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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

Lotus Biscoff Rocky Road

With New Zealand back in Lockdown 3.0, this means more time for baking and getting creative in the kitchen! My favourite things to bake are cookies, brownies, slices and more recently, rocky road.

The world-famous Lotus Biscoff has finally landed in New Zealand (available in New World and Pak’nSave supermarkets) and I was recently sent some of their biscuits and spread to try… very exciting!!! (ad/gifted).

Lotus Biscoff will take your coffee experience to a whole new level, with its unique flavour (using an original recipe created in 1932, and baked in Lembeke, Belgium), crunchy bite and iconic shape. Their biscuits and spread taste like caramel gingerbread… the perfect excuse to use in baking!

While I had plans to make Biscoff Stuffed Cookies, I settled on Rocky Road instead. This delicious and decadent recipe only has five ingredients – Lotus Biscoff Spread and Biscuits, Butter, Nestle Milkybar Gold Chocolate (similar to Caramilk) and Marshmallows – these cuties were purchased from Japan Mart.

Recipe below – enjoy!

How cute are these marshmallows?!

Lotus Biscoff Rocky Road

Ingredients

  • 3 x 170g blocks Nestle Milkybar Gold, chopped
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 125g Lotus Biscoff Spread
  • 100-200g Mini Marshmallows (totally up to you!)
  • 250g packet of Lotus Biscuits, chopped

Method

1) Line a square 20cm baking tin with baking paper and set aside.

2) In a large bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, stir until smooth.

3) In a separate bowl, melt the Biscoff Spread in the microwave for 30 seconds or until runny. Add to the melted chocolate mix and stir.

4) Once combined, add the marshmallows and chopped Lotus Biscuits and fold together. Pour into the baking tin and spread evenly. Refrigerate overnight to set.

5) The next morning, cut up into squares, serve, eat and enjoy!

Store in the fridge.

For more Recipes, click here.

The Auckland Food Show 2021

calling all food lovers!

THE AUCKLAND FOOD SHOW IS HERE!!!

Food Show Haul and featured

Held at the Auckland Showgrounds over four days (Thursday 29 to Sunday 1 August 2021), The Auckland Food Show showcases the best in food, drink and kitchen equipment from product owners around the country.

There is so much to sample and buy at The Food Show, plus you get the opportunity to meet and talk with the owners behind all your favourite brands, and sample new and existing food and drink products. There are also fabulous specials on the products – see below for my favourites!

Ticket entry (purchase here) also includes cooking demonstrations by some of your favourite culinary stars at the Cooking Theatre! There will be 19 sessions over the four days, featuring Samir Allen (of Gemmayze St, one of my favourite restaurants), Michael Van de Elzen, Josh Emett, Two Raw Sisters, and many more. Check out the timetable here.

Mazda Food Show Shuttle

The Food Show and Mazda have partnered to bring you the Mazda Food Show Shuttle! Simply head to the designated pick-up point to be kindly delivered to one of five drop-off points closest to your car, for an optional gold coin donation to Auckland City Mission. More details here.

THURSDAY – PREVIEW DAY 2021

This year, I was invited along to a VIP breakfast on the Preview Day, held at the venue before the show started (ad/gifted experience). We enjoyed coffee, breakfast foods (highlights were the Pure Delish granola and yoghurt, and Marcel’s blini with Aoraki Salmon). At lunch, we had a glass of Selaks sparkling wine, and also tried Waitoa Beer, along with a range of lunch dishes to choose from. Special mention to the gluten free brownie! At the end, we took home a wonderful goodie bag.

Check out my favourite stands and show specials below, and of course, all the foodie photos!

Favourite Stands (A-Z) + Show Specials:

Aoraki Salmon

Discovered Aoraki at The Food Show last year and have been in love ever since! Freshwater king salmon from Aoraki / Mount Cook and tastes heavenly. Highly recommend their hot smoked salmon. They also have a great show special!

Show Special: $12 hot smoked salmon (or 2 for $20), $8 cold smoked salmon 100g (or 2 for $14), $14 cold smoked salmon 200g (or 2 for $24)
RRP: $16 hot smoked salmon, $10 cold smoked salmon 100g, $17 cold smoked salmon 200g

Website / Instagram

Bach Brewing

Bach Brewing started as a passion for better tasting beer and longer weekends. My favourite of their beers is the Watermelon Wheathead wheat beer! Also love their EPIC can art, especially on their ‘Beyond the Clouds’ can.

