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Monday, 23 November 2009

Marlborough Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Thursday 10 December, 4.00 pm - 6.00 pm
Marlborough Vintners' Hotel
Rapaura Rd

The very first Terra Madre Day is being held on 10 December - celebrating Slow Food International's 20th anniversary and to recognise the importance of supporting local food producers.

To recognise the day, as part of events happening all over the world, Slow Food Marlborough is holding a “Marlborough Mad Hatter's Tea Party”.  Bring some locally produced food and drink, and enjoy it in the relaxed setting on the patio and under the cherry trees at Marlborough Vintners Hotel.

There will be a treasure hunt and local berries and cherries supplied for children - and maybe even some locally produced chocolates - so bring along your children, or someone else's !

This is a Sun-Smart event, supported by the Marlborough Cancer Society and Cancer Society representatives will be judging - with a Slow Food prize for the ‘Maddest hat’. 

It's also a chance to 'take a breather' and slow down before the Christmas rush, and in keeping with the season, we'll be collecting food donations and gold-coin donations for charity.

Thursday 10 December, 4.00 pm - 6.00 pm
Marlborough Vintners' Hotel
Rapaura Rd

BYO Food and Refreshments
Marlborough food, drinks, and ingredients please.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Fantastic Fish at Herzog

As with last year's bread-making, there was a strong response to the chance of attending a demonstration at the fantastic Herzog winery and restaurant.

The focus this year was on fish - the Blue Warehou - a species available all year round and caught mainly in the Cook Strait coasts and off Westland.
First of all the four Herzog chefs, each with a small group, demonstrated how to fillet the fish - the initial removal of the fins, then carefully cutting along the bony area to ease away the meat.
The result from the delicate operation was a fabulous, fleshy and juicy fillet. A few pin bones remaining were then removed.
Three recipes were then prepared.

A piece of the fillet was cut off for marinating. The marinade was a combination of seeds and herbs. This was packed on top of the fish fillet for refrigeration for 24 hours minimum.

Secondly, a Blue Warehou roll: wafer thin slivers of fish were sliced from the top of the fillet - unbelievably thinly - although we were assured it wasn't a problem if we didn't get the slices quite that thin! The filling was mixed and placed down the middle of the fillet which was then rolled up in a sausage shape. This was then put in the freezer until it was firm and easier to slice.
The third recipe was marinated Blue Warehou with wasabi cream and orange & basil vinaigrette. Again, thin slices of fish were placed on cling-film. The filling was then put on the centre of the fish, the edges of the cling-film pulled up and twisted to seal. The vinaigrette was served on the side.

Samples of all these were brought to us - while we enjoyed some wonderful Herzog wine - and were tasted with great enjoyment and gusto. They certainly weren't slow to disappear from the platters.

(With thanks to Sally Woolhouse for the article and pictures, and special thanks to Therese and Hans Herzog and the team at Herzog Winery and Restaurant for another special Slow Food Experience)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Compost preparation October 09 and November 09

Look in Upcoming eventts for more information on Saturday 14 November 09
Herzog Winery & Restaurant, 81 Jeffries Road, Blenheim
9.00 - 10.30 am with Herzog wines afterwards. Make a lunch reservation if you want to linger.

With thanks to Hans and Therese for their support of Slow Food Marlborough and their sponsorship of this event.

To RSVP and arrange payment contact:  Sue Gibbs:, Ph 03 520 8270.
(Slow Food Members, no need to RSVP to Sue if you've already RSVP'd)

About 25 enthusiastic souls gathered at our place in Kaituna to experience Compost making first hand and to learn a little about Bio Dynamic farming. The weather managed to behave itself for most of the afternoon however it did deteriorate towards 5-00pm so the planned socialising with the native birds in our eucalypt trees was put on hold.

After a brief summary about our heritage fruit and vegetables we split into two groups. One was entertained by Sean Phillips on the art of building a Fungal compost heap. Fungal compost is most suited to and will be used on our Fruit Trees. We started with a base layer of Chipped Fresh Gorse, Pine Needles and Wet Hay. This was covered with a slurry of Chicken Manure. Sean explained how Cow Manure was the best but unfortunately our fresh supply was located at the top of our hill so we opted for second best. The base layer was followed by several layers of Green Grass, 1 year old Wood Chips, Wet Hay, Lime, Rock Phosphate, Pine Needles, and Gorse. The Wet Hay is the top of each layer and is covered with a slurry of the Chicken Manure. Sean explained the importance of the layering, getting the correct moisture content and green material. Despite all of the science Sean assured the people gathered that almost anything could go into a good compost including weeds. The compost heats up to approx 65 degrees which kills any weed seeds. A dead sheep was one example of possible ingredients. All that remains when the compost is complete is the bones. Most home gardeners do not have access to dead sheep. The finished heap measured approx 2.5 meters in length, 1.5 meters wide and 1.5 meters high.        

