Friday 27 July 2018

Sampling Huon Valley and Surrounds

Tasmania is well known for its culinary delights. The island is surrounded by delicious seafood, full of leatherwood flowers that bees use to make premium honey, and catches some of the planets purest water. Yeah, you can't visit Tassie without letting your tastebuds take charge for a day or two!

While in Huonville, we decided to sample some of the local ciders and tucker. We actually started in Geeveston. Both our inner-child grew a little excited upon seeing a shop called The Wall of Lollies. How could one start a day of testing better than a good dose of sugar-induced hyperactivity?

The Wall of Lollies is one of the biggest lolly shops I've seen. It had, literally, a wall of lollies! The owner was working on a new batch of sweets as we came in. We saw a whole collection of old favourites that took us back to childhood, plus a mass of tempting sugary hits we've never seen! After stocking up on malt-balls, warheads, and a few blocks of homemade chocolate, we were ready to move on! We were not ready, however, to see an old pirate ship cruising down the river! Alright, it wasn't pirates, but it looked cool!

The Honeypot has a delightful collection of the more natural sweet stuff. Our honey supplies were getting low, so this was a perfect opportunity to top up. We also had to keep the sugar-high running; Leatherwood Honey Ice-cream did just that. I regret not discovering this stuff earlier during our Tassie-time. It's good, even better than chocolate ice-cream!

With hearts racing, we needed to calm ourselves with a little wine. Home Hill Winery is set on a picturesque plot of land, not far from the main road. We popped in for a taste. Their wines, however, weren't the kind of drops we personally enjoy. They have a nice looking restaurant, and would make a good stop for those who enjoy lighter/white wines.

Next up, cider time! While there are plenty of people who enjoy cider on the mainland, the stuff seems much more popular among Tassie-folk. We stopped in at Willie Smith's Cider Shed for our first tasting paddle. The place is surrounded by apple orchids and has that whole hipster vibe. They do food, too, but after our tasting paddle we kept moving.

Pagan Cider was our next stop. This cider is a popular, premium cider in Tassie, which we had both previously enjoyed a handful of times. It is, after all, available at Pumphouse Point. The strawberry cider, which neither of us had previously tasted, was absolutely amazing. Sadly, they were all sold out. Definitely a drop for the cider buffs to look into!

Next was Grandvewe. No, that was not a typo. Grandvewe is a place that milk sheep and make sheep cheeses, milks, yogurts, and alcohol. Yes, alcohol: gin, whey, and vodka. Like Willie Smith's, this place had that hipster vibe. We tried their products, but they were a little bizarre for us. After all the sugar and booze, we needed something to settle our guts. They had cafe food here, but the bread was hard as rocks. Not sure if that's a thing these days, but I'd recommend having lunch elsewhere.

During our culinary cruising, we saw some signs for Woodbridge Smokehouse. They sell some delicious cold and hot-smoked fish, while also sharing how the different styles are prepared. Their product was fantastic, and I'd highly recommend it if you're a fan of smoked fish.

Despite the late light during the Tassie summer, shops generally close around 5pm. Which meant our day of tasting had to come to an end. Our final destination was on the Margate Train. No, this didn't involve an actual ride; the train's decommissioned, and the carriages are used as shops!

Devil's Cider and Brewery operate one of the carriages, so we just had to sample their stuff! The sheila running the bar had a great sense of humour and was happy to have a bit of yarn as closing time approached.

There's heaps more to taste in Tasmania. All I can say is follow your nose and sample whatever takes your fancy! Huonville, and the Huon Valley, is a top place to start!

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