1 August 2010
I am exhausted. Four days at the Food Show which included two appearances in the celebrity chef theatre, cooking on the induction cooktop on the Electrolux stand, whipping up some treats with Silver Fern Farms lamb and venison each day and meeting lots of old and new friends.
Two personal highlights of the weekend that I can’t choose between: the arrival of our new book, The New Zealand Vegetable Cookbook, with a book signing with my co-authors Ginny Grant and Kathy Paterson at the Cook the Books stand, and a delightful dinner at our home on Saturday night with the delightful Stefano di Pieri and his wife Donata from Midura on the Murray River in north western Victoria.
Every year I walk the length and breadth of the show picking up the visible and evident trends in food. Surprisingly this was the year of wine; so much so that I am thinking the clever Food Show owner Dona White, who also came to dinner with her husband Gavin (he’s a star, as he loved my potatoes!), might think of changing the name to the Food and Wine Show. There was a ton of lovely wine to drink and buy at every corner I turned. Other trends this year were prepared dips and spreads, lots of spices from around the world in lots of products, and few new original and local artisan products.
There were so many foods and drinks that I loved. Some new and some old favourites. I managed to squeeze more than a dozen products from the show into my demonstration in the Celebrity Chef theatre and those recipes are on the recipe page of my website. But here are ten fabulous products that really took my fancy this year, in no particular order.
- Heilala Vanilla Syrup — a new product made from the vanilla grown by the Ross family on their plantations in Vava’u in Tonga. It’s sweet and luscious with strong vanilla aroma. Gorgeous on fruit and ice-cream.
- Lighthouse Gin — a truly aromatic gin made in Greytown, Wairapapa that will convert any serious aficionado of this spirit to NZ made.
- Galactic Gold cheese — a wash rind cow’s cheese made by Over the Moon dairy in Putaruru. I brought some home tonight and we consumed it immediately. Gorgeously pungent and rich.
- Piako Frozen yogurt — From the makers of that creamy mango or passionfruit yogurt that’s completely addicitve, three delightful flavours for dessert. I loved the lime best.
- Spice n Easy — a newcomer with packages of Indian spice mixes complete with recipes. I have now cooked with four of the different packs and swear it is better than most Indian food in specialty restaurants.
- Wai Kawa — soft drink mixers from Nelson. Bitter lemon, cola and tonic, infused with native New Zealand botanicals. Brilliant and none are too sweet. I hope they give the traditional companies a real run for their money!
- Ti Point Rosé 2010 — the newly released soft pinky blush wine made from Merlot grapes that really does have the aromas of strawberries and cloves described on the label. Wine maker Tracy Haslam at her best.
- Marama Organic lamb and beef sausages — all the way from Southland and quite the meatiest sausages I have had in ages. Love the way they say the sausages are made from old sheep! Gluten and preservative free.
- Paneton’s custard filled croissant — their bread, pastry and buttery treats are all heavenly. I love that little Madeleine who may be the best marketer and client relations person in NZ. And she’s still at school!!
- Silver Fern Farms venison range — from the grass pastures of NZ comes this easy to prepare, healthy range of venison cuts, complete with recipes. My favourite to date? The venison meatballs with tzatziki, a spicy idea on the back of the pack from Dunedin cooking teacher Judith Cullen.