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Cotto – Auckland


I tried Cotto for the first time last week.

I know, I know, I am super late on the bandwagon, but I finally made it… and I am so glad I did! It was everything I imagined and more.

Cotto originally opened as a handmade-pasta pop up, but two years later they still occupy the same spot. Why, you may ask? Well, the team behind Cotto serve incredible Italian-inspired food. And some of the most flavourful dishes I have tried in Auckland. And the best part? Ordering 10 plus dishes between four will only cost you around $45, including a cocktail/beer/wine. Such a steal!

Their menu is designed to be shared and is split into four sections by price – $5, $15, $20 and $10. Two of our group were vegetarians, but when looking at the menu, all I wanted to eat were the vegetarian dishes so this worked out really well. Everything we ordered was spot on. And full of cheese. Absolutely brilliant, because cheese is life. Below are all the dishes we savoured:

$5

Farinata

A delicious crispy bread made with chickpea flour, olive oil and water and topped with sea salt, rosemary and sage.

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Heirloom Tomato and Shallot

We decided these were the best tomatoes we had eaten all summer, plus it was the perfect starter to our feast that awaited. 

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$15

Spinach and Goats Cheese Dumplings with Fried Sage

Think big buttery dumplings with generous fillings and topped with crispy fried sage leaves. This dish left me oohing and aahing for the duration of the night. These are seriously the real deal. 

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Smoked Chickpea Mozzarella Chips with Almond Aioli

Another highlight of the night!
Give me a plate of these any day and I will be one happy gal!

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Fried Eggplant with Roast Tomato Basil and Whipped Ricotta

My least favourite dish of the night, however, would have eaten the whipped ricotta on its own… may or may not have dipped my Farinata bread into it too… dreamy!

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$20

Basil Gnocchi with Zucchini, Stracciatella and Pinenuts

Soft and fluffy gnocchi and oozing with stringy cheese…! Really enjoyed this dish and could have happily eaten another plate or two. 

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Ravioli with Spinach, Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato and Dried Olives 

A lovely simple dish, but quite a small portion for the price. 

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$10

Chocolate Nemesis with Salted Caramel

A very rich chocolatey dessert, so best shared with your fellow dining companions!

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Affogato

I have never ever ordered affogato for dessert before, because hey, you can make this at home… but hello dreamy… we left with some huge grins on our faces!

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Panna Cotta with Mascarpone Plum and Grappa Sorbet

If you are dining at Cotto in the near future, order their Panna Cotta as your choice of dessert and you will not be disappointed. The panna cotta was perfectly set and melt in your mouth. A beautiful dessert and one of the highlights of the night!

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Food aside, service was efficient and the meals arrived in a well staggered manner. The atmosphere is lively, with great music and at times noisy, but the vibe cosy. Note they don’t take small group bookings, so be prepared to not be seated upon arrival, however you are welcome to sit at the bar while you wait… definitely recommend ordering a Spritz or two!

Thank you Cotto for an incredible foodie experience – I cannot wait to go back x

Cotto
375 Karangahape Road, Auckland / Instagram / Facebook

Cotto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bodrum Market – Newmarket

Over the weekend, two friends and I were invited to dine at Bodrum Market in Westfield Newmarket’s new rooftop dining precinct. It was a fantastic lunch, thanks to the lovely food, cocktails, ambience and service.

Bodrum Market is run by one of my favourite hospitality companies – Nazar Group. Founded by Alex Isik and Nigar Ivgen, they own restaurants all over Auckland, including Feriza’s, Miss Istanbul, Ottoman Mezze Lounge, NOA Chargrill + Burger, Devon on the Wharf, Mozaik Caffe, Deco Eatery, Casablanca and Bodrum Kitchen. All of their restaurants bring a slice of the Mediterranean to the table – featuring Turkish, Greek, Moroccan and Middle Eastern dishes… so we were really excited to check it out!

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Walking in, we absolutely loved the interior of Bodrum Market, which is inspired by Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar and the streets of Bodrum City. While I have not yet been to Istanbul (it is on the list!), I immediately felt transported to an exotic city! We were seated in one of their booths, which overlooks the dining area and bar. 

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If you dine at Bodrum Market, you must order a cocktail! We tried three which were all refreshing and delicious. My top picks are the Bombay Masala Talkies – Gin infused with masala tea, butterfly pea flower syrup, lemon juice and Mediterranean tonic water; the Sultan Treat with Russian vodka, rose petal water, fresh pomegranate, lime juice and pomegranate molasses; and the Aam Pana Cooler with Tequila, orange liqueur, raw mango puree, roasted cumin powder, lemon juice and lemonade. (Seriously, typing this now makes my mouth water!!!)

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And now for the most important part, the food!

Bodrum Market is offering diners an authentic experience by serving four different cuisines – Indian, Italian, Turkish and Latin American Asado, just like the traditional food markets of the Mediterranean. Their aim is to showcase unique flavours from each of their teams’ homelands. We were lucky enough to get a sneak peak through their kitchen and admired their Wood-Fired Pizza Oven, Asado Grill and Doner Kebab machine. 

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There are many options on the menu to suit a range of palates, and I recommend sharing if possible so you can try a few dishes. We trusted the team to bring us a few of their favourites from each of the four cuisines to try:

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Chicken Lollipops with chili sauce

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Grilled Octopus with new potatoes, paprika butter, garlic aioli and parsley

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Beef Short Ribs with Chimichurri sauce

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Prosciutto Pizza with fresh rocket, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and Parmesan

We loved that everything was super fresh, flavourful and tasty, plus every dish was full of colour. Our favourites were the Beef Short Rib – lathered in a beautiful Chimichurri sauce and the meat was melting off the bone! The Chicken Lollipops were also a highlight, and we surprisingly enjoyed the Grilled Octopus… must admit those tentacles freaked us out a bit!

For dessert, we tried their Loukoumades – light and fluffy Greek honey puffs, drizzled in chocolate sauce and served with pink fairy floss, ice cream and pistachios. You will definitely want to save room for this dessert!

