Create your break at the Kit Kat Studio, Sydney, 4 August – 6 September 2015

Nestlé’s Kit Kat are the chocolate covered wafers which have found their way into nearly every corner of the world. It’s burnt into our subconscious that to have a break is to have a Kit Kat.

I enjoyed them as treats growing up but mum had to store them in the fridge, as the chocolate would melt in the warm Malaysian weather. Apart from the traditional milk chocolate Kit Kat, there are now flavours galore, from decadent caramel to sophisticated dark chocolate, playful cookies and cream, to the cult-like wacky flavours found in Japan. Only the matcha (green tea) Kit Kats have hit our shores.

Kit Kat has been in Australia for 80 years, and to celebrate, Nestlé has opened a pop-up Kit Kat studio at Westfield Sydney CBD where punters can create their own personalized Kit Kat.

Continue reading

Food and Beverage Month at Spark Lab August 2015

August is a tremendous month to be a foodie in Auckland. Apart from Auckland Restaurant Month, many food centric events are happening across Auckland. Some of these are the Food and Beverage themed workshops and talks at Spark Lab, a learning space situated at Seafarers Building in Britomart.

I was lucky to participate in several tantalizing events. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Sandringham Food & Spice Tour

I am inordinately lucky to work in the Sandringham precinct, which gives me opportunities to indulge in all the delicious offerings along the predominantly Indian restaurants along Sandringham Road. I recently discovered that the Sandringham Community Centre offers monthly Food & Spice tours to showcase the cluster of ethnic eateries in the neighbourhood.

The Sandringham Food & Spice tours are run by Lisa Loveday (cook, food writer and sustainability advocate) and Anita Totha (Sandringham Community Centre Manager). They take groups of 20 on the 2 hour food discovery tour. Sandringham has a very compact centre, so the walk is a very slow amble up one side of the street and down the other. These tours are hugely oversubscribed and you have to either be on a waiting list, else be very nimble on their Facebook site. Continue reading

Taste of Auckland 2013, Victoria Park

Taste of Auckland is the must-do gastronomy event on the NZ calendar, and this year it ran from 14-17 November. It is part of the international Taste Festivals franchise, which lends it a well-considered organisation blueprint. There were 11 top-notch restaurants taking part this year, 3 of them showcased modern Asian cuisine; iVillage (Indian), Everybody’s Izakaya (Japanese) and Mandarin Dumpling & Bar (Chinese). Each restaurant offered 2-4 dishes, costing $8-14 crowns each. ($1 crowns are equivalent to $1, and are loaded onto cards).

There’s entertainment, chef masterclasses, Fisher & Paykel Roast tasting, small producers and much more. The weather came to the party, and it was sunny, warm with a hint of breeze. Perfect. Continue reading

Silo Sessions: Rice and Beans Festival 2013

If there were such a thing as a sexy cuisine, Latin American food would win hands down. Smokey meats, fruity cocktails and eating with your fingers in the warm balmy weather; Latin food just celebrates good times. Mexican food is taking Auckland by storm, and the rest of Latin American cuisine cannot be far behind.

The Rice and Beans Festival was held at Silo Park by the waterfront on 23rd February and tagged as an afternoon of Caribbean and Latin American food and music ‘extravaganza’. I am a total pleb when it comes to music, but being a slave to new flavours, I was excited to come down and partake of the edible offerings.

Continue reading

NZFBA Conference 2012 Day 2

Day 2 of the New Zealand Food Bloggers’ Conference beckoned with the usual Wellington laissez-faire attitude to sunshine, but luckily it was quite mild and pleasant. (See Day 1 recap here). We were again hosted at the stunning Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute.

Our first session of the day was a re-education of my tastebuds by Jo Coffey of L’affaire du Chocolat. We slowly worked up to the star, Criollo cocao which makes up only 5% of the cocoa grown. Such a revelation, that this little square could hold so much smooth complex flavour with only a faint bitterness, which I typically associate with chocolate of high cocoa solids content. This is chocolate on a completely different level.

Continue reading

NZFBA Conference 2012 Day 1

Holy Moly! I thought the first NZ Food Bloggers Association Conference last year was the bees knees, but this second NZFBA Conference was out-of-this-world, slap-me-silly ah-may-zing. Yes, I become a blubbering idiot when faced with feats of combined genius, generosity and deliciousness.

Shirleen of Sugar and Spice (General Shirleen I salute you, one of our luminous speakers remarked that Shirleen could organise a small war, and I have absolutely no doubt she is more than capable) and our leader and founder, Alli (Gourmet Gannet) put on a truly spectacular 2-day event. The masterclasses, the food, the truly generous sponsors (see list below), the passionate food producers/writers/marketers. I came away imbued with a sense of wonder of being part of an enthusiastic (and very well fed) community.

This year we descended upon Wellington which completely lived up to its City of Cool status. Continue reading

Pop-Up Dining New Orleans

I’ve never been to Louisiana or tasted Creole cuisine, but Erin’s (the chef) description of a ‘flavour junkie’s dream’, with influences of Caribbean, French, Spanish, Italian, and (from Wikipedia) even nuances of Native American and African was enough to tempt me.

Pop-Up dining is an inspired idea in dining, where a group of fun-loving foodies get together for a one-off themed dinner. I have attended several of these, and the food has always been jam-packed with flavour, cooked with total heart and served with utter warmth.

To the uninitiated (myself included), the muffaletta is simply a sensational sandwich. Then, I found out that muffaletta is THE sandwich of New Orleans. It is made with a muffaletta bread (flat, round sesame-topped Italian bread which appears to be a cousin of the focaccia), filled with olive salad, deli meats (capicola, salami and pepperoni) and provolone cheese. The marinated olive salad makes all the difference, the brine-y olive, pickled vegetables, salty capers concoction makes this sandwich truly memorable.

Continue reading

Holy Mole – Oaxacan Mole Pop-up Dining

For sure, who hasn’t heard of mole (moh-lay). The mystical Mexican chocolate sauce which is made from up to 30 ingredients and takes 24-hours to develop its flavours has been venerated in movies (Chocolat), and travel books.

When Ben Barton of the Kiwizine and Auckland Pop-Up Dining planned a mole evening, I was eager to be a part of it. I would have also loved to have taken part in the making of the mole, but at the end of a long workday, it’s a case of the spirit is willing, but the body is weak. The recipe Ben and team (Tessa and Erin) used was Rick Bayless’, a multi-stage, incredibly involved recipe.

Nearly there

The finished dish

Continue reading