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Friday 16 September 2016

Friday Feasts: Tasmania's new gourmet drawcard

It's a lunch in the country, combined with a farm tour to get up close and personal with the resident pigs, cows, chickens, and vegetables. 

But Tasmania's newest gourmet drawcard is no ordinary lunch, and this is no ordinary farm tour. 

We are at the 70-acre Fat Pig Farm, home of TV's Gourmet Farmer, and the food is cooked in an open kitchen by Matthew Evans himself and some of his trusty helpers, including cookbook author and stylish stylist Michelle Crawford. 

The new restaurant on the Evans farm in the Huon Valley is rustic but delightfully stylish and bookings for the rest of the year are filling fast because meals are served just one day a week - on Fridays. 

This is locavore lunches taken to the extreme. Look, lunch and learn.

All the meat and vegetables are grown, cooked and eaten on the property, and the first wine is from a vineyard that you can see through the window. 

"We are literally driven by the garden, by what is growing each Friday," says Evans, who runs the farm with his partner Sadie Chrestman. 

The lunches - today's was just the third, are held in an informal long-table setting and draw both locals and interstate guests. Evans talks about his ethos and ideas and proudly shows off a rapidly expanding potager to his guests between main course and dessert. Questions are welcome.

The food is simple but delicious. A bacon and bean soup on arrival, followed by ham, pastrami, rhubarb pickle and a radish, paired with wood-oven-baked focaccia and house-churned butter.

Next up; nettle and feta spinach pie in home-made filo served with a salad of Japanese turnips, winter cress, and greens. Good enough to convert the most avid carnivore.

The main course is moist Wessex saddleback roast pork with a mountain of crackling, served with wine-braised leeks, roasted potatoes, carrots, parsnips, pumpkins, and fennel. Help yourself to as much as you can eat, with maybe some extra crackling. 

After our farm tour, where we met young pigs and ultra-healthy looking vegetable plots, we feast on old-school golden syrup dumplings with warm custard served alongside a blackcurrant and gin hot toddy in a camp-style mug. 

Today's drinks include Elsewhere Vineyard 2013 Riesling, Bruny Island Lighthouse Ale and Home Hill Landslide Pinot Noir, but Willie Smith's Cider and wines from the likes of Sailor Seeks Horse also make an appearance depending on the menu. All are made within a half hour of the farm. 

To book for a Friday Feast, farm picnic or cooking class, go to or ring 0415 168 285. Friday Feasts are a fixed price of $130, fully inclusive of the farm tour, long, lazy lunch and matched drinks. 

# The writer was a guest of Fat Pig Farm 


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