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For a further sweet treat, head outside to the entrance of Bodrum Market to admire the displays of Baklava, Chocolate Baklava and Turkish Delight – definitely recommend buying a few pieces for the ride home.

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Thank you Bodrum Market for a FAB dining experience – we cannot wait to come back! x

Address: Westfield Newmarket, Rooftop, 277 Broadway, Newmarket
Socials: Instagram / Facebook / Website

Bodrum Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

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I don’t know about you, but when I hear ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Peanut Butter’ in the same sentence, I get REALLY REALLY EXCITED!

I love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but unfortunately they are full of sugar and also not good for the waistline, and because I love to eat a variety of chocolate during the week, I wanted to find a balance between the two. 

Below is my recipe for Vegan Peanut Butter Cups – they are super simple and easy to make, and only require 4 ingredients! Can also guarantee that your friends and family will love them!

Makes 24 mini cups.

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INGREDIENTS

For the Peanut Butter Cups:
1 cup smooth peanut butter (I used Revive Peanut Butter)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (I like Blue Coconut)
1 tablespoon maple syrup

For the Chocolate Topping:
1 cup of coconut oil, melted
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 x 100g blocks of 70% Lindt chocolate (it is in fact vegan – yay!), roughly chopped and melted

METHOD

1. Pop 24 mini muffin cases on trays. 

2. Combine the coconut oil, maple syrup and dark chocolate in a bowl and stir until it looks silky. 

3. Spoon chocolate mixture into each muffin cup (fill about 1/3 of the case). 

4. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, or until chocolate is set. 

5. While the chocolate is hardening, combine the peanut butter, coconut oil and maple syrup in a bowl and whisk until all the ingredients are well mixed.

6. Remove tray from freezer and spoon peanut butter mixture into each muffin cup (fill another 1/3 of the case).

7. Pour a little of the chocolate topping over each mini cup, until you can’t see any peanut butter. Pop them back in the freezer to fully harden. But don’t worry, they won’t take long!

8. Store these in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 weeks or the freezer for 2-3 months. If freezing, thaw a few minutes before eating. 

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Enjoy! x

Bread & Butter Bakery and Cafe

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Last month, I organised #
NZBloggers October #BRUNCHCLUB which was held at Bread & Butter Bakery and Cafe in Grey Lynn!

Owned and run by Isabel Pasch, Bread & Butter Bakery specialises in making traditional European and naturally leavened sourdough breads. All of their bread is certified organic and tastes delicious! You may have tried their bread before, especially because Bread & Butter generously donated their sourdough loaves, bagels and cinnamon brioche for our Pink Ribbon Carnival back in May of this year! 

Bread & Butter have three bakeries in Auckland – Ponsonby Central, Milford and Grey Lynn. At the Grey Lynn branch, this is where all of their breads are baked onsite, and this is where we had our brunch. We were seated in their ‘Plate Room’, a private dining room, where the sun poured in (great for pictures!) and it had the most lovely feature wall (below).

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At our brunch, Isabel spoke to us briefly about her background (she is a trained scientist and science journalist, but after moving to New Zealand with her family, could not find any good organic sourdough bread anywhere, so she started her own small bakery (Paris Berlin in Ellerslie), which later became Bread & Butter Bakery.

She also spoke about her bakery’s ethos and her blog, Bread Politics, which was very interesting and a great opportunity to learn more about how their bread is made. If you are interested, Bread & Butter Bakery also run Sourdough Bread Baking Classes on a semi regular basis, where you learn how to make sourdough baking, plus the nutritional and environmental issues around breads and other foods. Check out their Facebook page here for more information. 

For brunch, we enjoyed some of following dishes: 

Evo and Belle ordered the Bread and Butter Benedict with poached eggs, spinach and brown butter hollandaise on sage and leek bread pudding with Manuka Smoked Bacon. Both enjoyed this dish, and Belle was able to swap out the bread pudding with Gluten Free Toast – yum!

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Photo Credit: Belle

Laura ordered the Avocado Brekkie Salad with rocket, vine tomato, poached egg, crispy sourdough croutons, bacon, pecorino and citrus vinaigrette. Laura loved everything about the salad – it was fresh, creamy and delicious. The citrus vinaigrette also gave the dish a nice zing!

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Photo Credit: Laura

MichelleJessi and Rachael tried the Smashed Avocado & Edamame Luxe – a very generous dish of marinated feta, poached egg, rocket, chili oil, pumpkin seeds and semi-dried tomato on red quinoa sourdough. As I was sitting near Jessi and Michelle, they both loved the fact that literally a whole smashed avocado was served on the plate!

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Yuzu, Corrine and I ordered the Clafoutis. I have fond memories of Clafoutis, as growing up, my Mum used to make this dessert often and still does to this day. Bread & Butter’s take on the Clafoutis is making it into a PANCAKE! It is served with mixed berries, raspberry mascarpone, gingerbread and a beautiful cardamom spiced crème anglaise. It was a lovely dish and my sweet cravings were satisfied. 

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Nicola ordered the Super Grain Porridge and while she was skeptical at first (being porridge), was surprised by all the added condiments – fig jam, mulled wine braised plums, whipped cashews, puffed grains and seeds! Also, how lovely does it look?

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Cheryl and Maggie ordered the Bread & Butter Pudding, made with hot buttered rum sauce and topped with cashew crusted banana, poached fruits and roasted white chocolate. 

 

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We had the Clafoutis (french pancake) $19, which was light but flavourful with its lemon notes, paired perfectly with a raspberry mascarpone. The Bread & Butter Pudding $16 was served with a beautiful hot buttered rum sauce which was rich and sweet, alongside a cashew crusted banana and poached fruits. If you're looking for a healthy drink option, the Clean & Green Smoothie $9, is chock full of nutrients from the spinach, celery, cucumber and other fresh ingredients in the vege-packed beverage. Or, if you can't live without your coffee in the mornings, Bread & Butter offer their own blend as well, roasted by Espresso Workshop, and their large option is even served in a bowl! Talk about a caffeine bomb!

A post shared by Bean There. (@beantherewbu) on

At the end of the meal, Bread & Butter Bakery gave everyone a surprise gift – either a Mixed Grain Loaf, Rye or Walnut Loaf to take home, which was amazing. I picked up a Walnut Loaf and have been toasting it for breakfast all week!

