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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

My Favourite NZ Content Creators

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[Me at Egg Shop in Brooklyn, New York, holidaying with my friend Christina]

Around five years ago, I started this Blog and my Instagram georgieats as a creative outlet to share all my favourite eateries in Auckland and beyond, my travel adventures and the odd baking recipe. Trying out new cafes and restaurants is my favourite hobby and I am always on the hunt for the latest and exciting thing in Auckland.

Since then, I have also been writing reviews on Yelp and Zomato and attended some very fun events. Meeting people through these two platforms has been a highlight and I still keep in touch with some of them today.

Last year, I became an admin for NZBloggers, a group encouraging, supporting and enabling networking for bloggers and influencers in New Zealand. NZBloggers actually began in 2014, so pretty cool that it has been running for almost five years! I have helped organise and host their monthly Brunch Club events (like here and here and here), plus a few of us put on a very successful and fabulous Pink Ribbon Brunch last May. 

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The thing I love most about the Brunch Club and organised events is meeting people whom you follow on social media, but otherwise would not get the chance to meet. I have met many people over the last few years, and some of these people have become close friends!

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After a successful year of keeping the #BrunchClubNZ tradition alive and also our announcement at our Xmas Soiree event, we have decided to turn over a new leaf for NZBloggers, by changing our brand. 

WELCOME TO…

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While we will continue to support all of New Zealand’s Bloggers, we also want to support and enable networking for ALL of New Zealand’s Content Creators. Whether you are on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, are an Artist or a Business Owner etc. We Want to Support YOU! Everyone is welcome to join our group!

We will continue to run our monthly Brunch Club events, and plan to host other events throughout the year. 

Check out the new social media pages for NZContentCollective:
Website / Instagram / Facebook Group – Please Join!

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In the meantime, I thought it was high time I featured some of my Favourite Content Creators from around New Zealand, whose accounts I love to check out weekly. Hope you enjoy reading about those featured below and click on the links featured… share the love! x

Bunny Eats Design

Who: Genie
What: Freelance Superstar / Blogger / Foodie / Graphic Designer

Location: Auckland

There’s no doubt about it, Bunny Eats Design is my favourite New Zealand Blogger of all time. In fact, Genie’s was the first blog I followed when I started my own blog and one of my sources of inspiration. She is also one of my favourite food photographers and if you check out her website below, you will see why. A few years ago, I met Genie and we have been friends ever since! 

Instagram / Bunny GramBlog

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Baker Gatherer

Who: Dane
What: Sweet Toothed Recipe Maker / Blogger / Foodie / Teacher

Location: Hamilton

My favourite thing about Dane’s Blog and Instagram, Baker Gatherer, is that they are both so aesthetically pleasing – I admit I love to look at both several times during the week! Dane loves to bake and has a major sweet tooth so that resonates well with me. Check out his recipes below!

Instagram / Blog

Favourite Post

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Relish The Memory

Who: Kate
What: Food Writer / Gastronomic Traveller / Foodie
Location: Auckland

I am a HUGE fan of Kate’s Instagram page, Relish The Memory. It is one account which I check out daily, especially when Kate is on holiday overseas – I like to screenshot all the cafes, restaurants and foods she is trying so I can follow in her footsteps!

Kate has degree in Human Nutrition, so life does revolve around food, and she is also a food writer, plus is part of the Metro Cheap Eats judging panel. If you are looking for a mix of travel, food discoveries and kitchen creations, then head to Kate’s Instagram stat!

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Favourite Post

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No Filter Mum

Who: Lisa
What: Girl Boss / Blogger
Location: Auckland

I have had the pleasure of meeting Lisa at a few events, and my favourite thing about her and her Blog and Instagram, No Filter Mum, is that she is the most real and honest person you will ever meet – both online and offline.

Lisa also runs her own business, No Filter Co, where she sells very cool inappropriate greeting cards, mugs, prints and custom art too. Thanks to Lisa, I have an affiliate code just for you! Use “georgieats” for 10% off your next purchase at No Filter Co

Instagram / Blog

Favourite Post

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The Forest Cantina

Who: Unna (Pronounced Ah-na)
What: Cookbook Author / Stylist / Photographer
Location: Wellington

Like Baker Gatherer’s Blog and Instagram (see above), I also love to check out Unna’s Blog and Instagram, The Forest Cantina, at least once a week! Both are so aesthetically pleasing, and I dig her style… especially when she comes up with a new recipe or is doing renovations!

