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Night Noodle Markets

Over the weekend, I headed down to Victoria Park to check out the Night Noodle Markets. Held annually, this event celebrates mouthwatering Asian street food from around the country.

This year, the Night Noodle Markets are being held over 10 days (Friday 1st to Sunday 10th December). There are 20 street food vendors to choose from, with dishes ranging from $5 to $15 each. I love the variety of the food too – think dumplings, BBQ’d meat, summer rolls, ramen, bao, loaded fries, spicy karaage fried chicken, pakoras, roti rolls, donburi, poke bowls, noodles, gelato, deep fried ice cream and smoothies in pineapples. Check out my foodie highlights below: 

Hoy Pinoy – it was my first time trying Hoy Pinoy at this year’s Night Noodle Markets and they did not disappoint! They are a Filipino BBQ vendor, selling juicy pork and chicken on sticks. My favourite is the Inihaw na baboy – BBQ Pork Belly

House of Dumplings – handmade dumplings in a variety of flavours. My favourites are their Nepalese Spiced Lamb and Korean Sesame Beef. For the Night Noodle Markets this year, they have brought back their Indian Dahl Coconut Cashew flavoured dumpling, which is delicious, plus it is vegan!

Chaiwalla – this Indian food truck makes deliciously spicy pakoras and three flavours of masala chai. The owners come all the way from Wellington. 

White + Wong’s – my current favourite restaurant, which serves amazing Asian fusion food! I love their dumplings, edamame (with a killer sauce), pork belly bao, Korean spicy chicken bao, kingfish sashimi and cocktails. And, at the Night Noodle Markets this year, they are selling their delicious Roti Rolls – one with Bang Bang Chicken and the other with Fried Tofu.

Indochine Kitchen – a Vietnamese eatery located on Fort Street in Auckland CBD, who are selling delicious Bao with pulled pork ($4.50 each) and bun cha.

Lalele Organic Gelato – owners Mulan and Nathan, make delicious hand crafted gelato, using organic ingredients, and they have many vegan options available. My all time favourite flavour is their mango sorbet which tastes like you’re eating the real thing. If you’re feeling adventurous, I recommend trying their newest flavour – Black Sesame!

Vietnamese Delight – Cheap tasty Vietnamese food, including pork and prawn summer rolls, banh mi, crispy salted chicken and… sui mai dumplings! Not Vietnamese but we tried them anyway. 

Mango Madness – Loved their smoothies served in pineapples (!!!) and Thai drinking coconuts, which are perfect for the beautiful warm weather we are having right now. This year, they have a new dish – Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl! I didn’t get to try one on the weekend, but planning to have one this week. 

And something new for the first time this year, GELATO MESSINA have arrived in New Zealand! Those who have not heard of Gelato Messina, well, they have shops based all over Australia – 16 in total! They make creative and experimental gelato, with a range of flavours and toppings, check out their ‘gram here. You can purchase two of their creations at the Night Noodle Markets including:

It’s Sher-Berth-Day (White chocolate lined cone filled with mango sherbet, vanilla cream and mango jellies – dipped in white chocolate) and Great Balls of Fryer (Deep fried banana gelato, passionfruit caramel & coconut pudding).

I tried It’s Sher-Berth Day and it was delicious. I loved the combination of mango, white chocolate and vanilla – the perfect treat on a hot summer’s day!

The Night Noodle Markets are also licensed (Tiger Beer on tap/wines by the glass), there is live music, table tennis, face painting, performances, plenty of seating (or bring a picnic blanket), plus you can bring your dogs too! 

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All the details…

Night Noodle Markets
Dates
Friday 1st to Sunday 10th December 2017

Location Victoria Park, Corner Beaumont Street and Victoria Street West
Times 5pm – 10pm weekdays and 4pm – 10pm on weekends
Admission Free entry
Notes The event is cashless, so only EFTPOS, credit card and pay wave are available. 

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This post is not sponsored, however I was kindly sent a food voucher from Fairfax Media to spend at the Night Noodle Markets. All opinions are my own.

Georgie’s Favourite Foods Party

Today I turned 26 – woohoo!

Over the weekend, I celebrated my birthday. I usually spend the whole year planning it – previous years, I have had a ‘G Party’ where everyone came dressed as something starting with the letter ‘G’, a Hawaiian Luau, complete with a pineapple cake, pina coladas, and luau dancing etc, and last year I had a Mexican Fiesta… it was so much fun!

Fast forward to this year, all I wanted to do was go out for breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and dessert.

Seeing as it just wasn’t practical, I turned to my food blogger friends for advice. Thanks to Bri, she came up with the brilliant idea of holding a buffet style lunch at my house, featuring all my favourite foods. Introducing, Georgie’s Favourite Foods Party.

I am forever grateful for the generous amount of food provided from some of my favourite eateries. Check out what we ate for lunch below, plus something fun we did (DIY ice cream bar), the CAKE, and a fun surprise for my guests at the end. 

Food

Judge Bao

Judge Bao still remains one of my favourite food trucks to date. Owners, Debbie and Jamie make soft and fluffy Chinese steamed buns filled with mouthwatering tofu, pork or beef (and sometimes fish and chicken), fresh herbs and delicious sauces. Their firecracker chicken is also deliciously spicy and flavoursome! I enjoy trying their new creations and love seeing them at various food festivals and markets.

For my birthday this year, they provided all the ingredients to make 15 Steamed Pork Buns, including Braised pork, Bao, Black vinegar syrup, Spring onions, Roasted sesame seeds and Coriander.

We picked up all these goodies from Judge Bao in the morning and prepared the bao at home during the birthday party.

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Hello Mister

I absolutely LOVE the rice paper rolls at Hello Mister. They have so many fillings to choose from – pork, tofu, peking duck, beef, prawn, salmon… 

I often visit their second branch, located next to the PWC Building in Auckland CBD. The service is always quick, the rolls are fresh and flavoursome and a great price too. 

Thanks to Hello Mister for providing a selection of their rice paper rolls for my birthday party: Lemongrass Chicken, Peking Duck, Pork & Prawn, and Salmon & Avocado (Hello Mister’s November Roll Special).

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Mexico, Britomart

Mexico 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. My favourite dish on their menu is, and always will be, the Mexico Fried Chicken. It is spicy, yet so delicious and is served with the perfect sauces – chipotle mayo and jalapeno mayo. Lip smacking good!

Thanks to Mexico in Britomart for providing their Fried Chicken for my birthday party!

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The Rolling Pin

Gordon and his team at The Rolling Pin are some of the loveliest people I have ever met. They are a long time favourite of mine at food truck events, who serve scrumptious handmade dumplings, topped with a delicious slaw.

The Rolling Pin kindly provided me with three boxes of their delicious dumplings:
‘Buddhas Delight’ with tofu, shiitake mushroom, pumpkin, bok choy and cabbage, Tsingtao Spicy Pulled Pork Dumplings and Penang Pulled Beef Cheek with mirepoix and sambal.

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&Sushi

&Sushi is my favourite eatery in Auckland, serving beautiful (and almost too pretty to eat) sushi, and a range of Japanese and Korean meals. &Sushi kindly provided me with a discount, on their sushi, so I ordered a selection of their sushi rolls, including:

Beef Sushi Rolls with lettuce, burdock, aspragus, citrus mayo and kumara shavings
Teriyaki Chicken Sushi Rolls with capsicum, avocado and kumara puree
Crispy Salmon Sushi Rolls with asparagus and beetroot mayo
King Salmon Rolls with avocado and cream cheese sauce

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I Love Food Co

You will probably recognise the I Love Food Co brand – they make the most delicious pies ever, my favourites being their Free Range Butter Chicken, Free Range Chicken, Leek and Mustard and Spiced Chickpea and Spinach. All of their pies are made with sour cream pastry and of course, with love. 

I had not tried their Angus Beef Party Pies yet, so I Love Food Co kindly provided a few boxes of these pies so that we could try them for lunch! They were delicious, and the perfect sized pies for a party. 

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Photo credit: Bri Dimattina

Regal Malborough King Salmon

Regal Marlborough King Salmon is my favourite salmon brand. Back in October, I was sent their new Double Manuka Smoked Salmon, which I used in soft tacos – delicious.

For my birthday, Regal kindly provided a selection of their beautiful Double Manuka Smoked Salmon and I can say, it was gone in a flash!

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Hutchinsons Cheese

A few weeks ago, I received a selection of Hutchinsons Cheeses, including Club Cheddar, Orange & Apricot and Salmon Flavoured Cream Cheeses and Dutch Maasdam, but my favourite so far is definitely their Sweet Chilli Club Cheddar! I saved their Club Cheddar and Orange & Apricot and Salmon Flavoured Cream Cheeses for my birthday party this year, as I thought a cheese platter would be a nice addition to the buffet style lunch and a savoury option for those who did not want to indulge in all the chocolate.

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Petal Cupcakes

If you’re looking for the perfect morning or afternoon tea treat, then I highly recommend Petal Cupcakes 🌷🌸 My favourite flavours are their Salted Caramel, Espresso, Passionfruit and Hawkes Bay Peach.🍑

Petal Cupcakes kindly gifted me a box of their beautiful Dark Chocolate and Raspberry cupcakes, and in cute mini versions too!