Website / Instagram

Beach Booch

Aotearoa’s premier hard kombucha. Three refreshing flavours, including Ocean Booch (Peach & Chilli – reminded me of a chilli margarita), 90 Mile Booch (Grapefruit & Ginger) and Raglan Booch (Berry Lemon Sage).

Show Special: 3 cans for $15, 6 cans for $28
RRP: $5.49 per can [exclusive to Farro]

Website / Instagram

Behemoth Brewing

One of my favourite breweries in NZ!!! Head to Behemoth to sample some of their delicious beers – my forever favourite is their Freedom Waffles Cream Ale.

  • Also, visit their stand and go in the draw to win a Prime Cut Night Experience at Churly’s valued at $300!

Website / Instagram

Chatham Island Food Co

Chatham Island Food Co is a small, locally-owned business located on the remote Chatham Islands. They produce premium seafood (crayfish, paua, Kina and more) and deliver direct to your door. Head to their stand where Geoff and his daughter Emma are cooking their beautiful Blue Cod. They are not selling their seafood at the Food Show, but you can purchase it here.

Website / Instagram

Geoff and Emma

Countdown Fresh Market

If you love fresh fruit and vegetables, then definitely check out this zone. Meet the growers behind all the fruit and vegetables sold at Countdown, including: AS Wilcox Inca Gold Potatoes, FreshWest capsicums, Kaipara Kumara, King Avocado, and Turners and Growers – all with delicious tastings! Highlights included the orange capsicums, broccolini and Envy apples.

Culley’s

Was a bit disappointed with the Culley’s stand as they were only selling two of their sauces – Picklenaise and a BBQ one. However, their Picklenaise is my favourite sauce so was happy to buy two for such a great price!

Show Special: 2 sauces for $5
RRP: $5.50 each

Website / Instagram

Dish Magazine

Dish, an excellent foodie magazine, have a subscription show special ($40 for six issues), which comes with a bottle of wine and a wonderful goodie bag. A must at the Food Show!

Website / Instagram

Sarah Tuck, editor of Dish Magazine

Elysian Foods

Elysian Foods is a small, family run business based in Wellington, producing Mediterranean dips and delights! Have tried all of their products – my favourites are their Elaiasalata (creamy olive dip), Tzatziki (yoghurt dip) and range of olives.

Show Special: $11.50 for 2 dips, $18 for 3 dips
RRP: Elaiasalata $7.49, Tzatziki $5.99

Website / Instagram

Farrah’s

Farrah’s is one of my all time favourite New Zealand brands. I regularly use their Mexican meal kits which are SO delicious. They have the best tastings at The Food Show – mini tacos with all the added extras, and a great show special too!

Show Special: $2 Spice Mixes (or 3 for $5), $5 Meal Kits (or 3 for $12)
RRP: $5.50 Meal Kits (on special), $2.50 Spice Mixes

Website / Instagram

Fix & Fogg

My all time favourite F&F product is their Maple Cashew Nut Butter, but now in love with their Granola Butter which has a great chunk.

Show Special: 2 for $10 (originals, everything butter, Granola butter)
RRP: $7-9 for nut butters

Website / Instagram

Fling Cocktails

An exciting discovery at this year’s Food Show – think ready to pour cocktails… loved their Espresso Martini!

Show Special: $18 for 4pk (any flavour), $15 sample pack (4 flavours)
RRP: $22 for 4pk Espresso Martini

Website / Instagram

Fresh As

They make freeze dried fruit, slices and powders. My favourites are their raspberries which I sprinkle on cakes or add in brownies. Tastings include trifle and mini cupcakes.

Show Special: $5 for fruit and icing, 5 fruit for $10
RRP: $10.49 for slices, chunks and powders

Website / Instagram

Havana Coffee Works

Head here for a baby flat white or long black for free! Also selling their delish beans and plunger coffee.

