Eat, Drink Craggy Range

Heading to Hawke’s Bay last November an invitation to explore the kitchen garden, chat with the new head chef and of course, eat and drink at Craggy Range Winery situated on the banks of the Tuki Tuki River, was an amazing way to kick off the NZ Foodwriters' conference and Summer F.A.W.C!.

Craggy Range Winery from Te Mata Peak lookout

Craggy Range Winery from Te Mata Peak lookout

Dine alfresco on Terroir's terrace

Dine alfresco on Terroir's terrace

Handing us a glass of 2015 Craggy Range Rosé, we embarked on a leisurely walk through the vines to the kitchen garden – one imagines kitchen hands easily clock up their steps each day, as they run back and forwards fulfilling last minute requests for freshly picked vegetables and handfuls of herbs – set within lush protective hedges.

2015 Craggy Range Rosé

2015 Craggy Range Rosé

A walk amongst the vines

A walk amongst the vines

Te Mata Peak makes a dramatic backdrop

Te Mata Peak makes a dramatic backdrop

Aaron Drummond, General Manager and Casey McDonald Head Chef talked us through the change in direction for Terroir Restaurant – a more relaxed atmosphere and an increased focus on showcasing locally sourced produce – something we experienced firsthand as we enjoyed an array of tantalising dishes served as shared plates with Craggy Range wines to match.  The potato focaccia was such a hit, the recipe is included at the bottom of this post if you fancy making it yourself.

The kitchen garden

The kitchen garden

Stunning array of leafy greens and fresh herbs

Stunning array of leafy greens and fresh herbs

Sitting on the terrace we devoured dish after dish of locally sourced Hawke’s Bay produce, and enjoyed catching up with other members from around the country so much, that a planned visit to the wine cellars was something that would need to wait until next time.

TukiTuki venison tartare with tarragon and fried anchovy

TukiTuki venison tartare with tarragon and fried anchovy

Calamari and fennel salad

Calamari and fennel salad

Hohepa haloumi with vine roasted beetroot & burnt honey

Hohepa haloumi with vine roasted beetroot & burnt honey

Rauhine Ranges salt baked milk-fed lamb with herb pesto

Rauhine Ranges salt baked milk-fed lamb with herb pesto

Poached meringue with rhubarb and sheep milk yoghurt

Poached meringue with rhubarb and sheep milk yoghurt

Ensure you visit Craggy Range Winery when you’re in Hawke’s Bay – if you’re keen to see the kitchen garden, ask if it possible when you book your table – you won’t be disappointed.

Enjoy!

Michelle

ps Foodwriters NZ were guests of Craggy Range Winery, but as with every The Foodie Inc post, the views expressed here are those of the writer.

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

de la terre Winery

Last Friday, Waitangi Day, we decided to head out towards Taihape, along picturesque country roads bound for de la terre winery, a 20 minutes drive from Hastings.

‘de la terre’ literally translates as ‘of the earth’.  As we pulled into the car park, with horses in the front paddock and Gracie the dog bounding out to meet us, the name seemed so apt - a perfect reference to the earth brick constructed winery and cellar door, and the fruits of the vineyard’s soil.

Horses grazing in de la terre's front paddock

Horses grazing in de la terre's front paddock

Interestingly, the buildings are less than 10 years old but look like they have been part of the landscape for much longer.  The craftsmanship and detail are incredible, from the mud bricks, handmade in Tony’s onsite rammed earth workshop to the handcrafted furniture made from recycled timber - virtually all the building work including roof tiling and joinery was done by the owners, Kaye and Tony Prichard.

The tasting room and cafe at de la terre

The tasting room and cafe at de la terre

We discovered that Tony the builder, is also Tony the winemaker, with more than 30 years wine making experience.  De la terre was established in 2005 as a boutique winery and while the grapes are grown at Hills Estate, Kaye and Tony’s vision was to create somewhere to share their love of wine and wine making - their passion for wine and sustainability is very evident.  Providing an opportunity for guests to not only enjoy wine tastings but to also learn about their wine making techniques - some might even be lucky enough to taste the next vintage straight out of the barrel.

Tony, the winemaker taking guests through a wine tasting

Tony, the winemaker taking guests through a wine tasting

With a cafe open since December 2014, delicious farm-style platters are available for guests to enjoy with wine either inside or under umbrellas out in the garden. Armed with a bottle of de la terre rosé from the tasting room, this partnered perfectly with a platter crammed with salads, marinated mushrooms, ham, brie, and a delicious homemade cranberry and cardamom relish - and not forgetting the freshly baked bread rolls.

Farm-style platter from de la terre's cafe

Farm-style platter from de la terre's cafe

De la terre winery is open 10am – 5pm weekends and public holidays 1 September – 30 June or by appointment. It is a boutique winery and some varietals only produce 1500 bottles each vintage, with much sold offshore to clients in China and USA. To purchase their wine in New Zealand or for more information: de la terre winery

It’s definitely a winery worth the drive, whether you are a visitor or a Hawke's Bay local. 

Enjoy

Michelle

Hawkes Bay Mystery Box

For the past 10 days I have been down in the beautiful Hawke’s Bay soaking up some sunshine, exploring fabulous food places and wineries, and experiencing the region through the eyes of a foodie traveller.  And staying with friends provided the perfect opportunity to cook for them using local produce - something I love doing, and a superb way of saying thanks.

