The New Zealand Food Diaries
Right, back to New Zealand. Where was I? Ah yes, the food.
I confess, I spoiled myself on this trip and said to hell with the budget (within reason). So instead of scrimping and making packed lunches or opting for toast for breakfast, I went to the cafes and restaurants. I wandered until I saw what I wanted, be it Vudu Cafe, with it’s great coffee and hearty bowls of porridge, warm relaxed energy and Bon Iver playing softly in the background, or Pier 19, for breakfasting on bacon and eggs while sitting in the sun on the waterfront or, on our final night, dinner inside the beautiful restaurant.
I ate a lot of good meals, good not just because of the food but because of the company, be it pizza with everyone at Winnies or the delicious rehearsal dinner at Solera Vino, which finished with a beautiful croque en bouche. But Pier 19 takes the prize for best dinner of the trip. I had mussels three times during my stay, but the ones at Pier 19 took the prize.
It was the broth with the mussels that did it, salty and sweet and heavenly. I was glad to have some bread to mop it all up. I followed those with a main of beef with anchovy butter, potatoes anna and broad beans. While I’m not usually a fan of stacking food, I thought it worked in this case, though I was quick to demolish the tower.
I spent the last few days of the trip roadtripping with my friend Emma. We got down to Dunedin and back and on the Saturday morning we headed to the Otago Farmers Market, where the food may be less fancy than Pier 19, but it’s no less tasty. I visited these markets last time I was in New Zealand 2 years ago and a big part of my desire to go back to Dunedin was simply to visit the markets again. The thing about growers markets in Sydney is that they’re pricey and they tend to cater to the elite few – you don’t see a good cross section of society there. As more markets pop up, this is slowly changing I think. One day, I hope they’ll be like the Otago markets, where you’ll see anyone and everyone buying their fruit and veg, catching up with friends, treating themselves to a danish or pie. My personal treat came in the form of a magnificent bacon buttie.
Look at all the bacon! It’s out of control! I confess I couldn’t finish the lot, but it was damned good. And don’t you love the logo on the paper bag? It makes my heart glad.
The other thing we got was cheese. Not your average cheddar or brie, but a smooth creamy cheese with a bit of bite and lots of cumin running all the way through. We got it from the same guys I bought some from last time (I am a creature of habit, ok?). They were handing out generous samples, and this cheese immediately won our hearts. It was perfect for an afternoon picnic in the Lanarch Castle gardens.
Sigh. I think it’s time to start planning my next trip.