Winery Lunches, Hawke’s Bay

With more than 70 wineries in Hawke’s Bay – New Zealand’s oldest and second largest wine growing region – deciding where to sit back, relax and enjoy a leisurely lunch takes almost as long as the lunch itself. Heading to Hawke’s Bay to catch up with friends before F.A.W.C. there was no shortage of opportunities to indulge.

Friends who had relocated to Waiohiki were keen to go somewhere local. Church Road Winery was a short drive from their new home and bed and breakfast, Omaranui Garden View.  Hawke’s Bay turned on a stunner of a day so we grabbed a table on the terrace overlooking the picnic area.  It wasn’t hard to envisage the domain dotted with people enjoying wine and platters on summer weekends, but given it was a Tuesday we had the serene backdrop to ourselves.

The grand entrance

The grand entrance

The dining hall and tasting room

The dining hall and tasting room

Perfect picnic spot

Perfect picnic spot

With nowhere else to be, we meandered our way through an impressive menu – punctuated with local artisan produce, each dish was perfectly paired with a Church Road wine – after all we had several months of catching up to do. It was the perfect excuse for being last to leave.

Travelling solo the next day, I drove the short distance from Havelock North to Clifton – the gateway to Cape Kidnappers and the gannet colony – and the Te Awanga wine growing area; home amongst others to Elephant Hill, Rod McDonald Wines and Clearview Estate wineries.

Looking out to Cape Kidnappers

Looking out to Cape Kidnappers

Today’s remit was a casual lunch, somewhere a lone diner wouldn’t look out of place.  Turning into Clearview Estate a group of cyclists moved aside; the uneven gravel under their wheels revealing the unmistakable clinking of wine bottles hidden in their backpacks nestled in the woven baskets.  Suddenly, memories of a hilariously funny afternoon biking through the vineyards more than 10 years ago came flooding back, but that’s a story for another day!

Umbrella shaded tables in the courtyard were in high demand.  The cyclists headed for a wine-tasting – undoubtedly not the first of the day – before settling in for what looked like the beginning of an all afternoon lunch; the Takaro Trails car was in the carpark so this may have been their final stop.  With so much more to see and do, crab sliders with a lightly chilled Pinot Gris were the perfect combination, before heading to my next stop.

Indulge in a wine tasting at Clearview Estate

Indulge in a wine tasting at Clearview Estate

Crab sliders and a cheeky Pinot Gris

Crab sliders and a cheeky Pinot Gris

If you’re staying in Havelock North, Black Barn Vineyards is just around the corner. Take your pick from wine tastings, a leisurely lunch or simply grab some provisions from their store.  Their growers market, set amongst the trees, is a great way to kick off a Saturday (9am-noon) during summer.

Friday afternoon to kick off the Foodwriters NZ conference, we were guests of Craggy Range Winery, where we were treated to a smorgasbord of dishes created by the new head chef Casey Mc Donald, so keep your eyes open for an upcoming post.

Some handy links:

Hawke’s Bay Trails - Napier and Hastings | NZ Cycle Trail

Hire bikes:

Hawke’s Bay Wines – great source on information and maps etc

Grab a food and wine map from the local information office, it’s far easier than using your mobile.

Enjoy!

Michelle

2017 in Review

The Foodie Inc had ambitious plans for 2017 – a foodie bucket list of sorts – but really an excuse to explore more of New Zealand’s food and wine scene.  The goal was something new each month, but one couldn’t resist indulging in some old favourites too.  Admittedly, blogposts were infrequent – studying for Le Cordon Bleu Master of Gastronomic Tourism took up every spare moment – so please enjoy a few photographic highlights from last year, with more foodie adventures to be shared very soon.

A 35 minutes ferry ride delivered us to Waiheke Island for headland Sculpture on the Gulf.  Thought provoking sculptures, stunningly spectacular views and if the trip wasn’t field research for a university assignment due three days later, a leisurely winery lunch would definitely have followed. 