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Hello Delicious

On Saturday morning, I headed down to La Cigale French Market to check out the Hello Delicious stand. Owner, Maddy, is super friendly, and makes delicious slices, cakes and muesli bowls every Saturday and Sunday morning.

I bought four slices of Maddy’s Chocolate Caramel Slice. I didn’t end up serving this slice at my birthday party, because I am saving it to share with my workmates today. It looks absolutely to die for – check out that layer of caramel!!!

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The CAKE

My Mum is a great cook… and a great baker! So, I wasn’t surprised when she said she would love to make my cake this year. She made me a cake last year and people still rave about it!

I am a chocoholic, I am not going to lie. So, naturally, I asked for a chocolate cake this year. We found a recipe in the latest MindFood magazine (Christmas edition) for a Whittakers Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Brownie Cake. It was super decadent (think two blocks of Whittakers dark chocolate and loads of other good stuff), rich and chocolate heaven.  AMAZING. Also loved the fresh raspberries incorporated into the cake. We served the cake with cream and it went down a treat!

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DIY Ice Cream Bar

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I recently received the new range of dairy free Kohu Road Ice Cream. The delicious selection includes eight new flavours: Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry and Green Tea which are made with coconut cream, and four sorbets – Blackcurrant, Passionfruit, Mango and Dark Chocolate.

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With 8 TUBS OF ICE CREAM, I thought, I really don’t want to eat these all by myself, so I have been saving them (very difficult!) and decided to set up a DIY Ice Cream Bar for my birthday party.

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Thanks to Kohu Road for providing all the ice cream. We tried the following: Vanilla, Chocolate and Green Tea and Passionfruit Sorbet. 

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Cadbury

I chopped up some Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate to be used as chocolate shavings and Cadbury Freddos were on display… and for eating too!

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Plus, various chocolates, like pineapple lumps, dark maltesers, flakes, chocolate fish and M’n’M’s, marshmallows, sliced almonds, sprinkles, sliced strawberries, chocolate and caramel sauces and squirty cream which I purchased from Countdown.

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Goodie Bags

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I loved receiving goodie bags as a child, so I thought it would be a fun idea to give my friends foodie related goodie bags at the end of the day. Each included: A bag of Serious Popcorn, a block of Cadbury Chocolate and Freddos and a Giapo voucher (see more below), plus a bouncy ball, party horn, candy cane, confetti and also, a surprise gift (like Lewis Road Orchard Apple Blossom Cider, The Lucky Taco Hot Sauce, Soda Press Co, Karma Cola, Fresh As freeze dried fruit, and Viberi chocolate coated blackcurrants).

Serious Popcorn

Those who are not familiar with Serious Popcorn… they are a NZ company changing the way we snack, by making sustainable popcorn which tastes seriously delicious. Their flavours include: Sea Salt, Sweet & Salty and Coconut & Vanilla (my favourite). I also adore their cute packaging!

Serious Popcorn kindly provided small bags of popcorn (as below) for the goodie bags. 

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Cadbury

Earlier this year, I received the latest creation from Cadbury – the Marvellous Creations Spider Orange Chocolate Chocolate Block. The chocolate is a full-on taste explosion in your mouth, like fizzing bubbles dancing on your tongue!

A HUGE thanks to Cadbury for sending me a giant box filled with the Marvellous Creations Spider Orange Chocolate Chocolate Block and also packets of their Freddos, which I put in each goodie bag. 

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Giapo

Giapo, aka the best ice cream in New Zealand, gave me $5 vouchers to put in each goodie bag – woohoo! If you haven’t tried Giapo yet, check out my blog post here

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And finally, a stroll through the Rose Gardens after eating loads of good food….

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Taste of Auckland 17

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


I am always incredibly excited when November rolls around, for three reasons:

1. It is my birthday month;
2. It is starting to feel like summer; and
3. Taste of Auckland has arrived – an event I look forward to every year!

Taste of Auckland is ideal for those who love food, cooking and everything in between. Like the Auckland Food Show (one of my other favourite events), it is ultimate foodie heaven.

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Last night, I attended my fourth Taste of Auckland, in partnership with Electrolux, at Western Springs. Held over four days (16-19 November), Taste showcases some of Auckland’s best restaurants, all in pop up style at the festival (like Euro below). Each restaurant offers 3-4 dishes for you to try, costing between 8 and 22 crowns (the festival’s currency), and an ‘Icon dish’ (between 15 and 34 crowns). 1 crown = $1. More about crowns here.  

1947 Eatery, Artwok, Baduzzi, Eat NZ Kitchen with The Cult ProjectEuro, Miss Moonshines, Paris Butter, Saan, Tok Tok and Vodka Room are all part of the restaurant line up this year. Check out the restaurant menus here.

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Your ticket entry to Taste also includes trying new and existing food products from all over New Zealand, watching your favourite chefs cooking in action, as part of the Electrolux Taste Theatre and lounging on sun chairs while listening to live music.

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And most exciting of all, this year’s headliner chef is GEORGE CALOMBARIS. I am a huge fan of Masterchef Australia and George is my favourite judge. Maybe because we have the same name, maybe because he is just so damn cute! I met George last night and it was awesome, despite feeling extremely nervous and my hands were very sweaty! He was super friendly and happy to have a photo with me – yay!

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Photo credit: Bunny Eats Design

Check out my highlights below of my night at Taste of Auckland, including my favourite dishes, food stands and photos! Enjoy!

Restaurants

Baduzzi

Baduzzi serves ‘Food for the People’ – pasta, crayfish, antipasti and the most divine handmade meatballs… which of course I had to try!

Slow Cooked Te Mana Lamb Meatballs with Piadina flatbread and gremolata
(10 crowns)
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We also tried their beautiful Half Karitane Crayfish, grilled and smoked over Totara.
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Euro

Euro has an enticing menu, including squid, beef, lamb and one of three vegetarian dishes at the festival. We tried two out of the four, both of which we thoroughly enjoyed:

Goats curd stuffed zucchini flower with shaved zephyr courgettes and truffle honey
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Icon Dish: Smoked Te Mana Lamb with wild wheat tabbouleh, labne and dukkah
(20 crowns)
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The lamb was incredibly tender and paired with the tabbouleh, labne and dukkah, it was like a party in your mouth!


Paris Butter

Paris Butter serves French fare, and while their Duck fat fries and Boeuf Bourguignon Taco were tempting, I tried their dessert!

Ferrero Roche, with cremeux, Aero chocolate, chocolate ganache, hazelnut praline and caramel ice cream
(10 crowns)
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The lady at the counter said I wouldn’t be disappointed and she was right. The combination of chocolate, chocolate, more chocolate, hazelnut and caramel… well that is me in a nutshell. It was dreamy, creamy and gone in three mouthfuls!

Saan

Located in Ponsonby, Saan is a restaurant I have been dying to try for ages. They serve authentic Northern Thai cuisine, and luckily for me, are appearing at Taste of Auckland for the first time this year.

Long Phu Nim – crispy fried soft shell crab with pickled crab and coconut sauce, dill and coriander
(12 crowns)
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The crispy soft shell crab was perfect – a must try at Taste! I also loved the fresh flavours and accompanying coconut sauce.


Tok Tok

I recently dined at Tok Tok, a restaurant located in Takapuna, which serves South East Asian cuisine. I was wowed by their fresh and flavourful food and I am excited to re-visit to sample more of their dishes. Below is my favourite dish of the night: 

Crispy Quarter Duck with orange, ginger, Vietnamese mint and spiced salt
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The crispy quarter duck was juicy, and combined with the sweet orange and fresh herbs made for a very flavourful dish. I also loved the generous serving of duck. I could have easily ordered another two plates of this dish as it was so delicious. Highly recommend trying this dish at Taste of Auckland!

Another stand out dish at Tok Tok was their Crispy Pork Steamed Bun with apple cucumber kimchi.
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I love kimchi, so this instantly caught my eye. It was insanely good, my expression was like this: 🤤🤤🤤

Beverages

There are so many beverages to choose from at Taste of Auckland – you are spoilt for choice! These include: Wine (including Ara Wines, Sacred Hill, Mission Estate, Left Field, Man O War, Mount Michael Wines, No 1 Family Estate, Black Barn and many more), Whiskey (Glenfiddich and Monkey Shoulder), Bourbon (Batch 10), Gin (Curiosity Gin), plus cocktail stands featuring Famous Vodka and Cointreau. 

We took part in a Cointreau Cocktail Masterclass (10 crowns) which includes a Cointreau drink. Definitely worth it as the cocktails are normally 12 crowns. We made a ‘Cointreau Fizz’, with basil, lime, cucumber, ice, Cointreau and soda water. It was so simple to make, and so delicious!

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Brew Street

And, for all you beer lovers, there is a special area dedicated to beer, namely ‘Brew Street’. Here, you can discover your favourite brew and talk to the owners behind the brand. When it comes to beer, the simpler for me, the better. One of my favourite breweries was present – Good George – I love their lager, as it is a nice refreshing drink to accompany all the food!

