The magnificent Bruny Island, an island off an island off an island, is split into two equally beautiful halves, conveniently named North Bruny Island and South Bruny Island. These are joined by a long, narrow stretch of land known as ‘The Neck’. I had read about this island many years before visiting, and knew it was popular for its wildlife, beautiful beaches and produce. On my trip to Tasmania earlier this year (see Festive Feasting in Tasmania), we had one free day in which to explore Bruny, and after sampling delicious cheeses made by the Bruny Island Cheese Co. the previous year, I was fairly eager to get there.
So Mr R. and myself, along with his mum, Jenny and sister, Serena (both local Hobartians) set out on a day-long adventure to Bruny, all of one hour from Hobart via a ferry from the picturesque town of Kettering. Sitting in the back seat with Serena, I quickly worked out that we had very similar interests as we chatted away on the road to Kettering. Food was definitely priority uno for both of us! The wildlife would have to wait. Incidental gorgeous scenery would surely exist where there was good food, but this too was secondary. We plotted out our Bruny Island itinerary ensuring we would sample the best of what this island had to offer in an order that wouldn’t have our driver backtracking too much and would make sense to our tummies!
We presented (or rather dictated) our culinary itinerary to driver Jenny and Mr R. They happily agreed, so we set off to the tip of North Bruny Island, Dennes Point, to begin our day of feasting at The Jetty Café & General Store (B).
We enjoyed delicious coffee with frangipane and berry cake as we sat inside the cafe, designed and built by the local community, and took in the beautiful vista of the bay stretching out in front of us. The General Store stocked a great range of gourmet delights and the building also housed a small boutique, featuring jewellery and other goods made by local artisans. As lovely as it was, I was keen to get to the next, most anticipated stop for me personally – Get Shucked! (C)
Get Shucked was exactly what I had been told it would be – a non-descript shack off Adventure Bay Road with a few crates to sit on, serving up amazingly plump and scrumptious oysters. These people do not waste time with decorations, utensils, chairs and tables, or even shelter for that matter. The focus is purely and rightfully, on the oysters. From the shack I could clearly see the bay from where these ocean delicacies would be retrieved and served on a plate to moi, shortly after being caught.
It was with the giddiness of a child in a lolly shop (or maybe Apple store!) that I watched the plate of oysters materialise in front on me. And boy, were they good! For the first time in my oyster-eating life, I did not even need to add lemon – these babies were so incredibly fresh, salty and delicious all on their own. It was only during the second plate of oysters that I was able to look up and take in the sights around me, including the ute (pick-up truck) bringing baskets of newly-caught oysters. So many oysters to be had! It was very difficult to tear myself away from this oyster paradise and if I were there on my own, I perhaps would have stayed all day in that one spot!
Next it was on to the Bruny Island Cheese Co. (D), a short drive up the road from Get Shucked. We ordered a lovely cheese plate that included two of my favourite cow’s milk cheeses: Saint, a creamy camembert-style cheese and Oen, a strongly-flavoured, blue-style cheese wrapped in vine leaves. I was in such a happy place!
Eating ourselves silly was placed on a temporary hold as we drove to the south of North Bruny Island, stopping at The Neck to burn off some calories while climbing steep stairs to the lookout. Once we made it to the top, we felt a little better about all of the food we had eaten and enjoyed the vantage point from which to take in the view of both islands.
It was time for something sweet after all that exercise, so just after driving across The Neck we pulled into the Bruny Island Providore (E), a factory outlet for the very delicious Bruny Island Fudge. Again, I’m not much of a sweet tooth, but the espresso fudge was right up my alley. There were so many varieties of fudge and truffles that it was all a little overwhelming. I limited myself to two blocks, one sadly making a very tough journey back to Melbourne and becoming awfully squished in the meantime (but still tasting amazing!).
Next it was on to the Bruny Island Berry Farm (F). As far as sweet things go, berries would have to be my all-time favourite, along with dark chocolate, so I was muy excited about this stop. And of course, I was once again faced with too many choices, and I am hopeless at food-related choices! So, I kindly asked the lady behind the counter if I could ‘double berry’ it, mixed berry ice-cream on top of a range of berries. A little over-the-top, but so, so yummy! Serena and I were keen to take some berries home, so we decided to have a go at picking our own, and eating a whole lot more as we went along, to balance out the physical exertion of course!
We were now completely stuffed with bellies full of oysters, cake, cheese, wine, fudge and berries. It was so good and so bad all at once! It was time for some incidental gorgeous scenery while we digested the melange of foods. Thankfully, right across the road, was the below scene. A truly beautiful place!
And this one, pointing out the bleeding obvious but amusing all the same.
We meandered slowly back to North Bruny Island, stopping briefly to view Jenny’s dream home.
We were almost at the ferry terminal, signalling the end this marvellous day of feasting, when we spotted one more place that was on the itinerary of that morning, the Bruny Island Smoke House (G). Being a savoury girl, I was more than happy to leave the island on that note and although I was incredibly full, I didn’t want to miss the place that produced fishy foods of salty goodness. After tasting some of the products on offer at the counter such as teriyaki trout pâté and Atlantic salmon pâté, we ordered a plate of salted sardines, which we really didn’t need but just couldn’t resist. Jenny and Serena looked on while Mr R. and I demolished them. And then bought a jar to take home! They were made all the more delicious by the picture-perfect setting.
It was with some sadness that I dragged my feet from that lovely spot, back to the car and back to the ferry that would take us home. It had been an exquisite day, eating produce of the highest quality with beautiful company, in a truly special place.