On Saturday I went to the Auckland edition of the NZ Food Show, held at the ASB Showgrounds. Having never been, I wasn’t too sure what to expect so decided that I would assume it was along similar lines to the Edinburgh Foodies Festival, which is really my only other experience with a food show or festival. And indeed it was along similar lines, although much bigger, indoors (excellent idea in winter!) and with significantly less gin, but a heck of a lot more wine – it seemed that about a third of the stands were wine stands. There were also masterclasses (although they cost $50 to attend, so I passed) and free cooking demos organised.
There range of products on show and on sale was impressive to say the least – honey, wraps, wines and liqueurs, breads, meats, etc. etc. etc. But there were also non-edible products such as Tupperware (since when is it all so pretty and colourful?!), knives, Skoda cars (no idea what they were doing there) and Kenwood had a huge show area that I didn’t venture into too much because everything was shiny and tempting (and expensive). There were some very large and commercial companies there (Kenwood, Tupperware, etc.), some that I recognise from the supermarket (Hellers, Dilmah tea, Farrah Wraps, etc.) but also much smaller producers, which I was most eager to discover. Uhm, I should probably mention at this point that I got a little distracted by all the samples and wine tastings so I have hardly any photos. Woops.
There were plenty of chutney and jam stands, but they’ve all more or less merged into one in my memory, as have the wine stands (taking notes might have been a good idea since the number of wine stands there made things a little hazy…), and to a certain extent some of the honey stands. The producers that really stood out for me were:
- J Friend & Co Honey – I made a beeline (badum-tschhhh!) for all the honey stands, but this is the one that stood out for me. All their honeys were fantastic, but I particularly enjoyed the pōhutakawa one. They also had honeycomb available, which was wonderful.
- Lighthouse Gin – a NZ-made gin and wonderfully smooth. Also the only gin stand (sad times).
- Shott fruit syrups – I love fruit-syrup based drinks, but outside of France it can be difficult to find good syrups. These, however, were fantastic. My favourites were the honey blackberry and the lemon, ginger and honey (have I mentioned that I love honey?)
- Genevieve’s Cuisine pâtés – wonderfully smooth and delectable French-style chicken liver pâtés (or parfait as they call it) in a few different flavours (original, black pepper and truffle). I hope they’ll expand their range from just chicken, because they certainly know what they’re doing.
- Moreish butchers – a bit of an unusual butcher in that it’s entirely online, but all their meats are free range and organic. I prefer to see what I’m buying, particularly when it comes to meat, but since I’m still looking for a good butcher here, I might give this a go, depending on their prices. Their sausage samples were certainly excellent though.
- Lewis Road Creamery butter – creamy and heavenly and quite possibly the best butter I’ve ever tasted. Oh, and makes really good butter sculptures, too, in case you were wondering. Amazing!
So there you go, that’s my little round-up of the NZ Food Show, Auckland. If you get the chance, I’d highly recommend going along to get a taste for what’s available in terms of local products – the next edition is in Christchurch from 14-16 September, then in Wellington from 24-26 May 2013, and then back in Auckland in August I should expect (all details are on the website). I think there might be a bit of variation in producers across the different food shows, depending on which producers are local and so on, although I’m not 100% sure about that.
Were you at the Food Show? What were your highlights?
Wherever you are in the world, enjoy the rest of your day!