(Continued from: Jobs and a Family Catchup)
Tasmania is known for the quality of its produce and there are more and more outlets willing to showcase what the State can do. While it is renowned for its berries, it isn’t really known for Thai cuisine.
A showcase of Tassie produce
Wednesday was our last day. We had arranged with my sister, Pat, and her family to meet for a Thai meal at the Exeter pub that night.
Late morning we drove for an hour to Sassafras, a hamlet on the road between Deloraine and Devonport. Our goal was lunch! Outside the settlement, standing all on its own is the stately Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory. We had had great reports about this relatively new venue. It is in a gorgeous building – the former conservatory has an inside feel reminiscent of France with its ornate windows, light fittings and laden counters. It truly specialises in Tasmanian food and wine: we asked about the quinoa in our salad, and ‘no’, it wasn’t from the Andes, it was organically grown in Tasmania! This was an outstanding Tassie experience and a real inspiration.
An iconic berry farm
Dinner that night would be a totally different experience, but no less special. Exeter is on the opposite side of the river to Olive’s Cottage – 30 minutes by car.
Back at the cottage by 4 pm we left for Hillwood in time to stop at the Hillwood Berry Farm. Our goal was to buy some ready-packed boxes of fruit to take back for Melbourne friends to sample. The quality of the fruit was irresistible. This beautiful photograph is from their Facebook page – click to enlarge.
Great Thai food at a country pub
We only had another kilometre or so to drive pick up my sister, Pat, and brother-in-law, Kevin – the orchardist. We had some spare time and took the scenic route from Hillwood around the East Arm road to the Batman Bridge, before heading off to meet the rest of their family.
The Exeter Hotel is your quintessential small-town Aussie pub. But this one has a special restaurant, one of our nephews’ absolute favourites. The Raywin Thai Bistro is run by a Thai couple using the pub’s kitchen and serving the food in the typical pub-style back bar and lounge. For a small corkage you can select from a small but interesting range of Tamar Valley wines from the pub’s bottle shop. Fifteen of us enjoyed Thai food that is difficult to find nowadays on the mainland: startling, clean, fresh flavours, not tarnished or spoilt by fillers and sauces from bottles and tins.
During the evening we chatted with Wade, the youngest of our three nephews present. For some years he has had a major management role at Miller’s Orchard. His explanations about the complications of running an apple and pear orchard in the modern world would fill a book – a text book! In later blog posts, we will return to that topic, and to the matter of growing cherries for the Asian market.
A surprise for us back home
We were back home in Melbourne by early Thursday afternoon. Waiting for us in the fridge was a one kilogram rainbow trout. Every year, our cleaner, Richard, spends a few days fishing with mates up at Lake Fyans, near the Grampians in Victoria. He always brings one of his catches back for us. Dinner that night would only take several minutes to prepare.
For the recipe, click here: Baked Rainbow Trout.