I also love Unna’s kitchen and the fact that she shared details and photos of the renovations, read more about that hereUnna has also done a few travel posts – my favourites being about Vietnam and Singapore, as I visited these two places last year. 

Instagram / Blog

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Tasty Twins

Who: Sophie and Emily
What: Recipe Creators / Food & Fitness Lovers / Students
Location: Dunedin

Tasty Twins are true to their name, being run by twins, Sophie and Emily, who post the tastiest looking food! I love their quick and simple dishes, plus their baking always looks mouthwatering.

Also love watching their Instagram stories, where they post ‘What We Eat in a Day’ – a good chance to get some inspiration for your meals! [Secretly hoping they start a blog featuring all their favourite recipes and meal plans…🙌🏼]

Instagram

Favourite Post

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On Her Plate

Who: Thea
What: Recipe Creator / Foodie / Designer
Location: Auckland

I met Thea a number of years ago through mutual friends and we have been friends ever since! During that time, Thea started her own blog, On Her Plate, sharing delicious, simple and affordable recipes. My favourites include her Low Fodmap Saagwala, Raspberry Custard Tarts and Peanut Butter Jelly Slice. YUM!

Thea has also since released her own e-book, namely ‘at the table‘, featuring a collection of her favourite recipes. Can confirm everything looks delicious! Check it out here.

Instagram / Blog

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The Style Aesthetic

Who: Jules
What: Stylist / Event Party Hirer / Blogger / Recipe Creator
Location: Auckland

I recently discovered The Style Aesthetic on Instagram a few months’ ago, and I am so glad I did! Run by Jules, she posts everything from recipe creations, to what she is wearing, to something new she has bought or received. Even though her account is not 100% food, I do enjoy the range of content she publishes. 

Occasionally, I will not watch Instagram stories as they are quite repetitive, but I enjoy watching Jules’ ones – from fast dancing with her children, to receiving deliveries, to her cooking and getting out into nature. I met Jules last year at a Mexico Tequila Tasting Event and she is lovely!

Instagram / Blog

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Eden Vegan

Who: Tess
What: Recipe Creator / Vegan Foodie / Corporate Gal
Location: Wellington

While I am not vegan, I do enjoy cooking and eating vegan food. Tess’ goal is to share how easy it is to be vegan – and that it does not have to be a difficult or expensive journey.

Judging by her Instagram page, Eden Vegan, it does look easy! I absolutely love her recipes, and her photos always look fresh and colourful. Favourites include her Tempeh Poke Bowls,Banana Pops and Cacao Banana Waffles. She also has her own e-book, namely ‘Easy Vegan Eats‘. Check it out here

Instagram / Blog

Favourite Post

READ: A Weekend in Wellington

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CassandraMyee

Who: Cass
What: Digital Content Manager / Blogger / Art Galley Assistant
Location: Auckland

Cass’ of CassandraMyeeis my favourite blogger when it comes to beauty. She posts everything from beauty talk and reviews, to tips, tricks and beauty hauls. Even though I mainly follow foodies on social media, I enjoy checking out Cass’ Blog and Instagram because I love her style, and her flatlays always look perfect!

Instagram / Blog

Favourite Post

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Evie Kemp

Who: Evie
What: Artist / Designer / Creative / Stylist 
Location: Auckland

Evie is very talented – an artist, designer and illustrator, with a love for colour and pattern, with a bit of a retro feel. I first met Evie at a tasting event at Saan a few years ago. I instantly fell in love with her style – bold, bright and colourful – something I aspire to be! She is also a really lovely person. Since then, I have been following her Blog and Instagram, Evie Kemp, which always brights up my day. Side note: I have never actually been to Evie’s house, but I fell in love with it here

Instagram / Website

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In Rhi’s Pantry

Who: Rhi
What: Freelance Recipe Creator / Photographer / Stylist / Foodie
Location: Auckland

Rhi’s Blog and Instagram, In Rhi’s Pantry, is featured in this post because I absolutely love her recipes which are wholesome and delicious! Rhi created her brand to share her love of food, and inspire people to get into the kitchen.

