The third and final day of our Behind The Scenery tour of southern Tasmania with Katie Quinn Davis saw us travelling around my own home neighbourhood, the glorious Huon Valley. A food lovers paradise, it's difficult to pack in the best of the Huon in just one day...but we gave it our best shot.
Kicking off with a coffee at the Cat's Tongue Chocolatiers in downtown Huonville, (in a part of town now known by some of the locals as SoHu). Andy's little jewel of a chocolate shop is only open Friday to Sunday with a delicious menu including pumpkin pie, fancy lemon tarts, killer waffles and ever changing specials for lunch like fried baccala or matzo soup. Andy makes everything from scratch including amazing ice-cream and great coffee too. We ducked in next door to visit Bron at her stylish shop Twigs and Daisy Chains, a modern gift shop with lovely cushions, soaps and candles and contemporary locally made pretties.
Next we headed to William Smith & Sons orchard to meet 4th generation orchardist Andrew Smith at the shed. Andrew showed us where the organic apples are sorted and packed to be shipped across Australia, and through to the cidery where Willie Smiths Organic Cider is made. We went for a walk through the orchard, but being so early in the season, the trees were just waking up from their winter hibernation so looked a little bare. I imagine in a couple of weeks the orchard will be bursting with blossom, I'll try and get a picture then. Feeling rather parched, we headed to the cellar door of the operation, around the corner on the highway - the Apple Shed - for look at the museum and a tasting of the current four ciders on tap, Bone Dry, Original, Wild and Perry.
Lunch time! Off to Cygnet for lunch at my favourite cafe The Lotus Eaters. I love it here, it's where the locals eat, a small place with big serves bursting with fresh local produce. I had the salad plate, a beautifully presented dish filled with fresh vegetables, local ham, pickles, Tongola goats curd cheese, cured salmon and a crusty house made baguette. Katie ordered the free range chicken wonton soup with a nori omelette - an artwork to look at and packed with flavour.
Stuffed but by no means finished, I took Katie to see Gillian Ryan at Cygneture Chocolates, a Irish lass like Katie, Gillian makes gorgeous chocolates using ingredients like Lark whisky, local berries and nuts. Gillian was finishing off batch of her lovely chai bars - a bar flavoured with a chai tea blend from the Lotus Eaters.
We then took an unscheduled stop at Village Antiques in Franklin. Housed in one of Franklin's grand old buildings, the former Bowmont Hospital. They have just unpacked a huge shipping container of goods from the UK so the place is filled to the brim with British vintage goods. Katie rumaged through their collection of nautical flags for a vintage Union Jack but we only managed to find this little one above.
Back over the river to Cygnet for a much needed cup of tea at the Red Velvet Lounge, I would have loved to have eaten there with Katie too, but there's only so many meals you can eat in one day.
Our final destination for the day was a behind the scenery stop at Matthew Evans and Sadie Chrestman's place, Fat Pig Farm. Although not often open to the public, they invited us for a campfire dinner by the dam. We took a tour of the farm to watch the noisy pigs being fed at dusk, saw doe eyed jersey cows with their new born calves and the huge verdant green vege patch. Matthew and Sadie spoke about their plans to start building a farm restaurant. In the meantime, Fat Pig Farm have occasional open days so sign up to their mailing list to see what's on here.
We sat by the dam, watched the sun set and ate delicious cevaps in little sourdough rolls smeared with Sadie's garlicky yoghurt, a salad of Tongola goats curd and greens washed down with local wines. After we nibbled on nutty walnut biscuits for dessert, we said our goodbyes and drove Katie back to Hobart.
Here's a list of links that we visited in the Huon Valley....
The Cats Tongue Chocolatiers
Twigs & Daisy Chains
William Smith & Sons
The Apple Shed
Village Antiques of Franklin
The Lotus Eaters Cafe
Tongola Goats Cheese (we didn't visit here - but their curd pops up a lot in the Huon)
The Red Velvet Lounge
Fat Pig Farm
A few bonus must see places to visit if you're in the Huon Valley...
Summer Kitchen Organic Bakery
Maasaki's Sushi Geeveston
Nicholls Rivulet Organic Farm (a farm gate stall selling delicious pies and other treats)