A day of food and wine

We were up at dawn, literally, to ride around Mt William NP. It’s only a small park but it (like lots of Tassie) has a large wildlife population. We rode the 20km loop through the park alongside mobs of Forester kangaroos and Bennetts wallabies (do wallabies live in mobs?). There was a real danger of having them hop right into us! Apparently the park is also good for spotting wombats, echidnas and even Tasmanian devils – but we only saw the hoppies.

I set a new record for earliest lunch by returning to camp starving! By 9am I’d eaten lunch! My previous earliest lunch was on the Tour d’Afrique when the lunch truck appeared at 10.30am, albeit after 70-odd km of riding. I think it’s my cold making me eat as I was famished yesterday too.

The plan for today was shaped by the fact I’m still sick – we decided a leisurely drive and winery touring was in order! Again, we were driving over almost identical terrain to our cycling trip – in fact most of today was re-tracing the day from hell, which Leonie and I still don’t talk about. Of course it was much easier in the car! And we took the opportunity to visit two places we were too exhausted to bother with sat time.

Legerwood is a tiny town (no shops) that is home to wood carvings. Many people had told us to visit these, but wood carvings don’t generally float my boat. However Guy was driving. Turns out to have been the right thing to do on an Anzac Day! Legerwood used to have an avenue of honour – about 9 or 10 trees, one planted for each man from the area who didn’t return from war. In about 2004 the trees had gotten so huge and old that they needed to be cut down before they fell down. So now, each old stump bears a chainsaw carving of the person and some depiction of his life. It’s the stories that make these trees special, not the carvings themselves.

Pretty soon I was hungry for second lunch so a stop in Scottsdale was in order. Scottsdale was another place on the day from hell that we didn’t stop at. Turns out is quite pretty. We had a tasty snack for (second) lunch and, now we were properly back in phone range, concocted a plan for the afternoon.

A quick check of the LP and we were booked in for dinner at Stillwater, a restaurant in Launceston that I’ve been keen to try for a while, we had a bed booked at cheaper than advertised rates, and a plan for wineries to visit in the afternoon.

We had a beautiful drive through the Tamar Valley to Delamere, Bay of Fires and Josef Chromy wineries. Bay of Fires was truly outstanding. But they had sold out of their (award-winning) pinot noir so it was all up to me to do the tasting and choosing. We lashed out on a couple of bottles of Arras sparkling – a wine they’re famous for and the best Australian champagne I’ve tasted – as well as some Riesling and Pinot Gris. Guy was already a fan of Josef Chromy from last trip, so it was kind of a pilgrimage for him. Another dozen bottles into the car. Josef Chromy was also the setting for third lunch. Since dinner wasn’t until 8.30 we required an afternoon snack of Tasmanian cheeses on their deck.

Somehow, we hadn’t eaten too much to order the tasting menu at Stillwater. And thank goodness. This ranks as the best meal I’ve eaten – knocking off Vue de Monde from top spot! Six tasting serves of rabbit, yellowish sashimi, carpaccio of beef, spring bay scallops, trout, venison, plus dessert. Yum!

Notable food & wine moments: Bruny Island cheeses – The Saint and 1792, Arras sparkling, Milton Pinot Gris, Moore Hill Riesling, Josef Chromy Zdar Pinot Noir, Apsley Gorge Pinot Noir. Plus the Stillwater menu of course!

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