how about a smoked salmon-based pasta sauce? We also love it plain to eat by itself. You can read more about salmon farming in Tasmania here.
If I lived in Tasmania, I would be eating oysters and smoked salmon every day! With all this quality seafood, you might also be tempted to choose some great Tasmanian wine to enjoy with it. Read on to learn more.
Tasmanian Wine Regions
Cool climate vineyards abound in Tasmania, with more than 90 wineries spread throughout the state, most of which will be open for tastings.
Apart from the west coast, wine growing spreads throughout Tasmania, with the main areas being:
- Tamar Valley around Launceston in the north of the state;
- East Coast between Bicheno and Sorell;
- Piper’s River region in the North East of Tasmania, not far from the spectacular Bay of Fires, a great beach hike we thoroughly recommend; and
- Coal River, just north east of Hobart.
The main grapes harvested in Tasmania are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (mostly unwooded) which account for 67% of the total harvest. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling are also popular.
With a cooler climate than on the mainland, Tasmanian wines are delicate but highly sought after. Although just a minnow, compared to wine volumes in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, Tasmania tends to focus on quality rather than quantity as this Infographic (courtesy of Wine Tasmania) displays.
Sparkling wine is also highly sought after in Tasmania. No doubt this is partly due to so much available chardonnay and pinot noir being consumed. Hint: Any Jansz sparkling wine will be good.
And did we mention Tasmanian whisky? Tasmanian whisky makers have been quite successful in global competitions including Sullivan’s Cove winning the best single malt whisky in the world at the World Whiskies Awards in 2014. You can read more about Tasmanian whisky here.
With all that whisky and wine to enjoy, here is a dinner party menu to go with it.
The Dinner Party Menu from Tasmania
Yes, we really enjoyed Tasmania. So, to round off our month in Tasmania, we are publishing our Tasmanian Dinner Party, to celebrate everything that is good about Tasmanian food, wine and whisky.
The menu features an entree (main course), sides and dessert. If you are looking for an appetizer, buy some of your favorite oysters and smoked salmon and then dream of those gorgeous Tasmanian beaches as you tuck in.
Dinner Party Menu from Tasmania
ENTREE (Main Course)
serve both entrees (mains) with steamed rice
If you want to enjoyed this post, you can find more about Tasmania and its food:
- A great weekend escape in Hobart;
- Roasted asparagus with garlic (easy, gourmet side dish);
- Creamy, rustic-style, mashed potatoes (Tasmania is famous for its potatoes);
- Roasted Salmon with lemon and dill;
- On the trail of great whisky in Tasmania;
- Whisky ice cream plum pudding (naughty but very popular over the festive season);
- Bay of Fires Walk (Australia is famous for its glorious, sand beaches. Is this beach scenery the best in Australia?);
- The Bruny Island Gourmet Trail
- Wine touring in the Tamar Valley of Tasmania; and
- Easy Red Wine and Herb casserole in the Slow Cooker (use whatever meat you fancy)
We have featured previous dinner parties in some of our favorite travel destinations, if you need some inspiration for a great dinner party find our previous menus from:
- Turkey (the mezes are great);
- Italy (the tiramisu with grappa is a highlight);
- Patagonia (the dulce de leche crème caramel is sublime);
- Vietnam (beef noodle pho –one of the best soups you will ever have);
- Thai (make your own crispy, spring rolls);
- Laos and Cambodia – try the fish amok – a curry which is the national dish of Cambodia;
- Greek (make your own, healthy spanakopita);
- Peru (a great food reputation for having the best food in South America); and
- Uruguay (simple and quick)
Have you been to Tasmania? If you have any other suggestions for your fellow travelers please leave a comment (a URL is not required).