Special: 1 for $8, 2 for $15 (includes Levante)
RRP: $7.50 for plunger/beans/espresso, $10.50 Levante coffee

Website / Instagram

Jenny’s Kitchen Tamarind Chutney

One of my favourite NZ products and the most divine chutney you will ever eat. I love spreading it on pizza, adding it to my meals or just eating it out of the jar. This is a must try at the show!

Show Special: $12 per jar, or 2 jars for $20
RRP: $14 per jar

Website / Instagram

Marcel’s

Delicious homemade gluten free crepes, hot cakes and blini. These are so convenient as all you have to do is re-heat and then add your toppings! I like maple syrup, caramel sauce and whipped cream.

Show Special: $4.50 Crepes, $3.50 Happy Pancakes
RRP: $6.50 Crepes, $3.90 Happy Pancakes

Website / Instagram

Aoraki Salmon on Marcel’s Blinis

Pic’s Peanut Butter

The OG of peanut butter.

Show Specials: 2 jars for $10, $15 1kg tub
RRP: $5.80 380g jar, $17 1kg tub

Website / Instagram

My Mum with a GIANT Pics!

Proper Crisps

My favourite chips!!! I am obsessed with their Pineapple & Jalapeño Tortilla Chips – they are so so good.

Show special: An EPIC one! 6 bags for $20, plus receive a free tote bag
RRP: $4.50 crisps, $4.20 tortilla chips

Website / Instagram

Pure Delish

Super delicious mueslis and granolas (new ones below!), packed with all the good stuff!

Show special: $12 granola (or 3 for $30), from $15 mueslis and grain-ola
RRP: $16-18 muesli/granola, $18 grain-ola

Website / Instagram

Rutherford and Meyer

Range of wafers, crackers and fruit pastes using 100% natural ingredients.

Show Special: 3 for $10 Cracker Bites, 3 for $15 Fruit Pastes
RRP: Cracker Bites $4, Fruit Paste $6

Website / Instagram

Soochi

Soochi is a collagen and prebiotics soda infused with intelligent, supercharged ingredients to unlock glowing skin and a healthy gut. Yum!

Show Special: $5 per can
RRP: $5.50 per can

Website / Instagram

Whole Harry

H E L L O Maple Syrup!!! Theirs is 100% organic certified maple and sourced from 3,000 family farms across Vermont in USA and Canada.

Show Special: $10 for maple syrup
RRP: $11.25 for maple syrup (on their website), $14 in New World

Website / Instagram

If you have any questions about the products, feel free to ask! If you are heading to the show this weekend, have a fabulous time!

Georgie x

5 Reasons Why I Love Hello Beasty

If you haven’t been to Hello Beasty yet, then you are seriously missing out! I must admit, I’m very late to the party, but thanks to my boyfriend’s love for the restaurant, we had a date night here recently… it was everything I imagined and more. Here are five reasons why I love Hello Beasty and why you should visit pronto!

1. The Service, Ambience and Layout.

From the moment we walked in, service was welcoming and friendly, not to mention, excellent throughout the night, with the usual things I look out for – drinks and food arriving promptly, water glasses topped up regularly, and wait staff attentive and always on hand to explain the dishes and make suggestions. Kudos to Emma Rogan, co-owner (along with award-winning chef and husband, Stu Rogan) who was running front of house the night we were there – she was friendly, professional and lovely to chat with.

We were seated in Hello Beasty’s open-air courtyard overlooking Market Square – the best spot in my opinion and great for people watching too! Loved the indoor/outdoor flow, with a large open kitchen and the opportunity to sit at the bar for drinks and/or for a solo dinner. The restaurant was buzzing from the moment we arrived (even though it was early-ish) and for the entire time we were there.

Image Credit: Material Creative

2. This One Cocktail.

While the food was outstanding (more below), there was this one cocktail that immediately caught my eye when perusing the menu. Introducing… Heart + Seoul. The cocktail is made with Hwayo Soju 25% (a Korean spirit I am fond of), vanilla and rhubarb shrub, lemon and egg white foam. It was a delicious cocktail, with a lovely sweet/sour combination, and hints of marshmallow. It reminded me of childhood when you were free to do anything… and get away with it!

