I was recently asked what was good about Tasmania for visitors. Not just the MoNA effect, but what else was cool about the evolved Tassie that is so hawt right now. I get asked this a lot, so I gathered my thoughts and made a list.
1. Markets - not just the old school Salamanca experience, although that still hums every Saturday. On The weekend farmers markets bring together foodies and the community across the state to shop and chat local. Hobart farmers market on Sunday, Bream Creek on Saturdays, harvest Launceston on Saturdays and Cradle Coast on Sunday. This is where you get to see the rising stars of agriculture and value added food, made sustainably with love and the future in mind.
2. Art - MONA can't be too hyped as it is a remarkable monument to one man's commitment to independently curate his love of sex, death, Tasmania, and rogue entrepreneurship in its finest form. Here too food and wine are woven into art, with the same values of niche, bespoke and a little kooky. But MoNA isn't the only show in town, there are amazeballs permanent exhibitions and regular shows at Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart, The QVMAG in Launceston and regional awesome like Devonport Regional Art Gallery. Sure we do great landscapes, but you will also find galleries tucked in unexpected places or popping up in wineries and cafe's. Grab an ArtBike from outside Art's Tasmania in Elizabeth St Hobart, get a guide and glide.
3. Festivals: food, booze, music, all are clustered in a festival scene to rival any country or island. MONA FOMA and Dark Mofo in the south, the Taste of Tasmania over the festive season, Falls for NYE, Festivale, Panama for grown up rockers, Party in the Paddock for music live and dirty, Basin Concert in the north for those JJJ indie kids with their own kids now doing acoustic sets. Junction Arts Festival for interactive performance in Launceston and the Unconformity for the nexus of art, heritage, geology and culture in the west of the State.
4. Booze: the best Pinot, champagne, cider, craft beer, whiskey, vodka and gin. All made by artisans enthusiastic to share their passion and their process. Cellar doors, master classes and sales outlets abound, as well as enthusiastic purveyors behind cocktail bars around the State. Butter vodka anyone?
5. Food experiences: not just restaurants, not just dining, but eating with a narrative. Think Ethos and its cluster of restaurants, oyster bars at point of lease in Barilla Bay, MoNA and its BBQ pits, Mt Gnomon farm in Penguin with onsite butchery and cafe for rare breed pigs. Pick your own berries, spend the weekend on Bruny Island foraging then eating, or have a cooking lesson you will never forget at The Agrarian Kitchen, the Red Feather Inn or randomly with some old mate you meet in the pub with a brace of Crays and a story to tell.
Dr Polly McGee is one part writer, and many parts assorted thinker, do-er, talker, eater, chef, explorer, yogi, kirtaneer and dog wrangler. She has worked in kitchens, bars and restaurants from frantic to fancy, managed multi-million dollar innovation grants programs, advised hundreds of start-ups on how to refine their business ideas and source funding, and championed causes from a variety of soapboxes, lecterns and stages. She is currently the Strategic Marketing Lead for Global Edtech Startup Prosper Education. Her new book, The Good Hustle, is coming out in February 2018