A traffic jam in Launceston is lining up for fish or bread or cheese at Saturday's Harvest Market. This city's love of good food, usually made or grown within reach, is palpable. So when Launnie received the coveted status of UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, Susan Henshaw was not surprised.
"It's absolutely well-deserved. I think we're very proud but there's a confidence in our food industry that doesn't need those accolades…but it is confirmation that what we're doing is deserving of a world stage."
"In the past 15 years, Launceston has grown into a mini-Melbourne or like any other major city in the world. It's just got everything: Asian grocers, bakeries, delis, market. If you're a foodie, Launceston is a microcosm of the rest of Australia, really, because we can get just about anything."
Susan remembers as a child baking with her grandmother and her appreciation and understanding of food grew as she did. She's travelled and lived around the world, including a lengthy stint in Japan, and says exposure to diverse food cultures continues to inspire her menus now cooked from her home on the hills of Trevallyn overlooking kanamaluka/Tamar River.
Dessert is Susan's strongpoint but she says when low on time, she'll swing by one of Launnie's many food stores to collect pastries and cakes to take to a party. The croissants at Bread and Butter rival flaky shells found in Paris, according to Susan.
Three days in Launnie aren't enough, says Susan, but if you're on a tight timeline, here is her list of must-eats while you're here:
- Bread and Butter for those croissants
- Sweet Brew for brunch
- Saint John Craft Beer for beers and burgers
- Geronimo for bubbles and cocktails
- Bluestone for lunch
- Mad Apple for brekky with a twist
- Pachinko for big, fresh flavours
- Neighbourhood for woodfired pizza
- Singapore Café for lunch down the river
- Josef Chromy Cellar Door for more bubbles on the lawn
A sizzling plate of okonomiyaki and icy local brew are sitting in front of Susan as on a sunny afternoon at Mad Apple she explains another layer of Launnie she adores: the people.
"Number one is the community vibe. If you don't know something, someone very nearby will. It's just fabulous. I love that we're all incredibly friendly."
Susan's family will soon be arriving from interstate and she's already made bookings at her fave eateries and plans to stock up at the market.
"When you're at the market, you've got to try Pyengana cheese, bread, fresh fruit and veg, berries at this time of year, the okonomiyaki and Korean pancakes."
"I'll also be buying zucchini, eggplant, tomato and capsicum which, combined with olive oil and garlic makes the best ratatouille. The fresh flavours of all that in-season produce is amazing."
This cook's tip: chargrill all of the above veggies before you combine. Delicious.