3. The Mouthwatering Food.

Hello Beasty’s menu brings together fantastic New Zealand produce and takes inspiration from the cuisines of Korea, Japan and China. Dishes are designed to be shared and feature Snacks, Raw + Cold Cuts, Potstickers + Buns, Small Plates, Bigger Plates, Hibachi, Extras and Desserts.

Below is what we ordered on the night, and all come highly recommended:

Fresh NZ Oysters – shucked to order and served with fresh wasabi and pickled ginger. Let me tell you, oysters and fresh wasabi is a game changer!

Steamed Nikuman Pork Hock Buns – these reminded me of pan-fried mini Baos, served piping hot (beware!) with Japanese black vinegar and chili jam to dip in to your heart’s content.

Katsu Sando – think crumbed chicken breast, shredded white cabbage, kewpie mayo and tonkatsu sauce in a toasted soft milk bun. Mmm… My partner said they used to serve a Crumbed Pork Loin Sando which was his favourite dish on their menu. While he said this one wasn’t as good, I thought it was still tasty nonetheless!

KFC Korean Fried CauliflowerFOODIE HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT. There’s something about gochujang that just makes everything taste better. Hello Beasty’s Korean Fried Cauliflower is very moreish (perfect batter and crisp) and I would happily order it over Fried Chicken any day. Big tick for the spicy gochujang glaze and roasted sesame seeds. YUM.

Karaage Chicken – Possibly the crispiest Karaage chicken I have ever had, perfectly tender and seasoned. On my second visit to Hello Beasty, a friend and I had their Karaage Chicken and Heart + Soul cocktail for afternoon tea – ideal situation. Served with a flavourful red dragon sauce.

Wild Caught Australian King Prawns – cooked on the Hibachi grill and served with garlic and kombu butter (amazing) and prawn oil.

Spring Onion Flatbread – served with green koji, BUT better mopped up with the garlic and kombu butter accompanying the prawns. Heavenly.

Sadly, no room for dessert. However, I am currently eyeing up the ~Kkwabaegi~ twisted donuts with miso caramel and chocolate fudge sauce.

4. The (Pink) Decor / Design

If a restaurant features anything pink, then of course I am going to fall in love with it. You can probably tell from my ‘gram and my ‘gram’s featured highlights (thanks to Jules of The Style Aesthetic for customising them pink for me), that I LOVE PINK. There are not many restaurants around Auckland that feature pink in their decor, expect for Wu & You and Something & Social.

Walking into Hello Beasty, I loved the vibrant decor. The first thing that catches your eye is the giant pink neon Maneki-neko on the back wall, commonly known as a ‘beckoning cat’ believed to bring good luck to the owner. My heart melted. Not only is it super cute, but it glows throughout the whole restaurant – I would love to have this in my own place one day! Aside from this, I also loved their menus and branding, designed by co-owner Emma – check it out here.

5. The Location.

Conveniently located in the Viaduct, Hello Beasty is in a prime spot. It is a great place for date night, dinner with family and friends, or even a few cheeky cocktails before you head out for a night on the town. Even though it does not have direct harbour views, book a table in their open-air courtyard and I can guarantee you will have a fun evening.

Thank you Hello Beasty for an incredible experience – we cannot wait to come back! x

Hello Beasty
Open Every day, 11am to 11pm
Address 95-97 Customs Street West, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland
Notes Definitely book a table!
Socials: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Hello Beasty Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mexico’s New Spring Menu

Our table all set up outside Mexico Britomart, featuring Juanita

You can probably tell from my social media that I absolutely love dining at Mexico. Read more about Mexico here, here and here.

It is one of my favourite eateries in Auckland, for its vibrant and fresh Mexican cuisine, extensive tequila list and super funky and delicious Frida’s margaritas. 

Two weeks’ ago, Mexico launched their new Spring Menu and it is full of new dishes, new flavours and features fresh, locally sourced seafood and free range proteins. The best part? They have added a whole new Fried Chicken section, namely “Mexico Frita” which includes their original Fried Chicken, and the new Savoury and Spicy Popcorn Fried Chicken. Plus, Fried Cauliflower for the plant based amigos. YUM.

Ceviche has returned in their “Specialities” section, and also features three new dishes – Cumin Spicy Crispy Squid, Crispy Fried Chicken Burger and Slow Cooked Pork Belly Skewers. Drooling yet?!

