A wedge of French Roquefort, a pot of steaming gruyere fondue, and a glass of Italian Barbera. The windows steaming up as the cold Winter’s night meets the cosy wine room’s warmth. We could be in a mountain chalet in the European alps, a wine bar in New York, or even a laneway bar in Melbourne. But no, we’re in Tasmania. To be exact, we’re inside Frondu’s Fromagerie and Wine Bar, one of Hobart’s newest venues, and we may never leave. Who needs to when there’s wine flights and a serious array of cheese. Did we forget to mention the sparkling wine flavoured potato chips? On a cold winter’s night, there’s nowhere else we’d rather be.
Tasmania may have made a name for itself with Dark Mofo’s wild feasts and bare-cheeked swims, but beyond the festival, there’s plenty of reasons to pack your woolies and head south.
Here are our 5 favourite reasons:
1. Sparkling wine flavoured potato chips
See above. Seriously, enough said.
There’s no shortage of fireplaces in Tasmania – we’re talking kindling, wood, pokers, smoke, the whole shebang. But perhaps one of the most ideally located fireplaces is out on Lake St Clair. Yes, that’s right, perched on the edge of a jetty, the old hydraulic pumphouse has been lovingly restored to become Pumphouse Point, one of Australia’s most unique hotels. Spend an evening out on the lake, in rooms that look straight out at the water. The ground floor lounge area is where you’ll find the fire, right in front of floor to ceiling windows. There’s also the dreamy fireplace in the Shorehouse, or the fire pits. Stoke the fire, grab some wine and local cheese from the in-room larder and soak up the warmth.
The Salamanca markets are open air, yes, so in winter months you can expect the air to be brisk, but that shouldn’t deter you. Grab a Bury Me Standing bagel and you won’t notice the cold. You’ll be too busy using both hands to devour this baby. With a stall right at the top of the Salamanca Markets, make the bagels your first port of call. We’re not talking poppy seed or sesame, try freshly baked gingerbread bagels with cinnamon cream cheese, or beetroot bagels, cheddar bagels, even a unicorn bagel. Grab your bagel and work your way through the stalls, all the way down to the water. If you need a little more incentive, keep going until you hit the McHenry Gin stall for a free tasting. That will put some more fire in your belly.
You’ll forget about the weather as soon as you descend into the depths of MONA. The Museum of Old and New Art is dug into the rock on the Berriedale Peninsula 25 minutes drive or a half hour ferry ride from Salamanca Markets. Lose yourself in the newest exhibition, Zero, a collection of work by German and European artists from the movement of the same name that turned art on its head looking for a new world back in the post war 1960s. The immersive works will challenge your senses – save time to let a recreation of Yves Klein’s famous Pigment bleu take you someplace else
There’s nothing like a nip of whisky to warm the cockles of your heart. Why stop with one? Tasmania has its very own whisky trail, mapping out distilleries and cellar doors where you can taste the locally made drop. Stay close to town with a trip to Lark Distillery in Hobart, or head out to Fannys Bay Distillery on the north coast.
Whether you want to wine and dine, curl up by the fire with a good book or head out to meet the locals, make Tasmania your must visit this winter.