I'm really (no, REALLY) not in the habit of pimping local "foodie" events that roll into my inbox, but this one caught my eye, and since I'm going to attend it myself, I figured it was worth sharing with you all as well.
As some of you know, I spent two weeks in Australia this past November (Flickr set here), and four of those days were spent in the most magical place I've ever been -- Tasmania. The natural beauty is epic, and can we talk about the wildlife? Fairy penguins, Wombats, Tasmanian Devils -- these are species most of us would be lucky to see in captivity, let alone in their natural habitats, where we saw them.
But here's the other thing -- of all the places we visited, Linda and I thought the food in Tasmania was some of the best. They take "local" very seriously here even when it's not meant to be trend-conscious, which makes sense given their geography. Tasmanian oysters are plump, creamy, flavorful wonders -- far more delicious than their Sydney counterparts. Trevalla (aka blue nose bass or butterfish) is a wonderfully sweet, meaty fish. Sheep's milk cheeses abound here, and Roaring Forties (my favorite blue cheese) also hails from this corner of the world.
From a produce perspective, wild berries are as plentiful as they are in the Pacific Northwest, and Tasmanian stone fruits (in season) are supposed to be incredible. All manner of heady, fragrant fungi abound, and the peas... oh, the peas. We had purees so sweet and green they'd make you weep.
The icing on the cake, of course, are the wines. Before our trip, I don't think I'd ever had a Tasmanian wine. Now, I can't get the taste of Tassie riesling out of my head -- crisp, acidic and fragrant, they are a far cry from my favorite Mosel rieslings, but they serve a different purpose, too. Frankly, I would challenge any riesling-hater to try these wines, and recognize them!
We were less impressed by the red side of the viticultural spectrum, though a few Pinot Noirs certainly made an impression. Frankly, the climate of Tasmania is rather cool for most red grapes to concentrate and ripen well, which is why we stuck mostly to local whites.
So, what does any of this have to do with San Francisco? Well fortuitously, Macy's Cellar is bringing in Laura McIntosh and Chuck Hayward (of Jug Shop fame) for Taste Tasmania on Saturday January 17th at 4pm. The event is free, and I am definitely planning to be there. Hope you'll consider it as well.