Saturday, 22 November 2008
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
The visit to Premium Game's processing facility on Tuesday backed up the talk with a first-hand look at the processing line in action. Working with licensed hunters, Premium Game processes wild game meats in export licensed facilities with oversight from MAF Veterinary Inspectors. Shot animals are delivered to Premium Game complete with comprehensive information on the location of the animal and with key organs still in place to enable the health status of the animal to be determined by the MAF vet. On the visit we saw wild goats, deer and pigs being processed - rabbits, hare, tahr and wallaby are also processed.
Carcasses are kept in refrigerated storage for ageing and then butchered into different cuts 'to order' - supplying local consumers at the Farmers' Market, but mainly to a large (and growing) list of restaurants up and down New Zealand. Premium Game also makes a range of small-goods including salamis, and will even make up sausages to a consumer's own recipe or dietary requirements (eg gluten free).
The only such facility in New Zealand, this is a local business providing some wonderful, fresh, wild game (with recipes to assist, if needed).
Premium Game: Ph 03 577 8200, http://www.game-meats.co.nz/, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, 29 September 2008
The group proceeded to plant the main vegetable garden, transplant herbs from the existing garden to new wine barrels and also plant seeds for raising in trays, ready for the next planting.
A wonderful lunch with spring lamb and salads followed with much laughter, interesting discussion and new friendships being formed, the perfect end to a plentiful planting day!
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Unbeknown to the tasters, among the blind tasting of a dozen oils from local producers, there was an 'imported imposter' - a common supermarket brand - which almost everyone picked out as bad/faulty or, at best, their least favourite.
There was no clear favourite among the other oils, but what was clear was the range of flavours - green, pungent, peppery and spicy - evident in the fresh local oils compared with what we are accustomed to in bland, industrially-produced oils. It was also an eye-opener for many to experience the range of aromas and flavours expressed by the different varieties of olives.
As a high quality, seasonal and locally produced product, we hope more people learn to enjoy and support Marlborough's Olive Oil producers.
Oils tasted were kindly supplied by:
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
So onwards and outwards, but still playing safe, I'm starting with olive-grower/sculptor Andries Maritz, who lives down the road from me at Rarangi, close to the sea at Cloudy Bay, near Blenheim.
I wanted to find out a little bit about him, what he grows and makes, what he hunts down and buys and, of course, a few pictures to help add to his story.
The first thing I noticed when I met Andries, while we were playing golf, was the way he walks with a strange sort of gait, which he later explains was because he had polio when he was six.
The next striking thing about Andries is that he looks you in the eye when he's talking, which I like.
Andries invited me into his house for a cup of tea and we started to talk about this month’s “Meet and Greet “and what Andries is producing from his land at Rarangi.
Andries lives on 2 hectares of the infamous Rarangi “pea gravel” and has an olive grove of 777 olive trees (nine different varieties mainly for oil, but also for table olives). He started with the bare land in August 2001 when he arrived from South-Africa. Three months later the trees were planted and he moved into his newly built house in the grove.
He mainly produces olive oil, which is cold pressed in Blenheim for E.V.O.O. (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). A taste of his olive oil brings a list of adjectives to mind: green/grass-fresh, fruity, peppery, bitter, nutty… nothing like the "extra virgin" bulk supermarket varieties, which to me simply tastes “oily” , The "test method" we used to try out the oils, is simple, ,just pour a small amount of olive oil onto a teaspoon and taste one after the other. "The difference is clear to your taste buds" says Andries .
Andries also mixes some of his olive oil with NZ butter to a soft consistency and adds herbs & spices for a wicked olive/butter mix on toast, bread or steak. If you’re keen, mix olive oil with grapefruit juice, orange juice or lemon juice to add something special and different to marinades, spreads and for salads.
After the olive harvest in June and July, he also preserves in brine smaller quantities of a few (about a 100 kg) of mainly black table olives using his Barnea and Manzanilla varieties. These are hand picked and selected, and processed according to an old traditional recipe. The ingredients are simple: fresh clean water, combined with good quality sea salt and vinegar. It takes a year before the olives have reached the quality Andries is looking for. “They taste simply divine,” he says, and the final result comes through trial and error and a simple method that requires patience, effort and time.