I especially love watching Rhi’s Instagram stories, where she does quick videos of what she is cooking and also tips and tricks along the way. She is also a great food photographer and stylist, and along with recipe creation, Rhi runs her own freelancing business…pretty awesome considering she is only 25 years old!

Instagram / Blog

Favourite Post

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Once Upon An Egg

Who: Bec
What: Recipe Creator / Foodie / Spin Instructor
Location: Auckland

I love to bake. Mainly sweet, but on occasion a few savoury treats too. One of my favourite Blog/Instagram’s is Once Upon An Egg, where Bec shares the most delicious looking baking and dessert recipes. Favourites include her Baklava, Mint Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake and Little Molten Chocolate Cakes. Check out more of her recipes below!

Bec also attends our monthly NZBloggers events, and once even hosted a spin class for a group of bloggers, followed by brunch afterwards. [Unfortunately I missed out on this event, but super interested for it to happen again! Hint hint…]

Instagram / Blog

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Fattab

Who: Tabitha
What: Foodie / Student
Location: Wellington

I love Wellington. In particular, the city’s dining scene, attractions and vibe in general. Every time I visit, super cool places have popped up everywhere and I enjoy checking them out. If you are on the hunt for some Wellington food recommendations, then look no further than Tabitha’s Fattab Instagram page. She posts everything from brunch, lunch and dinner to after work cocktails, the best coffee spots and daily food and drink deals, so you don’t have research them for yourself!

Instagram

Favourite Post

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Sapid Scoop

Who: Nathan
What: Gastronomic Critical Appraiser / Foodie / Doctor
Location: Auckland

My favourite thing about Nathan’s Sapid Scoop Instagram page is his food photography – in particular the lighting. The secret to Nathan’s photos – using a mirrorless camera. In fact, I got to hold said camera last year, when he attended our NZBloggers’ Brunch Club at Meadow. It was super cool to meet him in person and chat about his photography. 

Nathan’s Instagram posts are worth reading too – he publishes noteworthy content and talks about each dish in detail, which is really helpful when trying out a new restaurant or cafe!

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Hello Delicious

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Who: Maddy
What: Catering Superstar / Foodie
Location: Auckland

Last but not least, Hello Delicious.

I first met Maddy back in 2017 when she was working for Serious Popcorn and also had a stall at La Cigale Farmers Market in Parnell selling her muesli bowls, mini cakes and slices. Her Chocolate Caramel Slice is the best I have tasted in my life so far!

Fast forward to July 2018, Maddy went full time with her catering business, namely, Hello Delicious, where she offers a variety of morning and afternoon tea goodies, plus catering for lunches, events, bespoke cakes, and grazing tables. Can confirm her food is absolutely scrumptious, as we have ordered her food for our work morning teas!

Instagram / Website

Favourite Post

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If you are looking for a relaxed place to talk about everything related to content creation or are interested in becoming a content creator, and would like to attend upcoming NZContentCollective and Brunch Club events, follow us on Instagram to ensure you don’t miss out. 

Here are our NZContentCollective event dates for the next few months:

Saturday 1 February 2020: Meet and Greet / Picnic at Cornwall Park

Saturday 21 March 2020: Brunch Club in Hamilton [venue TBC]

Thursday 26 March 2020: Interactive Night Session i.e. Cocktail Making Event [venue TBC]

Sunday 19 April 2020: Bottomless Brunch Club [venue TBC]

Keep an eye out for our Instagram posts for all the details and hope to see you there!

Georgie x

Bottomless Brunch at Wu & You

A few weekend’s ago, #NZBloggers and I hosted our Xmas Soiree at Wu & You in Mount Eden. This was our last #BRUNCHCLUB for 2019, so we celebrated it in style!

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Wu & You are known for their exciting, dynamic and delicious Asian-Fusion dishes, and on the weekends, they offer Bottomless Bubbles and Brunch🍾🍾 Prior to the event, we loved the sound of their WFC Burger with Wu fried chicken, kaffir lime mayo, lettuce and coriander, the Five Spiced Pork Hawker Roll with hoisin and star anise glaze, Malaysian slaw, fried garlic and peanuts, and the Chili Scrambled Eggs with spicy mayo, fresh herbs, crispy shallots and toasted sourdough. YUM. Check out the rest of their menu here.