And for all you margarita lovers, there are new Frida’s Margaritas flavours, including Watermelon and Green Apple, Blueberry and Yuzu and Pineapple and Ginger.

Between six of us, we ordered quite a F E A S T!

SNACKS:

To start, Guacamole with housemade corn chips ($14) for the table while we waited for a few friends to arrive.

SOFT SHELL TACOS:

Pan Seared Achiote Prawn ($8) with smoky crème, ensalada de col (coleslaw), radish and pickled pineapple. [Loved this taco!]

Braised Pork Belly ($8) with pumpkin mayo, agave, green onion, apple chutney and crackling. [Four of our group ordered this taco and said it is the best taco they have eaten at Mexico!]

MEXICO SPECIALITIES:

Ceviche ($20) a fresh coconut salad with cherry tomato, red onion, lime mint granita and pomegranate. [Very refreshing! Loved the lime and mint granita (something I have been seeing a lot on MasterChef recently!)]

Slow Cooked Pork Belly Skewers ($26) with pumpkin mojo, apple yoghurt, fennel and crackling. [These were EPIC and the highlight of our meal. So so juicy and melt in your mouth! Side note: Served as three skewers, however they are generous enough to be cut into two portions each.]

MEXICO FRITA:

Three-Way Fried Chicken Platter ($30), featuring:

  • Mexico Fried Chicken with jalapeño mayo and chipotle mayo – not to be missed!
  • Savoury Fried Chicken with remoulade, citrus and cornichon (pickles)
  • Spicy Popcorn Fried Chicken with BBQ habanero mole, sesame and cornichon

[Highly recommend their Fried Chicken Platter – my favourite is their Spicy Popcorn Fried Chicken, plus it is the perfect dish when sharing with a group!]

QUESADILLAS:

Braised Beef Cheek ($19) with smoky cheddar, green onion, pumpkin and salsa borracha. [Not totally sold on this one… recommend the Pulled BBQ Jackfruit combination instead!]

FRIDA’S MARGARITAS:

Pineapple and Ginger / with sherbet chili rim and pineapple garnish.
Order this when you’re mostly Baby Spice but have a hint of Posh Spice in you.

Watermelon and Green Apple / with vanilla sugar rim and mint garnish.
Order this when you’re on the verge of an adventure, especially if it’s tropical…
[Our favourite margarita out of the three].

Blueberry and Yuzu / with vanilla sugar rim and blueberries.
Order this when everyone is onto dessert but you still have some drinking to do.

Sadly, we did not have any room for dessert.

However, if you do, order their Triple Xocolate Brownie, a vegan dessert served with Little Island ice cream, coconut, mint and strawberry granita which now has a permanent spot on Mexico’s menu. I was lucky enough to try this dessert back in August when it was first released, and can confirm it is moreish and will look great on your ‘gram!

Aside from the tasty 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!

If you are not able to get to Mexico in Britomart, there are six other locations in Auckland – Ponsonby, Ellerslie, Takapuna, Silverdale, Auckland International Airport and Sylvia Park. Plus, there are restaurants in Hamilton, Wellington, Petone, Christchurch and 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: Instagram / Facebook

Cocoro – Ponsonby

If there was one word to describe Cocoro, it would be… well, to be honest, it would be many words. Exquisite. Superb. Spectacular. Faultless. Sensational. Perfection.

In March of this year, I was invited by Pamu New Zealand to dine at Cocoro, one of the three finalists in the nationwide ‘Pamu & Cuisine Deer Milk Ice Cream Competition 2020’ where chefs were tasked to create their very first Deer Milk ice cream dessert.

You may have heard of Deer Milk… it is like the caviar of milk. Rich and creamy, yet fresh and light. Fun fact: it is actually double the fat and double the protein of regular cow’s milk, making it the creamiest milk you will ever taste. It is also the first of its kind and is made by Pamu on their farm near Queenstown.

Co-Owner and Head Chef of Cocoro, Makoto Tokuyama’s creation was Deer Milk with Shio Koji Ice Cream Manuka Smoke, inspired to reflect Pamu’s deer farm on a Spring morning.

