A Cook’s Tour of New Zealand
“If you’re a hardcore foodie headed to New Zealand for the first time because you’ve heard how good the produce is, its national airline knows how impatient you can be. That’s why Air New Zealand roped in top local chefs Peter Gordon and Michael Meredith to prepare inflight menus that give you a taste of Maori hospitality even before you touch down in its gourmet capital of Auckland,” David Yip writes for Singapore’s English-language daily newspaper, The Straits Times.
“[Once you land], you can hit the dining ground running with Pasture, a 20-seat restaurant located in Parnell, helmed by Ed and Laura Verner and their enthusiastic chefs. Theirs is the epitome of New Zealand cuisine, with menus built around seasonality, giving equal weight to both meat and vegetables.
“Verner is an ardent practitioner of fermentation, immediately evident from the collection of food jars on proud display. Service is at an unhurried pace, leaving you plenty of time to marvel at the meticulous preparation, and the bounty of the local harvest.
“A must-stop on any food tour is Giapo Haute Ice Cream, for a mind-bending dessert experience curated by Italian couple Giapo and Annarosa Petrucci. Step into the parlour where there’s not an ice cream in sight. Just two mini counters and staff who patiently describe all the details you need to make your choice. Each creation is an elaborate, colourful and wacky visual treat, limited only by the imagination of its creator.
“For a personal encounter with Maori culture and its food, Hinewai Hawaikirangi and Cameron Ormsby, a husband and wife of Maori descent, make the most affable of ambassadors. They run [Napier Maori Tours] that takes visitors to the Ahuriri Estuary, a coastal region 15 minutes’ drive from [Napier’s] city centre. As participants trek in supplied boots through the wooded riverside, they gain insights into Maori music and its instruments. Ormsby demonstrates the hunting of seafood in the river while Hawaikirangi cooks the catch in traditional Maori fashion. Lunching under the trees on lobster, scallop, abalone and other riverine delicacies gives you a deeper appreciation of nature’s wild bounty and the amazing pleasures of fresh, unadulterated flavours.”
Original article by David Yip, The Straits Times, November 29, 2017.
Photo by The Business Times.