On the day, we were seated in their outdoor courtyard and had this to ourselves! We priced our tickets at $40 which included Wu & You’s Bottomless Bubbles & Brunch (usually $49), sweet treats during the event (like Sweet Little Favors Christmas cookies and Krispy Kreme doughnuts), plus a FABULOUS Goodie Bag to take home at the end. We also donated $5 of each ticket to the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

For a cool vid of our event, check it out here.

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S P A R K L E S ✨ was the THEME and there was a Prize for Best Dressed!🎉 Susan of Otti & Olli messaged us on Instagram saying she would like to donate a Gingerbread House for our event – check it out below! Congratulations to Belle for winning Best Dressed!

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For their Bottomless Bubbles & Brunch, Wu & You offer a variety of dishes, and were happy to cater for our vegan and gluten free guests. Check out Genie‘s fantastic photos below.

Here are some of the dishes we enjoyed:

Amber ordered the Green Papaya Salad with shaved coconut, tofu, peanuts, lychee, red chili and nuoc cham

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Many of us (including me) ordered the WFC Burger with Wu fried chicken, lettuce, coriander, kafir lime mayonnaise and a side of skinny fries

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Emily ordered the Beef Cheek Rendang with coriander, kaffir lime, fried curry leaves and roti

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Belle ordered the Eggs Benedict with streaky bacon, poached eggs, edamame, lemongrass, hollandaise and gluten free brioche

Laura ordered the Eggs Benedict as well, but swapped out the streaky bacon for avocado. Love the generous serving!

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Emma ordered the Chicky Bao with Wu fried chicken, lettuce and kimchi tartare. YUM!

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Tash ordered the Vegan Tofu Taco… stay tuned as this dish will be on their menu soon!

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Here are some more photos from our Brunch x

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As well as the delicious food and bottomless bubbles, all of our guests went home with a FABULOUS Goodie Bag. We cannot thank our generous sponsors enough who have been in contact with us leading up to our Xmas Soiree – we love you all, and we would not have been able to do it without you!

View this post on Instagram

Damn…it looks like I've been a very good girl this year with this goodie bag from @nzcontentcollective_ Xmas Soiree event! #blessed 🎅🎄🎁 Here's a Xmas cracker joke: What does an angry kangaroo do? Swipe to see the answer at the end! 🦘 #bottomlessbrunch for the Soiree event @wuandyou 2 hrs of free flowing mimosas, good food and festive vibes! 🥂 I had Beef Rendang. The meat was tender and rendang curry was very flavourful. Roti game could've been better tho. It needed to be thinner and more flaky. Five Spiced Pork Hawker Roll looked very insta worthy grammable!! Just look at that stack! Just want your regular white people café food for brunch? They also have eggs benny and WTF burger (fried chicken burger) Thank you @_georgieats_ @lozalock @islandgirlblogger for organising such an epic event!! 👌🙌 It was great to meet new peeps and hear about their talent and creativity! #nzbloggers #nzcontentcollective #foodreview #foodiesofauckland #aucklandfoodie #foodielife #foodbloggers #foodie #topcitybites #foodblogger #aucklandeats #foodgram #foodiesofinstagram #instafoodie #nomnom #newzealandeats #instagramfoodies #instafood #foodiegram #foodsofinstagram #foodphotography #foodies #aucklandeats #aucklandfood #eaaaats #eatingout #eatingfortheinsta #bloggersgetsocial #foodiechristmas

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A H U G E shout out to the following companies who donated their products:

Barker’s of Geraldine – donated bottles of their Raspberry Vinaigrette and Citrus & Soy Dressing

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Anathoth Farm – donated tubs of their new Smoked Tomato, Chili & Chia Seed Pickle

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Bonk Lube NZ – donated mini tubes of lube!

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Cadbury – donated blocks of Caramilk!

