By the time I arrived at M&J’s house in North Hobart I had been traveling for over two days (48 hrs and 35 min). But seeing A&S and M&J’s big welcoming smiles was more than enough to melt away any weariness I carried with me. This journey had me go from the mountains of Kerala to Mumbai, Bangkok to Sydney, then to Hobart, an island off of the southern coast of Australia. I really had to pinch myself. Never in a million years could I have imagined that I would be spending Christmas in Tasmania, that meeting A&S in Argentina would give me a chance to explore this part of the world.
I felt tired and disoriented, but I rallied hard to stay awake and sound coherent. After taking a quick shower I met the rest of A’s family and with A’s friend J from Brisbane, we walked into town in search of “team Irish.” The three Irish traveler friends of A&S were found down at Salamanca Place (at an Irish pub!) and our jolly party of 13 was complete. For Christmas lunch, we had the Aussie family of A&S, M&J, J (his partner C arrived the next day), and their the parents (M&J). Then we had the Irish (C&C, T) and the women (two Americans A and me, and Australian J).
I couldn’t possibly imagine cooking for this large group of people for Christmas but A’s sister J, a brilliant musician and chef worked for days to put together one of the most amazing meals of my life. She and her musician husband M are vegetarians, and as such our feast was mostly vegetarian as well. But she graciously prepared some very special Tasmanian seafood for us to try; unbelievably fresh oysters, giant prawns, and beautiful salmon. Also on the menu were some of the most delicious local cheeses that I could have easily lived on for weeks on end.
Here is the full menu of our feast, which was accompanied by Tasmanian and Australian wines.
: Cheese, crackers, and Barossa bark
: Antipasti of olives, gherkins, dates, quince paste, pate, dried fruits, and cherries
: Corn chips with mango guacamole
: Potato and courgette cakes
: Courgette and tomato rice sformato
: Savory butternut squash cake
: Baked onions with vino cotto
: Mushrooms with verjuice and thyme
: Roast potatoes
: Mixed bean salad
: Pistachio couscous
: Jamie’s rustic 80’s prawn cocktail salad with tomato basil flatbread
: Baked salmon
: Vegan chocolate mint ice cream
: Mum’s Christmas pudding with custard
There was plenty of sunshine, laughter, music, and dancing that lasted the entire day and well into the evening. We were visited by Christmas carolers and our hosts M&J played for us as well. With the exception of A&S, I was surrounded by total strangers but it couldn’t have been a better Christmas. I already feel a great bond and chemistry with all of them, and I can’t wait to spend the next two weeks in their company.
More food & wine from our Christmas feast-