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Thursday 18 October 2018

A little taste of Tasmania - in Melbourne

There’s a little taste of Tasmania to be found in a small side street in the Melbourne suburb of Hampton.

Homesick Tasmanians, or Melbourne gourmets, can stock up their pantry with eatherwood honey and scallop pies at the Tasmanian Grocer in the Bayside suburb.


Customers come in search of Tasmanian staples: cheeses, chutneys, raspberry jam, and cool-climate wines. They also demand quail eggs, salmon sausages, and abalone.

“I like to think of it as a sort of embassy for Tasmania,” owner Samuel Caccavo explains.

“Everything here is beautifully sourced from Tasmania. All the amazing spirits, all the amazing honey. It’s the taste of Tasmania, absolutely beautiful, and quintessentially Tasmanian.”

Now in its fifth year, the Tasmanian Grocer is also a family business.

It’s part of the extensive business dealings of an entrepreneurial Tasmanian clan, whose interests include construction, seafood, and artisan spirits.

With the Tasmanian Grocer, the Caccavo family has come full circle – back to where it all began.

Samuel’s grandfather, Ralph, at the tender age of 21, opened a small deli in Liverpool street, Hobart, before expanding his business to a fleet of trucks ferrying dried foods to restaurants across the city.

By the early 80s, Ralph had added supermarkets – his two well-known ‘Ralph's Super 7’ stores – to the business. Then, 20 years ago the family took a leap into the seafood industry, focusing on abalone exports to China.

While the Tasmanian Grocer is just a small part of the family’s business dealings, it provides a valuable outlet for their own products, which are sold alongside those of other boutique producers.

Brand Tasmania reports the shelves are stocked with hand-crafted spirits from the family’s Devil's Distillery, which was set up in 2015.

There is also the family’s olive oil on the shelves - sourced from an olive grove at Campania.

The Tasmanian Grocer is at 2 Willis Lane, Hampton VIC 3188. (03) 9521 8435.

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