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Overall, it was a great morning out – delicious food, set up and most importantly, the lovely company! A huge thank you to Isabel and the team at Bread & Butter Bakery for your hospitality!

Check out the blogs and social pages of those who came along:

Bean There WBU
Instagram

Cecilia Lal
Instagram

Chan Can Eat
Instagram

Corrine Lynskey
Website / Instagram

Georgieats
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Island Girl Blogger
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Lozalock
Instagram

Michael Khu
Instagram

Rose Room
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Sunday Dreams
Instagram

The Foodie Inc
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Twelve Belles
Website / Instagram

Two Feet One World
Website / Instagram / Facebook

If you are looking for a relaxed place to talk about blogging or are interested in starting an Instagram, Facebook or Blog, and would like to attend upcoming #NZBloggers and #BRUNCHCLUB events, follow us on Instagram to ensure you don’t miss out. We have two events left for the year and are also planning some awesome events for 2020.

Address: 34 Westmoreland Street West, Grey Lynn
Socials: Instagram / Facebook / All Day Brunch Menu

Bread & Butter Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Meadow – Auckland

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After a successful #NZBloggers Pink Ribbon Brunch last month (more details here), we are back doing our usual brunch clubs!

#NZBloggers is a group encouraging, supporting and enabling networking for bloggers and influencers. We host a monthly #NZBloggers #BRUNCHCLUB event, where a few of us take turns organising (I previously organised March’s one at Ozone Coffee Roasters). A bunch of bloggers and influencers meet up to have brunch and learn more about blogging. The thing I love most about these events is meeting people whom you follow on social media, but otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to meet. 

This June, our #BRUNCHCLUB was held at Meadow in Meadowbank! Meadow is a sophisticated and modern bistro and bar, taking local neighbourhood dining to the next level. Offering a relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere, plus elegant interior and an expansive courtyard – perfect for al fresco dining!

Meadow put on a beautiful morning for us – we were seated outside in their courtyard under a private marquee (surrounded by plants and trees), and they decorated a long table with a navy blue theme in mind. They also added special touches, such as blue flowers and personalised name cards. We also loved the fact that we had our own hashtag #MeadowXNZBloggers and custom made cookies by The Cookie Collective. They even provided us with navy blue blankets and heat lamps in case we got cold.

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Today was a special day ⁣ ⁣ It was the first time I attended a brunch club (which I felt privileged to be part of as a recreational grammer!!) hosted by @nzbloggers and was able to meet a group of talented bloggers in Auckland. ⁣ ⁣ In a stunning marqueed set up at @meadow_auckland , with great food to match, this brunch undoubtedly felt next level! And not to mention the details in the décor, and provision of custom cookies by @thecookiecollectivenz that completed the experience. ⁣ ⁣ If you’re a blogger/Instagrammer who wants to reach out to others doing a similar thing or want advice on starting up, then give @nzbloggers a message!⁣ ⁣ I’m utterly excited for more brunches with this bunch – give them a follow!⁣ ⁣ ⁣ @nzbloggers @_georgieats_ ⁣ @lozalock @adiandbert @bunnyeatsdesign @eatitauckland @twelvebelles @onceuponanegg @thefoodieinc

A post shared by 𝘚𝘢𝘱𝘪𝘥 𝘚𝘤𝘰𝘰𝘱 • 𝘕𝘡 /𝘼𝙆𝙇 𝘍𝘰𝘰𝘥𝘪𝘦 (@sapidscoop) on


Prior to our brunch, their all day menu had us salivating – with dishes such as Chorizo Croque Madame with béchamel, fried egg and mustard sauce, Meadow Huevos Sucios with slow cooked pork, fried eggs, harissa, chilli and labneh and Grilled Chicken Burger with avocado, brie, tomato, rocket and TRUFFLE FRIES! 
Check out their menu here.

Here are some of the dishes we enjoyed:

TRUFFLE Fries with Parmesan and aioli…. so dreamy!!!

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Eggs Benedict on sourdough with bacon and a side of maple syrup

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Meadow Huevos Sucios with slow cooked pork, fried eggs, harissa, chilli and labneh

 

 

 

 

Chorizo Croque Madame with béchamel, fried egg and mustard sauce

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Crepes with strawberries, chocolate, caramel mascarpone and maple syrup

 

 

 

 

 


Overall, it was a great morning out – delicious food, set up and most importantly, the lovely company! A huge thank you to Meadow for their hospitality!

Check out the blogs and social pages of those who came along:

Bec of Once Upon An Egg
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Belle of Twelve Belles
Website / Instagram

Claudia of adi&bert
Website / Instagram

Genie of Bunny Eats Design
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Georgie of Georgieats
WebsiteInstagram / Facebook

Laura of Lozalock
Instagram

May-Lee of Eat It Auckland
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Michelle of The Foodie Inc
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Nathan of Sapid Scoop
Instagram / Facebook


If you are looking for a relaxed place to talk about blogging or are interested in starting a blog, and would like to attend upcoming #NZBloggers and #BRUNCHCLUB events, join the Facebook group to ensure you don’t miss out. There are some great things being planned for the rest of 2019… hope to see you there!

* Disclosure – we received a small discount on each of our meals. Thanks Meadow! x

Meadow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mexico’s New Winter Menu

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Last week, Mexico launched their new Winter Menu… and it is full of new changes!

Their new Winter Menu style includes two new sections – Mucha Carne, literally translating to ‘a lot of meat’ which includes four bigger dishes designed for sharing, including: 

  • Agave & coffee braised pork ribs, capsicum mojo, habanero chili and agave mole;
  • Barbacoa rubbed beef, chimichurri, crispy shallots and pickled vegetables;
  • Guajillo chicken, pineapple salsa, candied sesame seeds and coriander; and
  • Xocolate braised beef short rib, butternut pumpkin mojo, pink peppercorns and sango.

PLUS, an all-new Sides section, designed to add a little something extra to the table. Your choice of Red Rice, Cos Salad, Broccoli Florets, Crumbed Portobello Mushrooms, Green Beans and Fried Patatas – YUM. 

