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Fico serves Campania with Love

Edition 183_Rossi

By Graeme Phillips

Hobart culinary couple Federica Andrisani and Oskar Rossi have become the first Tasmanian chefs invited to participate in the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

The Tasmanians’ week of lunches and dinners at Melbourne’s Tipo 00 restaurant were sell outs.

Rossi is the son of one of Tasmania’s leading artists, Tom Samek, while Andrisani is a daughter of Naples and Italy’s scenic and delicious Campania region.

They met while working at Italy’s El Coq and, after a search across two continents, they opened Hobart’s Fico Bistro and Vino to instant critical acclaim shortly before Christmas 2016.

The Melbourne Festival invitation was to join Tipo 00’s Andreas Papadakis and Alberto Fava in presenting a five-course menu titled From Campania with Love.

Drawing on Andrisani’s memories of her Campanian childhood, their contribution to the menu consisted of:

Tagliolini alla Genovese – their hand-made tagliolini cooked in an onion broth with beer vinegar and 36-month-aged Parmigiano Reggiano.

Pigeon ragu – Tasmanian pigeons from a grower near Hobart served with their livers and hearts and Tasmanian truffles. Rossi said the squab-sized pigeons were fabulous and, as the autumn weather in Hobart turned colder, so the truffles were at their peak.

Breakfast in Napoli – Andrisani’s childhood breakfasts of bread, milk and coffee updated to Levita madre gelato, coffee meringue, candied orange and lemon and buffalo milk espuma.

The Tipo 00 guys said they considered the couple’s new Hobart project, Fico, as “one of the most exciting to hit our shores”.

Little wonder the week-long From Campania With Love lunches and dinners sold out long before the event.

Another autumn culinary highlight was a working visit to Tasmania by famed chef Alain Passard owner/chef at the three-Michelin starred L’Arpège restaurant in Paris.

Passard was in Tasmania as part of TasTAFE’s Great Chef’s Series, which this year also features Christian Puglisi of Relae and Manfreds in Copenhagen and Dominique Crenn from San Fransisco’s Atelier Crenn.

Dominique Crenn was named the world’s best female chef in 2016.

The Series is designed to give TasTAFE’s cookery and hospitality students opportunities to work with and learn from some of the world’s best chefs.

Last year the series featured Australian-based high flyers Jacques Reymond, Donovan Cooke, Mark Best, Tetsuya Wakuda, Dan Hong and Michael Luo.

Passard, apparently, rarely travels outside France and getting him to Tasmania was a real coup.

Series founder Christopher McGimpsey, said: “I deliberately target chefs who’ve already reached the pinnacle and have nothing left to prove.

“It’s about giving back.”

Mr McGimpsey said Tasmania’s reputation for exceptional produce and Passard’s interest in the work TasTAFE was doing with disadvantaged and unemployed youth won the day.

Passard’s L’Arpège has retained its Michelin three-star rating for 20 years, even surviving the hooha of the early 2000s when it went fully vegetarian.

Passard now admits that was a little extreme and his menus today do offer some seafood, meat and even offal dishes. But vegetables remain his focus, something which he says enforces experimentation and, for diners, ensures an element of surprise.

Last year Passard was named number-one on the list of the world’s best chefs and L’Arpège was the only Parisian establishment included in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Passard grows his own biodynamic produce in three different parts of France and spoke to the students about the influence different terroirs have on the flavour of vegetables and the importance of legumes’ freshness and seasonality.

His lunch and dinner in Launceston and his $250 per head dinner in Hobart were all sell-outs.

Image courtesy of The Mercury

1 May 2017, Edition 183

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Facts about Tasmania


Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.


Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.


Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.


The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.


About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.


Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.


In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.


The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.


Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.


Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.


Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.


The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.


The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.


A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.


Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.


The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.


Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.


Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.


The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.


Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.


The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

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