We sit around the table with samples of his products and already after the olive oil taste test I’m converted. However he insists on comparing his pickled olives with bulk commercial types. I try one and then the other but the difference is hard to explain It seems that Andries’ olives taste of olive and salt and are more "natural", while the commercial olives, taste of olive, maybe a little too soft, brine and a bit of acidity
The discussion leads to grapes, which tends to be a Marlborough thing, and we discuss what has he done in his “own back yard”? He has planted grapes in between two rows of the olive trees, for fresh grape juice and for making wine.” If the wine is not good enough” says Andries I make it into good quality vinegar, which is used for controlling the pH of the water when processing the table olives.
We progress from the kitchen table to the workshop, and I am shown how olive oil soap is made from the older olive oil. The result is a Castile-type soap which is lovely and slippery to the touch when wet and smells earthy. Andries says it seems to be good for people with sensitive skins.
We return to the kitchen after the tour around the grove, back to another warm cup of tea at the table and talk about the need to search and obtain a taste from ones past and that food, highlights those times spent usually with friends and family, simply bringing back memories.
This discussion of “past foods” brings out Andries’ South-African “Kook & Geniet”, the equivalent of the Edmonds Cookbook and Andries points out a “Boerewors”- sausage recipe, which one particular butcher in Blenheim is now making much to his liking.
I’m not a writer, so that’s about it for now. If you’d like to take part in “Meet and Greet” please send a brief outline of what you’re doing to me by email. email@example.com
And Andries can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Regards and good eating.
Saturday, 26 July 2008
While the North Island was being battered by a 'weather bomb', about 30 people were enjoying the cosy atmosphere inside Clos Henri's cellar door - a deconsecrated church from Ward, south of Blenheim.
Lisa Harper from Sherrington Grange presented some of her cheeses and gave a presentation on cheesemaking. Marlburians will recognise Lisa and her cheeses from the Marlborough Farmers' Market. Others may have seen her featured in the May 2008 issue of Cuisine Magaine. While Slow-Foodies were enjoying Lisa's cheese in Marlborough, Australians were reading about Lisa, and other features of Marlborough's food and wine scene in the weekend's Australian newspaper.
One of the wines Sherrington Grange is known for is their 'Mahau Gold'. This is a washed rind cheese, from a tradition that began in the Middle Ages, when cheeses were dipped in wine or spirits, encouraging them to develop colour and flavour. Applying this locally, to make Mahau Gold, the cheese is regularly bathed in Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, resulting in a deep yellow-brown colour and distinctive, aromatic taste. Try it with a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir and the weather outside really doesn't matter.
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
After an introduction to Aotearoa Seafoods, its products and markets, we were able to get behind the scenes to see the processing of some of its Greenshell Mussels; this evening being prepared as Tomato and Chilli Marinated Mussels.
A tasting of mussels followed, matched with some KONO wine and a talk by Kiley Nepia of the Omaka Marae about Matariki. Kiley is pictured here (left) with Mike Aviss, both kitted out and ready to head into the mussel reception and processing areas.
Some things to think about:
- while some of the indigenous flavourings used in the KONO flavoured half-shell products haven't been well received in the USA (the NZ Greenshell Mussel industry's main market), as parts of a true New Zealand food culture it would be great to see more use being made of things like Kawakawa and Horopito. Good on Aotearoa Seafoods for giving it a go.
- something tells me there's something to the concept that male and female mussels possibly taste different (visually you can tell the female mussels by their orange shell colouration), as well as a possible terroir effect (or the ocean equivalent) - mussels from different regions tasting different. Anyone else keen for some blind tastings?
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Or email our Committee Member responsible for Membership (Sally Woolhouse)
Once you join the international organisation (a portion of your membership fee comes back to support local Slow Food Marlborough Convivium) you can select to be a part of the Slow Food Marlborough Convivium - or another Convivium more appropriate for your location and interests if you prefer.
At this time, you do not need to be a member of the international organisation to participate in Slow Food Marlborough events, though we recommend it and encourage it. As well as supporting the international movement and receiving quality publications from them, financial membership will give you preferential access to Slow Food Marlborough activities (many sell out) and/or free or discounted particiaption (non-members will pay a higher price to participate).
After less than 18 months in existence (at September 2009) Slow Food Marlborough is the third largest Convivium in New Zealand. As we continue to grow, we may need to limit participation in our activities to members of the international organisation, though we will endeavour to remain as inclusive as possible.
