Back when Tasmania was known as Van Diemans Land, the Apple Isle was dissected into two counties. From 1804 until 1812, you could either be in the northern county of Cornwall or the southern county of Buckinghamshire, and the 42 parallel was used as the dividing line. The 42 parallel runs just north of the historic town of Ross, but you can read all about it in town. Part of Tasmania’s Convict Trail that runs north to south, Ross is a pleasant town to pull into for a wander. With a few cafes to choose from, Bakery31 is the only one offering scones on the day that I visit. Home to the famous Tasmanian Scallop Pie Company, Bakery31’s location in an old timber home with a cosy indoor cafe and plenty of outdoor seating is a good choice. The scones are nothing extraordinary, but good enough to create a decent spread. The strawberry jam is basic but the slightly sweet cream is thick and firm, and there’s plenty of it. The bakery sells Convict Jam that is prepared at the bakery. The jam served in the Devonshire Tea doesn’t taste like it should be winning awards, so I doubt it is the same stuff that they sell. Also for sale is Convict Coffee, handmade lollies called Devils Bites, Caramelised Balsamic dressings, honey from Tas Bees and Jasper Chocolates. So pretty much something for everyone if you are looking to buy gifts.
Tea: A few options of loose-leaf tea served in a small teapot.
Overall: A country bakery/cafe in a cute town.
Location: 31 Church St, Ross TAS 7209 Ph: 03 6381 5422 bakery31.com.au
Reviewed September 2019
Winter comes sooner to Australia’s southern states, so a toasty warm and cosy fire heated space is always a welcome. The Coffee Lounge, adjacent to Tasmanian Handcrafts on High, is filled with comfy lounges and coffee tables. There are a few tables on the footpath, and I think a small courtyard out the back, but it’s definitely more inviting inside. Located in a heritage building little can be done to the structure, so the owners have cleverly put up a huge picture on the front wall, so passersby can see what it looks like inside. The menu is reasonably priced attracting a steady flow of take away clientele. The scones, this time round, are the weakest link. Microwaved for far too long, with tough bottoms, I have the sneaky suspicion that they are frozen. On the other hand the rich raspberry jam and thickly whipped cream are spot on. While you wait, peruse the knitted winter woollies, jewellery, and handcrafted timber items such as clocks, cheeseboards, fruit bowls and furniture – conveniently located just through the door. Coeliacs are catered for with gluten free scones.
Tea: A better-than-usual variety of loose-leaf teas served in a teapot.
Overall: Lounge style cafe loaded with heritage.
Location: Tasmanian Handcrafts on High, 102-104 High St, Campbell Town TAS 7210
Ph: 03 6381 1673 tasmanianhandcrafts.com.au
Reviewed in May, 2017
Wander the streets of this National Trust classified Georgian village that dates back to 1811 for a taste of Tasmanian history. Not only is this a pretty village but also many of the historic buildings remain well intact. Businesses have settled in nicely to heritage buildings, restoring and reviving them, much like the Ingleside Bakery. Housed in the old Evandale Council Chambers that was built in 1867, the property is quite a sight. The towering walls and sky-high ceilings are a drawcard, as is the pretty flower filled courtyard. The licensed bakery/cafe took over the premises in 1988, and uses some of its space as an art gallery, and sells local Tasmanian gifts and produce, wines and whiskey. In winter the open fire is a welcome, but in warmer weather the courtyard is the winner. I almost have a mild panic attack when I don’t see any scones on the counter or in the cake cabinet, as I’ve had this place on my ‘to-visit’ list for some time. Never fear as they are on the menu and are offered as either a full or half serve. I have high expectations as the bakery is impressive, but my scone tastes more like a sweet dinner roll. Not even the dusting of icing sugar can mask the taste of an inferior scone. There’s just enough jam and cream for the one scone, and I wonder whether you get more with the full serve? The rich raspberry jam is superb and goes excellently with the double thick cream. Be sure to have a wander around the village to appreciate a couple of hundred years of history.
Tea: A small range of Art of Tea loose-leaf tea served in a small pot.
Overall: A gorgeous heritage building in a gorgeous heritage heavy town.
Location: 4 Russell St, Evandale TAS 7212 Ph: 03 6391 8682 evandaletasmania.com
Reviewed November, 2017
In 1807, farmers began settling in the area around Longford, and with the use of free convict labour, built some grand homesteads and estates. An easy visit from Launceston, the farming town is littered with historic buildings. JJ’s Bakery set up shop in 1989 in Longford in a former flour mill – The Emerald Mill. Convict built in 1834; the mill operated until 1903, and until it’s revival as a bakery in 1989 was used for a range of purposes including a soap factory and an electrical store. Today the main counter is like any other bakery, but then once further inside, diners can choose from either cosy downstairs dining or head upstairs. There are only fruit scones today and it tastes more like a hot cross bun than a scone: fruit rich, moist and spicy. The raspberry sachet jam is a lousy substitute for a pot of jam, but will have to do. The cream is unusual; gooey and slightly sweet dispensed like a Mr Whippy ice-cream. No doubt it’s the cream used by the bakery for their cakes, and to be honest, I don’t mind it. JJ’s Bakery also has bakery cafes in Launceston and Campbell Town.
Tea: A very basic range of Tea Drop pyramid tea bags served in a traditional looking teapot.
Overall: A commercial bakery franchise in a historic country town.
Location: 52 Wellington St, Longford TAS 7301 Ph: 03 6391 2364 jjsbakery.com.au
Reviewed in December 2019
‘The Pancake and Crepe Shop’
With a name like The Pancake and Crepe Shop, it’s quite obvious that the cafe specialises in the above, but one can’t miss the big sign out the front for Devonshire Teas. Located in another heritage-choked town along the Convict Trail, Oatlands is hard to miss with Australia’s third oldest mill dominating the skyline. Carrington Mill is now open to visitors after a recent restoration, and is conveniently located across from The Pancake and Crepe Shop. It’s cold out so the two small dining rooms are tight and we are lucky to squeeze in to a corner table. A shame about the weather as the row of tables out the front surrounded by window boxes of spring flowers would be lovely if it actually were spring weather. I love the bright fun tea ware and serving spoons as it creates a sense of excitement of what’s ahead. I normally wouldn’t complain, especially if the scones are sensational and the jam and cream superb. But why three large-ish scones? It’s rather excessive considering there’s not a great deal of tea to wash them down with and the super duper light cream is lousy. The homemade berry compote style jam has chunks of berries that would be perfect on a Pavlova. Just call me old fashioned, but I prefer a spreadable jam on my scones. To top it off, the scones are a bit overdone and are dry on top. Coupled with an inadequate amount of jam and cream, my excitement quickly moves to disappointment. Once again, I have to remember not to judge a book by its cover! Open Wednesday to Sunday.
Tea: A range of teabags served in a small teapot/cup duo.
Overall: An adorable gingerbread house style restaurant with a couple of cosy dining rooms.
Location: Ph: 03 6254 0070
Reviewed September 2019