Just got back from a long weekend getaway in Launceston. What a charming city! It is Tasmania‘s second largest city, next to Hobart and Australia’s third oldest city. Sydney being the oldest, next is Hobart then Launceston. Home to many historical buildings and very rich in culture, Launceston is a very picturesque place with rugged landscapes and amazing coastal views. My trip was mainly to visit the World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain and do some power walking along the cliff of Cataract Gorge, Launceston’s own wilderness, which is just a 15-minute walk from the city central. Known as the gourmet capital of Australia, Tasmania takes pride in its fresh produce, seafood, gourmet sauces, wines, home-made ice cream with organic berries, home-made chocolate … endless list of fine foods ready to please anyone’s palate. In between my walk and tour to the mountain, I was able to sample some of its finest products and boy did I get excited with all these stuff I bought and took home with me to Sydney.
Just an hour before the entrance to Cradle Mountain park is this quaint town of Sheffield, also known as the town of murals. Aptly given the name as murals are on the wall of almost every building. The idea was adapted from the mural town of Chemainus, British Columbia in Canada where buildings were painted with murals depicting the town history. Sheffield became famous for the same thing and an estimated 220,000 visitors each year come to have a look at the arts. I took photos of some of them which caught my attention.Not exactly a mural but this shop instantly drew me in because of its lovely door. I love doors and windows, especially the rustic looking ones just like this one.Across the road from this shop, a very inviting sign, Fudge ‘n’good Coffee. And just like a moth to a flame, I made my way to this tiny shop and there they were, blocks and blocks of different flavours of home-made fudge on display ready to tempt me. The kind owner, a guy originally from San Francisco ( he told me) offered to slice a bit of any flavour I wanted to have a taste of. Here’s the thing. I’m a Libran so don’t give me too many choices. How to choose and what to choose. It took me a while to make up my mind which flavours to choose, enough time for him to tell me he has lived in Tuscany for many years before moving to Adelaide in South Australia, lived there for six years before moving to Launceston. I was maybe still making up my mind because he mentioned that his brother just recently married a Filipina and they are at the moment living in the Northern Territory but he is persuading them to move to Launceston and set up a small business like he did. Finally, I ended up with these home-made fudge slices of jaffa (orange and chocolate flavour), Baileys Irish and pistachio nougat. And a cup of hot chocolate to go.On our way back from the mountain, we stopped at these famous cheese farm Ashgrove Farm Cheese. If Fudge ‘n’good Coffee lived up to its name, this shop did with the variety of cheeses they make. I had a taste of the bush pepper cheese and without hesitation grabbed some to buy. Everything I tasted was delicious actually.This cheese aromatically infused with lavender flower was absolutely divine! I was meaning to just have a couple of tiny slices but ended up having the whole stick for lunch. Cheese this good and plain crackers for lunch … beautiful!The good stuff from that shop didn’t stop with the cheese. This jar of goodness had me at ‘blueberry’ and sealed it with ‘port’. Grabbed a jar and made my way to the counter to pay and what do you know? Next to the counter was the ice-cream corner. Many flavours to choose from again but thought I’d make it easy this time and decided to go for whatever is on the first tin, so organic blackberry was it. And my oh my, creamy delicious! I didn’t have time to take photo of the ice cream because I was busy licking it, or should I say, biting it. Does anyone do that too? Biting ice cream instead of licking it?We had traditional Belgian waffles for afternoon tea today. Dusted with icing sugar and topped with this blueberry and port conserve. Delicious! My son was feeling a bit indulgent so a scoop of vanilla ice cream fixed that.My food hunt was indeed satisfying. I forgot to mention that the day before this fudge and ice-cream and cheeses and conserve buying, I got some good stuff already packed in my room ready to take to Sydney with me. On my way back from walking that day, exhausted and feeling so hot (despite the current temperature which registered 15C degrees), I spotted this tiny gift/food shop next to the marina. And wow! Tasmanian really know how to do it in style. Adorable gift shop, with gourmet foods for sale, a deli counter next to the café. And they sell 100% Tasmanian products. How lovely! Guess what I grabbed first … home-made choco fudge!I almost forgot what I came there for in the first place, to grab a drink to quench my thirst. Spotted this next to the mineral water, Elderflower drink. Never had one before and after finishing the bottle, wished I could find where to buy them in Sydney.I grabbed this pouch of soup for my son to try knowing how much he loves seafood. The information on the label sounded good and convincing, thought I’d try the chowder. The staff said it is nice on its own but if I wanted to, I can add some smoked fish fillets or chunks of fresh fish while simmering the soup.And no, I did not decide on which flavour to choose based on the fisherman featured on the label. But Bernie is kinda cute, huh?
And how about this to highlight my food weekend? From the Ashgrove Farm Cheese shop, I bought this Irish Stout to have it with my cheese and fudge that night. I got to my room, freshened up and was ready to enjoy a little of each goodies and guess what? It wasn’t a screw cap and there was no bottle opener in the room. I was trying to remember what my male friends back in college would have done. I tried the door thing, or the edge of the table and almost tried using my teeth (but was sane enough not to) to open the bottle but nothing worked! All I could think of at that moment was how this old woman in her 70′s, who bought the same bottle from the same shop, and even told me it is a good brand, she must be enjoying her stout that very moment, in the comfort of her very own lounge or maybe even finished her drink already while there I was, too tired to look or ask for a bottle opener! It was a long day and no bottle opener can ruin the wonderful experience I had in the mountain so I decided to go for mineral water and this bottle came home to Sydney with me instead.Just to share the beauty of Cradle Mountain, I have a few photos here for you all. Isn’t she a beauty?