GOURMANIA – BREAKFAST TOUR
Breakfast is all about breaking the fast but with Mary McNeill from Gourmania it’s far more than just feasting. It’s about discovering a waterside city with every sense engaged – our day begins beside a humming city street where wafts of single origin drift between morning chatter.
Today is about winding our way to Hobart’s finest morning eateries, following the footsteps of a sixth-generation Tasmanian. Mary’s own street-cred extends to studying Classic Pastry Arts at the French Culinary Institute in New York and working in local kitchens such as award-winning Smolt. We’re in good hands.
Criterion Street is where locals head for coffee, a fitting place to perch ourselves outside Ecru where we learn from Luke about beans that hail from across the globe and how we can order a ‘pour over’ at Villino up the way. Owner Richard Schramm pops by to say hello. We wish him well on a 200+ kilometre cycle for men’s health as part of Movember with other locals. He cares about the community he works in and has a two metre large moustache made from succulents in his café to prove it.
PROPERTY: OF PILGRIM
Next stop is Pilgrim, founded by the unstoppable force of young Will Priestley who has since opened doors to The Standard burger joint, Property of: Pilgrim, Bright Eyes, is partnering in gorgeous new Aloft Restaurant and is in the process of re-inventing the former Crumb Street Kitchen space. We settle in for slow eggs served with locally-sourced kassler of delicious thickness, crisp spring beans, and further morning conversation as strangers morph into new friends.
THE TASMANIAN JUICE PRESS
Cold pressed juice has never tasted so good – straight from the juicer poured by the bubbliest juice lady in town, owner Chloe Proud. Chloe, like Will and Richard, is a young passionate Hobartian with an eye for this city’s potential as Australia’s premier foodie destination. She talks of the local apples like children, blending them with a touch of mint and ginger as we admire the vessels we’re each holding, the work of local ceramist Lindsey Wherrett. Chloe’s enthusiasm is contagious as she pours generously across our cosy group of seven. Mary’s groups are never more than eight, allowing all personal attention.
PIGEON WHOLE BAKERS
Our next stop is directly behind the juice press on Argyle Street. Through a square window we peer into the workings of Pigeon Whole Bakery where some of the island’s best Sourdough is created with patience over 48 hours. There’s a whole lot of love in these loaves but many of our group opt for a sweet bakery treat this morning, ranging from fluffy light donuts to delicately crispy pastries.
Too early for a breakfast whisky? Mary thinks not. Our next perch is one at the bar of famous Bill Lark, who many years ago on a highlands fishing trip decided that Tasmania was the best place to produce whisky. Little did he know back then, that in 2015 he’d be inducted into the Whisky Hall of Fame in London and other such graces! We hear about days when Hobart was a town where there was a pub for every 12 houses….a watering hole never far away.
The final stop is in Hobart’s floating Brooke Street Pier for a delectable canelé – a deliciously rich custard-like treat enclosed in a caramelised shell. Over 300 years, bakers have been refining this French classic and today it’s a fitting finish to a morning rich in history and flavour. These near perfect examples are baked by local chef Cameron Perry. From here, we’re welcome to hop on the 11am ferry to MONA or continue exploring the city.
Mary sits and happily chats to us all, even though the clock has ticked well-past tour conclusion. It’s another hint that Mary very much loves what she does and eagerly shares this with her Gourmania friends.
So, if you’re stuck on where to go from breakkie in Hobart, let Mary guide you on a progressive breakfast of sorts. Trust us, it’ll be the best six-course breakfast in the city.
TIME: 9.15 – 10.45 AM, Tuesdays & Wednesdays.
WHERE TO MEET: Ecru, 18 Criterion Street, Hobart.
TICKET PRICE: $75 all inclusive
VISIT: Gourmania or find Mary on Facebook
Words and images: Alice Hansen
Your launch pad for exploring Tasmania like a local.