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Donovans Chocolate – donated their Salted Caramel and Pretzel Clusters

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eco store – generously donated both their Purifying Cleanser and Light Moisturiser

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Fix & Fogg – provided us with $3 off vouchers
Krispy Kreme – provided vouchers for one complimentary Original Glazed Doughnut at any of Krispy Kreme’s stores.
Lewis Road Creamery – provided vouchers for their Premium Ice Cream. I love their Double Mint & Dark Chocolate flavour!
Mexico – provided vouchers for one complimentary Frida’s Margarita at any of Mexico’s restaurants!
The Avo Tree – provided us with vouchers for 15% off your first box of avocados

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Farrah’s – donated their newish Chia Oats & Hemp Wraps, along with recipe cards.

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Fresh As – donated their freeze dried Lychee slices and Tropical Panna Cotta dessert sachets.

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Goodness Me – donated packets of their Crispy Rice Rounds in Seven Seeds.

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Happy Booch – I have never been a fan of kombucha, until I tried Happy Booch! They donated bottles of their vodka kombucha, in Lemon Ginger and Pineapple Mango flavours. Buy Happy Booch here.

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Honset Chocolat – provided sachets of their homemade mini marshmallows and cocoa powder.

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Lily Bee Wrap – donated their fun and eco friendly beeswax wraps!

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Little Bird Organics – donated packets of their Good Nuts range, including Cheesy Chipotle Cashews, Salty Seaweed Almonds and Banana Bread Walnuts

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Pause for Tea – donated cans of their Hibiscus & Ginger Sparkling Herbal Tea

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Rocket Kitchen – donated these cute Christmas Tree cookies

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Wild x Soda – donated three flavours of their vodka soda, including Vodka x Lime, Vodka x Berry and Vodka x Blood Orange. My favourite is the Berry!

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🌟Lastly, we made a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT at our event…🌟

After a successful year of keeping the #BRUNCHCLUB tradition alive and also running our first charity event #NZBloggers Pink Ribbon Brunch, we announced at our Xmas Soiree that we have decided to turn over a new leaf for #NZBloggers, by changing our brand. 

WELCOME TO… #NZContentCollective!

While we will continue to support all of New Zealand’s Bloggers, we also want to support and enable networking for ALL of New Zealand’s Content Creators. Whether you are on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or are an Artist or are a Business Owner etc. EVERYONE is welcome to join our group!

Admins for #NZContentCollective are Laura Lock, Evo Malifa and myself. We will continue to run our monthly #BRUNCHCLUB events, and plan to host other events throughout the year. Check out our Instagram page here, and join our Facebook group here

From left: Evo, myself, Laura and Jules

If you are looking for a relaxed place to talk about content creation or are interested in starting an Instagram, Facebook or Blog, and would like to attend upcoming #NZContentCollective and #BRUNCHCLUB events, follow us on Instagram to ensure you don’t miss out. There are some great things being planned for 2020… hope to see you there!

^ Georgie x

Wu & You
Address:
399 Mount Eden Road, Mount Eden, Auckland
Socials: Instagram / Facebook

Wu and You Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taste of Auckland 19

HEADS UP FOODIES… TASTE OF AUCKLAND IS HERE!!!

November is the most exciting month of the year, for three reasons:
1. It is my birthday month;
2. It is starting to feel like summer; and
3. Taste of Auckland has arrived – woohoo!

On Thursday night, I attended my sixth Taste of Auckland, including the VIP Opening, where Taste presented the ‘Best in Taste Awards’, judged by MARCO PIERRE WHITE (and daughter), Tony Stewart (Clooney), Chand Sahrawat (Sid at The French Cafe/Cassia) and Amanda Linnell (VIVA). The winning dish was the Beetroot Taco Pao with Pulled Sticky Pork Belly, Pickled Carrot and Crispy Shallots by Nanam.

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Jessabel Granada / Executive Chef at Nanam

Plus, a new award this year – ‘People’s Choice Award’ – judged by Nicole O’Brien, who won a VIVA competition to become the judge! Her top pick was the “Miann Hot Dog” with Chocolate Parfait, Eclair, Passionfruit and Raspberry by Miann. Read more below to see a picture!