The combination of deer milk with shio koji (salt fermented rice) creates an umami rich ice cream flavour to represent a safari. The ice cream then sits on a layer of daifuku rice pastry for a unique Asian texture. The earth of the scenery is represented by the sesame and red bean crumble as the soil, sesame praline as the rocks, deer milk cheese as snowballs, yuzu powder and deer milk powder as snow, sansho (Japanese pepper) biscotti slices as fallen wood bark, crispy buckwheat noodles as wood twig, green tea tempura bits as the grass, while the Manuka smoke represents the morning fog. The foraged fresh herbs and edible flowers enhance the image with colours and the aroma from nature.

Cocoro’s dessert is the most S P E C T A C U L A R dessert I have ever seen and eaten. It is decadent and daring – to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy all the unique flavours, but all the elements in the dish balanced well. The deer milk ice cream on glutinous rice pastry was the highlight of the night!

Before being wowed by Cocoro’s dessert, we first indulged in their “Omotenashi”, a Japanese word which essentially means to wholeheartedly look after guests. If you choose to experience their nine course degustation, then Cocoro will provide you with the upmost incredible hospitality.

On a Wednesday night, we arrived at Cocoro about 5.30pm and left just before 10pm. While it was the longest dinner I have ever had, the whole experience blew my mind, from the beautifully presented and superb dishes, to the wonderful service and ambience. If you ever get the chance to dine at Cocoro, choose the “Omotenashi” and you will not be disappointed. Below are the dishes we savoured:

Course 1: Chef’s selections of ‘Zensai’ appetizers

Our first course of the night was ‘seasonal welcome snacks’ from the kitchen – a glossy lacquerware box arrived at the table, whereupon our waiter opened the doors to reveal three mini shelves with delicate plates of appetizers. We loved the deep fried Kingfish with ponzu, and rolled venison with kawakawa sauce – a very elegant start to our evening!

Course 2: Sashimi of Market Fish

Next, a platter of fresh assorted sashimi, served with South Island fresh wasabi and three different dipping sauces – ponzu, soy and sesame.

Course 3: Raukaka Bay Blue Paua ‘Chawanmushi’

Followed by ‘Chawanmushi’ which is essentially an umami packed Japanese savoury egg custard, and in Cocoro’s case, made with Raukaka Bay Blue Paua. It was served in beautiful Japanese tea cup, and the Chawanmushi itself was silky and delicate.

Course 4: Hokkaido Scallop Gratin

We loved the presentation of this dish – a single scallop, dissected, served in its shell on a bed of pebbles (reminded me of my childhood when my grandparents would take my sisters and me to rock pools to look for various sea creatures), accompanied by a fabulously creamy sauce made up of soy, miso and gochujang, topped with crispy breadcrumbs, fish roe and seaweed powder.

Course 5: Ora King Salmon Reconstructed “Chazuke”

My favourite dish of the night! Our waiter arrived at the table holding a black tea pot… she then poured this over our reconstructed rolled salmon sashimi dish, and Manuka wood-smoke filled the air! Check it out here.

Course 6: “Kurobuta” Berkshire Pork Belly

Our last savoury course of the night was a juicy, flavourful and tender pork belly served with gyoza fried dumpling, courgette, cabbage, wild foraged greens, housemade tartare, ginger and plum tamari sauce. Delicious.

Course 7: “Torotaku Hosomaki” Toro & Takuan Finger Roll Sushi – 100% farm raised Bluefin Tuna and smoked Takuan pickled daikon radish.

To Finish: Feijoa sorbet with G O L D leaf and Sake chocolate ganache squares, followed by the most beautiful dessert we have ever eaten – Pamu Deer Milk and Shio Koji Ice Cream Manuka Smoke.

A huge thank you to Pamu New Zealand and Cocoro for a night we will never forget!

Cocoro
Address:
56a Brown Street, Ponsonby, Auckland
Socials: Instagram / Facebook

#NZContentCollective Margarita Masterclass with Mexico

Last Thursday night, #NZContentCollective and I hosted a Margarita Masterclass at Mexico in Britomart. 

WhatsApp-Image-2020-06-27-at-4.33.24-PM

One of my other loves (besides food) is T E Q U I L A!

