Steenholdt Organic Jam

This jam is amazing. I bought it at the markets at Salamanca Place in Hobart, and had a terrible time choosing flavours, as there was a most enormous array. In the end, I settled for a jar each of raspberry and blueberry, and was very pleased with both.

They’re both very liquid jams, but they firm up quite well when kept in the fridge. The ingredients consist of organic berries and sugar, and the flavour of both jams is most deliciously sweet and tart at the same time.

My favourite way of eating them so far is spread over bread warm from the oven, so that the jam soaks into the bread. There’s absolutely no need for butter – it’s a sublime snack.

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Cheeses

When I wasn’t devouring chocolate in Tasmania, in both liquid and solid form, I was eating cheese. We visited two cheese factories while we were there, and bought an enormous amount of cheese from both places.

The first we visited was the Pyengana Cheese Factory, which is about 20 ks out of St Helens, and sells a few varieties of clothbound cheddar. After having a tasting, we bought a mature cheddar and a chive & onion flavoured cheddar, both of which were beautiful – we ate them with crackers as a prelude to a crayfish dinner that night. The following day we returned to the Cheese Factory to buy some cheese to take to the boyfriend’s sister – we got another mature cheddar and chive and onion, and I bought a sundried tomato flavoured cheese. Fortunately, his sister really liked the sundried tomato cheese, as I didn’t like it at all – it was a very bitter cheese. I expected the sundried tomatoes to give it a much sweeter flavour.

When we were based in Hobart, we drove out to the Grandvewe Cheesery, which specialises in sheep’s milk cheeses. We had a very informative tasting, although some of the flavours were way too strong for me – notably the blue cheese, and their version of pecorino. I ended up buying a primavera, which was delicious (on the left of the above photo), and a soft cheese wrapped in vine leaves called Ewe Beauty, which had an unbelieveably silky texture – it’s the round cheese in the photo. I also bought a cow’s milk cheese called Manchego, and a fermented mutton sausage, which in hindsight was a bit of a mistake – I discovered I don’t particularly like fermented meats.

Visiting both cheeseries was fun. Pyengana was much more reasonably priced than Grandvewe, but they are offering more mainstream cheese. If you’re really into cheese, I’d definitely recommend visiting Grandvewe if you’re heading out that way (although don’t go too crazy over the cheese, as I did – you do have to eat it all, remember!). If you’re in a rental car, as we were, there’s a short dirt road (about 1 k) out to the cheesery, but it’s in good condition. Seeing the sheep in the barn was fun, and I wish we had been there in a season where they did milking demonstrations. I still have quite a few chunks of cheese to finish up – I’m thinking of using some of the sheep’s cheese in a souffle, which might highlight the flavours nicely. They’re lovely just in sandwiches, but there’s only so many cheese sandwiches I can eat!

Handmade Chocolates

I am completely unable to resist handmade chocolate, and I bought them twice while in Tasmania. The pictured collection was bought at Jam Packed in Hobart, and included some very cute little chocolates.

The snail to the right was filled with chocolate ganache, and was delicious. The curl of a tail towards the bottom of the picture is attached to a caramel mouse. The coffee bean was an espresso flavoured chocolate, which was delicious. The white striped chocolate was a sticky date pudding flavour, which I didn’t like at all – far too metallic and chemically. The chilli chocolate, with the little red chilli on top, I found far too hot. Previously, the only chilli chocolates I’ve had have been pleasantly warm, but this just burnt my mouth – perhaps you have to be more of a chilli lover to enjoy it.

Also in the box is a chocolate with a treble clef on it, which had a whole hazelnut inside, a mudcake truffle, which was just as lovely as it sounds, and finally, a penguin shaped chocolate, which rather stole my heart. You can’t really see it properly in this picture – he’s facing towards the back of the box, but you can see the beginning of his white front and the bulge of his eye. He was filled with mango flavouring, and was delicious.

While these chocolates were gorgeous, I thought they were pretty overpriced. While I was in St Helens, in the north-east of Tasmania, I bought a box of handmade chocolates from Choc-a-Lolly, which were gorgeous, beautifully presented, and very decently priced.

While at Salamanca Markets, we visited a store which sold handmade chocolates and confectionery and bought several things, one of which were Caramel Balls, which we’d been hearing about from Prince Valiant’s sister for months. They were delicious – large round balls of chocolate filled with thick, chewy caramel. We bought a packet home, and the boyfriend polished them off – I was too busy with the remains of my chocolates from Jam Packed to notice.

Heaven Ganache Icecream

This week’s icecream treat – Heaven’s latest variety, Ganache, which comes in several flavours. This particular one is Double Chocolate. And it is delightful. Lovely dark chocolate on the outside, silky smooth chocolate icecream on the inside. As you can see from the photo below, it’s supposed to taste like mud cake in icecream form, and it does the imitation wonderfully well.

I want to try the other flavours – macadamia, coffee, and some others I can’t recall. But I enjoy the chocolate one so much, I’m afraid the others will be a bit of a let down. I’m rather predictable in my icecream tastes – chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate will always be a favourite.

A Trip to Mt Tamborine

We drove up to Mt Tamborine this morning, ostensibly to go to the local produce markets, although we arrived a little late and there wasn’t much of anything left. We did grab some beautifully fresh avocados and mushrooms, and couldn’t resist a bottle of mulberry and rhubarb jam – dark and delicious looking.

After peeking at some cottages and wondering if we could afford a weekend in front of a fire with a mountain view, we headed for the tourist strip filled with galleries, cafes and fudge shops. I had to buy Lemon Meringue Fudge, which I’d had once before – deliciously tangy.

We stopped off at a butcher in Logan Village on the way home, where the butcher’s three young children were in the shop with him, making rissoles and serving customers. The young girl who served us was probably 10 or 11, and carefully picked up the Italian sausages we bought with her bare hands, stuffing them into the plastic bag, before frowning at the scales, trying to figure out how much we had to pay her. I wondered if they resented having to help out their father on the weekends. Perhaps he pays them pocket money in return.