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Mexico’s Winter Menu also features three new Frida’s Margaritas flavours – Blueberry & Lavender, Pineapple & Orange and Raspberry & Yuzu. Plus, new beers, wines, sangrias and an updated Tequila menu (with an added Mezcal section), and if you are the sober driver for the night, your choice of three new Sodas. 

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Between three of us foodies (shout out to Laura and Evo), we ordered quite a feast! For drinks, we ordered three of their cocktails (note these are not a part of the Frida’s Margaritas menu), which were all delicious, flavourful and super refreshing: 

  • Ruby Paloma with grapefruit, fresh lime, orgeat and Reposado Tequila

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  • Solerno Margarita with blood-orange liqueur, agave, Mezcal and Reposado Tequila
  • Mezcal Spritz with pineapple, lime, Mezcal, fresh mint, topped with sparkling wine

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Followed by one ‘Snack’, two ‘Specialties’, one ‘Quesadilla’ and one ‘Mucha Carne’ dish: 

  • Patatas Bravas with salsa de árbol, green chili jitomate, chipotle mayo and coriander – just check out that salsa! 

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  • Mexico Fried Chicken with jalapeño mayo and chipotle mayo – not to be missed!

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  • Al Pastor Flatbread Wrap with cinnamon braised pork, green apple yoghurt and coriander – this would be perfect for a filling lunch!

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  • Slow Cooked Lamb Quesadilla with queso, zucchini, garlic chips, oregano, chilli and salsa borracha – our favourite quesadilla on Mexico’s menu!
  • Xocolate Braised Beef Short Rib with butternut pumpkin mojo, pink peppercorns and sango – one of their new bigger dishes which we would highly recommend. The beef fell of the bone… seriously good!

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And for sides, these two dishes stood out the most on the new menu, and were the perfect accompaniments to our larger dishes above: 

  • Broccoli Florets with bacon, red onion, garlic and queso fresco (fresh cheese)

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  • Fried Patatas with chili salt, queso blanco (white cheese) and crispy sage

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Aside from the beautiful food, I love dining at Mexico because I love being surrounded by the decor! Think colourful walls covered in memorabilia from Mexico, including artworks of Frida Kahlo and influences from Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), plus loads of cacti. It is definitely one of the most fun restaurants to visit in Auckland!

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If you are not able to get to Mexico in Britomart, there are five other locations in Auckland – Ponsonby, Ellerslie, Takapuna, Auckland International Airport and Sylvia Park. Plus, there are restaurants in Hamilton, Wellington, Petone, Christchurch and more recently, Bayfair in Tauranga!

I was sent a voucher to dine at Mexico, however all opinions are (and always will be) my own.

Mexico
23 Britomart Place, CBD
Socials: 
Website / Instagram / Facebook

 

#NZBloggers Pink Ribbon Brunch

Last weekend, #NZBloggers and I hosted our first and fabulous Pink Ribbon Brunch to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Foundation.


Featured: Krispy Kreme Finger Bun Doughnuts. Photo credit: Vicki Watson (Instagram). 

As some of you may know, in my spare time (alongside running my blog and social pages), I also volunteer for NZBloggers, a group encouraging, supporting and enabling networking for bloggers and influencers in New Zealand. Each month we host events for bloggers by bloggers. 

This month, we hosted an extra special event where everyone was invited to help us fundraise for the Breast Cancer Foundation. Welcome to our Pink Ribbon Brunch! It was a great success and we have since raised over $2,000 for the Breast Cancer Foundation. Link to our page is here.

Our Pink Ribbon Brunch was open to EVERYONE, not just bloggers. It was not like our usual monthly sit-down #NZBloggers brunches. It was interactive, with grazing tables, a help yourself station, plus we had pop-up stalls where you could try on clothing, get your hair/makeup done and/or get a facial. 

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ME! with Otti & Olli’s Pink Ribbon Croquembouche!
Photo Credit: Genie of Bunny Eats Design (Website and Instagram). 

Tickets were $10 and included unlimited tea, coffee and cold drinks, plus nibbles (and by nibbles it meant delicious baked goods – sweet and savoury), plus a range of goodies to take home at the end. To help fundraise, we also had H A M P E R S galore – attendees were encouraged to buy tickets, as well as those who could not attend as you did not have to be present at our brunch to be into win!

Cannot thank our generous sponsors enough who have been in contact with me leading up to our Pink Ribbon Brunch – we love you all, and we would not have been able to do it without you!

A HUGE shout out to the following companies:

Drinks

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Our #NZBloggers main organiser, Laura

Almighty Juices – provided three of their delicious juices – Beetroot, Blackcurrant & Ginger, Orange, Apple & Mango and Guava, Lime & Basil, which is my favourite!

Almo Almond Milk – one of our dairy-free milk options for our brunch, which was an absolute hit!

Happy Happy Soy Boy Soy Milk – another dairy-free milk option for the day… will definitely be buying this milk in the future!

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Photo Credit: Vicki Watson (Instagram). 

Lewis Road Creamery – provided bottles of their Fresh Strawberry Milk – we offered these at our drinks station. All of us (especially the kids) loved them!

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Moccona – provided jars of their coffee – we offered to make coffees for those who attended the brunch. We also put some in our hampers.

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Photo Credit: Vicki Watson (Instagram). 

No Ugly – provided their Plum and Cucumber wellness tonics for our drinks (and also for our hampers).

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Photo Credit: Vicki Watson (Instagram). 

For The Better Good – provided three boxes of their water bottles for our drinks and help yourself station. 

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Graze

180 Degree Crackers – provided crackers for our graze and hampers.

Barker’s of Geraldine – provided their strawberry syrup for our pancake station, their plum and raspberry jams for our bagel station and a selection of their products for our hampers.

Bread & Butter Bakery – provided us with their sourdough loaves, quinoa sourdough loaves, gluten free loaf and cinnamon rolls for our graze and 30 bagels for our bagel station.

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Photo Credit: Vicki Watson (Instagram). 