Volunteering at the New Zealand Cheese Awards, learning how to make pasta with Stephania at Pasta Cuore and blending our own wine (got our names on the bottle) with The Hunting Lodge’s crown blend rose challenge were more hands-on experiences.

Persistent rain and mud underfoot didn’t detract from the captivating experience and fabulous company at Monique Fiso’s intimate dinner party – Hiakai – the photos simply don’t do the evening justice, but then the lighting wasn’t designed to be camera friendly.

Exploring outside Auckland saw The Foodie Inc Go Wild in the Waikato (NZ Foodwriters trip and photo credit), attend The Seriously Good Food Show in Tauranga in July and finally made it to F.A.W.C. Hawkes Bay in November. 

In early August “a truffle hunt” in Canterbury’s Limestone Hills with Rosie the Beagle and a decadent five course truffle-infused lunch at Black Estate, 2017 winery restaurant of the year really did knock one off the bucket list!

And when you live in Auckland you can’t ignore: Auckland Restaurant Month from Street Eats to restaurant takeovers and simply an excuse to indulge in special menus and catch up with friends; The Food Show in Auckland in July; and let’s not forget Taste of Auckland in November.

So what is The Foodie Inc planning for 2018?  Ticking a few more things off the ever-expanding foodie bucket list and aiming to share four new posts each month:

  • More stories about local food producers like Hauraki Salt Company and Tea Tree Orchard
  • Must see / do destinations or experiences, like the once in a lifetime night at Hiakai
  • An event, a cooking class, a farmers' market or a food truck like The Rolling Pin for you to check out for yourself
  • Sharing recipes cooked or created in the previous month in Recipe Resolution

Thanks for supporting The Foodie Inc – your feedback is very much appreciated.   Look forward to sharing more memorable food and wine experiences and places to explore in 2018.

Enjoy!

Michelle

2017 Auckland Food Show

Let’s face it, people often inadvertently move in circles. The day at The Food Show, started and ended with donuts. 

Donuts from  The Pie Piper  and  Doornuts

Donuts from The Pie Piper and Doornuts

The leisurely meander through the halls of The Food Show with foodlovers Genie, Bunny Eats Design and Bri Dimattina Food Adventures entailed many looped routes as we strolled from the Fresh Market to the Healthy Hub to the Artisan Village and everything in between. 

Hot and cold smoked  Aoraki Salmon

Hot and cold smoked Aoraki Salmon

Leaderbrand  living wall

Leaderbrand living wall

The Olive Lady 's green pickled peppers

The Olive Lady's green pickled peppers

We tasted and then tasted some more, talking to fellow foodies and producers along the way.  Cameras were always at the ready, stallholders became accustomed to displays being rearranged, and products being lined up, always obliging with a smile or friendly banter.

Cameras at the ready for  Good Buzz Kombucha

Cameras at the ready for Good Buzz Kombucha

Spotted Morgan from Bonnie Oatcakes helping out at  Fix & Fogg  stand

Spotted Morgan from Bonnie Oatcakes helping out at Fix & Fogg stand

Rubs from  Wild Fennel Co

Rubs from Wild Fennel Co

Thomson Whisky  tastings while we wait for our cooking class to start

Thomson Whisky tastings while we wait for our cooking class to start

We even made ourselves lunch at the Casa BarillaCooking School which was heaps of fun – free but pays to book.

Casa Barilla Cooking School

Casa Barilla Cooking School

Ready to cook...

Ready to cook...

Italian sausage & mushroom penne

Italian sausage & mushroom penne

Thanks to The Food Show for the complimentary ticket to Thursday’s opening day. The Food Show runs until Sunday 30 July.  For tickets and information go to www.thefoodshow.co.nz

This photo journal shows just a handful of the amazing food and wine producers so we hope you choose to travel The Food Show in circles – you might be surprised what you notice the second time around! Enjoy the show.

