If you’re ever compelled to embark on a first-class food frolic in February, one option well worth considering is a southern Tasmanian cake adventure, in the apple part of the Apple Isle. Here you’ll find warm serene days, an abundance of in-season produce, and a glimpse of rural life, as cafés will often grab fruit off their neighbour for a fresh slab of summer sweetness.
Thinking it a superb way to acquaint myself with the region, I convinced a friend to pull in at the Farm Gate Café and Providore, just across from Bruny Island. In moments we were confronted with the heavily cow-endorsed London Cheesecake, made with sour cream and fresh biscuit base. This combination oozed with homemade fatty goodness, putting us in weighty but high spirits.
Sensibly, we added their lemon syrup cake to our table. This sensationally textured slice was saturated with the neighbours’ lemons, and had a crumbly, yet sticky consistency. Served with an aerated and lightly sweetened cream, the syrup cake pipped the cheesecake – which was the chef’s signature dish – by a nostril.
Continuing westward, past green, undulating countryside complete with apple orchards and tree tunnelled roads, my friend and I pulled into a homey place in Cygnet named The Lotus Eaters Café. Here blood plums were ripe and plentiful, and the cook had managed to procure a neighbourly bunch before whipping up a blood plum and frangipani slice.
This little wedge of heaven, more tart than Tasmanian cake, had a soft, delectable texture which oozed the aroma and sapor of fresh blood plums. The tart was filled with almond meal, which complemented the slightly sour fruit, crisp pastry and light cream. This was just the slice of Tasmanian goodness I was searching for. I had found my prize.
Back at home, weeks after the flavour had finally abandoned my senses, I often found myself thinking on a cold, cakeless night – “oh blood plum tart, where thou art”?