Held over four days (31 October – 3 November), Taste of Auckland is ideal for those who love food, cooking and everything in between. In other words, it is the event for ultimate foodie heaven! Taste showcases some of Auckland’s best restaurants, all in pop up style at the festival, and each restaurant offers 3-4 dishes for you to try. Check out the restaurant menus hereTaste has their own festival currency, namely ‘Crowns’ ($1 = 1 crown). You use a Crown card to purchase food, drinks and experiences. Restaurant dishes cost between 8 and 20 crowns, while a restaurant’s ‘Icon Dish’ (limited availability) costs between 12 and 45 crowns. Crown cards are available for purchase at the entrance, and are also included in some of the ticket options. Festival glasses (used for drinks and tastings) are $5 and can be purchased onsite as well. Best part, you can keep your glass… just don’t put them in the dishwasher… they shrink! More about crowns and tickets here.

Taste of Auckland are very excited to announce that world renowned British chef (and youngest chef to receive 3 Michelin stars), MARCO PIERRE WHITE, will be at the festival for his first New Zealand public appearance! As part of your ticket, you can see Marco cook live in the SUB ZERO & WOLF Living Kitchen. Just arrive early to get a good seat!

Your ticket entry to Taste also includes trying new and existing food products from all over New Zealand and listening to live music while enjoying the sun and sea.

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Taste is being held in the same location as last year, occupying the entire space of Queen’s Wharf on the waterfront! I am in love with this seaside location, as it is more spacious, and easier to get to. You could drive, but why not walk down from work or take public transport if you can?!

Check out my highlights below at Taste of Auckland 2019 over two sessions. Enjoy!

Restaurants at Taste

There are 14 restaurants to try at Taste of Auckland this year, including: Maori Kitchen, The Shucker Brothers (Seafood), Andiamo (Modern Italian), &Sushi (Sashimi Bar), Miann Chocolate Factory (Desserts), Epicer (Modern Indian), Xoong (North-East Asian), Nanam (Filipino), Culprit. (Modern Kiwi yum cha), Low Brow. (Contemporary fast/good food), Hugo’s Bistro (good food and good conversation), Crab Shack (Seafood, with an emphasis on Crab) and Oyster & Chop (Steak and Seafood).

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Plus, Collab Kitchen, featuring five top chefs cooking in the same kitchen: Nick Honeyman (Paris Butter), Josh Barlow (ex Sugar Club), Hayden McMillan (Ex Etta, Melbourne), Lucas Parkinson (Ode, Wanaka) and Phil Clark (Phil’s Kitchen). Check out the restaurant menus here.

Here is what we ate: 

Andiamo

I have never tried Andiamo‘s food before, so I was really excited to see them pop up at Taste this year. Located in Herne Bay, Andiamo serves modern Italian-inspired cuisine, and upon reading their menu, I was interested in trying every single dish! I tried four out of their five dishes:

ICON DISH: Barbequed Prawns with Pancetta and Puttanesca Sauce
= 25 crowns

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Rigatoni, Seven-Hour Veal & Pork Bolognese with Parmigiano Reggiano
= 12 crowns

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Burrata, Roast Tomatoes and Basil
= 12 crowns

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Lamb Meatballs, Preserved Lemon, Kale and Parmesan
= 12 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

&Sushi

I was so excited to hear that &Sushi would be popping up at Taste this year, because I am a HUGE fan of their Japanese/Korean delights! They are also the festival’s first dedicated luxurious Sashimi Bar! Read more about &Sushi here. 

Thanks to &Sushi, we tried the Sashimi Bowl with King Salmon, Marinated Wild Caught Yellowfin Tuna, Avocado, Edamame, Seaweed and Flying Fish Roe
= 10 crowns

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And, some delicious Sashimi

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Collab Kitchen

IF YOU ARE GOING TO TASTE OF AUCKLAND TODAY, BUY PHIL CLARK’S LEMON MERINGUE DESSERT FROM COLLAB KITCHEN

YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT. 

Lemon Meringue, Raspberries, Lemon, Almond & Fennel with Salted Shortbread
= 13 crowns

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We also tried the Glazed Wagyu Cheek with Whisky and Coke, served with Pickled Vegetables by Josh Barlow
= 13 crowns

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The Shucker Brothers

The Shucker Brothers are back this year, serving their delicious ocean-fresh oysters (freshly shucked to order) that are sourced locally from Clevedon, Mahurangi and Waiheke’s Te Matuku. Yum!

Freshly Shucked Oysters with Lemon and Mignonette
= 12 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Nanam

Nanam have brought a unique and modern interpretation of traditional Filipino cuisine to Taste of Auckland this year! A must order is their Taco Pao (below). 

