After many months of waiting, having purchased a ticket back in January, the day to visit Fat Pig Farm had finally arrived. On Saturday I drove an hour South of Hobart to Glaziers Bay to undertake a cooking class and boy was I excited!
Upon arrival at the farm, I was greeted by Sadie and she was every bit the welcoming and warm host that you would want and expect. Although the day was scheduled to be a wet’n’wild one, it turned out to be clear for most of the morning which worked out perfectly.
After enjoying a coffee to start the day we introduced ourselves to the rest of the group and then began with the class. The group consisted of 9 people and they keep the numbers to a maximum of 10 to ensure a personalised experience.
We were led out to the courtyard after adorning our aprons and began learning how to make passata from Matthew Evans and Michelle Crawford. It was a very interesting process and conversations flowed as we went along. After about an hour we had made 15 bottles of passata that were then ready for their water bath to seal the lids.
We savoured some of our freshly made passata and were led inside to wash our hands of all the tomato that didn’t made it into the bottle or onto our aprons (messy work!) and moved onto making our own pizzas. After stretching out the dough and topping our pizzas with garlic, goats cheese and some basil we were led outside to put them into the wood fired pizza oven which really is an amazing creation. After no more than 1-2 minutes, the pizza’s were cooked and we were enjoying our own creations with a side of strawberry shrub juice.
Now with a full belly, we rugged up in our coats and went for a stroll through the garden. An enormous amount of work has gone into this garden and is very impressive. The way they work with soil and try not to disturb the ground or insect life is really nice. They have a full time gardener and what an amazing job they do.
Plenty of apple trees throughout the acres of land, some for the pigs to enjoy and some for consumption in the kitchen. This pig below was enjoying a bit of peace and quiet while her 3 week old piglets slept, but the rest of the bunch were very vocal.
After being led back inside, we were given an overview on the different ranges of preserving bottles and the pro’s and con’s of each by Michelle. Michelle really has a wealth of knowledge with some taught and some learnt from years of preserving.
After finishing my hot chocolate (yummo!) we put our aprons back on and began learning about bottling and preserving fruits. We prepared a heap of apples then stuffed our Fowlers Vacola jars full to the rim before adding in a cinnamon syrup that was prepared for the group. The lids and clips were attached and then the jars went into a water bath for sealing. When ready, we will be able to open these jars and have an instant apple pie filling to enjoy or place a few on top of a warm porridge or pancake during winter which just sounds divine!
After cleaning up our apple mess we moved onto pickling and made a radish pickle with lemon thyme and peppercorns. We learnt about the different types of vinegars and how long they can keep when preserved and then how long once opened. Michelle was able to answer all the questions everyone had and was very helpful in relation to what vegetables pickle well and which ones not so good.
Last but not least we were taught about how to make a mixed berry jam. This first batch was using Michelle’s copper pot and we really saw how quickly and easily this pan works if you are willing to invest the dollars. I saw one in the shop the other day and it was $500 so I’ll be keeping that one on the distant future wish list!
Once we finished jamming we sat down for our long table lunch. It began with this tomato soup which was just divine and followed with cured meats, char-grilled vegetables, fermented carrots, roasted and shredded pork shoulder, salads, pies and so much more. I was very content and forgot to take photos so you will just have to come down and experience this for yourselves. It finished with a vanilla panna cotta topped with stewed fruits which I’m still thinking about – utterly scrumptious!
The day finished with one more batch of jam and then we gathered our jars of goodies to take home. We finished with a bottle of passata, jar of cinnamon syrup apples, pickled turnips and berry jam all of which I cant wait to crack open!
They also have a little shop there in which you can purchase ham, bacon, cook books, aprons, and a range of different sauces, ceramics and locally produced items. I can’t speak more highly of this place and the experience and am already considering which class I can book into as they are regularly booked a few months in advance. If you are planning a trip to Tassie and are a foodie then this is the place to go!