Hobart has come a long way in recent years. Not even 10 years ago, if you mentioned Hobart as your destination of choice, you’d have encountered a range of reactions varying from mildly bemused to outright disbelief. The capital of the Australian state of Tasmania—a stunningly beautiful small island in the shadow of a larger island—it was largely known for, let’s see, potatoes, a dark convict history, and a real-life endangered carnivore turned cartoon superstar, the Tasmanian devil. Surely there had to be more!

Of course, there was, and the city’s natural beauty, nestled as it is between the icy waters of the Derwent River and the soaring cliffs of Mount Wellington (Kunanyi), has long been a drawcard. But it took the unlikely partnership of an eccentric philanthropist-art collector-gambler named David Walsh (founder of the unconventional, wildly popular MONA art museum in 2011) and Tasmania’s main tourism body to get Hobart on the radar of more international travelers…and eventually turn Hobart into one of Australia’s hippest tourist destinations for food lovers. Now the city plays host to high-profile food festivals just about every season, but beyond that it’s embraced its own local “Tassie” bounty, from the top-quality produce, seafood, and meat to the award-winning wine and cheese—and its chefs and restaurateurs know well how to highlight such fantastic ingredients sourced from around the state. (If you’ve never tried wallaby or abalone, here is your chance!)

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