When I went to Sydney in 2009, I had a good time exploring the city and meeting up with the food bloggers there to enjoy all the good food that the city has to offer.
Back then, I was actually deciding between a few places and it was a close fight between Australia and New Zealand. Eventually I went to Sydney of course, but I told myself that I will go to Auckland one day. Now, I have always wondered how New Zealand cuisine tastes like, and I managed to find out at a recent media luncheon.
I am not sure if you are aware, but Singapore is currently New Zealand’s sixth largest bilateral trading partner, with the Food & Beverage industry driving the growth. Much of the exports include dairy products, honey, meat, and seafood.
We had lunch with the folks from New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) and the New Zealand High Commissioner to Singapore, Peter Hamilton. It was held at the New Zealand Residence, and Chef Jason Dell (executive chef at Graze Rochester Park and KHA Thai restaurant) was on hand to prepare a four-course meal using the best New Zealand’s food ingredients and wine.
For starters, we had the Raw New Zealand King Salmon with grapefruit, radish and miso, green shell mussel with VNC Pacific Mai Tai, cilantro, kiwi and avocado salsa.
The seafood platter was paired with the Misha’s Vineyard’s Starlet Sauvignon Blanc, and everything was gone in an instant.
So what exactly is New Zealand Food?
Like its Australian counterpart, there is no fixed definition for New Zealand cuisine. It is largely driven by local ingredients and seasonal variations, and of course everyone knows about NZ salmon, lamb and beef.
For our main course, Chef Jason Dell prepared a duo of NZ lamb & beef. I thought that the Grilled New Zealand lamb with tabbouleh and hummus was too gamey, but the seared grass-fed New Zealand beef was wonderful.
It was a pretty nice surprise to have scrambled eggs for lunch, and the duck fat roasted potatoes were simply gorgeous. And we had more New Zealand Wine: Pencarrow Pinot Noir & Villa Maria Merlot, Hawkes Bay.
There is always room for desserts, and we had a tasting plate of blackcurrants with New Zealand vanilla and kiwifruit, New Zealand lemon olive oil cake with fresh raspberries and yoghurt sorbet, and a Kikorangi blue baked cheesecake. The sweets were accompanied by a glass of Sileni Cellar Selection Riesling 2008, Hawkes Bay.
To end off the luncheon, we had cheese and more wine. Everyone was full of praise for the Kapiti Kikorangi blue and Whitestone Brie with New Zealand honeycomb.
Here is a toast to the finest New Zealand food and wine! Now, let’s get a ticket to Auckland.
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My prayers go to all the victims and their family in Christchurch New Zealand.