CocoMaNuts – provided two jars of their coconut peanut butter – one for our bagel station and one for a hamper.

Culleys – provided corn chips for our graze, and corn chips and hot sauce for our hampers.

Dole New Zealand – provided pineapples (thanks to Genie of Bunny Eats Design who cut up the pineapples for our fruit kebabs!) for our pancake station and bananas (which we added to one of our hampers and at our help yourself station).

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Food Snob – provided a selection of their cheeses, crackers, olives and peppers stuffed with cream cheese for our graze.

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Fortune Cookies NZ – provided custom made, double dipped chocolate pink fortune cookies with individual messages inside. We displayed these at our help yourself station – a bit of wisdom for the finale of our event!

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I Love Food Co – provided sausage rolls and salted caramel pies – the best part about these products were all we had to do was cook them in the oven!

Krispy Kreme – provided their limited edition finger bun doughnuts, plus their strawberry iced and original glazed doughnuts. They also provided three vouchers to go into our hampers.

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Photo Credit: Vicki Watson (Instagram). 

Lewis Road Creamery – provided tubs of their spreadable butter, which we used at our bagel station, for the cheese scones, and for the breads on our graze.

Line’s Knækbrød – provided their delicious Danish crackerbread for our graze and to be in our hampers too.

Maison Therese – provided us with many of their products – you may have spotted their relishes and chutneys on our graze, plus their products were featured in almost all of our hampers.

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Photo Credit: Genie of Bunny Eats Design (Website and Instagram). 

Marcel’s Pancakes – provided us with their delicious happy pancakes and petite pancakes, available at our pancake station. We also put some of their petite pancakes in the hampers.

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Otti & Olli – Susan of Otti & Olli messaged us on Instagram saying she would like to donate a Croquembouche for our event! It was EPIC! And it tasted delicious too. The best part was that the filling was Whittaker’s dark chocolate mousse! Check it out below.

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Paneton Bakery – provided us with mini versions of their danishes, croissants and savoury delights. The best part about these products were all we had to do was cook them in the oven!

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Penati – donated boxes of their crackers which we used on our graze and in a hamper.

Petal Cupcakes – provided mini chocolate raspberry cupcakes and donated a $30 voucher for one of our hampers.

Serious Food Co – donated cute packets of their coconut and vanilla popcorn, which we displayed at our help yourself station.

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Photo Credit: Vicki Watson (Instagram). 

The Collective – provided tubs of their new dulce de leche and chai spiced pear yoghurt for our pancake station.

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Queen Anne Chocolates – donated their delicious dark chocolate raspberry marshmallow fish, which we displayed at our help yourself station.

Whittaker’s – donated a box of their creamy milk sante bars, which we displayed at our help yourself station, and these went into our hampers as well.

Zany Zeus – provided us with two tubs of their primo cream cheese, which were placed at our bagel station.

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Photo Credit: Genie of Bunny Eats Design (Website and Instagram). 

Hampers

Baron Hasselhoff’s – donated two boxes of their beautiful chocolates – was eyeing up their chocolate truffles all day!

Crafters Union Wine – donated bottles of their Rose wine!

Duck Island Ice Cream – donated single scoop ice cream vouchers.

Eau Thermale Avene – donated bags filled with a selection of their skin products, plus a beautiful silk pink eye mask came with each bag!

Fresh As – donated their freeze dried fruit powders, slices and recipe cards.

Generosity Coffee – donated two bags of their coffee beans and capsules.

Jenny’s Kitchen Tamarind Chutney – if there is one chutney you eat forever, make it Jenny’s. I have been eating their tamarind chutney for years now and it is still my favourite. Donated their chutney for our hampers.

Little Bird Organics – donated their delicious grawnola, macaroons and good cookies.

Mexico – donated a $100 Mexico voucher for one of our hampers.

Molly Woppy – donated many boxes of their yummy cookies for our hampers. We also had a bowl of their cookies at our drinks station… for people to take one after receiving their coffee/tea!

Remarkable Chocolate Co – donated their beautiful chocolate ‘bark’, Easter bunnies (my favourite ones!) and chocolate blocks.

Sacred Hill – donated two bottles of their Rose wine.

Something to Crow About – donated three packets of their delicious muesli!

Stir Your Milk – donated their latte and hot chocolate boxes and milk powders.

The Three Words – donated a beautiful bouquet of pink flowers which was part of our “Pretty In Pink” hamper. Also donated a beautiful pink cake which was raffled at the end of our brunch.

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Photo Credit: Vicki Watson (Instagram). 

Tio Pablo – donated a special hamper just for us! This was our “Mexican Fiesta” hamper which we drew at our brunch.

uyoc – donated two cute Frank Green pink keep cups.

Wendy’s NZ – donated vouchers for their new Baconator burger combos to be in our hampers!

Thank you SO much to everyone who came along and got behind the cause by attending our brunch, buying raffle tickets or donating to our Pink Ribbon Brunch page. We are so overwhelmed by your generosity! We also cannot wait to host another event!

If you would like to attend upcoming #NZBloggers and #BRUNCHCLUB events, join our Facebook group to ensure you don’t miss out. There are some great things being planned for 2019…

^ Georgie x

Matakana Village Farmers’ Market

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One of the main reasons Aucklanders’ make the trip up to Matakana is to visit the famous Matakana Village Farmers’ Market. With it being only an hour (or less) drive up, it is a great activity to do on a Saturday. My parents moved up to Matakana last year, so every few weekends I have been checking out this foodie lover’s market. 

You will find an array of foodie delights – there are many artisan producers selling their products, most of which are made locally in and around Matakana. These include: 

  • An abundance of colourful Fruits and Vegetables
  • Homemade Nut Butters including peanut, almond, cashew and dark chocolate
  • Homemade Baking and Pies
  • Handcrafted Chocolates
  • Crepes, Sausages, Whitebait Fritters and Mexican Food
  • Cheeses like blue, brie, Camembert and feta
  • Plus, locally brewed coffee and beer, olive oils, fine wines (hello feijoa!), beautiful flowers, live music, and of course, the dog sitting service which is seriously cute (you cannot bring your dogs into the market).