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Electrolux Taste Theatre

This year, I didn’t have the chance to attend one of the cooking masterclasses as part of the Electrolux Taste Theatre – mainly because I was too busy eating my way around the festival! This part of Taste showcases cooking demonstrations from some of New Zealand’s top chefs and food personalities, like Cameron Knox (Tok Tok), Simon Gault (Giraffe), Lek Trirattanavatin (Saan), Julia and Libby, Lauren Glucina (Ascension Kitchen) and Megan May (Little Bird Organics). 

For fans of chef, restaurateur and Masterchef Australia co-judge George Calombaris, you can catch him live at the Electrolux Taste Theatre where he will be cooking up a storm on Saturday afternoon at 3pm and Saturday evening at 8.30pm. Check out the rest of the timetable here.

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Ray McVinnie, George Calombaris, Amanda Linnell and the team from Miss Moonshines, the winners of ‘Best in Taste Awards’ at the Electrolux Taste Theatre

Food Stands / Tastings

Another great reason to visit Taste of Auckland is the food stands and tastings! For me, I love the opportunity to try and buy new and existing products, meet the owners behind all my favourite brands, and sample, sample, sample! Below is a list of my favourite products from last night (along with festival specials):

Petal Cupcakes – forever a favourite for their mouthwatering cupcakes. My favourites are their salted caramel and passionfruit – melt in your mouth! They also have a new flavour – Vegan Salted Caramel. I didn’t try one, but it looks delicious (see below). Cupcakes are $5 each.

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Beekist – you will have probably recognised the Beekist brand at your local supermarket, who produce the most stunning tomatoes. I love their Yelo tomatoes! They are not selling their tomatoes at the festival, but they have loads of samples.

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Kenwood – your chance to buy their limited edition rose gold mixer – there are only 7 for sale in New Zealand, and 70 for sale in the world! These were surrounded by beautiful cakes from The Caker.

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Culley’s Hot Sauces – my favourite hot sauce brand in Auckland. They also make delicious gluten free corn chips, spice mixes, and most recently, BBQ Sauces! I bought a bottle of their Chipotle and Honey BBQ sauce. Ah-mazing!
Festival special: $8 for 1 bottle of BBQ, Hot or Wings sauce

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The Food Snob – if you are looking for products for your next platter party, then definitely check out The Food Snob. I love their huge green olives, stuffed bell peppers, Mediterranean medley and cheeses galore (try the haloumi!).
Festival special: 2 pottles for $5 (either their mixed olives, green olives or stuffed bell peppers or 2 cheeses for $15.

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Puhoi Valley – selling their beautiful milks and cheeses. They were very generous with their tastings of cheese… we just kept coming back for more! Cheese available are Kawau Blue, Fresh Goats Cheese and Triple Cream Brie (my favourite) and milks – Belgian Chocolate, Colombian Espresso and Spiced White Chocolate (tastes just like chai!).
Festival special: Cheeses, $6 each, 2 for $10 or 3 for $15 + bag, Milks: $3 each or 2 for $5 (Retail price: Cheese about $9-$10, Milks $3.30).

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Jenny’s 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 Taste of Auckland! Here is a pizza recipe to get you drooling… Festival special: 2 jars for $20. (Retail price: $14 each)

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Lalele Organic Gelato – owners Mulan and Nathan, make delicious hand crafted gelato, using organic ingredients, and they have many vegan options available. My all time favourite flavour is their mango sorbet which tastes like you’re eating the real thing. At Taste of Auckland, they have two new flavours – Kawakawa (a native NZ plant which is used for medicinal purposes and also makes a great tea) and Black Sesame. We loved the black sesame!!!
Kids scoop $5.

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Soda Press Co – Grab a delicious soda drink (my favourite is their pink grapefruit) for $4, otherwise their big bottles are $15 each or 2 for $25. (Retail price: $16.75 per bottle)

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Hogarth Chocolate – Nelson’s only chocolate manufacturer and one of the few in the country who make chocolate from bean to bar. Hogarth have won many awards for their chocolate, and after tasting it today, I can definitely see why! My favourite flavour is the Dark Giandua – could eat it all day!
Festival special: $10 for a block. (Retail price: $11.50 for a block).

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The Collective – selling their most recent product – Labneh dips! They come in five different flavours: Capsicum Pesto, Moroccan Relish, Smoked Tomato, Sweet Chilli and Harissa (my new favourite). These new labneh yoghurt dips are perfect for dunking with crackers, spreading on crusty bread or Turkish pide, and something I tried earlier this week – stirred through spaghetti. YUM.

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Cook and Nelson – an online food store which sells all things food, all things delicious. They sell my favourite maple syrup (Noble) and the most to die for McClures pickles.
Festival special: $15 for a jar of pickles, or $25 for two jars. (Retail price: $19.95 per jar).

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Viberi Organic – if you love blackcurrants, then you will love Viberi. I recently discovered them at the NZ Fitness Expo a few weeks ago and am currently enjoying their blackcurrant powder in smoothies, crushing their freeze dried blackcurrants on my porridge and devouring their blackcurrants coated in chocolate – yum!
Festival special: 4 packets for $30, or prices as below.

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Little Bird Unbakery – one of my favourite clean-eating eateries in Auckland, selling their raw desserts, wraps with salad and falafel, and food products. Plus, don’t leave without trying their macaroons – one of my favourite snacks!

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And, finally, a sweet way to end a fabulous foodie night… a scoop (or three) of Duck Island Ice Cream

I was so excited to see Duck Island Ice Cream at Taste of Auckland, as they have come up all the way from Hamilton. I tried their Cherry & Coconut, Peanut Butter and Peppermint – all delicious!
Festival special: $6 for one scoop (up to two flavours), $8 for a double scoop (up to three flavours), plus ice cream sandwiches and ice cream tacos!

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All the details…

Taste of Auckland
Dates Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 November 2017
Times Friday (12pm to 4pm & 5.30pm to 10pm) Saturday (12pm to 4pm & 5.30pm to 9.30pm) and Sunday (12pm to 5pm)
Venue 731 Great North Road, Western Springs
Tickets Online ($17 for general admission, otherwise $32 at the entrance)
Parking Limited $5 parking at Western Springs (entrance at Western Springs Stadium on Old Mill Road), free road side parking, $5 direct shuttle from downtown to Western Springs, catch the 134 or 132 buses from Albert Street or Uber!
Instagram / Facebook / Website


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.

 

Gold Coast Eats

If you are looking for a short, relaxing break, then I highly recommend the Gold Coast. There are beautiful beaches, shopping, and of course, many places to eat and drink.

The last time I visited the Gold Coast was 6 years ago, before my obsession with food started, before I even had Instagram or my blog. On that trip, we enjoyed going to the theme parks and beaches. Fast forward to this year, I have made a few trips to the Gold Coast – mainly to relax, try out the food scene and for the first time, visit Byron Bay and the surrounds.

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Below, I list my favourite eats in the Gold Coast and beyond. I have listed them by area, so it makes it easier for you when you visit the Gold Coast!

Enjoy!


Main Beach

Local & Co

First things first, BEST Nutella Thickshakes EVER!!!

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Secondly, after reading great reviews on TripAdvisor and the fact that Local & Co was just round the corner from where we were staying in the Gold Coast, we just had to check it out!

We came here for lunch – it was busy, however we managed to grab the last outside table. They have an extensive breakfast and lunch menu, so you are spoilt for choice.

I ordered their ‘Healthy Start’ plate – roasted sweet potato cubes, housemade zucchini and quinoa fritter, housemade beetroot labneh, sliced avocado, free range poached eggs, dukkah and rye toast. It was delicious and I loved all the colours on the plate.

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My sister and our friend also enjoyed their meals – the chicken burger with fries and pumpkin salad.

The food, service and atmosphere was great overall and our waitress (Jess) was amazing too!

Address Shop 6, 20 – 22 Tedder Avenue, Main Beach
Open daily, from 6.30am – 3pm
Instagram / Menu


Main Beach Bakery

Just down the road from Local & Co, you will find Main Beach Bakery. They sell all the old-school favourites – custard squares, jam and cream donuts, Boston bun, biscuits, pizza slices, gingerbread men, and so much more.

But, what they are most known for is their beautiful homemade breads and hearty pies. We loved their vegetarian pie and butter chicken pie.

They also make delicious extra hot coffee and sell cold drinks. If you are thinking of hiking for the day, I would recommend stopping by Main Beach Bakery to get a selection of their goodies for an awesome picnic lunch.

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Address 24 Tedder Avenue, Main Beach
Open daily, from 5am – 5pm
Facebook


Terraces Restaurant Seafood Buffet at Sheraton Grand Mirage

If you’re looking to eat your weight in seafood, then I recommend the Seafood Buffet at the Terraces Restaurant, inside the Sheraton Grand Mirage Hotel.

Walking in, I loved the restaurant’s decor and setting. Chic white furnishings with floor to ceiling windows displaying beautiful views of the hotel’s expansive pool. At night, the view is particularly nice with the sunset, the pools lit up and the guests dining under cabanas outside.