The second group took a tour of the property. Sharyn was joined by Wendy Sukeena who had generously offered her time to share her Bio Dynamic knowledge. We started with our small cold frame where we have a number seedlings including our heritage Beetroot, Lettuces, Spring Onions. These are some of the vegetables we will have on sale at the Farmers Market from mid November.   The group them proceeded to our small Glass House where our heritage Tomatoes, Basil, Chillies and Capsicums are taking shape. From there it was to the Peach and Gooseberry plots. The application of the bio dynamic Cow Pat Pit was explained by Wendy. The group proceeded past our 6 friendly Steers enjoying fresh pasture grasses. Our irrigation system which utilises rainfall during the Winter and Spring flowing from the hills to our small pond from where we pump it to 4 storage tanks comfortably nestled in the pine trees half way up our hill. From here gravity does its work during the hot summer months. The group proceeded through our apple orchard of 400 heritage apple trees comprising 16 varieties. We hope these will start producing within the next year or so. Past our Pure Bred Rhode Island Red Chooks also enjoying fresh green pasture the group finished with the turning of our first Cow Pat Pit another important facet of bio dynamic farming.

The groups swapped experiences after about an hour with the tour finishing around 5-15pm.

A few souls stayed to share a beer, wine and some wild venison. The problems of the province were solved over the ensuing 2 or 3 hours. 

Our special thanks to Sean and Wendy and to all of those who visited our property. We hope you enjoyed the afternoon and learned something from your experince.

Thank you

Neville and Sjharyn White

PS Anyone may call us if you have any questions regarding the day Tel 579 1947   

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

ThymeBank - Slow Food Marlborough

For information on this months event - Composting - go to upcoming events

Martin Irch gave us a great tour of Thymebank, on Hammerichs road. All sorts of salads and aromatic herbs are grown there, with the concern of supplying local restaurants and supermarkets with fresh tasty ingredients. Although these are hydroponics, all the herbs are not available all year long – essentially due to lack of UVs, of heat, and shorter light exposure during winter.

For more info on Thymebank  03-577 9499   31 Hammerichs Rd R D 2 Blenheim
Martin explains that hydroponics don’t have less taste than veggies grown in the soil, contrary to general popular beliefs, as hydroponics are fed with salt containing the minerals veggies need.

You would have seen Martin’s fresh herbs and salads around the shops of Marlborough, but can still go to Thymebank directly to find few of those particular herbs (chervil, Thai mint, lemongrass, different sorts of mints etc.). He will also be very happy to give you few tips to get your herbs growing in your garden.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

The Best Kept secret in the Marlborough Sounds

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. Only just released onto the market, and in very limited numbers, we were lucky enough to try these and were not disappointed. This is a great product and deserves a place in the top five food products of the Marlborough region

Well done Bruce, you certainly give Bluff a run for its money, if you want to try they can be found at New- world Supermarket and Durville Hotel.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The hard job of being a localvore

There was a acute awareness as I walked into Raupo Café to help shuck Marlborough Tio Point oysters before our slow food group arrived in a hours time that this was going to be a good night, I mean, lets just say that this is not something that happens every day, 20 Doz oysters in the shell, fresh from the Marlborough Sounds water and just waiting to be consumed.

The very fact that our host for the night, Bruce Hearn, has spent 20 years in the farming of these delectable’s was enough to know that the taste experience was going to be well worth it. Having met producers and sampled products from all around the world there can be no price put on the experience of eating unadulterated oysters from the shell (yes grit and all).

When in France we could go to the morning markets and buy live oysters (not a pottle in sight)stacked high in wicker baskets, from a dozen different costal locations and varieties, and these did not even come close to the experience of Marlborough Tio Point Oysters this night.

The key to any product is the freshness and the right amount of social contact that you have around it – and our slow food group were certainly not shy about learning all the highs and lows of farming one NZ’s most iconic Kai Moana products.

While I may not be the fastest Oyster shucker (yes the world record is 28 per minute), I was being distracted by the mandatory sampling of product that I had to do to ensure that our group of likeminded foodies where indeed getting the quality that we promised.

I can assure Bruce that even if the economic recession continued to hit our upmarket restaurants in Wellington and Auckland and they all closed tomorrow, we could rustle up enough Localvores in Marlborough to consume them all.

If you would like to try freshly shucked Tio Point Oyster you can purchase them from Hotel Durville and New-world supermarket but just make sure that you check in advance to ensure that they have not all been snapped up by other fresh oyster lovers.

