My wife Séverine Demanet and I live in the small town of Lachlan in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley (just 45 minutes from Hobart), having moved here from Sydney in 2007. After watching way too much River Cottage UK, we decided a move to the country was what we wanted!
I grew up in the country (in the small town of Coleambally, NSW before moving to Sydney in 1997 to finish my chef apprenticeship at Tetsuya’s) and had a great childhood; we decided this would be a great experience for our own children, and there was also the attraction of growing our own food.
I’d first visited Tasmania with Gourmet Traveller and fell in love with the state – I meet all types of people who become enchanted by its spell. It has a very unique feel about it that puts people at ease; laid-back and full of natural beauty, as well as having an edge of sophistication with a vibrant food and art scene (centred around MONA, which brings visitors from all around the world).
The Derwent Valley is an incredibly beautiful part of the world. It is one of the oldest settlements in Tasmania, so it has a lot of historical buildings as well as old English hedgerows and lines of poplars as remnants of the Hop industry that thrived. One of its most beautiful features is the Derwent River that snakes its way from the highlands down to the estuary in Hobart.
This time of year, It’s cold, frosty and foggy, and this is what makes it incredibly beautiful! We get dustings of snow on the mountain tops and, provided you rug up, it can be one of the most unique and invigorating times to visit – think red wine and open fires. By spring, the countryside’s flora awakens and puts on a show to behold, with beautiful blossoms and green countryside so vibrant it can hurt your eyes! In summer, it can be mild compared to the mainland, but is often one of the warmer parts of Tasmania, and everyone gets out to enjoy the weather and the Derwent river for fishing, swimming and picnics. Then there’s a true autumn here thanks to the established European trees, as well as Tasmania’s own native deciduous fagus (deciduous beech) in nearby Mount Field National Park to celebrate.