The seafood selection is plentiful – we loved the fresh oysters (natural, Kirkpatrick and Mornay), prawns, fresh salmon, smoked salmon, crayfish and mussels. As well as seafood, there is also soup, sushi, roasted meats, hot meals, freshly baked breads, salads, and many delicious desserts, like Pavlova, creme brulee, chocolate mousse, cakes, custard and various ice creams with your choice of toppings.

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Aside from the food, service was friendly and efficient, with the staff clearing your plates as soon as you finished and got up for more food and water glasses constantly topped up. 

Tip: We signed up to the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty rewards programme and received a discount when dining at Terraces Restaurant. Keep an eye out for their promotions here.

Address 71 SeaWorld Drive, Main Beach
Open daily, from 6am – 10pm
Instagram / Website

Southport

The Cardamom Pod

The Cardamom Pod at Brickworks is one of my favourite places on the Gold Coast and sadly, I only discovered it at the end of our trip! They serve wholesome breakfasts and lunches, like epic salads and acai and pitaya bowls, plus smoothies, juices, raw desserts and baking.

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I had lunch here and it was ah-mazing. While I was keen to order one of their acai or pitaya bowls which look like works of art, I decided on their Nourish Buddha Bowl, which sounded right up my alley! It consists of sesame brown basmati rice, baby spinach, roasted sweet potato, marinated falafels, sprouts, cucumber, sauteed broccoli, carrot hummus, roasted nori sheets and peanut sauce. The meal was super filling, delicious and Insta-worthy. 

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I will definitely be coming back next time I am in the Gold Coast. 

And thanks to The Cardamom Pod, I now love sweet potato!

Address Shop 1, 253 Ferry Road, Southport
Open daily, from 7.30am – 5pm
Instagram / Facebook / Menu

Bundall

Bundall Farmers Market

Bundall Farmers Market is one of my favourite markets of all time, for its beautiful produce, food trucks/stands and friendly stallholders.

There are over 80 stallholders at the market who sell organic and fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, coffee, breads, pastries, fresh pasta, coffee, olives, homemade jams and pickles, organic juices, flowers and so much more. There is a fruit and vegetable stand with the most beautiful presentation – highly recommend checking it out!

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We arrived at the market around 7am – it is best to get there early as it is very popular! I started with a cappuccino from Three Sons Coffee Cartel. I loved their Mexican inspired coffee truck, with colourful seating and of course, strong, extra hot and delicious coffee!

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Breakfast was from Mio Wrap – a French couple who make wraps using buckwheat crepes! I loved the idea of having breakfast in a buckwheat wrap – I haven’t found anyone in Auckland doing this, so it was pretty exciting to eat!

I thoroughly enjoyed their Mush Truffle Buckwheat Crepe filled with slice mushrooms, carrot, red cabbage, spinach, truffle oil and a free range egg. It was HUGE!

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Followed by a Custard Filled Roll from a stand selling pastries, Nutella doughnuts, jam doughnuts, pretzel doughnuts and every other sweet treat you could imagine.

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Then head around the market to check out all the stalls. I loved all the fruit and vegetables – so well presented and colourful! You will pretty much find every single fruit and vegetable at Bundall Farmers’ Market, so it is a great place to visit on Sunday to stock up for the week. 

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Address The Arts Centre Gold Coast, 135 Bundall Road
Open Every Sunday, from 6am – 11.30am
Website / Facebook 


Isle of Capri

Edgewater Dining & Bar

Edgewater is a modern Australian bistro located on the Isle of Capri, a man-made island situated on the Nerang River.  It has a beautiful setting, with views of the canal, local boats and the Surfers Paradise skyline.

We dined at Edgewater for my Dad’s birthday earlier this year. Their dinner and lunch menu is extensive, broken down into nine sections – breads, oysters and small plates to start with, followed by salads, burgers, pasta, risotto, ‘on the grill’ dishes, ‘the sea’ dishes and sides. Examples of dishes include: daily shucked oysters with your choice of four toppings, tortillas, meatballs, croquettes, soft shell crab salad, tempura crab burger, Tassie scallops, roast pumpkin risotto, crispy skin duck leg, grilled bugs and waffle fries. 

To start, we enjoyed Oysters two ways – natural with fresh lemon and with soy, wakame (edible seaweed), sesame and lime. The second lot of oysters were our favourites! We also ordered ‘My Mom’s Meatballs‘ (pork, beef and lamb meatballs with a Parmesan crisp and ciabatta) as recommend by the waiter – unfortunately these were bland, which was very disappointing!

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For our mains, we loved their Saltwater prawn linguine with garlic, spring onion, chili, lemon, roasted tomato and rocket. This was definitely the stand out dish of the night. Unfortunately, the Tasmanian Salmon Fillet was verging on raw and the accompanying fennel slaw was drenched in a creamy sauce (with no mention sauce on the menu), so it wasn’t enjoyable to eat. 

Edgewater has a few hits and misses, however, the outlook and views are lovely. Next time, I would recommend having dinner elsewhere, but coming here for a few drinks and to try a few dishes off their tapas menu.  

Address Shop 3 G7, Capri on Via Roma, Isle of Capri
Open daily, from 7.30am – late
Website / Facebook / Instagram

Surfers Paradise

ESPL Coffee Brewers

ESPL is one of my favourite coffee places in the Gold Coast. While it’s not the biggest cafe, it does have plenty of outdoor seating and it’s the location that is the bonus… right across the road from Surfers Paradise beach! The sun just beams into the cafe – even early in the morning. I would recommend going to the beach for a swim, and then relaxing at ESPL with a nice hot coffee.

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They also serve a small selection of treats – my favorutie being their chocolate caramel slice! In fact, the first time we went to ESPL, we striked up a conversation with the friendly front of house lady and discovered we were both from New Zealand. After many oohs and ahhs about the chocolate caramel slice, she gave us a few pieces on the house – a great start to our day!

Address 4 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise
Open daily, from 6am – 6pm
Facebook


Bumbles Cafe

Located opposite Budd’s Beach, Bumbles is a quaint cafe serving breakfast, lunch, baked goods, high tea and on Thursday nights, a three course dinner. The cafe is spacious with many seating areas – private dining rooms with book shelves, open dining spaces with fresh flowers in hanging jars, photographs on walls and quirky decorations throughout that make you feel right at home.

Bumbles also produces its own honey from its on-site rooftop beehive, hence the name and the menus illustrated with bees. 

We came here for breakfast to try one thing only, their Fig Toast, served with labneh, homemade raspberry jam, dried apricots, butter and pistachios.

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Bumbles makes their own Fig Toast, a unique blend of dried fruit, nuts and seeds. The accompanying condiments all worked well, and it was delicious. The coffee was nice too.

However, service was the downfall. Our waitress was aloof and we got the feeling she did not want to be there. This was such a disappointment!

Address 19 River Drive, Surfers Paradise
Open daily, from 7am – 4pm

Facebook / Menu


Betty’s Burgers

My sister and I love burgers, so one night we ventured into ‘town’ to check out Betty’s Burgers. The name reminds me of the character Betty from Riverdale and the eatery Pop’s diner (also from the show) where I am sure they sell burgers. Anyway, we were pretty excited to try this place out.

We ordered beers (Fat Yak and Little Creatures Pale Ale), plus the Betty’s Classic Burger with Angus beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and Betty’s special sauce and the Pork Belly Burger with slow cooked crispy pork belly, lettuce, tomato, pickles and sriracha mayo. Both were pretty tasty, but the pulled pork was the winner… especially when there is sriracha mayo involved!

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Pork Belly Burger

We then had dessert, as they do a special one – ‘Design your own concrete’. Basically, you pick your ice cream (either dense chocolate or vanilla custard) which is then blended at high speed with your favourite mix-ins.

The hardest part is trying to choose your mix-ins (priced at $1 each). There are 28 different ones to choose from, for example, raspberries, Krispy Kreme doughnut, chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cups, Persian fairy floss, passionfruit cream and many more. The ice cream itself is $5.50, so if you got all 28 mix-ins… well that is a $33.50 ice cream!

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I chose the dense chocolate ice cream, topped with pretty much chocolate everything. It was the perfect sweet finish to our burger meal!

Address 12-14 Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre, 3240 Surfers Paradise Boulevard
Open daily, from 11am – late
Instagram / Facebook / Website


Broadbeach

Comuna Cantina

Located in Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Comuna Cantina serves delicious Latin street inspired food and Insta-worthy drinks – think Nutella, Mint Slice and Tim Tam espresso martinis, lychee cosmopolitans and mocktails made with local and exotic fruits.

On our most recent trip, as soon as we had dropped our bags, we caught the G-link to Pacific Fair and sat down for a delicious lunch at Comuna Cantina. I had seen their amazing cocktails on Instagram, so I just had to order a sneaky one… introducing their Nutella Espresso Martini. It was out of this world. 

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We also ordered food – their Taco Bowl with spicy beef, black beans, quinoa, corn and pico salsa, guacamole and corn chips was seriously good! 