Thanks to the local wineries who supported our event with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy with the oysters: Te Whare Ra, Clos Henri, Seresin and Grove Mill.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Grovetown Road Trip

Going nuts

When you start scratching the surface of what is in your back yard you come across some hidden talents and that was certainly the case last week at out monthly slow food event. Our group of intrepid Marlborough Slow food foodies were privileged to visit Uncles Joes hazelnuts and Walnuts factory (I wont even mention that they won Oil of the Show (Canterbury) two years in a row, or top 10 Artisan Cuisine Award) in Grovetown, Annies Marlborough Ltd followed up by a hot glass of Mulled wine at the Grovetown Country Hotel

While I knew that squirrels’ horde nuts over the winter I had no idea that the Howells (Uncles Joes) orchard would produce such a multitude of Hazelnuts and that there gathering skills would see them become the caretakers for many tons of nuts in there Grovetown Factory which would then be processed into Uncle Joes Walnut and Hazelnuts and Pastes as well as eating and cooking nuts. The very fact that Uncle Joe himself is the legend that sat around the fire cracking nuts with hand cracking conjures up product integrity. Leaving the warmth of the Nuttery (??) we travelled in convey to Annie’s where Graham enthusiastically as ever talked to our group about the highs and lows of his business as well demystifying the human digestive system. After 20 years of Annies products and having established it all around the world there is not much that they have not encountered and it makes you wonder where to next ? - Well if you know Graham then he is already looking at the next mountain to climb (which is really no different to selling into international supermarket chains, do it one step at a time) and it was time for our group to move onto our last location – the Grove Town Country Hotel. Here we were meet by the publican and a hot brew of Mulled wine that ended a very informative and interesting tale of all things foodie in the mighty Grovetown

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Omaka Marae Experience

In near freezing conditions - it snowed in parts of Marlborough today ! - a group of about 35 guests enjoyed a very warm welcome and wonderful hospitality at Omaka Marae this evening. After a traditional welcome onto the marae Kiley Nepia talked us through the ancestral house and the symbolism of its construction and decoration.

Kiley used Chris Fortune's haka stance to explain the formation of the front of the house (Face, arms, fingers and legs) and Carlos's 'push up' inside was used to explain the interior (spine and ribs).
While the depiction of food on the painted mural was obvious (see below), there were just as many references to food in the various carvings and tuku-tuku panels adorning the meeting house, showing not only the resources of the local people, but painting a picture of what the Wairau Valley looked like in the days before European settlement.

Being, and being seen to be good hosts, willing and able to provide for guests is an important aspect of Maori hospitality, and the carved and painted references to bountiful seafood, bird-life and full food-baskets was described by Kiley as a 'traditional tourism brochure' promoting the area's resources and its people as good hosts.

While the weather conditions prevented an in-ground hangi, the hangi food was as flavoursome and hearty as our guests's hospitality. As well as an enjoyable meal, the evening will be remembered by many for the insight into the Omaka Marae and Maori traditions of food and hospitality.
Thanks to Kiley, his family and the Omaka Marae for a wonderful evening.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Omaka Marae Maori Kai Experience

Hello !
Food is an important part of any culture and this is indeed the case with Maori. You are invited to attend a Maori Kai experience at Omaka Marae where you will experience Maori hospitality, and traditional Hangi food at its best. 
Sunday May 31, 4.20 to 7.30 pm
Omaka Marae at the end of Aerodrome Rd
You will be officially welcomed onto Omaka Marae by the local tribe, be given a tour of the ancestral house, talk about the importance of food in Maori culture, be shown a hangi and, the best part of all, dine together enjoying each others company.
4:20       Group meets at Omaka Marae
4:35       Briefing
4:45       Powhiri onto Omaka Marae
5:10       Go and see hangi/help dig hangi up
5:30       Tour through ancestral house
6:10       Hangi time
7:30       Finish
Cost: $20 for Slow Food Financial Members, $30 for non-members.
BYO drinks.
Please RSVP to and make arrangements for payment no later than 25 May.  Spaces are limited.
Nau te rourou, Noku te rourou ka ora ai te iwi
"With your food basket and my food basket the people will be sustained"

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Preserving and Pickling with Relish

It's all well and good having a vegetable garden at home and enjoying fresh produce, but what happens when, despite best plans, there's just too many tomatoes and courgettes (etc) to deal with? and friends and neighbours are generously trying to give you their surplus too?

Some simple preserving skills, techniques and recipes are enough to turn today's surplus into a pantry filled with colourful and tasty to enjoy tomorrow.

Chef Chris Fortune was joined by about a dozen people this weekend to learn some preserving skills in a practical hands-on session.
With surplus produce donated by Marlborough Vintners' Hotel, Seresin Estate, and brought along by participants themselves, Chris lead the group though a range of recipes to produce dozens and dozens of jars of pickles, picallilli, chutneys and relishes. Many of these will be donated to Rapaura School for sale at their annual Country Harvest Fair.

With these simple skills and techniques, not only can you learn to manage the late summer surplus without waste, but it also opens up the opportunity to deliberately grow a surplus, so you can enjoy your own graden's bounty well after the winter sets in.

Email us and we'll be happy to provide recipes.


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