Tips for the market: Get there early (ideally 8am on the dot), bring enough cash (there is one ATM machine by the market but the line is always super long) and bring your own reusable carry bags.

For ease, I have listed my highlights of the Matakana Village Farmers’ Market below:

Swiss Bliss Handcrafted Chocolates

Swiss Bliss is my favourite stand at the Matakana Village Farmers’ Market… no surprises there as they sell chocolate! Owners Edith and Pascal immigrated to New Zealand from Switzerland in 2000, and they established a chocolate company shortly after. All of their chocolate is handcrafted and made in Waitoki (40 minute drive from the market).

They make this one specialty that I particularly enjoy – ‘Molten Kisses’. These divine treats have a wafer base, are topped with the fluffiest marshmallow and then completely covered in dark chocolate. They have a few flavours to choose from – original, raspberry and salted caramel.

These are my absolute favourite sweet treat – I first discovered them many years ago at Chocolate Boutique in Auckland (unfortunately they are no longer selling them) and also a foodie highlight when I found them at a supermarket in Berlin. I have not seen these anywhere else in Auckland, so I always stock up on a few when I visit the market.

If you are not into marshmallow, they also make truffles, individual chocolates, chunky chocolate slabs, chocolate fish and chocolate cigars. Around Easter time, they also make the most amazing chocolate bunnies, rabbits and gifts to give to friends and family. 

Side note: Swiss Bliss also have a shop in Waitoki which you can visit. More details here.

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Website / Facebook

Ringawera

This is my second favourite stand – Ringawera. You may recognise the name as co-owner, Patrick Griffiths, originally ran Ringawera Bakery on Waiheke Island, where he lived for the past 18 years. The shop closed two years ago as Patrick was looking for a new challenge, and thus, early 2018, he opened Ringawera Cafe in Matakana – next to Morris and James art gallery. 

In October last year, Patrick started selling his freshly baked breads at the Matakana Village Farmers’ Market. Look out for the rows and rows of pastries, croissants, beautiful breads, and baskets of baguettes as you enter the market – they are the first stall on the left. It is definitely the most well-presented stand in my opinion! His ciabatta and sourdough are my favourite breads to purchase at the market. 

Side note: Patrick has also opened Ringawera Bakery on Matakana Valley Road, just above the Matakana Village Farmers’ Market All of his breads are baked onsite, from scratch and use quality ingredients. The smell is heavenly when you walk into his shop. You will find all of their freshly baked breads – sourdough, ciabatta (try the mini rolls!), foccacia and mixed grain loaves, plus piping hot Ozone Coffee, pastries, croissants, brioche and generously filled sandwiches to go. They also make some of the best hot cross buns!

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Instagram 

Ringawera Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Matakana Nut Butters

At the Matakana Nut Butters stand, you will find the most delicious nut butters, all made nearby in Whangapiro Valley. Owner, Josie, is at the market every Saturday, and is super friendly and welcoming. It is one of the main reasons why we keep coming back to buy her peanut butter (after the taste of course). 

The best thing about Josie’s nut butters is that they are 100% nuts with nothing else added except sea salt, Manuka honey or dark chocolate. So far, we have been loving her smooth and crunchy peanut butters, but also recently bought their almond butter, which I used in a recent recipe here on the blog… Choc-Almond Slice. Yum!

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Website / Instagram 

Matakana Coffee Roasters

Head to ‘The Love Shack’ aka Matakana Coffee Roasters to get your coffee fix upon entering the Matakana Village Farmers’ Market! This is a local business who have been operating for over 15 years, and their coffee is delicious. They also make many coffees for the stallholders which is super cool! Their coffee is also available for purchase (love their plunger), and you can also buy it at selected New World supermarkets. 

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Website / Instagram 


Manāki
Whitebait Fritters

Manāki (meaning to look after, care for, show respect or kindness to in Maori) are the world’s first sustainable producer of fresh New Zealand whitebait. I have only tried whitebait once – at Soul Bar & Bistro a few years ago, so was very excited to check out Manāki Whitebait’s fritter stand at the Matakana Village Farmers’ Market a few weekends’ ago.

We arrived just before 8am, so were the first in line – YAY! The whitebait fritter itself was dreamy – it is a whisked mix of eggs, whitebait and salt and pepper, served on a slice of Ringawera bread, with a squeeze of lemon. Simple, yet delicious. 

I recommend making this your first stop at the Matakana Village Farmers’ Market, because upon receiving my whitebait fritter, there were already about 20 people waiting! I spoke to a man from Orewa who drives to the market every Saturday, so he and his wife can have a whitebait fritter for breakfast – sounds like a great idea! Highly recommend. 

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Website / Instagram / Facebook

Dutch Touch Produce

Head to this stand for the beautiful and abundant vegetables – namely the capsicums, which are usually 3 for $5 – these are WAY larger than the supermarket ones and you know EXACTLY where they are grown. Also love their bright orange mandarins!

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Facebook

Whangateu Roses

Another beautiful stand, selling only one thing – ROSES. Beautiful roses in all different colours. These sell out fast, so head there second (after the Manāki Whitebait’s fritter stand) to pick up a few bunches – perfect for the home or as gifts for friends. 

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Facebook


Bon Appétit Crêperie

French crepes made by Brazilians. They use local produce, free range and organic ingredients. I have only tried one crepe so far (planning to try them all!) being the ‘Super Foodie’ It is a buckwheat, potato, corn and flaxseed crepe, filled with banana, maple syrup, walnuts and seasonal fruit salad. It is gluten and dairy free and SO good! They also serve a range of sweet and savoury crepes, from the classic lemon and sugar to banana, chocolate and cream! YUM.   

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Instagram 

I Love Pies

You may already know about the brand I Love Food Co. – they make the yummy Love Pies and sausage rolls, plus the I Love Baking Cookies. Check out my Lemon Meringue Pie here which uses their gluten free pastry!

All of their pies and sausage rolls are made with their homemade light and delicate sour cream pastry, which uses sour cream and New Zealand butter – no palm oil in sight! My all time favourite pie is their Free Range Butter Chicken, with their Spiced Chickpea & Spinach (a new vegan pie) coming in at a close second!

