The Tannery, New Lynn, Auckland

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The Tannery is a joint venture between Mt Atkinson Coffee and Kohu Road Ice-cream. It may sound like an odd pairing, but it actually works remarkably well. Besides, who doesn’t love ice-cream, and I know plenty of coffee-addicted people. The Tannery absolutely lives up to Mt Atkinson’s tagline: Refined Westie. The building’s previous life was a tannery but it’s all grown up. The space uses the exposed timber framing to full industrial chic effect and panelling to recreate the Mt Atkinson peaks. Continue reading

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Spring at Clevedon Farmers Market, Auckland

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Spring? Isn’t it autumn now? Ummm, yeah. I went to Clevedon Farmers Market in November. And it is now March. I have no excuse why it took me 5 months to write this up. No excuse at all, because it is a flippin’ brilliant market. Possibly the best in Auckland. There are up to 80 passionate growers and artisanal food producers who run stalls here. The best part is that there is lots and lots of space to chill out and enjoy the market.

Clevedon Farmers Market runs every Sunday 8:30 – 1pm (closes for 3 weeks over Christmas & NY) at the Clevedon Showgrounds. It is terribly well organised, with wooden stalls around the perimeter of a paddock which has picnic tables, haybales to sit on and even a little pull-along wagon for kids to play on.

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Over The Moon Dairy, Putaruru & Cambridge

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Over The Moon Dairy makes my favourite cheese in New Zealand. Based in the tiny town of Putaruru (pop: 3,777 in 2013) in South Waikato, the boutique cheesemakers churn out an amazing array of hard, soft and blue cheeses using cows and sheep milk, including a range using jersey cows milk.

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Over The Moon makes (in my humble opinion) the best soft cheeses in New Zealand. From the delicately earthy camembert to the smoothest OMG triple brie to the absolutely decadent black truffle brie, everything is exceptional. It takes great restraint to not polish off a wedge of the black truffle Brie in one sitting. I also love their halloumi, which is deliciously stretchy and chewy. It’s no surprise they have won multiple prizes in the NZ Champion of Cheese awards every year. Continue reading

Food finds in Coromandel

I have fond silly memories of the Coromandel region. My very good friend Gen and I embarked on a road trip when we were fresh graduates, where we wore commemorative toe rings (yes, really), got completely lost (who knew we were both so deficient at reading maps) and ogled the hunky waiter at a café in Coromandel township.

Cathedral Cove

15 odd years later, I finally made a return visit. This time sans toe rings, and with a spouse who knows the area.

Hot Waves Café
BL’s cycling trips in the Coromandel always included a meal at the very cozy and welcoming Hot Waves Café. Hot Waves Café is right beside the famed Hot Water Beaches, where you can dig your own hot pool at the junction of where the hot springs meets the seawater. Continue reading

The Oyster Shed, Bateman’s Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Oysters are a mysterious food. Eating a live* sea creature seems like the anathema to many people, and yet, what a glorious food experience.

For a very long time, I shunned oysters. Then in my early 20’s, I visited friends in Melbourne who are oyster aficionados. They convinced me to first try these mollusks grilled, and then eased me into tasting raw oysters with a squeeze of lemon. These were premium grade oysters, shucked the previous day and kept in ideal conditions. And they were unlike what I feared. These were briney, sweet, tender and delicious.

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Auckland Food Show 2015

The Auckland Food Show is a staple on my calendar, and is a truly fantastic way to discover new food and beverages on the scene. I typically join the throngs on the weekends, but this year, I decided to come on ‘Preview Day’. Preview Day falls on the Thursday, and costs more to attend ($40 vs $26), but for that, you get almost the whole place to yourself and up to four thousand other eager pundits.

One of the first things I noticed was the sheer number of exhibitors (there are around 300!). I am convinced The Auckland Food Show gets larger every year. This year, the theme appears to be gluten-free, paleo, dairy-free and whole foods. Whole foods definitely, though the rest has me somewhat bewildered. I’m on the taste bandwagon. If it taste great, I’m sold.

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Hunter Valley food hunt, New South Wales, Australia

What better way to follow up a trip to the South Australia wine regions than an encore weekend to Hunter Valley? The two regions are a stark contrast. While SA had a laid back vibe with its myriad of heritage towns and artisan producers, Hunter Valley was more commercial, with over a 150(!) wineries packed into the small region. It is busy with coach-loads of tourists, resorts and to my surprise, chain ‘artisan’ shops. Okay, my disappointment is showing.

The region of Hunter Valley covers the villages of Lovedale, Mount View, Broke Fordwich, Cessnock and at its epicentre, Pokolbin, where some of the original pioneering wineries are located. Continue reading

Wine country food, South Australia

What better way for a teetotaller to spend the festive season than a trip to the wine regions of South Australia? I may not drink wine, but I enjoy the fabulous restaurants that seem to accompany great cellar doors. Add to that the beguiling sceneries and often-striking architectures, the artisanal food producers who situate themselves in these environs, there’s a great many things an alcohol-intolerant can love about wine regions.

The husband planned a 5-day trip to South Australia, and we spent most of it meandering around the wine regions of Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills.

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La Voie Française, Mt Roskill, Auckland

La Voie Française is a badly kept secret. This wonderful French patisserie in the most unlikely of location (the quiet end of Dominion Road), has queues lining up for baker Tetsuya Namekawa’s breads, pastries, sandwiches and all manner of delectable baked treats. Tetsuya trained in Paris under the famed Pierre Herme (the undisputed king of macaron).

The team of bakers bake throughout the day as well, so there are fresh, warm baked goods coming out of the oven at different times of the day. These breads and pastries are served at some of the top restaurants (e.g. Meredith’s, The Grove, Clooney) and cafes (e.g. The Grassy Knoll) in Auckland.

Their baguette is justifiably the best in Auckland (and probably New Zealand). I am addicted to their baguette rolls (5 for $3), which are a perfect portion for one. They are brilliant for dinner parties, and I buy them in lots of twenties for when guests come over. They reheat beautifully, and have the perfect crust with a fragrant chewy centre. I have converted several people; or rather I have ruined several guests’ ability to eat mediocre bread. Continue reading

Gourmet Gannet @The Daily Squeeze, Waimaiku (now at Huapai)

Alli of Gourmet Gannet has spread her wings beyond the Hobsonville Farmers Market into a new venture with a Pop-up patisserie at The Daily Squeeze. Alli is well known for her delicious patisseries and her cooking classes at Muriwai. I had no idea where Waimauku village was on the map; turns out it is tucked just off State Highway 16, past the vineyards of Kumeu.

The Daily Squeeze is a juice bar, making fresh juice blends and smoothies. Everything sounds delicious, and I’m sure I pondered for over 10 minutes trying to settle on a smoothie. In the end I ordered a peach perfect, a blend of peaches, banana, orange juice and orange sorbet. Delicious and healthy. Smoothies are a $5 for a medium (350mL) and $7 for a large (700mL). I had never considered it, but patisseries and smoothies make a perfect combination; indulgence yet virtuous. Continue reading