Marlborough Vintners Hotel
Matariki is the Maori name for the group of stars also known as the Pleiades star cluster or The Seven Sisters; and what is referred to as the traditional Maori New Year.
The Maori new year is marked by the rise of Matariki and the sighting of the next new moon. The pre-dawn rise of Matariki can be seen in the last few days of May every year and the new year is marked at the sighting of the next new moon which occurs during June. This next occurs on 5 June 2008.
Matariki has two meanings, both referring to a tiny constellation of stars; Mata Riki (Tiny Eyes) and Mata Ariki (Eyes of God).
Traditionally, depending on the visibility of Matariki, the coming season's crop was thought to be determined. The brighter the stars indicated the warmer the season would be and thus a more productive crop. It was also seen as an important time for family to gather and reflect on the past and the future.
As much as we're pleased to see Herzog open again for the season, we're also looking forward to another wonderful Slow Food event at Herzog next month.
Dear Slow Food lovers,
After a fantastic Oysters event and with spring knocking on our doors, we have now thought about getting back in the gardens. Spring sounds like barbecues, simple fresh food that doesn’t necessarily require a lot of cooking. So what is better than few herbs to lift the profile of your fresh products? We invite you to join us at Thymebank next Thursday where Martin will take us through the plantation aspects and tips. Being a chef himself he will give us few hints on cooking with herbs as well.
Bring some bread or crackers and dips - using your favourite herbs - and if you feel like sharing your special recipes, we’ll all be up for it!
Where: Thymebank - 31 Hammerichs road, RD2 Blenheim
When: Thursday the 3rd of September at 4.30pm
Getting Savvy with Oysters!
The July Slow Food Event
When -Thursday 30th July 2009
Venue – Raupo Café (down by Riverside in town)
Time - 6pm
Cost - $10.00 members: $15.00 non members (pay on evening)
Farmed Bluff Oysters in the Marlborough Sounds!!! These are one of the next big gourmet things to come out of Marlborough, and have been a 20 year project for Bruce Hearn, a long time mussel farmer from the region. Not yet released onto the market, and in very limited numbers, you can get a chance to taste these delights, freshly shucked, and perfectly matched with a glass of Marlborough ‘Savvy’. Those lucky enough to have tried them describe them as having all the flavour of the wild oyster but with a denser, meatier texture. Bruce and his wife Jill will be there to tell the story and to also demonstrate the art of oyster opening. It has been planned to make this an interactive demo so those of you interested can have a go. Helen and Marcel will also have the bar open for any additional drinks purchases.
Numbers for this popular event are limited, with first preference given to paid up members and thereafter on a first in basis. Please RSVP by 28th July 2009
This month we have a "Grovetown Roadtrip" - details as follows:
Tuesday 30th June
4.30pm - Meet at Uncle Joe's Nuts, 39 Rowley Cresent, Grovetown
5.30pm - Annies fruit leathers State Highway 1, Grovetown RD3 Blenheim
6.30pm - Grovetown Country Tavern for nibbles and drinks
$5 Slow Food Marlborough Members, $10 non-members
Please RSVP for catering purposes - pay on the day.
4.30pm-Uncle Joe's nut farm is in full swing, processing more than 30 tonnes of mainly walnuts and hazelnuts a season and dealing with about 150 suppliers around Marlborough. Their walnut oil won two gold awards in 2007 and 2008 at the Royal New Zealand Show, and their walnut spread recently picked up one of the top ten 2009 Cuisine Artisan Awards out of 90 entries. About 150 local people supply the Horwells with nuts. Hazelnuts are more rare, with only about three growers. Despite this, there is still not enough supply to meet the nut demand the couple's nut business generates, and the demand from buyers.
5.30pm -"Annies" family has been growing quality produce for over 100 years. The family purchased their property in 1898 and developed a business as an agricultural contractor and over the years the farm evolved from sheep and grain to vegetables, fruit and grape production with a small fruit and vegetable shop on the property. The Annies business was born in 1986 after Graeme Giles bought his wife Ann a small dehydrator and she began to experiment with converting apples into dried fruit leathers. What the family did not require in the shop, Ann started selling and soon demand outstripped the capacity of the dehydrator.
6.30 pm Grovetown Country Tavern for drinks and nibbles.
We look forward to seeing you then !