Land of the Long White Cloud – Wine and Dine

Food Craving
Over twenty days of travelling our food intake included days of peanut butter sandwiches, average meals after hours of driving or real treats of delicious food, wine and coffee. So here are some of the places we could easily revisit, in:

Auckland
Twenty Three and Prego – We had a satisfying brunch at Twenty Three which included home smoked salmon and ended with a flat white that made Chris happy. For dinner we rolled into Prego pretty hungry and exhausted after a whole day of walking. The food was well deserved and enjoyed, in the kind of place you can go regularly and have a decent meal. I remember really liking the glass of red wine; it was a New Zealand wine, maybe from Greenhough? Unfortunately I don’t remember its name.

Wellington
Fidels Cafe, Olive and Finc – Two of these are on the street we spent most of our time, Cuba Street. Each one was a good experience but the most memorable dish we had was at Olive, a beetroot hummus that looks stunning. I am relatively sure I saw a recipe in one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks and I want to pair it with the smoky carrot hummus we made last year for Christmas from the amazing blog ‘The Year in Food’. Lastly, Finc had some beautiful ricotta blueberry pancakes with raspberry sauce I could easily have on a regular basis.

Beetroot Hummus.

Floriditas was the choice for our one extravagant dinner and it was a good one. It is easy to remember this experience since they have an option to post/mail the menu. As I write this post, I have the menu next to me with our choices of the evening, mine was a pan-fried snapper, French sorrel, spinach and lemon risotto and Chris had char-grilled Hawkes Bay lamb shortloin skewers, chickpea, radicchio, mint watercress rosemary oil salad. Enough said.

Queenstown
Rātā, Ferg Burger and Bakery – Queenstown is a tourist hub which can be both a good thing and also a less exciting thing. We ate out at one Japanese restaurant and had an experience that I am not too eager to re-live anytime soon. Ferg Burger is definitely the busiest burger joint I have seen, except for the 2 am fast food crowds on Friday and Saturday nights in Manchester city centre. We went twice and I really liked the chicken sandwich, but I loved their pies more. They sell these at the Ferg Bakery next door. The pies here and the ones we had in the Maori village, Whakarewarewa were the best I’ve had. For those after a more Haute cuisine experience, Rātā is a well oiled machine aimed to highlight locally sourced food and influences and it achieves this very successfully.

Christchurch
Kinji – We have to thank tripadvisor for this suggestion. We loved it so much we went there both of our nights in Christchurch. Both were weeknights, and yet it was absolutely full. We had some really delicious teriyaki chicken and on the second night we planned better and tried to share a dessert, green tea tiramisu. Chris loved it, I am not sure I did but it looked beautiful.

Green Tea Tiramisu.

Marlborough Region
As part of our Wine Tour we visited the wineries: Hunter’s, Allan Scott, Spy Valley, Wairau River, Framingham, No. 1, Bouldevines and Chris ended the tour on a beery note with Moa.
Most of the wineries, if not all, are family owned or boutique. The wines were lovely in all, well at least one wine from each one was really nice but the two that stood out most were Spy Valley and Framingham. The first has a modern feel to it, nice wines and the presentation was fun and friendly, the second was classy with lovely wines again, all set in a gorgeous English garden.

On the way to Punakaiki we had a quick stop in Havelock, the capital of the green-lipped mussel. Well worth a stop for the classic steamed mussels in white wine.

These are some of the places, which hold good culinary memories, and to wrap up this series I will have one more post for memento discoveries and postcards.

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