Saturday, August 20, 2011

Purple Possum Wholefoods & Cafe - St Mary's, Tasmania

Thanks for your comments and well wishes regarding our hot water (and the less-than-positive week). Our new hot water system will be installed on Monday - not long to go!

This post could have been subsumed within my Tasmanian holiday reviews, but my enjoyment of the Purple Possum Wholefoods & Cafe was such that I wanted to give it a post all of its own.

Described in The Lonely Planet Tasmania guide (2008) as "an unexpected find in a little country town...[with] wonderful homemade soups, vegetarian wraps, fabulous coffee and cakes to die for", I had hoped this might provide a nice lunch option on our final day.

As it turned out, this could have provided nice breakfast, snack and lunch options, albeit not all at once, and especially not when driving back to Launceston in order to fly home. 

Set in a side street of the sleepy town of St Mary's, the store seemed amazingly well set up. In addition to a whole wall of bulk food bins, they carried an impressive selection of organic, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free packaged foods. They even ship to the rest of Australia.

The cafe menu was quite impressive too.

When we came in, the owner asked us, slightly hesitatingly, if we were vegetarian or...? We hastily assured her we were, and she relaxed and indicated that some people were disappointed when they didn't find meat on the menu.

Not us. There were great looking soups, sandwich options, wraps, a frittata, the Purple Possum veggie burger, and a range of vegetarian and even vegan pies. Although many items were listed as including cheese,  I asked for the vegetarian wrap without cheese and they were happy to oblige.

Mr Bite had the Madras Vegie pie ("curried veg with coriander"), which coincidentally was vegan. Although he eats chicken (and fish, and the odd beef burger!) at home, he usually sticks with vegetarian options whilst travelling, and was also happy to have an extensive range of choices.

My wrap included baby spinach leaves, capsicum, tomato, grated beetroot, and beautifully done tofu. Slightly warm, slightly toasted, with just a little of a tomato-y relish, it was delicious.

Mr Bite also liked his pie, with its side of tomato relish. He reported that he couldn't tell it was vegan.

I was torn between a coffee and a tea, but went for the former as I felt in need of caffeine. It was well done, and I suspect the teas would have been too: a full range of herbal and flavoured options, including liquorice (one of my home favourites).

If we'd had more time, or more meals left to eat in Tasmania, we could have tried or taken away some of the sweeter offerings. The date scones, rhubarb cake, and fig and ginger cake looked particularly appealing. Sadly, we didn't manage to squeeze them in, but if we're ever in the area again I will be factoring this cafe into our plans!

Purple Possum Wholefoods & Cafe, 5 Story Street, St Mary's, Tasmania, 7215


  1. I'd go purely for the name :) I so wish Canberra had vegetarian places! All I know of are two mock-meat style Asian cafes in Dickson. I want beautiful vegetarian cafe food!

  2. @Hannah
    I was amazed at how much further ahead Tasmania was in that regard, compared to Perth. It goes to show it's not population size that's important! (Or not only that anyway...)

  3. It drives me a little crazy when people get freaky about a non-meat menu. Admittedly, I was a vegetarian for 13 years before the anaemia drove me back to occasional meat eating so I'm no stranger to eating veggie... but vegetarian cuisine done well is SO worth it! It shows greater skill because chefs can't just fall back on meat to flavour dishes. I wish Purple Possum could be loud and proud of the V-status and start a revolution! ;)

  4. sounds great - love the name - but I would want to visit at the start of a holiday - and I think you can sometimes judge a place by how willing they are to make changes to what is on the menu!

  5. @Stephanie @
    I know! I think they were actually quite proud of being vegetarian, but had been made tentative by rude non-veg customers. Which is a shame.

  6. @Johanna GGG
    Yes, I would definitely recommend visiting at the start of the trip. I really do regret not being able to squeeze in the rhubarb cake!


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