The Occasional Epicure

Occasional updates on my eating and cooking adventures...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Kelleys Seafood Restaurant, Hobart

A colleague had told RJ about this famous Hobart seafood restaurant where you have to knock on the door to be let in. Because it sounded fun and came highly recommended we made a reservation to have dinner there on our first night in Hobart. It's in a funny little backstreet up behind Salamanca Place. The walk there from where we were staying was a bit longer than we'd expected, so by the time we arrived at the mysterious door, we'd developed two very healthy appetites.

I knocked on the door using the big brass knocker and we were promptly shown inside to a cozy little table in the corner. Embracing the Tasmanian food (and beverage) scene, I got stuck into a Boags and RJ had a Cascade.

We decided to skip entrees and go straight to the main course. RJ decided to have the seafood platter and I ordered the ocean trout wrapped in prosciutto and served with polenta (although I was tempted to have the Deep Fried Selection).

My ocean trout came with a delicious salad of rocket, pear and walnuts dressed with a very "bitey" vinaigrette. Since rocket is my favourite green, I was thrilled! The rest of the dish was delicious too!

The waitress had told RJ that his seafood platter would serve "two people or one really hungry person". In the end, we were glad we didn't order it to share. All the morsels were very tasty, but there definitely wasn't enough for two main courses. The platter featured prawns, sushi, sashimi, calamari, pickled octopus, mussels, and whatever is on that skewer in the photo (I can't remember anymore!).

We'd enjoyed our mains (oh! and the beautiful complimentary homemade bread rolls) but we still weren't full, so we ordered a chocolate pudding to share. It was served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. For a seafood restaurant, they do a pretty mean dessert!

The service at Kelleys was excellent, the atmosphere was cozy and the food was worth the walk!And there was just something special about knocking on the door. It felt almost like you were visiting a friend's house.

Kelleys Seafood Restaurant
5 Knopwood Street
Battery Point
Phone (03) 6224 7225

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Cadbury Factory Tour, Hobart

The Cadbury Factory tour is one of the big must-sees for visitors to Tasmania. So we faithfully made our booking and drove to Claremont (about 20 minutes from the Hobart CBD). Upon arriving there we were amazed to see the carpark choc-a-block! It's a very popular place!

I could barely contain my excitement! Everything there is delicious Cadbury purple, even the visitor information sign...

We went inside and paid our $12.50 each (a real bargain, I think!), took a seat, and waited for our tour guide to arrive. When she did, she told us all about how we were entering a real food production facility and that we couldn't take any jewellery, bags, cameras, phones or anything on the tour. Fair enough. I wouldn't want to find someone's yucky earring inside my Turkish Delight! Then she handed out a very fetching hair net to each person, and a "beard net" to the one gentleman who needed it.

Because of the camera (et al) ban, I don't have any photos from inside the factory. But I have the memories! At Claremont, Cadbury make their family blocks and their small chocolates (including Roses, Favourites and Freddos). Their other products (including Easter eggs) are made at other locations.

On the tour we walked around various areas of the factory and got right up close to the chocolates whizzing around.

We learned, and saw, how chocolate is made. Apparently the secret behind really delicious smooth chocolate is a process called conching. This is where the hot liquid chocolate is mixed in huge vat type vessels for extended periods to make it nice and smooth. We also saw some of the small chocolates being made. The first were Turkish Delights. The centre jelly is poured into moulds, cools, and is tipped out onto a conveyor belt. It moves along onto a grid section where melted chocolate is splashed onto the bottom of the jelly and more melted chocolate is poured over the top to cover the jelly centre. We also saw vanilla fudge (one of the Roses collection) being coated in the same manner.

We learned lots of interesting Cadbury facts along the way:

  • The company was started by Quakers and has been practising job rotation for over 100 years. (Apparently Quakers were early adopters of staff welfare principals.) Staff doing routine work like packing chocolates into cartons will only work at each station for 30 minutes before moving onto another task.
  • The factory's waste ratio is only 2%. This is largely because if plain chocolate products (eg: Dairy Milk family blocks) are produced out of specification (eg: underweight or broken) they are melted down and re-moulded.
  • Roses are wrapped at a mind-boggling rate of 500 per minute.

After the tour finished, we got our belongings back and were let loose in the chocolate shop! Our best purchase was a 5kg box of seconds for $35. At $7/kg, I think this represents excellent value - cheaper than many fruits and vegetables, even! We also bought lots of goodies at the souvenir shop (where everything is purple!), include a Cadbury stubbie cooler for my mum, a Caramello Koala and Freddo Frog bib for our neighbours' new baby, and a groovy purple "green bag" for me!

Here's the 5kg of chocolates:

Here's me and my new best friend:

(Note the Cadbury-purple bench!)

The Cadbury tour was terrific fun. It was informative, interesting, delicious and really exciting. I'd highly recommend it!

PS. I had to stop and take this photo just down the road from the factory for my mum. Yes, it's a retirement village on Cadbury Road. The perfect spot for a lifelong chocoholic like my mum to retire!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Fresh Tassie Apples

My significant other - RJ - and I just returned from our honeymoon in Tasmania. So I've got plenty of material for this poor neglected blog! Stay tuned, because it'll probably take me ages to get everything written and posted...

On our first day in Tassie we went for an afternoon drive from Hobart to the Tahune Airwalk. Driving down the Huon Highway we noticed lots of little stands outside people's front gates selling fresh apples, potatoes and other produce using the good old honesty box system.

So we pulled up and bought a bag of apples from this stand:

When I hopped out of the car I was surrounded by the beautiful smell of fresh apples. It was delicious! I chose the tastiest looking bag of apples, put my $2 in the honesty box, and jumped back in the car. RJ and I each ate an apple straight away, and we agreed that they were the crunchiest and most delicious apples we've ever sunk our teeth into!

There were 12 apples in the bag, and they were all delicious!