Early in my stay, with a few hints dropped by my friends Kim and Rick’s teenagers that I should get cooking and that they would love salmon, we sat down to a delicious lime and thyme salmon fillet, cooked on the Weber.  With slow baked potatoes, feta and basil stuffed portobello mushrooms from Te Mata Mushrooms and a green salad, the simple flavours made it a very enjoyable meal.  And with the boys providing the BBQ expertise - okay, with a little ‘bossy’ supervision from me - and the washing up, it was a joint effort too.

During that evening, and for the life of me I can’t remember exactly why but then I am a huge fan of Masterchef, we decided that is would be fun for Brad, Kyle and Erica (Brad’s girlfriend) to cook for us.  But to make it a fun and interesting challenge they would get a mystery box of mostly local ingredients  to use, thanks to a visit to the Hawke's Bay Farmers' Market the weekend prior.  Very simple rules: must use every ingredient in the box, full access to pantry and fridge but can only cook on BBQ. The thinking here was that this would mean less mess inside - boy was I wrong how messy prep can get. Let’s just say, I was glad I didn’t have to clean up after them!

Hawke's Bay mystery box

Hawke's Bay mystery box

After the mystery box reveal, and the delight - yeah right, who am I kidding, of finding a yellow zucchini, half Kim’s herb garden and that the mystery box was vegetarian, we decided to let them know there were also chicken breasts in the fridge - a sigh of relief.  Oh, and eight people for dinner that night too.

Brad and Kyle - mystery box revealed

Brad and Kyle - mystery box revealed

I then disappeared into the study to write one of last week’s blog posts.  But honestly it sounded like an episode of Masterchef - the banter was very entertaining and of course because I couldn’t see what they were doing it sounded even funnier.  It’s worth mentioning that if you set a mystery box challenge for your family, it’s a good idea to put a time limit on proceedings too - we didn’t eat until 8:30pm!  Although they did decide mid-way through to make an avocado and red onion guacamole once our hunger pains kicked in!

Chicken, zucchini, red onion and mushroom kebabs

Chicken, zucchini, red onion and mushroom kebabs

And the peaches did get used - served halved with berries and lemon and mint sorbet - the latter shop bought, which caused lots more laughter as it tasted just like a lemonade popsicle!

Good luck, if you decide to take on the mystery box challenge – love to hear how things go.

Happy cooking.

Michelle 

Hawke's Bay Farmers' Market

I can’t get enough of farmers markets and here in the Hawke's Bay you are spoilt for choice: Hastings Night Market on Thursdays; Napier Urban Food Market and during summer months Black Barn Market on Saturday mornings; and if you can drag yourself out of bed on Sunday mornings - Hawke's Bay Farmers' Market at the A&P Showgrounds in Hastings, where produce for sale must be locally grown and produced.

Did someone say tomatoes?

Did someone say tomatoes?

Last Sunday morning we headed for Hastings Showgrounds and despite planning to grab coffee first - you are spoilt for choice here and even though there is an inevitable 10 minute wait at each vendor, no one seems to mind - we wandered around the first dozen or so stalls deciding what we would come back and grab once we had coffee in hand: stonefruit; avocados; olive oil; and so much more.

Stunning stonefruit from Pernel

Stunning stonefruit from Pernel

With this market boasting at least 60 regular stallholders, plus many more on a semi-regular basis, the highlight for me is talking to the local producers about their products and why they are so passionate about what they do.  From the couple selling craft beer while working full time, with a goal to make it their living within 12 months, to the old hands who started out selling at farmers markets and now sell throughout New Zealand but still turn up every weekend.  Everyone has a story and people love to share so make sure you’re not in a hurry as this is somewhere you should take your time. It’s fabulous just to sit and people watch, and from the looks of it, it’s a weekly meeting place for many - you never know who you might bump into.

Hawke's May Farmers' Market - meeting place

Hawke's May Farmers' Market - meeting place

For anyone interested, more photos of the trip to the Hawke's Bay will go up on the website in the next couple of weeks so don’t forget to check out the other fabulous local food producers The Foodie Inc has been talking to.

Delicious Bay Blueberries

Delicious Bay Blueberries

This weekend, make time to get out and explore your local farmers market - you never know what you might find and who you will meet. Love to hear where you went - comment below or on the Facebook post.

Enjoy your Waitangi weekend, I tend to!

Michelle

For more information: Hawke's Bay Farmers' Market

Black Barn Kitchen

Black Barn Kitchen opened in November last year, in the building next to the tasting room and Bistro, which was formerly an art gallery.  In keeping with the architect’s overall design vision for Black Barn Vineyards, it is fabulously light and airy space. Simple wall shelving and use of provincial French style tables showcase an amazing range of products.

Black Barn Kitchen Entrance

Black Barn Kitchen Entrance

With an abundance of food growers and producers in Hawkes Bay, all pantry supplies are sourced locally.  Together with gourmet take-home meals prepared by the award winning Black Barn Bistro chefs and fabulous Black Barn wines, the Black Barn Kitchen is a foodie traveller’s dream destination.  With all those mouth-watering samples to tempt your to taste buds, there’s no excuse for not taking home some local delights.

Hawkes Bay local produce

Hawkes Bay local produce

And for those of us who simply can’t resist browsing bits and pieces for the kitchen - and making the odd purchase too, there is a beautiful range of kitchen utensils, handcrafted bowls, books and accessories.

Black Barn kitchen utensils etc

Black Barn kitchen utensils etc

While you’re at Black Barn, don’t forget to wander along to the wine tasting room or if you are lucky, there might even be a table available in the Bistro, just for you.

For more information: Black Barn Vineyards

Michelle