Tasmanian Food & Wine Conservatory
9 Conservatory Road, Sassafras, Tasmania
Tucked behind the Bass Highway, along the Cradle Coast Foodie Trail, you’ll find a converted greenhouse, home to the Tasmanian Food & Wine Conservatory – an emporium of 100 per cent Tasmanian food, wine and spirits. Just 20 minutes from the ferry terminal, the Tasmanian Food & Wine Conservatory is often the first spot for many a weary traveller. It offers the perfect introduction to the culinary artefacts the state has to offer in a setting that’s hard to beat.
Established by the mother-and-daughter team, Vonda and Brielle Mason, the venue has become their pride and joy since opening in 2015. It was the third venture for Vonda, who owned and operated Devonport cafe, Mason & Mason, for eight years. Having watched her parents successfully manage a number of venues, Brielle was more than ready to take on the challenge as well.
The girls celebrate the very best of the state’s culinary bounty at the restaurant and providore, located within the old conservatory. They place an emphasis on sourcing produce directly from growers and producers, ensuring they can trace every ingredient back to its source.
Drive down the winding driveway, past the surrounding trees and blooming flowers until you reach the red steps of the conservatory. You’ll be greeted by chapel-like arched windows, which allow streams of natural light to enliven the space. One step inside and you’ll be transported back in time – wicker chairs surround vintage timber tables, tall palms dot the space and local products line the walls. Peruse the Tasmanian jams, chutneys, oils, cheese, meats, wines, beers, ciders, spirits and unique books on offer.
Once you’ve had a good look, take a seat at one of the long tables – you’re about to see all these beautiful ingredients transformed into delicious and innovative dishes. Head Chef, Alexandria Flynn, allows the Tasmanian produce to speak for itself, presenting breakfast, lunch plates and tasting platters that are honest and unpretentious. She works seasonally, but the menu changes daily and is all reliant on what goodies their producers have delivered.
A gourmet platter offers a gastronomic tour of Tasmania; expect tasty ingredients such as 41 Degrees South hot smoked salmon, Coal River Farm triple cream brie and Lenah Game Meats’ smoked wallaby, just three markers on a culinary map of the state.
In the warm season, enjoy the monthly garden markets which are just another way to explore the best of what Tasmania has to offer, with tastings of delicious local produce, wine, spirits and live music. No matter when you visit, it’s worth popping by the Container Lounge, which offers a different atmosphere to that of the conservatory. Here, a 1940s cocktail lounge awaits, resplendent with chesterfield armchairs, candles and fairy lights. It’s is a cosy setting to curl up in with a Tasmanian whisky, or gin and tonic.