As well as selling their pies across the country, they also have a permanent stall at the Matakana Village Farmers’ Market, where you can buy their pies and sausage rolls. 

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— NEW VEGAN PIES💥 The team behind I Love Food Co (who make scrumptious sweet and savoury pies, sausage rolls and baked goods) have just launched their new Vegan Pies!🌿 The range uses pastry made from coconut oil and @angel.foodnz dairy free Cheddar. Two delicious pie flavours are available: 💥Spiced Chickpea & Spinach 💥 Lentil Mince & Cheese Dinner last night was the Spiced Chickpea & Spinach Pie, made with beautiful fillings and is super tasty🧡 Also couldn’t taste the difference with the dairy-free cheese! ✅✅✅ @ilovefoodco • • • #ILoveFoodCo #Pie #Vegan #Yum #Food #Gifted #Georgieats #VeganFood #VegansOfIG #VeganEats #NomNom #NZEats #AucklandEats #NZFood #Eats #HealthyFood #Delicious #Eeeeeats #NZBlogger #AucklandFoodie #GirlsWhoEat #FoodBlogger #NZBloggers #Auckland #NewZealand

A post shared by GEORGIE 🌸 Auckland Foodie (@_georgieats_) on

Website / Instagram / Facebook

The Farmer’s Daughter

Located just before Omaha, this cafe serves delicious coffee and Jewish baked goods. Last year, they also started a stall at the Matakana Village Farmers’ Market, where they sell their homemade breads, rugelach (Jewish pastries), almond croissants and other goodies. I am a huge fan of their cinnamon buns, almond croissants and rugelach – perfect with your morning coffee at the market! 

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Instagram / Facebook 

Matakana Dog Minding

Technically not a food stand, but definitely one of the highlights at Matakana Village Farmers’ Market. You cannot bring your dogs into the market, however, for a gold coin donation, you can leave them outside the market at the doggy day care. So, while you are shopping at the market, your beloved dog will be getting love and attention!

If you currently don’t have a dog (like me), you are still welcome to pat the dogs while you are there. Bonus!

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Matakana Square, 2 Matakana Valley Road / Every Saturday 8am-1pm
Website / Instagram / Facebook


Hope you enjoyed my post – stay tuned for more Matakana posts coming soon! x

 

Kiwi Lime Meringue Pie

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Following on from my Gluten Free Lemon Meringue Pie, over the long weekend I decided to make something similar – introducing my Kiwi Lime Meringue Pie!

This is my version of the American classic Key Lime Pie. Since we don’t have Key Limes in New Zealand, I have used some homegrown Matakana limes. If you are a citrus lover, then you will love this pie!

The pie has a sweet biscuit base, topped with a tart lime filling, and finished with toasted meringue and lime zest.

Hope you enjoy making my Kiwi Lime Meringue Pie – it tastes heavenly. Adapted slightly from these recipes here and here

Kiwi Lime Meringue Pie

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Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups malt or graham-cracker crumbs, broken into pieces
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

For the Filling:

  • 1 tin (400g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 large limes)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest, plus more for garnish (about 4 large limes)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used Heilala)
  • 4 large egg yolks

For the Meringue Topping:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar

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What You Need:

  • Pie Dish or Tin
  • Either a food processor or a large snaplock bag and rolling pin
  • Greaseproof Paper
  • Scales
  • Juicer
  • Small Pot and Whisk
  • Your favourite Mixer (I love KitchenAid) or Beaters and Large Bowl
  • Piping Bags (if you want to pipe the meringue)

Method:

1) For the Crust: Preheat oven to 190°C fan bake and grease your favourite pie dish.

2) Combine graham-crackers, butter and sugar in a food processor and whizz until a crumble.  Press into your pie dish and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to completely cool. 

3) For the Filling: Lower the oven heat to 150°C.   In a medium bowl, whisk together condensed milk, egg yolks, lime juice and lime zest.  Pour this into the cooled crust and bake for 30 minutes. Cool pie to room temperature.

4) For the Meringue: Add egg whites into a medium mixing bowl.  Whisk until they form stiff peaks.  Add in the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well and at a high speed between each addition, until the mixture is glossy and firm.  Transfer the meringue into a piping bag and pipe the meringue on top of the pie.

5) Bake pie for around 10 minutes at 200°C until lightly browned – keep a close eye on it!

6) Sprinkle pie with freshly grated lime zest. Serve and enjoy!

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Duck Island Ice Cream – Ponsonby

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DUCK ISLAND ICE CREAM HAS OFFICIALLY OPENED IN AUCKLAND. 

When I found out that Duck Island Ice Cream were planning to open a branch in Auckland (their original store is in Hamilton), I was head over heels!!! And then finding out that the store would be located on Ponsonby Road, literally a five minute walk from my flat… well I was jumping with joy all over the place!

I first tried Duck Island Ice Cream at the end of 2017 when they featured at Taste of Auckland. Since then, a few friends and I have taken a roadie down to Hamilton, mainly to have brunch with a few bloggers and of course, to check out Duck Island’s original store too. I tried their Hot Cross Bun and Custard Square flavours, which tasted exactly like the real thing. 

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Cherry & Coconut / Peanut Butter / Peppermint


At last year’s Taste of Auckland, Duck Island featured again – I attended Taste three times, so this meant trying Duck Island three times – six scoops in total, including:

  • Salted Chocolate Brownie – a winner in my books!
  • Passionfruit Coconut
  • Strawberry & Beetroot Sorbet
  • Coconut Caramel Sesame Praline with Peanuts – another winner!
  • Peppermint
  • Ambrosia… complete with marshmallows and jelly!

I visited a few weeks ago with my friend and fellow foodie, Thea, and we both really enjoyed the experience. Their new store on Ponsonby Road is definitely my cup of tea – with dreamy pastel pink walls, a pink mosaic tiled bench top, pink containers stacked with waffle cones, cacti🌵 (instant love) and the many colourful ice creams on display.
THIS IS WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF. 

