Launceston named City of Gastronomy
Launceston has asserted its place among the world’s great epicurean destinations, with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) naming it as a City of Gastronomy under its Creative Cities Network.
One of only 36 world cities to be bestowed the title since the City of Gastronomy project was launched in 2004, it’s recognition of Launceston’s paddock-to-plate culture, with the fertile land and sea at its edges supplying the tastes and experiences that have come to define the northern Tasmanian city.
“City of Gastronomy status will become what Launceston and northern Tasmania is recognised for nationally and globally,” says Andrew Pitt, Chair of the Creative Cities Steering Group.
“It’s wonderful to have UNESCO’s endorsement of our vision for northern Tasmania as one of the world’s great food regions.”
Launceston’s foodie culture comes to its fore in the city’s restaurants, which offer a diverse range of dining experiences. The stalwart Stillwater brings fresh local produce to an 1830s flour mill at the mouth of Cataract Gorge, and Black Cow Bistro is true to its origins as a butchery, serving up the finest of Tasmanian beef.
Cool Havilah pairs a sustainable-produce menu with hand-picked wines from Tasmania and beyond, while seasonal food and wine are again natural companions at Timbre, sitting among the vines at Velo Wines in Legana.
Fresh northern Tasmanian produce is the star item at the Harvest market, held each Saturday morning in a city-centre car park. Stalls combine into a mouth-watering menu: Felds Farm market garden, Hazelbrae hazelnuts, Sandy’s Sourdough, Tasmania Juice Press, Avocado Moon (Tasmania’s first kombucha brewer), Kabul Veggie Delight’s samosa, and Steve’s Vegies, plucked from northern Tasmania’s volcanic red soils. And that’s just to name a few of many.
Tracing northern Tasmanian produce to its origin is simple, with a range of experiences offering a peek behind the farmgate. Dig for truffles at Tasmanian Truffles, where Australia’s first black truffles were grown, and follow the journey from vine to wine on an Art of Sparkling evening at Josef Chromy. Day trips with Kooparoona Niara Tours piece together a selection of producer interactions.
Local cooking schools extend the paddock experience into the plate experience, with Fork n Farm and the Red Feather Inn combining luxury accommodation with classes that range from salami making to French Provincial cooking to pickles and preserves.
Sparkling lovers rejoice, for the Pipers River area of the Tamar Valley is considered second only to France’s Champagne region for the quality of its sparkling wine – a House of Arras sparkling was even named the world’s best in 2020.
Cellar doors with sparkle include Jansz Tasmania, Apogee Tasmania, Sinapius, Delamere, Clover Hill and Bay of Fires. The quirky cellar door at Swinging Gate is a precursor to the vineyard’s experimental wine ways, including an array of earthy pet nats.
And like all good food offerings, Launceston’s menu of experiences is constantly evolving. Helicopter tours between vineyards with Unique Charters are now operating, and a fermentation hub is arising in Legana that will offer visitors the chance to learn such food arts as cheese and bread making.