The Real Taste of Tasmania

If you had told a Tasmanian ten years ago that their home state would become Australia's little gourmet getaway, they'd have bashed you in the face with a lukewarm scallop pie. (Well, most of them anyway.)

Then they would have got back to scurrying around their vines, tending their young cherry trees, experimenting in their distilleries and milking their goats.

With the opening of MONA in 2011, the spotlight has been firmly planted on the glorious island to mainland Australia's south, with scores of tourists unknowingly bringing to life the museum's themes of sex, death and excellent wine as they travel through penal colonies, sleep in luxury coastal accommodation and visit multitudes of vineyards along the away.

With so many newly-discovered craft beers to sample, high end restaurants to visit, cheese factories to see and oysters to shuck, over the past three years both journos and tourists have rushed to write and 'gram about the delicious time on offer just a short flight south.

But while the rest of the world has witnessed Tasmania undergo a kind of gourmet renaissance via their iphones and the Sunday papers, back on the island nothing has really changed. Locals have been pulling fresh abalone out of the water, inadvertently going organic, feasting on succulent, homegrown meat, drinking boutique cold-climate wines and experimenting with gourmet produce all their lives. It's just that now the rest of the world is starting to take notice.

While some lament the discovery of their secret foodie paradise, most Tasmanians couldn't be more delighted to have become Australia's gourmet heroes.

The last year particularly has heralded the era of the Tasmanian small batch producer. Small scale cider breweries, 300 sheep dairies and small hold farms are making foodie headlines - and it's all thanks to the consistently high quality and unique, pure flavours associated with their Tasmanian-made products.

Even the fourth-generation, bearded dudes brewing their bootleg gin and growing their experimental berry hybrids are being celebrated. And we say: rightly so. (Loganberries are the bomb.)

Ross O'Meara is one such player – though not bearded and by all accounts certainly not a weirdo. From his small farm on Bruny Island, Ross makes free range pork products from his rare breed pigs which he sells every Sunday at the Hobart Farm Gate market.

The heavily polar-fleeced crowds who meet him attest to his Beiber-esque cult following - and he's not alone.

Gillian Ryan's foray into chocolate has also become an island obsession, and her Cygneture bars are some of the most highly sought after treats in the state. Using local liquers and combinations like sloe gin and berry, her chocolates are laced with a certain local mystique.

But none are quite as mysterious as the CWA's Mrs 64. Preferring to run with her official CWA pseudonym, Madame Soixante-Quatre (as she's known) is famous state-wide for the succulent, full-bodied texture of what can only be described as other-worldly caramel fudge. Like all excellent Tasmanian produce, it's only ever made in small batches and wrapped in deceptively innocuous clear cellophane.

And while many know about this fudge, the location of its vendor is tougher local knowledge to come by.

Luckily, we have a pretty good idea.
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Ross's, Gillian's and Mrs 64's goods are available here and here.