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Duck Island offer 24 delicious ice cream flavours, with five options for ordering, including: 

  • Single for $6 – 1 to 2 flavours
  • Double for $8 – 2 to 3 flavours
  • Triple for $9.50 – 3 to 4 flavours
  • Flight for $12 – 8 small scoops of your choice + water
  • Tidler for $4 – 1 flavour

They also offer a range of toppings to enhance your ice cream experience, including: Sherbet, Sprinkles, Whipped Cream, Frosted Peanuts, Vegan Rocky Road (all 50c each) and sauces such as Salty Caramel, Chocolate Fudge and Vegan Chocolate (all $1 each). 

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I ordered 3 scoops for $8 (steal!) and loved the following flavours: 
💫 Toasted Marshmallow
💫 Caramel Sesame Chocolate Peanuts
💫 Passionfruit Coconut – current favourite!

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You can also purchase sundaes, floats, sodas and milkshakes. Plus, ice cream ‘tacos’ and tubs of the good stuff to take home too!

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Ice cream aside, service was super friendly and welcoming, plus there is plenty of seating outside, so bring your family and friends – you will not regret it!!!

Duck Island Ice Cream
182 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby / Instagram / Facebook

Duck Island Ice Cream Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ozone Coffee Roasters

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About a month ago, a few foodies and I went along to the opening of Ozone Coffee Roasters in Grey Lynn, where we sampled some of their menu dishes and got to know more about their brand. At the opening, I came across a long table at the back of the eatery and thought “this would be perfect for the #NZBLOGGERS #BRUNCHCLUB!”

So, a few weekends’ ago, I hosted my first #NZBloggers #BRUNCHCLUB at Ozone Coffee! There were about 20 bloggers in total, and it was lovely to welcome some new faces along, as well as catch up with old friends.

Ozone Coffee has been roasting coffee and building relationships in New Plymouth, London and beyond for the past 20 years. Ozone’s latest venture in Grey Lynn is an all-day eatery, with seating for 100, complete with an open kitchen, and a dedicated coffee bar, with many brews on offer and their beans are roasted on-site – make sure you take a peek at the back to see all the action!

The space is beautifully designed, with high ceilings, booth seating, and its industrial style features create a warm and hospitable feel… great for the ‘gram!

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Everyone agreed that Ozone’s menu is innovative and there is something for everyone, with allergies and intolerances well catered for. Their menu showcases sustainably sourced and seasonal fare, with dishes such as the Lamb Burger with hand-cut chips, Seeded granola with Hawke’s Bay stone-fruit and Velda’s 3-Cheese Italian Pancake. Check out their brunch menu here.

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Here are some of the dishes we enjoyed:

Eggs Benedict on bubble ’n’ squeak cakes with hollandaise and bacon
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Smoked Kawahai on Rye bread with karengo chili jam, fried egg, cucumber and herbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Velda’s 3-Cheese Pancake with poached egg, silverbeet, peach chutney and creme fraiche

 

 

 

 

 

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The first @NZBloggers brunch club of the year. 🎉🎉🎉 We checked out the fairly new Ozone Coffee Roasters in Grey Lynn and it was PUMPING. What a great turnout! Babies, a pup and lots of lovely bloggers. Great to catch up with bloggers I’ve met before and met some new faces too. Love these meet-ups where everyone understands that the camera eats first. 🤣 I had Velda’s 3-cheese Italian pancake with poachie, silverbeet, killer peach chutney and house made creme fraiche. Vegetarian and naturally gluten free. This was absolutely delicious. 🤤🤤🤤 If you’re a blogger, even a micro-blogger here in Instagram, check out @NZBloggers, an awesome community of cool cats. 👌👌👌 Thanks for having us @ozonecoffeenz 😍😍😍 @_georgieats_ @lifewithlaura.co.nz @lenatalks @islandgirlblogger @bri.dimattina @therestlessempire @onceuponanegg @eatitauckland @twelvebelles @_sweetfoodielife @food2belly @inmaemaeskitchen @myblogtoinspire @theaexplores @thattrip_e_urbanlife

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Smoked cheddar fry-bread with avocado, poached egg and fermented chilli yoghurt

 

 

 

 

 

 


Lamb Burger with black olive mayo, cheddar, spiced peach chutney and hand-cut chips
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NB. I also had brunch at Ozone Coffee the previous week and ordered their Veggie Brekkie with poached eggs on seeded sourdough, dry cured bacon, chewy roast tomatoes, kimchi greens, halloumi and hash brown, which was super yummy!

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Bonus – Ozone Coffee is dog friendly, meaning you can dine while sitting next to your dog. Highlight of the day was seeing Daisy, a very cute dog who joined us for brunch! Thank you to Becs (Once Upon an Egg) for bringing her!

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Photo Credit: Bri DiMattina

It was a great morning out – delicious food, decor and most importantly, the lovely company! A huge thank you to Ozone Coffee for their hospitality!

Check out the blogs and social pages of those who came along:

Ash of That Trip-E Urbanlife
Website / YouTubeInstagram

Angela of A Style Collector
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Bec of Once Upon An Egg
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Belle of Twelve Belles
Website / Instagram

Bri of Bri DiMattina
FacebookInstagram

Danielle of The Restless Empire
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Emily of Food2Belly
Instagram

Evo of Island Girl Blogger
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Genie of Bunny Eats Design
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Georgie of Georgieats
WebsiteInstagram / Facebook

Laura of Life with Laura
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Lena of Lena Talks
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Enna of May and Enna
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Maggie of Sunday Dreams
Instagram 

May-Leigh of Eat It Auckland
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Niki of Sweet Foodie Life
Instagram

Thea of On Her Plate
Website / Instagram

Vaishali of My Blog to Inspire
Instagram / Facebook

If you are looking for a relaxed place to talk about blogging or are interested in starting a blog, and would like to attend upcoming #NZBloggers and #BRUNCHCLUB events, join the Facebook group to ensure you don’t miss out. There are some great things being planned for the rest of 2019… hope to see you there!

Address: 18 Westmoreland Street West, Grey Lynn
Socials: 
Instagram / Facebook / All Day Brunch Menu

Ozone Coffee Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato