Handle this massive volume with care - and excitement, for it is one of the most beautiful food books on the market.
Tasmania's Table is almost too perfect, so that the trouble with it is that it's hard to know what to do first with it.
Do you browse through it, reading the magnificent profiles of dozens of producers and chefs? Do you head straight for the recipes, then find yourself getting out the pots and pans immediately because they are so inspiring? Or do you just marvel at the pictures which are so drool-worthy they will almost have you nibbling the pages?
Paul County, Nick Osborne and their helpers (they credit several) must be indefatigable. This magnum opus would satisfy most authors and compilers but, no, County says "it's a book we'd like to update every two to three years so it becomes a library on Tasmanian food culture". He is justifiably proud that Tasmania's Table was a finalist in the 2010 World Food Media Awards which were announced at Tasting Australia in Adelaide in May.
Revision would be no mean feat. We're talking a coffee-table sized book of 400 pages, so already it is a massive contribution to Australian (not just Tasmanian) food and dining records.
Let's quote Country as he talks about the book:
I like to think of Tasmania's Table as more like a novel, which takes you on a journey and where each page tells you about the produce and the creators."
Whatever it is, this is one gripping piece of work, beautifully written and illustrated and a tribute to the island state which is so fiercely proud of its produce and food culture. Now you will understand why.
My guess is that Tasmania's Table is so inspiring, you will have booked a trip south before you even get to page 400!
Tasmania's Table, a food lover's guide to Tasmania's fine food, drink and restaurants, by Paul County & Nick Osborne, published by Tas Food Books, hardcover rrp $64.95, ($59.95, postage included, from www.tasfoodbooks.com).
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