I have been in many places in the world – to be exact in almost all of Europe, Asia, North America. I don’t like sweet things, I never eat dessert, but one place completely transforms me into ravenous dessert eating creature. This place is not in Paris, not in Italy, Spain, Vienna – it is not in the best dessert places in the world.
This place is in Hobart, and for those, who don’t know, it’s a capital of the smallest state in Australia, Tasmania.
My love affair with Hobart started 20 years ago when I started working at the Antarctic Conference (CCAMLR). Before going there I knew it was a very provincial place. It did not seem so to me. During 2 weeks of the conference the town was alive with the scientists from all over the world. We had endless evenings of talks with the help of Tasmanian Pinot, we had very enlightened conversations about everything in the world. We touched the topics of sex, religion and politics without any reservations. We went to all classy restaurants – lots of them in Hobart, but we never had a cool place for breakfast.
Then, suddenly, in Battery Point one of the English scientists discovered the BAKERY. It was a pretty local affair with two little rooms and few tables outside. We would sip our coffee (excellent, on par with Sydney) and eat the sandwiches, quiches, croissants, as the world would end today. Everything was crunchy in the right place, soft in the right place, savoury in the right product and sugary where it was needed. The herds of Labradors and Golden Retrievers passed our tables, but I did not give them anything. It was nothing left to give.
I haven’t been to Hobart since 2006 and we travelled there with our friends in January 2014. After nothing to do in Launceston and its surroundings, Hobart suddenly looked and felt like a capital of the world. The town has changed a great deal. In fact, the presence of MONA changed it beyond recognition, but about this, later. We went to traditional Salamanca Markets and we popped in the BAKERY.
Jackman and McRoss Bakery did not change. It became bigger and lighter – it expanded into 4 rooms. There was a queue for the table. There were couples, obviously 20 years into their own marriages, reading their own newspapers or sms-ing the outside world, there were families with lots of kids, gay couples…The BAKERY looked much more urbanistic, than before. Hobart looked much more urbanistic than before. The Labradors were still there, they did not have much space anymore.
We had an amazing breakfast. In fact, we have had three amazing breakfasts in this bakery in a row. The strawberry tarts, sandwiches on the best sourdough bread, eclairs, quiches…Well, it is not a place for the scale conscious people. I dream to return to Hobart again, for its best seafood, for Mona, for local antiques shops, but mostly, for the BAKERY. It will happen soon.
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