Michelle

ps caught up with the girls at Mamas Donuts on the way out... lucky to be gifted a bag of mix on last week's 'Go Wild in Waikato' foodwriters trip 

Mamas Donuts ... looking forward to making these at home

Mamas Donuts... looking forward to making these at home

Dumplings and more

Anticipation grew waiting for a friend to arrive, as did the queue of people who meandered from local commercial businesses to The Rolling Pin's regular Friday lunchtime gig in Ellerslie.  In fact anticipation had been growing since the Vegan Food Fair back in April when spoiled for choice – friends devoured Buddha's Delight dumplings and slaw with squeals of delight – while we stood side by side eating something equally divine from a different food truck.

Lucky locals queue for Friday lunch

Lucky locals queue for Friday lunch

Join the queue

Join the queue

The Rolling Pin team in action

The Rolling Pin team in action

Thanks to The Rolling Pin for the opportunity to take a friend to lunch.  A passionate vegan who lives locally, she was excited by the flavour combination of the Buddha's Delight dumplings – bean curd, shitake mushroom, pumpkin, bok choy and cabbage, and especially that spicy sauce – so much so she's convinced her teenage children would love them too.  Although between us, they might not be able to go past the Penang Pulled Beef dumplings.

Buddha's Delight and that slaw

Buddha's Delight and that slaw

Buddha's Delight

Buddha's Delight

And the "more"... yes that slaw!  Asian slaw topped with crunchy fried shallots and crushed peanuts and a secret spicy sauce – that slaw was a sensory sensation on its own.

To find out where The Rolling Pin will be each week check the The Rolling Pin - Facebook page. Available for private and fundraising events too.

So close to home, dumpling Fridays could become a regular rendevous!

Michelle

Our Abundant Hauraki Gulf

It’s incredible that in a country surrounded by sea that New Zealanders, from home cooks to restaurant chefs, need to reach for imported sea salt.

Imported salt and pepper in The Foodie Inc's pantry

Imported salt and pepper in The Foodie Inc's pantry

One Sunday morning Greg Beattie from Hauraki Salt Company was at a farmers market watching a chef showcase fresh local produce.  Surprised to see the chef season dishes with sea salt from England, Greg caught himself wondering... what if a local artisan sea salt was available. 

Auckland's Hauraki Gulf at sunset (photo supplied)

Auckland's Hauraki Gulf at sunset (photo supplied)

With a background in horticulture and landscape design Greg has always felt a close connection with nature, insisting from a young age that he have a patch of the family garden to call his own.  At seventeen, his very first garden maintenance job was for a successful entrepreneur and his wife who owned a large home and garden in the country. One morning over coffee his client said, “Greg it’s fantastic what you do for us in the garden but working in the service industry you will be forever trading hours for dollars, what you really need is a product. It’s the only way you can really leverage your time.” Thanking him for his advice, Greg said he would keep it in mind.

Four years ago Greg suddenly fell very ill and was off work for almost a month.  Being a self employed landscape gardener trading hours for dollars, his financial health suffered, alongside his own. During his recovery Greg had plenty of time to think and remembered the advice from 20 years earlier – what he really needed was a business he could grow and generate income from, that didn’t require hands on involvement.   Scribbling ideas and searching the internet for inspiration, nothing really took his fancy.  Frustrated he put it aside until that day at the farmers market.

Greg wading to sea water (photo supplied)

Greg wading to sea water (photo supplied)

Hauraki Flake Sea Salt is the first artisan salt product in New Zealand; with no additives it’s nature at its best. Hand-harvested and made it small batches, it takes 4.7 litres of salt water to make 100g of flaky sea salt.  After the water is collected from the Hauraki Gulf, the salt making process takes around 24 hours. Five hours of boiling, then a further 19-20 hours in the salt pan on a low heat – the long slow evaporation helps form larger salt crystals. Given it’s a 24 hour process, with things happening at the same time every day, it’s an easy process to follow to maximise production efficiencies.

