We just spent a week in NZ visiting my family and travelling around the North Is, mainly around the Waikato, Hauraki and Bay of Plenty districts. I wasn't going to post about this because I didn't see how it was going to relate to my blog. But then I realised that everywhere we went, we found the most fabulous local food and beer, so it turns out I do have some real food travel stories for you!
Here's a travel diary of the food we ate (with links where possible). I didn't take any photos of the food, as I didn't know I wanted to write about it until the end, so you'll have to accept some pics of the scenery instead :)
Day 1: Arrived in Auckland and went out for dinner at the viaduct, forget name of restaurant (sorry!), but enjoyed a delicious entree of green lipped mussels followed by a main of fresh fish each (snapper for me, gurnard for my husband). Can't eat like that in Nanango!
Day 2: Travelling from Auckland to Tauranga, we stopped at the Katikati A&P show and brought a lovely stick of Basecamp garlic smoked venison sausage
(and checked out all the jersey cows at the show).
|Katikati A&P show!|
Day 3: Spent day with family, no food stories!
|Bush walk near Tauranga|
Day 4: On the way to Whitianga we stopped at a roadside vege stall near Hot Water Beach and bought veges literally pulled from the ground that morning. Its the first time I'd tried maori potatoes (not kumara, actual potatoes), and I can totally recommend them, wish we could get them in Australia! We also sampled various NZ beers, including the Coromandel brewing company
from the liquor store at Whitianga.
|Beach on the way to Whitianga, possibly Whangamata, there were so many!|
|Sunset over Whitianga's Bufalo Beach|
Day 5: At Coromandel town we bought smoked mussels and smoked tarakihi from the Coromandel Smoking Company
, they also had some yummy smoked cheese which happened to be from a Tauranga company called Wholesmoked NZ
(previously I had only tried fake smoked cheese, you know, with smoked flavour, this cheese was amazing! And I confess to eating most of the fish, love it!!). On the way to our accommodation at the base of Mt Te Aroha we stopped at Matatoki Farm
and bought Gouda and Romano. That night we sampled more NZ beer from the Te Aroha liquor store.
|Hugging a Kauri tree near Coromandel Town|
|Kauri trees near Coromandel Town|
|Stopped for lunch somewhere at Coromandel (near Manaia?)|
|Mt Te Aroha, the Te Aroha Domain and the museum building.|
Day 6: We didn't travel far on day 5, as we wanted to try a few bush walks/tramps around Te Aroha, and we had found a nearby dairy to stay at!!! You can imagine how excited we were to have raw milk and see some cows again, as we were really missing our Bella. Also the view of Wairere Falls from the cottage was spectacular. We can both totally recommend a stay at Wairere Falls cottage
|waterfall in the Waiorongomai valley|
|Wairere falls up close....|
|.... and from the cottage|
|Cabbage tree at the Te Waihou springs|
Day 7: On the nearly last day my mum asked me to make some dips for her birthday party and I was very pleased to be able to gather most of the ingredients from her garden. I made the following dips:
- Beetroot - roasted beetroot, garlic, lemon juice, oregano, cream cheese, sour cream - blended
- Tatziki - plain yoghurt, chopped cucumber, garlic, lemon juice - stirred together
- Herb dip - parsley, chives, garlic, cream cheese, a little sour cream - stirred together
- Guacamole - avocado, garlic, lemon juice, sour cream - stirred together
The only ingredients that I had to buy were the cream cheese and sour cream, the rest came from mum's garden or was home made (the yoghurt). The is the sad part though, I read the ingredients on every tub of cream cheese and sour cream in the supermarket and was tempted to give up on the whole exercise and just buy premade dips. Every single tub contained either flavours, thickeners or both. Grrrr, this is totally unnecessary! I've had a look at the same product in supermarkets here in Nanango, and some brands contain only milk and culture (or cream and culture), while others do have thickeners and flavours. So my advice as usual is READ THE LABEL! If I had time to plan ahead, I would have tried to find a better option, but I was stuck with that supermarket, so my dips were not totally real food.
Day 8: home to Australia and trying to eat as much of our left over food as we could on the plane!! Although we did leave a lot of cheese with my family.
Came home to find a garden full of beans and tomatoes, milked the cow, getting back to normal.
That is only a tiny sample of NZ and lots and lots of good food, so make the most of what you can find locally and enjoy :)