The Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory is an elegant start an epicurean tour under the Tiers. This place tucked into the soft green of Sassafras, about 40 minutes from Launceston or just 20 from Devonport, is dripping in sophistication but is entirely approachable. Heavy armchairs, leafy palms, a grand piano and solid timber tables contrast decadently with white walls and towering conservatory windows. In the warmer months, sit outside on the terrace and breathe in the country air.
Your casually dressed waiter will offer to get you going with a locally roasted coffee or juice. Then pick from an exceptionally fresh, seasonal brunch menu. Owner Vonda Mason and her team pride themselves on carefully selecting entirely Tasmanian produce, so you know you’re enjoying local.
You could laze around, reading the papers and work your way through an exceptional lunch menu or even wait around until the Conservatory Container Lounge opens for cocktails, but there’s more to eat, more to see.
Just minutes south down the road is Ashgrove Cheese, a fromagery with colourful cow statues out the front and more awards than you can poke a stick at. And as soon as you’ve had your first nibble of traditional cloth wrapped cheddar you’ll know why. Ashgrove’s products are polished and iconically Tasmanian. They’re made of milk from herds nibbling the juiciest blades of grass from one of the cleanest places on earth. Be sure to try the vanilla ice cream and definitely don’t miss the farmhouse butter.
You might need a fresh loaf of bread to go with that, so pop in to Elizabeth Town Cafe, next door to Ashgrove. You’ll no doubt run in to a couple of truckies collecting morning tea, or commuters lining up for cappuccinos.
For a juicy twist, call in to Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm. The Dornauf family planted raspberry canes 30 years ago and now the landscape is filled with immaculate rows of fruit that of course star on the Farm’s café menu. Spoil yourself with spinach, kale and Ashgrove fetta pie or go straight to raspberry crepes and pancakes. There’s even raspberry daiquiris or raspberry and wheat beer to wash it all down with. And if that’s not enough, we dare you not to leave with a pocket full of chocolate covered raspberries.
If you need a break from all the fare, turn off to Deloraine as you drive south. This gorgeous township boasts fantastic vintage shops and The Black Hen, an emporium of homely style and temptations. Owner Julie Hall has impeccable taste and often collaborates with other talented creatives to deliver styling workshops, so keep an eye on her website or blog for updates. If shopping ain’t your thing, have a swing by the river and watch the ducks fight over tossed bits of bread.
Finally, follow the highway for about 25 minutes then swing a left to Hadspen. Along the road you’ll find Entally Lodge: eateries and accommodation that sits on an historic property. Prop yourself at the bar with something local and fizzy, then take a tour of the impressive collection of vintage cars out the back or try to pick the Sidney Nolan… Finish up with dinner in The Kitchen. Pick from a classic bistro fare with a Tassie twist, washed down with the best in cool-climate local vinos.
Yawn! You can stay on site in the recently refurbished lodgings, or trundle back to Launceston for a well-deserved sleep.