It may be at the end of the earth, but that doesn’t make Tasmania a gastronomic backwater.
Mark Jones eats his heart out
Saturday February 26, 2005
To get a fix on Tasmania, think of Wales. More accurately, think of the tired old English attitude to Wales: the jokes about terrible weather, and more, the jibes about the lousy food and the unfriendly people.
Then exaggerate a fair bit, and you get mainland Australia’s view of the island over the Bass Strait. There are some things you can’t change – the progress of a cold front, for example, or the way a large, cosmopolitan state scorns its small, rural neighbour. Some you can, like the food. Welsh cooking and hospitality has undergone a revolution in recent years, even in the once-forbidding north. And Tasmania? When I first visited six years ago, I wrote an ecstatic piece about the taste of the place. But I was talking exclusively about the air quality. On the food, I kept a tactful silence. This time, I returned to London with about 10 menus and memories of the second best meal I’ve had in a year. (Where was the best? North Wales).
Let’s begin with that meal and let’s start with an egg shell filled with egg foam, soya jelly and flecked with gold leaf. It’s the kind of Byzantine construction you’d expect to find in some opulent European gastro temple, a suitable amuse bouche to complement the chandeliers and glasses of Cristal. Instead, I’m watching the sun set on the quiet lawn of Franklin Manor, a colonial house at the edge of the world drinking a glass of Cascade lager.
We’re in Strahan in the far west of Tasmania. If you headed due-west out to sea from here, you would sail three-quarters of the way around the world before touching dry land again – in Argentina.
The full story:
And, the devils’ disease:
Sicence magazine writer Adam Bostanci’s analysis (but you’ll have to pay):
Devil of a disease