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Tasmania’s Stories

Fine food fare

Edition 199_FineFoods

Wallaby fattened on King Island pastures, and leatherwood honey collected from pristine rainforests whetted appetites as Tasmania held centre stage at Australia’s premier fine food expo.

It’s the crème de la crème of food gatherings. A top shelf event.

Fine Food Australia, an annual event held in Melbourne last month, was a four-day extravaganza attracting more than 28,000 people.

And, for the first time in six years, Tasmania was part of it.

It’s no secret that Australia’s smallest state produces some of the most incredible foods and beverages on the planet.

Tasmania is blessed with a dream farming combination – famously pure water, fresh air, and rich soil. While a cool climate, with four distinct seasons, allows produce to ripen slowly, bringing an intensity of flavour.

And, the island’s premium produce was on display at Fine Food Australia at a special Tasmania Stand, organised by Brand Tasmania, where nine artisan producers showcased their wares to a packed crowd:

View the video for a ‘Taste of Tasmania’ at Fine Food Australia

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The Tasmania Stand was made possible with funding of $65,000 from the State Government, which contributed towards the $85,000 cost, with the remainder topped up by the nine exhibitors. 

And, for those on board, it’s already proving a worthwhile investment by connecting them with key decision makers, including distributors, food companies, and top Australian chefs.

“Was it worth it? Absolutely,” Freya Griffin from Tasfoods says.

“We were an exhibitor last year under our own steam, but this year there was enormous traction being part of a coordinated Tasmanian stand.

“The quality of leads this year was a lot higher, and there was a significant improvement in the conversations we had with decision makers, and all because we were able to leverage off Tasmania’s reputation.”

The Tasmanian message was also being spread by one of Australia’s most respected media personalities, who grew up in Launceston, and was at Fine Food Australia to help promote the island state.

“It’s almost like there is a trumpet out there. Everyone who goes to Tasmania sings its praises,” Ray Martin, a Brand Tasmania Ambassador, enthused.

“This is a food expo for Australia, yet they are all singing the praises of Tasmania; and that’s kind of nice.

“Tasmania is paradise when it comes to food, as long as we don’t mess around with it, as long as we keep it clean and green and pure, and as long as we continue to produce the sort of products that we currently are doing.”

This message was reinforced when Ray hosted a lunchtime forum, where ‘super chefs’ – Tetsuya Wakuda and David Hall, along with restaurateur Rodney Dunn – all gave their insights into ‘Tasmania’s Artisan Food Story’.

Michelin two-star chef and Brand Tasmania Ambassador, Tetsuya Wakuda, told the audience the island is “beyond organic”.

“The environment there is perfect. The clean air, and water and good soil make the Tasmanian Brand above and beyond perfect,” he has often said. 

Tetsuya heads up acclaimed restaurants in Sydney and Singapore, and Tasmanian produce – from wasabi to ocean trout – features prominently on the menu.

“Tasmania, that little island has everything in one place, just one place,” Tetsuya told the forum.

“It is such a rich state, and rich island, with seafood, vegetables, wine and [now it is the] international number one whisky producer in the world. It’s almost self-sufficient.”

Like Tetsuya, David Hall, has Tasmania on the menu.

He is the chef at Melbourne’s Pure South Restaurant, which for the last 15 years has promoted the state’s niche produce.

“Yes, everything is Tasmanian,” Hall told the audience.

“We get all our cream from Tasmania, our veg, our fish, our meat, our flour, our quinoa, it’s all from Tasmania.

“It’s been a big thing, Tasmania – for the past five to ten years – but I think we tapped into that market early enough that we are self-sufficient on our own.”

Rodney Dunn, owner of the award-winning Agrarian Kitchen in New Norfolk, was espousing seasonality and the power of local produce.

He thrilled the crowds with stories of tomatoes that taste just like ‘grandma's’, stone-fruit that dribble with juice, and “insanely sweet carrots”.

“Our climate is very different to the rest of Australia, and having the cold winter followed by the warm summer gives us a long ripening period, which gives our fruit and vegetables the most amazing taste,” Dunn has said.

“In fact, one of the most common comments we hear during winter is ‘I cannot believe that carrots could ever taste so amazing’.”

All up, it was a feast of fine food in Melbourne.

And, Tasmania’s first outing in years proved there is a big appetite for the island’s premium produce.

Image courtesy of Martin Turmine

 

13 October 2018, Edition 199

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Facts about Tasmania

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.

Tasmania

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.

Geography

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.

Geography

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.

Geography

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.

Climate

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.

Climate

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.

Population

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.

Flora

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.

Flora

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.

Fauna

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.

Fauna

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

Fauna

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.

Economy

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

Economy

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.

Economy

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

Economy

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.

Economy

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.

Economy

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.

Economy

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.

Economy

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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