Make no mistake, this Gourmet Food Tour is about eating some fine Tasmanian produce. And not just samples; I mean full-on, meal-sized portions. In fact, when I sorted through the photos to write this article, I was a a bit shocked at the amount of food we’d consumed in one four-hour morning walk. But a stroll with Mary around Hobart includes so much more than just good food.
Gourmet Food Tour: Hobart with Mary
We met Mary McNeill (the founder of Hobart-based Gourmania Food Tours) at the start of the day outside the Tassal Salmon Shop in Salamanca. Mary has travelled extensively and has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry. She studied Classic Pastry Arts at the prestigious French Culinary Institute in New York and went on to work as a pastry chef in the United States.
Mary, with her American husband, has since returned to Hobart to raise her young son and enjoy the lifestyle. And after some extensive international research, she established her gourmet food tour in 2011. As a proud, sixth-generation Tasmanian, Mary leads her guests around Hobart on a culinary journey that incorporates a great deal of local and historic knowledge.
Walking in Hobart, Gourmania Style
This gourmet food tour winds around the Hobart streets with Mary pointing out features along the way. While there’s a busy schedule of eating to maintain, the total walk covers only 3kms (so a fairly comfortable stroll by most standards). Mary is constantly calling ahead to the next venue, keeping everyone to the timetable. It’s such a great concept, walking in the door and having the allocated dish brought straight to you!
And what would a gourmet food tour be without the sampling of wines as well? That’s also covered in Mary’s gourmet food tour, with a visit to Hobart wine and beer retailer, Cool Wine. We were lucky to meet with co-owner and celebrated wine expert Tim Goddard, who shared his thoughts about the wine industry in Tasmania.
Tim is an interesting and amusing bloke. He’s travelled the world, and is clearly passionate about his role as a wine judge; but he’s not the least bit pretentious.
Guests receive a map with each venue marked and a space for tasting notes. I didn’t take any notes! I was too busy enjoying the taste of the food and the sights of the city. But the map will come in handy when I want to visit those places again or recommend them to friends. Not all of them require a map, though. The gourmet food tour is a loop circuit starting and finishing at Salamanca, and you visit Victoria Dock for a bite of fish. What could be more “Hobart” than that?
The gourmet food tour is a great experience for “new” locals (like us); but for international tourists, even more so. Dominic Bates from the UK was also on our tour. Dominic is the editor of Walk Magazine, and was here on assignment courtesy of Tourism Tasmania’s Visiting Journalist Program.
We had great fun with him, stirring him mercilessly for sleeping in and missing the first half of the tour. He took it all on the chin in good spirit. And really, who could blame the poor man, after his hectic schedule of climbing Cradle Mountain and walking Maria Island? He can read about the delicious food he missed out on now, anyway!
At the end of the walk around Hobart, we returned to Salamanca. We did some cheese tasting at A Common Ground, and then took a seat at Smolt for a delicious warm salad with potatoes, beans, cauliflower, pine nuts and a really yummy dressing. A final coffee, and we were set to go home… to lay on the couch with our jeans undone! This is one gourmet food tour that delivers on the promise of a journey of indulgent discovery and is well worth the ticket price.
Gavin and Tania were guests of Mary McNeill on the Gourmania Food Tours Hobart City Tour. Tours run 9.30am–1.30pm, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays (except public holidays). Other weekdays by arrangement and pending availability. The City Tour costs $120 per person (at the time of writing) all inclusive.
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