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I recommend Comuna Cantina for great tasting food and amazing cocktails!

Address K1013 Resort Precinct, Pacific Fair, Broadbeach
Open daily, from 11am – late

Instagram / Facebook / Website


The Cardamom Pod

As mentioned above, I also dined at The Cardamom Pod in Southport. However, this branch is slightly different. The food is still fully vegetarian, however it is Hare Krishna-style cooking and is served buffet style. 

They serve hot and cold dishes, like hearty vegan lasagne, Asian curries, falafel, pies, rice paper rolls, burgers, nachos, wraps, fresh summer salads and an array of raw and gluten-free sweets. All of their produce is sourced locally and is organic where possible. They also serve smoothies, chai, coffee and cold drinks.

We ordered a range of salads and sat outside as it was a nice sunny day. We enjoyed their famous sweet potato, broccoli and tofu salad, the tempeh salad with raw mixed vegetables, the raw vegan and gluten free rainbow salad with cherry tomatoes, broad beans, carrot, snow peas and red cabbage. All were delicious and filling and you get a side of rice too.

Tip: I recommend spending the morning shopping at Pacific Fair, afterwards catch the G-Link tram to Broadbeach North, then it is only a quick walk to The Cardamom Pod.

Address Shop 1, 2685 Gold Coast Highway Broadbeach
Open Monday to Friday, 11.30am – 9.30pm, Sat 7.30am – 9.30pm, Sun 7.30am – 9pm

Instagram / Facebook / Menu


Mermaid Beach

Poke Poke

Poke Poke in Mermaid Beach is one my places on the Gold Coast, serving deliciously fresh and delicate poke. Hawaiian for ‘to section’ or ‘to slice or cut’, poke is a raw fish salad which is fast becoming popular around the world. This year, so far, six poke eateries have opened in Auckland, as well as many restaurants serving this dish.

This casual eatery boasts an all-day poke-bowl menu, and I love the flavour combinations used. My favourite is their Tuna Me On bowl, with sashimi-grade tuna in soy and sesame, topped with avocado, shallots, crispy plantains and wasabi mayo over brown rice. So much goodness in one bowl!

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They also do fresh salmon and tofu combinations, which are both spot on. If you’re not into raw fish, you can opt for grilled lemongrass chicken or chicken karaage.

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And, if the above is not enough to tempt you, they also do poke bowls for breakfast! There are a bunch of different options, from the ham-hock poke bowl with edamame, avocado, kale, corn salsa, poached eggs and hollandaise on brown rice, to the ‘green rice’ bowl with baked field mushrooms, feta, pumpkin, spinach and a poached egg.

I also love Poke Poke’s super relaxed vibe, not to mention the tropical decor, and the friendly and welcoming staff. Definitely add Poke Poke to your Gold Coast list! 

Address Corner Alfred Street and Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
Open daily, from 8am – 8pm
Instagram


Doughnut Time

After having lunch at Poke Poke, head just around the corner to Doughnut Time. It seriously made my day when I found out that Poke Poke and Doughnut Time were in the same vicinity… awesome!

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You may have seen Doughnut Time on Instagram – it’s an Australian brand, with shops in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and more recently, the Gold Coast. They make amazing doughnuts, with crazy creations and some of their doughnuts are named after famous people, TV shows, films and songs. For example: ‘Stranger Rings’ (the Netflix TV show Stranger Things), ‘Brewno Mars’ (singer Bruno Mars), ‘Legally Blonde’ (the film), ‘I Pika Choose You’ (a Pokémon inspired doughnut), ‘The Milo Cyrus’ (Miley Cyrus) and ‘The Jack Sparrow’ (the character Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean).

We tried several doughnuts over the course of the week, our favourites being:

Flakey Af – a milk chocolate glazed doughnut, topped with flake pieces. This one is quite simple, but if you like Flake chocolate (like I do), then you will love this one!

It’s Always A Gay Time – a milk chocolate glazed doughnut, with crushed biscuits, golden caramelised crepes and filled with honeycomb custard. This is definitely the star on Doughnut Time’s menu – you will be transported to ultimate foodie heaven!

Liam Hemsworthy – a red velvet vegan doughnut, with cookies and cream frosting, crushed chocolate ripple biscuits and a vegan chocolate glaze drizzle. This doughnut is vegan, and tastes amazing!

Oh My Lorde – a vanilla and passionfruit glazed doughnut, topped with meringue, freeze-dried raspberries, raspberry powder and party curls. Although I like Lorde, I wasn’t a fan of this one. 

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L-R: Oh My Lorde and Liam Hemsworthy

Love at First Bite – a Nutella filled doughnut, dusted with cinnamon sugar. My second favourite, for its oozing Nutella centre.

Doughnut Time‘s flavours change regularly and keep an eye out on their social media pages for days when they do discounted doughnuts!

Address Shop 5, 2375 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
Open Monday to Friday, 11am – 10.30pm, Sat & Sun, 10am – 10.30pm

Instagram / Facebook / Menu


Heaven-yah Gelato

If you’re not a doughnut fan, then I recommend heading around the corner to Heven-yah, a cute gelateria located in Mermaid Beach. It is a family owned business, run by two local sisters – very cool! They have a range of fresh flavours to choose from which change regularly. When we visited, the flavours on offer were: salted caramel, Belgian chocolate, hazelnut, stracciatella, coconut milk chocolate, buttered popcorn, cultured creme fraiche with raspberry jam and an orange and Aperol sorbet. 

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L-R: Hazelnut and Belgian Chocolate

We went for the more classic flavours and tried the Hazelnut and the Belgian Chocolate. Both were perfectly smooth and yes, tasted like heaven. The Belgian Chocolate was the clear winner out of the two. 

Heven-yah are open late nights, making it the perfect spot for dessert after dinner.

Address 2/2387 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
Open Monday to Friday, 11am – 10.30pm, Sat & Sun, 10am – 10.30pm
Instagram / Facebook


Miami

Paddock Bakery

We were on our way to walk around Burleigh Heads National Park and naturally, I was determined to get something yummy on the way – introducing Paddock Bakery. After seeing countless pictures of their homemade bread, baked goods, meals and acai bowls on Instagram, I just had to check it out.

Walking in, the cafe was incredibly busy and although the line was out the door, I knew their food must be good! Service however was quick, thanks to their efficient ordering system. I couldn’t go past their acai bowl, which turned out to be one of the best I have ever had. It is topped with housemade granola, blueberries, sliced banana and strawberries, pistachio crumble, fig and a baby meringue, was decorated beautifully and tasted ah-mazing. Perfect to fuel up on before our walk.

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Next time, I’d like to come here for lunch and sit outside – they have a number of seating areas surrounded by trees, plants and flowers. Paddock Bakery has a great atmosphere too. Highly recommend!

Address 20 Hibiscus Haven, Miami
Open daily, from 6.30am – 3pm
Instagram / Facebook / Website


Burleigh Heads

We only spent a few hours in Burleigh Heads – after being picked up from the airport we had a coffee and checked out the beach. The second time, we walked around Burleigh Heads National Park, again had coffee and got a takeaway lunch. There are many eateries in the Burleigh Heads area that I wanted to try, but that will have to wait until next time!

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Nook Espresso

If you have arrived in Burleigh Heads and are looking for a great coffee, then Nook Espresso is your place. It is a small kiosk, only serving takeaway coffee and a few baked goods. The bonus? It is right next to Burleigh Heads beach. 

Address 43 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
Open Monday to Saturday, from 6am – 4.30pm (closed Sundays)
Facebook


Social Brew

Nestled in an arcade, I probably wouldn’t have found Social Brew, if it hadn’t been for following them on Instagram. 

Walking in, the cafe was surrounded by plants – the most I have seen in my entire life! They have done it well though, which gives the cafe a tropical vibe.

Also loved Social Brew‘s use of the colour yellow, featured on the coffee machine, to the cups and saucers, takeaway coffee cups and menus. Yellow was my favourite colour as a child as it always made me feel happy, and that is how I felt about Social Brew.

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And, the best part? Strong, extra hot coffee. Delicious too. If coffee is not your thing, they also serve wholesome breakfasts, lunches and a range of cold drinks and gourmet smoothies.

Social Brew is a hidden gem in Burleigh Heads and I will definitely be coming back to try their breakfast and lunch menus!

Address Big ‘B’ Arcade, 16/50 James Street, Burleigh Heads
Open daily, from 6am – 3pm

Instagram / Facebook


Govindas

Govindas is a Hare Krishna cafe, serving pure vegetarian food. Their meals include Indian-inspired samosas and pakoras, kofta balls, lasagne, dhal, potato bake, shepherd’s pie, rice, vegetable curry, plus a range of salads. All of their dishes are made onsite, so everything is super fresh, with many of their fruit and vegetables grown on their farm in Eungella, New South Wales.

The food is buffet style and the price of your meal depends on how much you want to eat. The cafe is dine in and takeaway – we opted for takeaway as we were heading back to Main Beach. I got a medium salad plate, with three salads, mine included their tofu, broccoli and sweet potato salad, the kofta ball salad and Greek feta salad with capsicum, olives, lettuce and feta. It was very filling and very reasonably priced.