I mostly like it straight, and of course, in Margaritas – my favourite cocktail! Since travelling around Mexico two years ago (including visiting the Jose Cuervo Distillery in the town of Tequila and learning about the history and how it is made), my passion for all things Mexican (hello calaveras!) has grown and I am an even bigger fan of the spirit. 

So, when the opportunity arose to collaborate with Mexico by organising a Margarita Masterclass with Herradura and El Jimador Tequila, we were in! Plus, the idea of becoming a master in the fine art of making and consuming margaritas simultaneously sounded like our type of evening, so why not share it with 37 other like-minded people, namely content creators, bloggers, foodies, and business owners!

On a chilly Thursday night, we arrived at Mexico in Britomart and were led upstairs to their super cool Mexican-style function area (complete with handcrafted artwork and murals, skulls and even a religious lady who I hope would forgive me by the end of the night for one too Tequilas). Paloma in hand, we took our seats and eagerly awaited for the night to begin…

Our activities for the night included a Tequila Tasting with Herradura, learning how to make the perfect Margarita with El Jimador Tequila (then onto Frida’s Margaritas), and eating all the delicious food from Mexico’s kitchen. Check it all out below, and if you have any questions about the event, please feel free to ask! x

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Read more: #NZContentCollective Bottomless Brunch at Wu & You

🌟 Tequila Tasting with Herradura 🌟

Our first activity of the night was a Tequila Tasting with Herradura (an ultra-premium, 100% agave tequila, crafted using only the most mature blue agave). Thanks to Herradura for not only sponsoring bottles of their Plata, Reposado and Ultra Anejo for us to SIP on (who else just likes to shot it?!), but who also granted us with good luck (“Herradura” meaning horseshoe and the sign of good luck and fortune)… I for one am having a seemingly great week!

Our host, Ryan, took us through the history of Tequila, and why it is so much more than cheap shots at 4am! My favourite Tequila of the night was the Ultra Anejo – tastes like vanilla and caramel! If you like Bailey’s, then you are going to love this!

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From L-R: Juanita, Amber, Belle, Holly and Jessi

🌟 Margarita Masterclass with El Jimador🌟

We were then treated to an interactive Margarita Masterclass, thanks to the number one selling Tequila in Mexico – El Jimador – made of 100% blue agave Tequila. Can confirm Friday was a blur!

Mexico’s Restaurant Manager (and expert barman), Ollie, got up front and showed us how to make the perfect Margarita. Recipe below:

  • Using a “jigger” (15ml/30ml measurer), pour your ideal measures for El Jimador Reposado Tequila, Lime and Sugar Syrup into a cocktail shaker.
  • Fill with Ice until 3/4 of the way up. Then, SHAKE until your arms are sore. 
  • Hold the shaker in your hand you write with and strike it with your other palm. After a few of these, the cocktail shaker should dislodge enough to be pulled apart.  
  • Pour into a sugar rimmed glass and ENJOY!
  • Repeat x 1,000… because one is never enough and your friends will love them too!

Ollie needed a volunteer shaker and my name was screamed out (I’m looking at you Sarah!), so up I went to shake my tail feather in front of everyone. It was super fun and hands on, which I loved! 

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Armed with cocktail shakers, bottles of El Jimador Reposado Tequila and a table full of mixing ingredients, our guests then created their own Margaritas. Salud!

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We also got a chance to make their famous Frida’s Margaritas (if you go to Mexico, definitely order one!) My all-time favourite is the Raspberry & Yuzu, plus other memorable mentions go to:
Blackberry & Coconut… perfect for when you want a delicate start to a debaucherous night
Strawberry & Guava… perfect for when Margaritas are the only thing on your to-do list
Black Plum & Cinnamon… perfect for when you need a worthy subject for your next Instagram post…

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Read more: #NZBloggers Pink Ribbon Brunch

F O O D from Mexico

As well as making one of my favourite cocktails in the city, Mexico also serves mouthwatering food, inspired by the streets of Mexico. Read more about Mexico here and here. Below are the dishes we enjoyed on the night:

To start, Salsa Roja and Guacamole with Housemade Corn Chips

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[Photo credit: Twelve Belles]

Chickpea Patatas
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Mexico Fried Chicken7 - credit @twelvebelles[Photo credit: Twelve Belles]