ICON DISH: Beetroot Taco Pao with Sticky Pork Belly, Pickled Carrot and Crispy Shallots
= 14 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Xoong

After winning ‘Best in Taste 2018’, XOONG are back for another year, serving North East Asian fare, with tastes inspired by Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese dishes.

Ruakaka Kingfish Sashimi with Apple, Celery and Avocado
= 10 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Low Brow.

Low Brow. are forever creating a stir on Auckland’s foodie scene with their infamous free-range fried chicken…

So, you must order some of it when you are at Taste of Auckland!

Two Organic Fried Chicken Wings (Original Spice)
AND Lowbrow Fried Hot Chicken Mini Sando
= 8 crowns / 9 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Miann

Last but not least is Miann, who are back for their second year, being the only eatery serving just desserts! I have been following Miann’s journey from the beginning and they make some outstanding desserts, plus I love their handmade chocolates and ice cream. Read more about Miann here and here.

Miann Hot Dog, Chocolate Parfait, Eclair, Passionfruit and Raspberry
= 11 crowns

How freakin’ cool is this dessert?!

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Tiramisu with Marsala and Coffee Espuma, Cacao Nib Gelato and Marsala Sponge, served in an Edible Coffee Cup!
= 14 crowns

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Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Beverages

You are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to the beverage choices at Taste, whether it be wine, spirits, beer and non-alcoholic drinks. Perfect to enjoy with your favourite restaurant dishes, or while lounging in a sun chair, listening to live music and enjoying the sunshine – bliss. Check out the beverage options available below:

BLUSH Gin

If you only have one drink at Taste of Auckland, make it a BLUSH Gin Slushy. You won’t regret it. Plus, who says no to a pink drink?!

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Wine

Sip, swirl and savour these wine options at Taste of Auckland…

  • From Malborough, No.1 Family Cuvee Estate, Yealands and O:TU Wines
  • From Auckland, Villa Maria
  • From Waiheke, Man O War
  • From Central Otago, Te Kana Estate, Mount Michael Wines and Gibbston Valley

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No1. Family Cuvee Estate

Schweppes

Debuting at Taste of Auckland, Schweppes will be showcasing its newly launched 1783 range, crafted by leading UK mixologists, with natural flavours to deliver the perfect pairing with the finest spirits.

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Aperol Spritz

It is Aperol Time! Bring a touch of Italy to your Taste of Auckland experience with Aperol Spritz and Aperitivo, Italy’s iconic take on happy hour. The perfect Aperol Spritz is made by mixing equal parts Aperol and Prosecco, with a dash of soda and wedge of orange in a wine glass full of ice. Be prepared as these are STRONG!

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Artisan Producers

I was disappointed by the lack of artisan producers this year, compared to previous years. I found there were more stands serving alcohol than food, which was a shame, because really we are coming for the food!!!

Also, many stands were not doing samples, and others were not even selling their products, which was another big shame! There were only three stands I really enjoyed:

The Lucky Taco – head here for free mini tacos! Plus, sign up to their mailing list for your chance to win The Lucky Taco at your casa!
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Green & Blacks – loads of chocolate samples – we love the Dark Salted Caramel!
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Forty Thieves – one of my favourite nut butter brands – don’t leave without trying the Salted Macadamia and Hazelnut Crunch!!!
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All the details…

Taste of Auckland
Dates Thursday 31 October to Sunday 3 November 2019
Times Friday (12pm to 4pm & 5.30pm to 9.30pm) Saturday (12pm to 4pm & 5.30pm to 9.30pm) and Sunday (12pm to 5pm)
Venue Queens Wharf, 89 Quay Street, Auckland
Tickets Available on the day or via the Taste website – GA from $25, Premium $65 and VIP from $95.
Getting there Walk from work, Uber, take a bus or train, catch a ferry, or park in the nearby Downtown Parking Building or Britomart Car Park.
Socials Website / Instagram / Facebook

This post is not sponsored, however the lovely people at Taste of Auckland, Lemongrass Productions and Sauce Shop PR provided my entry. All opinions are my own.

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:

IMG_6805Olives and Feta with almonds and dates

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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!

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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

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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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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. 

View this post on Instagram

— 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