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They also make their own desserts, like chocolate mousse, sago pudding, cheesecake, halva (semolina pudding), cupcakes and tiramisu, plus the mango lassi drink. 

If you are in Burleigh Heads and looking for a nourishing and wholesome meal, then I recommend checking out Govindas.

Address 20 James Street, Burleigh Heads
Open daily, from 11am – 8.30pm
Facebook / Website


Byron Bay

Technically not in the Gold Coast, however, if you’re looking to get out of the city, head south to Byron Bay, a laidback and beachy area, which is only an hour and 30 minute drive away. Definitely spend a day here (ideally a Thursday), starting at the Byron Farmers Market, then having a coffee whilst people watching, browse the shops, have lunch and then spend the afternoon at Main Beach. Also, check out the lighthouse and keep your eyes peeled for Chris Hemsworth – he lives in Byron Bay!!!

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Byron Bay Farmers’ Market

Held every Thursday morning, Byron Bay Farmers’ Market supports local producers and there are many goodies to choose from. When I say goodies I don’t mean my usual favourites (like chocolate and baked goods), but goodies like the biggest pineapples you will ever see, tomatoes in all shapes and colours, lady finger bananas (seriously the cutest), dragonfruit (fresh and dried), avocados so cheap it kills me, giant watermelons, juicy carrots, freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, macadamia nuts, prawns and so much more.

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Everything is super fresh, organic and tastes amazing. Plus there’s music, food stands, and plenty of parking. I envy the locals in Byron Bay, because this market is one of my favourites.

If you can’t get to the market on Thursday, head to the Bangalow Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings (from 8am to 11am) which is only a 20 minute drive from Byron Bay.

Address Butler Street Reserve, Byron Bay
Open Every Thursday, from 8am – 11am
Instagram / Facebook / Website


Bayleaf Cafe 

We stopped at Bayleaf for coffee after browsing the Byron Bay Farmers Market. There are many coffee shops in Byron Bay, but we chose this one, as 1. It was busy and 2. For the decor, setting and chill vibe (plus it ended up being right next to one of my favourite clothing shops, Mister Zimi). 

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There coffee was great – but beware they don’t serve skinny milk (aka trim milk)!

We also ordered one of their homemade dark chocolate and raspberry muffins to share. It was still warm, straight out of the oven and melt in your mouth. 

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Service was quick and attentive. Will definitely be back to try their breakfast and lunch menus.

Address 87 Marvell Street, Byron Bay
Open daily, from 7am – 2.30pm
Instagram / Facebook 


Combi

Having brunch at Combi in Byron Bay was an absolute dream.

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Mainly because we don’t really have anything like it in Auckland. Their food is beautiful, fresh, organic, healthy, and most importantly, delicious. The menu has endless options, that I guarantee there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Firstly, the drinks. There’s organic fair trade Combi Coffee, herbal tea, fresh drinking coconuts (or the option to have your espresso in a fresh coconut), lattes, raw hot chocolates, iced coffees, kombucha on tap, organic cold pressed juices, nut mylks, milkshakes and my personal favourite, raw organic superfood smoothies.

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My sister ordered their Peanut Butter Cup Superfood Smoothie ($12.50) which was actually a meal in itself! It consisted of organic peanut butter, banana, cacao nibs, coconut flesh, chia, raw fermented protein powder and housemade nut mylk. It was AMAZING.

Secondly, the food. On the menu, there are super bowls, such as chia, acai, dragonfruit, bircher and granola – all my favourite breakfast ingredients. Plus, sourdough and sprouted breads with your choice of toppings, lentil soup, avocado on toast, toasted sandwiches, raw pizza, raw zucchini spaghetti and a veggie burger. We were overwhelmed by the menu!

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I ordered the Dragonfruit Bowl ($15.50), a blend of mango, banana and housemade nut mylk, topped with seasonal fruit, crispy coconut, chia seeds, cranberry, goji berries, activated caramelised buckini and garnished with passionfruit. It sounded dreamy on the menu… when it arrived at our table, it was the brightest pink I have ever seen, and eating it, well it was a dream. However, I would have liked more buckini on top to make it more substantial.

My Mum liked the sound of their Combi Organic Lentil Soup ($14) – homemade Middle Eastern slow cooked lentil and vegetable soup served with a side of sourdough toast. I was surprised seeing this on the menu as I thought Combi only did bowls and smoothies. However, this hit the spot!

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Sweet tooths will also love their raw cakes and treats, like their signature raw caramel slice (gooey and delicious), mango and passionfruit cheesecake and raw donuts.

I also loved the decor and beautiful setting. Think pastel pink walls, wooden features, colourful chairs and cushions, pink menus, tropical fruit neon lights and loads of plants. 

Highly recommend Combi if you are in Byron Bay!

Address Shop 5b, 21/25 Fletcher St, Byron Bay
Open daily, from 7am to 4pm
Instagram / Facebook / Website

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Side note: I plan to visit the Gold Coast again very soon, so will keep this list updated!

Have you ever been to the Gold Coast? What eateries would you recommend?

Inti, Auckland

A few weeks’ ago, I was invited to dine at Inti, a newly opened restaurant delivering freshly styled Hispanic cuisine to Auckland City.

Named after the Incan sun god, Inti has replaced Meat Fish Wine, an eatery at which I enjoyed the food and wine, however, dining at Inti is nothing like I have experienced before. At Inti, you can do two things:

  • Explore delicious modern interpretations of South American ingredients, flavours and techniques; and
  • Enjoy art by aerosol artist, Flox, bringing the space to life with Hispanic-inspired wall work.

Heading up the Inti kitchen is Spanish born Javier Carmona, who brings 27 years of experience and a passion for Hispanic flavours to Inti, creating a unique culinary journey for Auckland locals to experience.

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On the night we arrived, Inti were hosting a special Argentinian wine tasting and we were able to join in! We tried four different organic Argentinian red wines, my favourite being the Septima Malbec 2016, an intense red with aromas of fresh cherries, balanced with toast and vanilla.

We also sampled various nibbles from Inti’s menu – we loved the mini versions of the Green chorizo with a 65 degree egg, salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and wood sorrel. Find out more about this dish below!

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After the lovely wine tasting, we were led to our table, where Inti’s restaurant manager, Carolin, explained the menu, ethos and Hispanic art work. She was very welcoming and friendly. 

We then ordered further drinks – I love cocktails, especially fruity ones so I couldn’t go past ordering The Brazilian – a blend of Cachaça, guava and passionfruit. Cachaça is Brazil’s most popular spirit and is made from fermented sugarcane juice. It was very refreshing and a great start to our culinary journey…

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The staff at Inti were very knowledgeable about the menu – great because we must of asked a billion questions about each ingredient – most you won’t recognise!

Inti’s menu is separated into four sections: ANTOJITO, STREETS, OLD WORLD NEW WORLD and DULCE. Out of the 17 dishes on the menu, we tried 14 of them. Each dish was beautifully presented on ceramic wares from Waiheke, and a highlight was that all the hot dishes arrived on warm plates… definitely makes a difference!

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We started with ANTOJITOS, traditional Mexican street foods, which literally translates to ‘little cravings’. We enjoyed the following:

Plantain (chips, made using very green bananas) with a beautiful smoked sour cream, lime and burnt leek. Very moreish and we almost licked the plate!

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Mussel Michelada – mussels marinated in a dark beer and topped with fermented celery and chili. These had a great kick!

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Cactus “Guacamole” with seaweed, almond, epazote and avocado leaf. One of my favourite dishes of the night – guacamole like you’ve never had before, plus an edible avocado leaf to crunch on?! Amazing!!!

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Salsa Tarasca, made from pumpkin and sunflower seeds, accompanied by a selection of Mexican breads – soft corn tortillas, panucho (a puffed fried tortilla, this one made with cricket flour) and our personal favourite, the concha – a sweet and incredibly fluffy bun – beautiful!

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Next were the STREETS, our starters for the night. 

Firstly, the Green chorizo with a 65 degree egg, salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and wood sorrel. One, if not our favourite dish of the night – the herbs were lovely and the egg was perfectly cooked when we cut through the middle… just wow! Plus, check out the upside-down heart shape! The chorizo was also melt in your mouth. 

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Our next dish was the Tostada – the prettiest dish I have ever seen. Served with morcilla (black pudding), pitaya (dragonfruit) and peanuts, the flavours were interesting and if you look closely, the Tostada is topped with black ants! At first, I was a bit hesitant, but they actually gave the dish a nice crunch.  

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Our third and final dish from the STREETS menu was Anticucho, a popular dish originating from Peru, which consists of small skewered (and marinated) pieces of meat. Inti uses beef, cooked in jamon fat (Spanish ham) and served with aji Amarillo (medium to hot chilies) and lettuce juice. The beef was tender and had a spicy kick!

