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.

Day Trips: Waiheke Island

With summer nipping at spring’s heels – it’s less than two weeks (25 September) until daylight saving commences in New Zealand – a day trip to Waiheke Island before the holiday crush is the perfect initiation.  Thirty five minutes from Auckland’s ferry terminal to the wharf at Matiatia Bay, you arrive in less time than it takes most Aucklanders to drive home at the end of a working day.  Jump on board and relax; grab a coffee or even a beer.  Wonder at the sanity of fishermen who rhythmically bob up and down in their aluminium tinnies, patiently waiting to snare their dinner, as the city skyline disappears.

The headland at Matiatia

The headland at Matiatia

Buses meet all ferries and their routes take in the villages and key points of interest dotted throughout the island.  But if you can convince someone to be the nominated sober driver, hiring a car at Matiaita wharf (book ahead for weekends and summer holidays) gives you the flexibility to get off the main roads, take in breathtaking vantage points and explore at your own pace.

Cactus Bay

Cactus Bay

Cowes Bay

Cowes Bay

Undeniably, a sojourn to Waiheke Island would not be complete without a visit to a winery or two. With more than 24 wineries dotted throughout the island (vineyards map) you are spoilt for choice: from wine tastings and cellar doors, to vineyard restaurants, long lunches, shared platters and picnics on the grass. Late last summer with UK visitors in tow, we took in the breathtaking views and a glass of chardonnay from Te Whau Vineyard’s veranda before meandering to the other end of the island to Passage Rock Wines for a leisurely lunch.

Te Whau's verandah

Te Whau's verandah

View from Te Whau's verandah

View from Te Whau's verandah

Friends at Passage Rock Wines Cellar Door

Friends at Passage Rock Wines Cellar Door

Lunch amongst the vines at Passage Rock

Lunch amongst the vines at Passage Rock

Te Maketu oysters

Te Maketu oysters

Passage Rock's blue cheese and pear woodfired pizza

Passage Rock's blue cheese and pear woodfired pizza

There are countless ways to fill a day, a weekend or a week on Waiheke Island from beaches, watersports and golf to cafes and restaurants, artisan producers, local artists and galleries and more. But if you fancy a day trip, Waiheke is accessible and simple to navigate, and there’s always a little more sunshine than the mainland – well, so we are lead to believe!

Sunshine, sand and swimming at Sandy Bay

Sunshine, sand and swimming at Sandy Bay