Back to the source: new ways to forage and feast in Tasmania

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Tasmania offers amazing ways to shorten the distance between farm and fork. On an island where seasonality and hospitality go hand in hand, find intense new flavours and meet the makers along the way.

Where does your food come from? You know – really come from? Not which market or shop, but which farm, which field, which paddock? Where was your food grown or reared? Who conceived of it? Who created it?

For so many of us this remains a mystery. Until, that is, you visit Tasmania. Because here in the island state you have the chance to properly connect what's on your plate with the natural bounty you see around you, to discover just where your food came from, and why it tastes so amazingly good.

Wild beer

Sixteen years ago, Ashley and Jane Huntington were hoping to start a winery – but what they ended up with was beer. After buying a property in the hops-growing Derwent Valley, the pair realised they were in prime brewing territory.

"We've now gone down this beautiful rabbit hole of wild fermentation using all of the amazing local ingredients in this valley and across Tasmania," says Jane. "We're talking hops, whole hop flowers that we grow here on our farm, and then berries, raspberries, cherries, we forage along riverbanks for things like blackberries and wild hops, hawthorn berries, some sloes… a whole range of things."

Ashley and Jane now run Two Metre Tall Farmhouse, a boutique brewery that specialises in complex, wild-ferment, barrel-aged beers and ciders. And visitors who make the trip about 45 minutes out from Hobart to the brewery can expect a special experience.

"When people come to the farm they're right in the middle of the Derwent Valley, on the banks of the river," says Jane. "We've got six handpumps on our wood-and-brass bar, we offer tastings of our range of what we might have available, our special releases, sour cherry ales, that sort of thing. And we also have picnic facilities and barbecues, for people to enjoy the atmosphere here on a beautiful day."

Forage for your food

See wild mushrooms on a guided tour.

See wild mushrooms on a guided tour through Tasmania's forest. Photo: Tourism Tasmania & Kelly Slater.

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Mic Giuliani has been a forager for as long as he can remember: his Italian grandfather taught him to hunt out wild mushrooms, and he's been picking through Tasmania's forests for various edibles since he moved to the island state a few decades ago. And now, Mic is passing on his knowledge, via foraging tours with Sirocco South.

Visitors spend a few hours collecting and tasting in the field, before heading back to the Sirocco South beach house for a six-course meal, featuring all of their foraged ingredients, with matching wines. Perfection.

Gone fishing

Most people these days are aware of the concept of "paddock to plate", but how about "deep to dish"? This is a locavore diet on the water, as the team from Tasmanian Wild Seafood Adventures take guests out on Hobart's harbour to forage for the finest oceanic cuisine.

Onboard divers pick up the likes of sea urchin, periwinkles, abalone, rock lobsters and more, all ready to be prepared for an absolute feast on the boat's deck.

Feast and learn

Further your cooking skills from renowned cooking schools.

Further your cooking skills at Agrarian Kitchen Cooking School and Farm. Photo: Tourism Tasmania & Peter Whyte.

It has to be one of the best souvenirs you could possibly take home: knowledge. And for lovers of food, there are plenty of opportunities in Tasmania to further your skills and change your life back home.

Here you will find the likes of the Agrarian Kitchen Cooking School and Farm, a renowned cooking school run by chef Rodney Dunn and his wife Séverine Demanet, who not only offers courses in the likes of pasta-making, fermentation, charcuterie and butchery, but also teaches the basics of vegetable growing and animal-rearing.

At the Fat Pig Farm, meanwhile, Matthew Evans passes on his knowledge of sustainable farming techniques with regular workshops, and also hosts weekly feasts featuring ingredients grown and reared on the property.

In Stanley, in the state's north-west, Provenance Kitchen offers cooking classes in the barn kitchen of Highfield Historic Site, which also include farm tours with local producers, as well as hands-on instruction on how best to utilise their ingredients .

Trail blazing

Tasmania's finest food, wine, whisky and more is just a short hop away with the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail, which spans more than 30 of the North West region's finest producers.

This is a choose-your-own culinary adventure, with themed itineraries helping food-loving visitors discover some of the island's best farms, cellar doors, distilleries, honey producers, cideries, cheese-makers and more. All you need is an adventurous spirit, and an empty stomach.

Sky high

Sparkling wine and luxury have always gone hand in hand, so it's no surprise to find premier winery Clover Hill has teamed up with heli-charter company Unique Charters to offer a whole suite of incredible food and wine experiences.

Guests can depart the winery by helicopter and eat freshly caught crayfish on Flinders Island, tee off at the Barnbougle Lost Farm golf course, or explore the rugged landscapes of Cradle Mountain. And later, enjoy a back-vintage tasting at Clover Hill.

Come down for air in Tasmania. To learn more, visit discovertasmania.com.au/air

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