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OLD WORLD NEW WORLD is the mains section of Inti’s menu. Our first dish was the Duck with burnt honey brine, rose petal mole and coconut horchata. The duck was succulent – melt in your mouth. We also loved the mole (pronounced mōh-lāy) which is the national dish of Mexico – a sauce usually made with onions, garlic, spices, herbs, nuts, seeds, chilies and dark chocolate. The rose petal mole was a different take on the mole that my dining companions had tried Mexico, but was tasty nonetheless. 

Tip: Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to this dish – it really brings out all the flavours!

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We also enjoyed the Huitlacoche with raw oca, hoja santa, lemon and rice cracker – Inti’s only vegetarian dish, with the Huitlacoche being a fungus that grows on the ears of corn, also known as ‘Mexican truffle’ and oca being similar to that of a New Zealand yam. Definitely haven’t seen this combination on an Auckland menu yet, which made it so much more exciting! We also loved the presentation of this dish.

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Our third and final main was the Cebiche – raw fish, served with red cabbage, salted tamarillo and sweet potato. Although it was not a hit among my dining companions, I would happily order this dish again. I loved the striking presentation, the generous serving of fresh trevally, the red cabbage marinade and the dehydrated sweet potato chips. 

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Lastly, DULCE or dessert. There are four options on the menu and we tried them all.

I really enjoyed our first dessert, the Smoked Xocolate with mandarin, quajillo, chili and persimmon. Three variations of mandarin are incorporated into this dish – as a liquid in the ganache, as mandarin sorbet and as a mandarin powder (the mandarin skin is ground into a powder, with a similar texture to sherbet). Definitely not something I was expecting in a dessert, but overall it was a nice surprise!

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Next was a take on the Spanish dessert, Crema Catalana. Made with goat’s milk and served with torched meringue, barley and custard apple, we couldn’t quite work out this dish. The meringue was served in chunks – not piped and the custard apple was most unusual!

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Thirdly, Manchego with hibiscus, potato cracker and black quinoa. Although I loved the Manchego cheese, I wouldn’t order this dish again as I have a sweet tooth. However, if you are a cheese lover, then definitely try this!

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We were then blown away by the Vanilla Queso with burnt pineapple, cucumber ice, lemon verbena and seeds. A refreshing way to end our meal and one of my dining companies exclaimed “it tastes just like a margarita!”. We agreed this would be the perfect palate cleanser between meals.

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Overall, we were all very impressed by the food at Inti. We all had a similar feeling – like we had been transported to South America on a culinary holiday, surprised and excited by all the interesting flavours, tastes and presentation. If you are looking for a unique dining experience, then Inti should definitely be at the top of your list!

Side note: Don’t leave without checking out the bathroom – there are many surprises!

* I was invited to dine at Inti, courtesy of the restaurant, however all opinions are (and always will be) my own.

Inti
Open Tuesday to Friday, 12pm to 3 pm, 5pm to late and Saturday, 5pm – late
Address 2 Chancery Street, Auckland CBD
Notes Takes bookings, $25 lunch special
Instagram / Facebook / Menu

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

UberEATS app

Imagine this.

It’s Friday night, you are home from work and don’t feel like cooking. You also don’t feel like driving all the way across town to pick up your favourite takeaway. So, what’s the solution? The UberEATS app of course!

The UberEATS App allows you to order your favourite dishes online from over 100 participating eateries, which are then delivered straight to your door. Think bagels, bao, gourmet burgers, salads, gelato, sushi, fried chicken, curry… even a warming bowl of noodle soup.

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I love the UberEATS app for its simplicity and ease of ordering food – simply download the UberEATS app on your phone (for both iOS and Android), login with your same Uber account details, put in your address, and a list of eateries within your delivery zone will show up. Delivery is available between 8am to 10pm, meaning you can order your day’s breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Some of my preferred eateries are not within walking distance to where I live and work, so it is super handy having the UberEATS app on my phone.

One of my favourite eateries in Auckland is &Sushi, an eatery serving modern style and creative sushi, plus a range of Japanese and Korean dishes as well. They have branches in Newmarket and City Works Depot. Working in Auckland CBD, I am not able to make it to either of their stores at lunch time. But, thanks to the UberEATS app, I can enjoy &Sushi for lunch at work and at home. I recently ordered a range of their beautiful sushi and two meals – Sashimi Bibimbap and Bulgogi Beef Soba Noodle Salad.

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I simply put my order through for &Sushi on the UberEATS app and waited. I was then showed the status of my order – whether the meal was being prepared, whether the Uber driver has picked it up or it has been delivered to my address.

A few minutes after ordering, &Sushi telephoned me and advised that they had run out of rice paper rolls (as requested in my sushi order) and that they had no chicken sushi left. The girl said she would try her best with the sushi options. I appreciated her call and thought it very considerate.

The meals from &Sushi arrived promptly. The food was fresh, well presented and delicious – it was just like we were eating at the restaurant.

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There is so much to like about the UberEATS app – it is simple and easy to use, reliable and fun – it is definitely my number one app!

 

The Chocolate and Coffee Show 2017

 

Hands up who loves Chocolate? And/or Coffee? How about Cupcakes, Gelato, Desserts and Espresso Martinis? Me! And I am sure a lot of you who are reading this also put your hand up!

Today, I attended The Chocolate and Coffee Show, held at The Cloud on Queen’s Wharf, a show which celebrates everything indulgent – from boutique chocolatiers and artisan coffee roasters, to producers of tasty treats. There are also talks and cooking demonstrations by chef Julie Le Clerc, chocolatier Karl Hogarth and Homestead chef Sam Mannering, various masterclasses you can participate in – barista skills, cupcake decorating, a chocolate and tea tasting workshop and a Milse Pop-Up – woohoo! You can also check out the winners of the very first New Zealand Chocolate Awards.

I had a really fun experience today, so I have rounded up my favourite coffee, chocolate and tasty products that I came across/tried at the The Chocolate and Coffee Show. If you have any questions about the products, feel free to ask! If you are heading to the show tomorrow, have a great time!

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We first started off with coffee, from Hail Elsie. Coffee served in a bright orange caravan… yes please! Coffee is Allpress and they are selling a selection of home baked goods.

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FAVOURITE STANDS

Amazeballs
Low sugar, nut based bliss balls which come in 7 different flavours – my favourites are the peanut butter jelly and chocolate orange.

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Apero
French style food trailer, creating seasonal dishes with decadent chocolate treats, plus this year they have launched their own natural and organic chocolate spreads – perfect with fresh crêpes and pastries!

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Aurigin Espresso Martini – Ready to drink
As mentioned before and under ‘Cocktails’ in my Auckland Food Guide, you will see that I am a HUGE fan of Espresso Martinis. Now, thanks to discovering Aurigin at The Chocolate and Coffee Show this year, I can indulge in ready-to-drink Espresso Martinis, which come in cute 300ml bottles. All you do is chill a bottle, shake well and pour. Life is officially made!

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Bohemein Fresh Chocolate
Handcrafted chocolates made with natural and fresh ingredients right here in New Zealand. One of their shops is located on O’Connell Street (in Auckland) which is slightly deadly as my work is just around the corner! I love their chocolates and my workmate swears by their pure hot chocolate drink too!

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Enter on their Facebook page to win this giant chocolate fish!

Bondie Designer Cupcakes
You may recognise the name, their store used to be located in Takapuna, however they have now located to Rosedale. Loved their hot chocolate cupcakes!

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Boundary Road Brewery (BRB)
One of my friends is a beer lover, and thanks to her mission to try all of New Zealand’s beers, she told me about BRB, a brewery located in Auckland. They have two beers that I have been dying to try for ages – Chocolate Moose – Chocolate Porter and Arabica Dabra – Coffee Oatmeal Stout. Both were delicious!

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Cadbury
I love Cadbury chocolate, so I was really excited to see them this year. They have a fun interactive display where you spin a wheel to see which chocolate flavour you are. Definitely check it out, as there is free chocolate involved!

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Chocolatier Mirams
Contemporary artisan chocolate crafted in Napier. How cute do their bon bons look?

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Despicable Cupcakes
Aka badass cupcakes! Some of their flavours include: ‘Nuts for Nutella’, ‘The Strawb-Mob’, ‘Pretzel-Caramel Affair’ and ‘Unicorn Crunch’. I love their wacky decorations!

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Fix & Fogg Peanut Butter
I am a huge fan of Fix & Fogg’s Honey Peanut Butter. They also make a delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter too. If you are ever in Wellington, they have a cute hole-in-the-wall shop where you can buy freshly toasted bread lathered in their peanut butter!

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Hogarth Craft Chocolate
Nelson’s only chocolate manufacturer and one of the few in the country who make chocolate from bean to bar. Hogarth have won many awards for their chocolate, and after tasting it today, I can definitely see why! My favourite flavour was the Dark Giandua – could eat it all day!

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Honest Chocolat
This was my one of my favourite stands today. Beautiful, honest chocolate made using a rang of organic, sustainably sourced, single origin chocolate with no artificial flavourings, preservatives or palm oil.

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House of Chocolate
Contemporary chocolate makers, based in Beachaven on the North Shore. They also have a dessert shop in Takapuna. I absolutely loved their chocolates – my favourite being the Fix & Fogg Peanut Butter bonbon.