Available in 100g bags for your home pantry

Available in 100g bags for your home pantry

To get your hands on this new product go to Hauraki Salt Company's website  – you can purchase online or from one of retailers listed.  If you want to see you local food store stock Hauraki Sea Salt, send Greg an email and put them in touch.

What's not to love about a local product that's made from an abundant and sustainable natural resource.

Michelle

Eggs, flour and lots of love

On a blustery autumn afternoon, faces peer through the glass captivated by the rhythmic movement of the soft dough under her palm.  Gathering inside, stories are shared of pasta machines still in boxes; some unopened, others used once or maybe twice.  One classmate admits her first attempt at pasta was so inedible that her family gave her the workshop voucher for Christmas. Two ladies had simply been told by their respective daughters to turn up at 409 Mt Eden Rd and to remember to take an apron – early Mother’s Day presents. 

Stefania Ugolini from Pasta & Cuore punctuated the two hour hands-on workshop with a brief history of pasta and tales from her upbringing in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. We were delighted (relieved) to hear pasta requires two pantry staples – eggs and flour, but must always be made with love.

Stefania outlining the workshop

Stefania outlining the workshop

Our workstations... ready to go

Our workstations... ready to go

Eggs and flour in exact proportions

Eggs and flour in exact proportions

Stefania shared her techniques for the best way to mix dough with a precisely weighed flour to egg ratio.  Kneading required a 90 degree turn, fold, then gentle knead until smooth – never flip the dough.  Roll from the middle to the edge making an oval – never a circle – as this fits neatly in the pasta machine. She also explained the best knife action for cutting the final dough into basic shapes such as tagliatelle, pappardelle and taglioline; with tips on the best way to store and cook the pasta.

My dough going through the pasta machine

My dough going through the pasta machine

Drying the pasta... time for a quick coffee downstairs

Drying the pasta... time for a quick coffee downstairs

Stefania explaining knife technique

Stefania explaining knife technique

A proud moment with my tagliatelle

A proud moment with my tagliatelle

My tagliatelle

My tagliatelle

Making pasta nests

Making pasta nests

Stefania's tagliatelle nest is the one on the right

Stefania's tagliatelle nest is the one on the right

Delighted with my tagliatelle, a simple lemon, chilli and caper sauce with a sprinkle of parmesan was the perfect partner for a delightful dinner the next day.

Saturday night dinner

Saturday night dinner

Pasta & Cuore run two pasta workshops – basic and filled pasta – for up to eight people.  For more information and details of the next workshop dates, click on the website link below:

Pasta & Cuore – Handmade Heartmade

409 Mt Eden Road
Mt Eden, Auckland

Before this novice attempts to make pasta at home, the pasta machine, still in its box, needs to be collected from a friend.

Enjoy!

Michelle

Crunchy Piccolos Potatoes

If you like crunchy roast potatoes... you’ll love this simple recipe using delicious ‘Piccolos’ potatoes.  Thanks to Potatoes NZ who gave them to us at the NZ Guild of Foodwriters market day last week.

Cutting hasselback potatoes

INGREDIENTS

  • 20 small potatoes (piccolos are perfect size)
  • 20 grams butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt, generous sprinkle
  • 4 Tbsp finely grated fresh parmesan
parmesan cheese

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Put each potato in the bowl of a wooden spoon (this means you don’t accidentally cut through the potato) and cut at 3mm intervals.
  3. Melt butter and olive oil together in small fry pan and heat until it sizzles.  Add the potatoes cut side down, then turn and coat with the butter oil mixture.
  4. Transfer to oven proof roasting dish and sprinkle generously with salt and rosemary.
  5. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, then check flesh is soft.
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and fan bake for a further 10 minutes to melt cheese and for a lovely crunchy skin.
  7. Serve hot with pan fried crispy skin salmon and sautéed greens (or your choice of meat or chicken).

Note: cooking time will vary depending on size of potatoes. 

Crunchy piccolos potatoes

Crunchy piccolos potatoes

Enjoy

Michelle