Imagine a magnificent day out tasting flavours and ingredients that you might never have tried before, mixing with people who are passionate and knowledgeable about premium food, and along the way hearing inspiring stories of determination, ingenuity, risk and innovation?
Sauvignon Blanc, salmon and salt. It’s often what comes to mind when you think of Marlborough. Of course it is much more diverse than that. From the idyllic northern Marlborough Sounds to the beginnings of the Kaikoura Ranges in the south, the vast, wide plain of the Wairau Valley makes for varied geography and a wealth of wine, food and experiences.
Trips to Australia now find me constantly comparing their restaurant offerings to what we have in New Zealand, trying to get a measure on what we do well and what opportunities might exist to increase our rating as a must-visit culinary destination.
48 HOURS IN…
Every time I visit Wellington I leave disappointed that I have not been able to cram enough in. Labelled the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ by Lonely Planet and a ‘locavore’s dream’ by Vogue, Wellington’s hospitality scene seems to be overflowing with energetic creators and collaborators.
Childhood memories of long, winding roads leading to secluded beaches with rustic baches along the shoreline are a far cry from the sophistication of the Matakana region where I now spend my weekends. There’s no other country village in New Zealand that can boast a cinema with three theatres, a purpose-built farmers’ market and a classy, architecturally designed shopping village with smart galleries, excellent boutiques and an award-winning chocolate maker.
Every Raglanite knows the place to start off the day is at Raglan Roast on Volcom Lane. Join the long queue of caffeine-cravers who line up for their hit of coffee, which is roasted fresh on site. If you peer inside you might spy their roasting contraptions and catch a whiff of newly toasted beans in the air.
It all came about when Graeme Rogerson and brother-in-law Tyson Downing were having one of those “I wonder…” conversations. If food such as pizza tastes so much better in a wood-fired oven, would it work for roasting coffee, they wondered. So they decided to have a go.
Kids are spilling out of school at the end of the day, and as they wait with Mum to cross the road outside Rupa’s cafe, two small girls are highfiving with cafe owner, Dilip Rupa.
We celebrate buying fresh produce right at the farm gate, and find that the tradition of the Kiwi honesty box lives on. There's a wee section of road north of Tauranga, between snippets of sea, hills and farmland, that has some hidden gems dispersed around its sideroads.
When we are able to create what we need from what we have, we are resourceful. When we are resourceful we make the most of our own inner resources while living carefully in relation to the resources upon which we depend.
When Kate Marinkovich was seven she wanted to have a banana cafe with everything made from bananas: banana cakes, banana smoothies, a floor made of banana chips. With that idea planted she went into a career in hospitality, with jobs in catering, working in bars, on a boat in Spain and finally a job as head baker at Wellington cafe/bakery, Prefab.