The countdown is nearly over and this Friday sees the opening of the Christchurch based Savour New Zealand foodies masterclass – by NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark, no less. I can’t imagine her Irish counterpart, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, opening such a thing in Ireland unless, of course, it was a pub in Drumcondra and there was a pint of Guinness in it for him.
Since I’ve been here it has become glaringly obvious to me that Ireland lags badly behind New Zealand in terms of availability of good seasonal and regional produce; cooking ability – in most of the NZ cafés you will find food of a quality that’s difficult to track down in Ireland (and there’s no year-round sad little salads comprising of a piece of tasteless tomato, watery slice of cucumber and limp lettuce leaf); and sheer interest in food. You’ve only to walk into a newsagent to see the amount of foodie magazines available. New Zealand’s Cuisine (out every second month) and Dish (quarterly) are among the best of them but there are plenty of others coming in from Australia and America as well.
So, with this in mind, Savour New Zealand looks like it is going to be a fascinating weekend with lots to see, hear and, hopefully, taste. Although the international cooks and writers – Anthony Bourdain, Patricia Wells, Stephanie Alexander – are getting the big press, there are plenty of interesting Kiwis on board too. From winemakers – Nigel Greening and his pinot noir (a wine that, for me, will be forever linked to Alexander Payne’s hilarious and sad film Sideways), New Zealand’s Mr Champagne Brett Newell, biodynamic wine producers James Millton and Nick Mills – to chefs like Auckland’s Simon Gault, pastry chef Richard Hingston with his Craving Chocolate class and Christchurch’s own Darryl Maffey from JDV Restaurant; plus cheesemakers (Katherine Mowbray) and restaurateurs (Judith Tabron of Soul Bar and Bistro in Auckland). Bi-location is beginning to sound like a good idea because there’s no way I’m going to be able to make it to all the classes that I’m interested in. I’ve got till Friday to work on it anyway!
Other news stories on the web about Savour NZScoop.co.nz: The Countdown is On To Savour New ZealandXtra MSN: Tempting Tastebuds In ChristchurchNZ Herald: Savour this master classStuff.co.nz: Eat, drink and make merry