While Australian’s claim the Lamington (named after Queensland Governor Baron Lamington) and jostle with New Zealand over the Pavlova, the Taswegians have modestly concocted the scallop pie. This notably Tasmanian food can be found in bakeries (only briefly) if one looks hard enough. And if you’re lucky, you may come across an enthusiast who’s masterful at their making.
I’ve been on such a quest. In fact, I’ve driven all over Tasmania searching for scallop pies. It was an indulgent crusade that I won’t likely forget, especially as I was rushed for time and received three speeding fines on my journey. However, this meal motivated madness was all worth it to find the places I’ll mention here.
Located just outside Launceston (a fine city), Exeter is home to the oldest Methodist Church in Tasmania. However, it’s also home to the Exeter Bakery, an emerald in Tasmanian food history, where scallop pies have been fondled and nurtured for over 100 years. Here large paddle-like devices are dispatched within the brick work to fetch these seafood savoury sensations.
I was fortunate enough to chat with owner Kris Rowe, who told me the wood fired ovens (seen above) have been in operation since 1901. She tells me the scallop pies are “a joint effort between her and the boys”. And part of her secret is the curry sauce, which envelops the scallops with loving, flavoursome care.
Down at the other end of Tasmania (there were many average pie stops in between) lies Petty Sessions, in Franklin. While not embracing the traditional side of scallop pie making, Petty Sessions cooks up one pearler of a pie, offering a modern twist with the addition of trevalla fish. This pastry encased house of scallops (seen above) had a flavour which harmonised with its tender seafood filling.
While cheese, truffles, apples, salmon and abalone are notable Tasmanian food specialties, the scallop pie lies largely unnoticed, waiting for the adventurer who’ll go that extra step to sniff out a bakery beyond the hill.