This week is a big one for the restaurant world in Australia with the announcement of the Gourmet Traveller top 100 and awards. I can't help but be interested as an outside viewer, a consumer with a keen interest in good food. A Tasmanian chef, Luke Burgess, won best new talent, and I'm sure this will certainly cement his restaurant Garagistes on the culinary map of not only Tasmania but that big island we are sometimes included in.
I haven't yet tried to visit Garagistes. The concept is certainly intriguing. But I'm worried now it will be near impossible to get anywhere near it!
It has had me thinking about the revolution in food in Tasmania. The bar has been lifted by keen chefs, bakers and producers. Take bread, it wasn't that long ago when our only option for good bread was Jackman & McRoss in Battery Point. Now we have such a wide variety of may I say damn good bread that Rob and I take some time to decide where we'd like to buy a loaf. We can have the Companion Bakery country batard, Sweet Envy's potato bread, Red Velvet Lounge rye, Summer Kitchen sprouted rye, or Pigeon Hole's sourdough, and that was just this week! Just joking, although we are eating a lot more bread than we ever used to.
Rob and I popped in for a quick mid-week lunch at Pigeon Hole, mainly because my friend Pauline has been working in the kitchen a few days week recently and I wanted to see her in action. We work together in our real life at uni, but I think I can safely say that most of our days are spent thinking about food, cooking, baking and mentally composing blog posts about it. She looked content, and perfectly at home there. Whilst eating my eggs baked with cheese, onions, spinach and jamon and Rob ate his jamon on bread, I said outloud, how lucky are we now to have a cafe like this in little ol' Hobart. We often linger 10 years behind the mainland, but the food was excellent and I didn't have to travel to eat it.
Not only Pigeon Hole, but Tricycle, Sweet Envy, even the perennial favourite Jackman & McRoss, we now have so many options for a quick meal during the week. I did then have a slight moment of panic- what if we regress in Tasmania- could that happen? Rob thought not, we always appear to go forward.
Things are exciting here in Tasmania at the moment, new food shops like Bottega Rotolo complement our old favourite haunts like the Italian Pantry and the Wursthaus. I am yet to get out to an Agrarian Kitchen cooking class but have heard nothing but good things from those who have been. I love the change at the Salamanca markets, more local produce, free-range eggs, cheese, and of course our favourite sweet treats from the C and C cupcake factory. Producers of well treated animals such as Mt Gnomon farm. Regional cafes and restaurants mean that you don't have to stick to Hobart to eat good, honest food.
We bookended our week with the Pig Day Out at what I like to call (now) our local, Red Velvet Lounge. Steve's food is a constant delight to us, and last night was great fun. A wood-roasted pig, local cider, beautiful smoked salmon and an apple pie with such crispy pastry I forced myself to finish up even though I probably shouldn't have. Such bloody good food highlighting the quality of the produce, shared with 68 other people who appreciated it as much as us, rustically shared with others at the table in such a generous way. No phaffy pretentious food here!
I am so excited that good food is right here, in Tasmania, my home, and I look forward to it only getting better.
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