Crispy Cauliflower Florets 4 - credit @foodiestablenz
[Photo credit: Foodies Table]

Chimichangas – my favourite dish of the night!IMG_3084

Three Cheese & Chicken and Jackfruit Tinga Quesadillas

And finally, for dessert, Cinnamon Spiced C H U R R O S !!!IMG_7650

Read more: My Favourite NZ Content Creators

🌟Goodie Bags🌟

All guests also went home with a FAB Goodie Bag. We cannot thank our generous sponsors enough who provided product for the bags, in particular: Mexico (Frida’s Margaritas and Taco vouchers), El Jimador (mini El Jimador Tequila bottles), Herradura (key rings), Tio Pablo (Totopitos – Tortilla Chips), Culleys (Mexican Seasonings), Delmaine Fine Foods (Red Kidney Beans) and Something to Crow About (Mexican Chilli & Lime Roasted Seed Toppers).

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If you are interested in coming along to our upcoming #NZContentCollective events, follow us on Instagram and join our Facebook Group to ensure you don’t miss out! If you are also looking for a relaxed place to talk about content creation or are interested in starting an Instagram, Facebook or Blog, feel free to contact us. There are some great events being planned… hope to see you there!

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* Disclosure – we received a generous discount from Mexico for the Tequila Tasting and Margarita Masterclass.

A 🌟 BIG 🌟 shout-out to our amazing sponsors… Herradura and El Jimador Tequila! And to Mexico for being our hosts for the evening!

Mexico
23 Britomart Place, Auckland CBD
Functions / Instagram / Facebook

Something & Social – Newmarket

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READY. SET. SOCIAL.

Last Saturday, LauraEvo and I enjoyed ‘Bottomless & Social’ at Something & Social, an all-day modern bar and eatery, brought to you by the team behind the award-winning Pilkington’s, located in Westfield Newmarket’s Rooftop on Broadway.

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‘Bottomless & Social’ is Something & Social’s NEW Bottomless Brunch, which kicked off last weekend and is running every Saturday and Sunday… for 6 W E E K S! For the brunch, we were seated in their courtyard – the sun was shining, live music playing the the atmosphere was fantastic. Tickets are reasonably priced at $45 and include a 2 Hour Bottomless Package, with five drink options to choose from: 

  • Grapefruit Splash (Squealing Pig Pinot Gris, Grapefruit and Lime Juice)
  • English Rose (Sparkling Rose and Elderflower Syrup)
  • Estrella Damm Beer
  • Moscow Mule Vodka Cocktail 
  • Cranberry Vodka Cocktail

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The crowd favourite was the Moscow Mule! It was perfectly balanced and we loved drinking this in the sun! We also loved the fact that you can drink any of the above during your brunch – you are not limited to one or two choices (unlike other places). 

For food, Something & Social offer three dishes:

  • Smashed Avocado on Sourdough with Haloumi and Free Range Poached Eggs

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  • Free Range Eggs on Sourdough with Bacon

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  • Brioche French Toast with Cinnamon Sugar Dusting, Whipped Mascarpone and Maple Syrup

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Laura ordered the Smashed Avocado, while Evo and I ordered the Brioche French Toast. We also received a complimentary Free Range Eggs & Bacon… to complete the meal experience! Every dish was D E L I C I O U S and we were so happy with the portion sizes – definitely bang for your buck!

If you’re keen on a Social Saturday or a Sunday Session, then I would highly recommend you book ‘Bottomless & Social’ at Something & Social – can guarantee your friends will love it! Plus… who can resist their P I N K signage and design? Swoon.

All the details…
Something & Social
Date: Saturdays & Sundays (from Saturday 7 March to Sunday 19 April 2020)
Time:
Two sittings, 9am till 11am and 11am till 1pm
Tickets: Purchase here.
Address:
Rooftop on Broadway, Westfield Newmarket, 309 Broadway, Newmarket
Socials: Instagram / Facebook

Something & Social 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

Favourite Post

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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!

Instagram

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

Favourite Post

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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

Favourite Post

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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

Favourite Post

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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 Gallery 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

Favourite Post

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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

Favourite Post

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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!

Instagram

Favourite Post

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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

Thursday 30 July 2020: Mexico Margarita Masterclass

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

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

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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!

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!

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.