Huon Valley, Tasmania, January 2009
Posted by Lisa Hill on January 17, 2009
Contrary to the optimistic 7 day forecast I’d read in Melbourne, Friday dawned rainy and cool, and by the time we’d motored down to Peppermint Bay en route to the Huon Valley it was bucketing down. We stopped for a restorative coffee at Peppermint Bay where we also bought some gourmet delights for an alfresco lunch (later on when the weather improves). I bought a lurid orange showerproof jacket as well, but Tim soldiered bravely on in his shorts!
From there we went to the Woodbridge Hill Weaving Studio where we met Anna – who makes the most beautiful tapestries, scarves and hats you can find! She gave us a demonstration of how weaving is done, and Tim told her all about how his father helped to establish the mohair goat industry in Australia – and since there was an irresistible mohair beret that turned out to be just the right size, we bought it straight away to keep the chill winds at bay, before splashing our way back through Anna’s glorious garden to the car.
After that we made our way to the GrandvEwe Cheesery where they make scrumptious cheeses from sheep’s milk. Just like us, the ‘girls’ were clearly unimpressed by the rain, and demanded to be brought in under cover until the skies cleared. Since it is obviously in everyone’s interests that they be happy, the sheep dog escorted them into the shed as we watched. The rain thundered down, but we didn’t care because we were sitting high above the paddocks on a covered deck – enjoying a delicious ‘ploughman’s lunch’ of cheeses, lamb sausage and the biggest, fattest olives I’ve ever seen, (all produced on the property) washed down with a very good Riesling.
We then journeyed on in a loop around the valley, calling in at Cygnet where we found a fabulous ‘lazy susan’ for our dining table.The artist used carefully selected broken pieces of Meakin china to decorate the wooden base so it looks just perfect for our 1930s decor, so of course we had to have it. We had just finished calculating the postage back to Melbourne when Tim discovered a framed pair of sea urchins that he just had to have for his office! (Yes, I know it seems a bit odd, but Tim is fond of sea urchins from his seafood marketing days with DSE.)
Our last port of call was the Apple Museum. Tasmania is known to all as the Apple Island, but we had no idea that there were so many varieties grown! Sadly, these days there is not much call for tinned apples for making pies because most people buy those horrible ready-made ones from the frozen food shelf in the supermarket, and (unless you go to a farmer’s market like we do) bottled apple juice is more flavouring and sugar than real apple juice. On the other hand I don’t think we should mourn the end of factories where the machinery used was so dangerous. A cheerful young man demonstrated the peeling and coring machine that they used to use and the speed at which it worked meant that there must have been countless lost and damaged hands and fingers.
We’d left it very late for dinner, but we managed to get in to the Steak Bar and Grill where we washed down a steak for Tim and venison sausages for me (four, and that was just the entree size!) with a 2002 Penfolds Kalimna. The hill back to Gattonside seemed a bit steeper than earlier in the day after that!