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Jenny’s 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! Here’s a pizza recipe to get you drooling…

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Koko Loa
Delicately crafted by Samoa’s own local chocolatiers. Their range includes: Samoan Origin 72%, Fruit and Nut and Coconut Milk Chocolate (my favourite).

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Marcel’s Pancakes
Delicious homemade gluten free crepes, hotcakes and blini. These are so convenient as all you have to do is reheat and then add your toppings – I like chocolate spread, caramel sauce and pure maple syrup! They are selling their pancakes and crepes with your choice of toppings.

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Milse Pop-Up
Auckland’s first dessert bar, selling gateaux, macarons, plated desserts and my favourite ice cream on a stick – Bombe Alaska, with the sorbet flavour inside changes according to season – yummy! Check out my post here. At The Chocolate and Coffee Show, they are selling their gelato sticks, gateaux and macarons.

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Stir It Up
I have been seeing Stir It Up’s products on Instagram recently, so I was pretty excited to try out their products at The Chocolate and Coffee Show. They make dairy free, gluten free plant based not-milk powders, including almond, coconut, soy and oat. I picked up some of their oat milk, soy milk and almond milk. All you do is add warm water to the powder, shake it up and you have your milk! Super easy.

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The Chocolate Tour
Imagine receiving a box of all your favourite chocolates to your door? Well, The Chocolate Tour does just that. Every month, they curate a new collection of the best craft and artisan chocolate, along with tasted notes and delivered straight to your door. Sounds awesome!

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The Macho Mini
Another favourite stand today serving cute cupcakes, which are between the size of a mini cupcake and regular cupcake, which to me is the perfect size! Loved the stand presentation, packaging and the cupcakes looked delicious.

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Urban Blends 
A father and his son are behind Urban Blends, where they make latte blends, like Cacao Hot Chocolate, Cacao White Hot Chocolate, Raw Spice Chai and Pink Beetroot Latte. We loved their Cacao Hot Chocolate!

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All the details…

The Chocolate and Coffee Show
Details:
 On tomorrow, Sunday 24 September 2017 and will run from 9am to 5pm.
Address: The Cloud, 89 Quay Street, Queen’s Wharf
Tickets Online ($18.50 for adults, $13.50 for students, under 12s free)
Instagram / Facebook / Website

5 Reasons Why I Love GIAPO

 

GIAPO.

The best ice cream in New Zealand.

Here are five reasons why I love GIAPO (and why you should try their ice cream!):

1. Owner Gianpaolo (Giapo) Grazioli.

Giapo is the creative mastermind behind all the wondrous ice cream creations. He is very passionate about his ice cream and is the most enthusiastic person I know! You will often find him at the store, talking to customers and/or taking orders. Not many hospitality owners do this around Auckland, so I think this is pretty awesome. Also a special mention to Giapo’s wife, Annarosa, who is lovely, kind and always a joy to see at the Giapo store.

2. The ice cream flavours and the different options to ‘hold’ your ice cream.

The menu at Giapo is extensive, with many flavours to choose from. All of the ice creams are gluten free, with four being vegan – definitely something for everyone!

Their ice cream is different to that of the normal ones you would get at a dairy or supermarket – Giapo’s are like works of art. I particularly like that all of their ice cream flavours are hidden from the public, however you can taste as many as you like.

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[September 2017 Menu – I will update this to include new flavours]

My favourite flavour at Giapo is Giapo Buono – it is a classic winner! Think lightly salted caramel ice cream, rolled in hazelnut praline and amaretti biscuits, topped with swirls of Italian meringue and bronzed hazelnuts. Dreamy.

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Other Giapo flavours which I have enjoyed:

  • Kiss Kiss Kiss – my second favourite flavour featuring Christchurch Hazelnut gelato, topped with dark and milk chocolate, candied hazelnuts and a pair of chocolate lips!

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  • Chocolate Evolution – the most decadent out of all the flavours. I would describe the ice cream like a dark chocolate mousse, with Dominican dark chocolate and cacao nibs.

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  • Hokey Pokey – this is an iconic Kiwi sweet and now it is in ice cream form! Made using Tongan vanilla and topped with chocolate and honeycomb toffee, I highly recommend this flavour to first time visitors!

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  • Siamu Popo – Coconut and caramel jam from Samoa and made into ice cream, dusted with cocoa powder and topped with a chocolate disc. This flavour is always a hit among my workmates.

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  • Afghan Cookie – Caramelised white chocolate ice cream, rolled in cornflakes and topped with a homemade cookie and walnut halve.

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  • Coconut Chocolate Chip – creamy coconut ice cream, topped with dark chocolate, rice puffs and a half dipped vegan chocolate cookie. This is a great choice for vegans!

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  • Satsuma Mandarin & Red Capsicum – one of Giapo’s lovely sorbets, made using mandarins from Thames and red capsicum from Kerikeri and topped with cardamom seeds.

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  • Chocolate and Peanuts – tastes just like another Kiwi icon – Peanut Slab!

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After selecting your ice cream flavour at Giapo, you can then decide what you would like your ice cream to be served in. Introducing the “Hold Me” options:

  • In a waffle cone or in a deluxe cone coated in chocolate (and either swirled with chocolate, rolled in freeze dried fruit or crushed nuts)
  • In a cup or in a deluxe cup made out of chocolate (and either swirled with chocolate, rolled in freeze dried fruit or crushed nuts)
  • In a Yorkshire pudding
  • In a ‘Selfie Cone’
  • Or in traditional Paroa Parai (Maori fried bread).

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Giapo Buono in a Yorkshire Pudding

IMG_6672Chocolate and Peanuts Ice Cream in Paroa Parai – Traditional Maori Fried Bread

3. The incredible creations

If you want to go next level, then I recommend trying one of Giapo’s “Whammies” aka extra add-ons to your ice cream. These include adding a sourdough doughnut to the top of your ice cream, the ‘Two Become One’ – two chocolate halves to join together, ‘The Visio’ and ‘Sky Tower’.

  • The Visio – inspired by New Zealand’s Te Papa Museum’s world famous Colossal Squid (I recommend sharing this between two… or three!)

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  • Auckland’s Sky Tower – the tallest ice cream in the Southern Hemisphere!

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  • Sourdough Doughnut – fried a la minute.

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4. Giapo’s Discombobulating Menu.

Since moving to their new and much larger premises at 12 Gore Street, Giapo and his team have created a “Discombobulating Menu”.  Here, you will find ice cream incorporated with foods around the world. Think Montreal’s Poutine, Italy’s Arancini, India’s Pani Puri and Japan’s Gyoza.

  • Poutine – a sweet and savoury dish combining fries, ice cream and drizzled with salted caramel sauce. The current Poutine flavour features Kau Piro cheese – a smelly stinky cheese from Whangarei as the ice cream, drizzled with salted caramel sauce.

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  • Arancini – a saffron rice ball filled with caramel ice cream. It is a hot and cold combination!

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5. The little things.

Upon arriving at Giapo, you may get asked if you want to try shortbread or brownie while you wait. Definitely try some! The best is when they bring round tiny cups of their pure hot chocolate drink. These little things set you up for the ultimate sweet tooth experience!

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Giapo has been operating since 2008, and each time I visit, it continues to amaze me. And thus, it still remains one of my favourite places in Auckland today and I think, for many more years to come. Seriously get to Giapo now if you haven’t already – you will literally be in ultimate foodie heaven!

GIAPO
Address 12 Gore Street
Open Sunday to Thursday, 12.15pm till 10.30pm and Friday + Saturday, 12.15pm till 11.30pm
Notes Seating inside and out, ice creams available for tasting
Website / Instagram / Facebook

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

Auckland Restaurant Month: Odettes Eatery

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We are now in the last week of Auckland Restaurant Month! This annual event celebrates the central city’s diverse dining scene, offering 26 unique dining events and the chance to experience over 100 special menus, priced at $25, $40 and $55+.

It is also a great opportunity to step outside the box and eat odd – try a food you wouldn’t normally eat and have a whole lot of fun doing it!

A fellow foodie friend (Bri) recently won a voucher (thanks to Neat Meat) to dine at her restaurant of choice… so last Tuesday night, Bri, Michelle, Genie and I had dinner at Odettes Eatery, where we tried their $40 Restaurant Month Menu – a four course banquet shared between four.

Odettes Eatery is located at City Works Depot, and has been on my foodie wishlist for a while. It is a charming eatery, with a relaxed ambience, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their menu is fresh and creative, drawing on flavours from the Mediterranean and changes seasonally.

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Two of our party arrived early, so we had a few of their happy hour drinks. This is every night, from 4pm to 7pm and includes $8 tap beers, $8 wines and $10 Aperol Spritz. Following this, we tried two of their cocktails – Espresso Martini with Broken Shed Vodka, Dark Cacao and Espresso (one, if not, the best espresso martinis I have ever had) and a Fig Daiquiri with Angostura 3 Y/O, Lime and Pedro Ximénez.

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Espresso Martini with Broken Shed Vodka, Dark Cacao and Espresso

Here’s a peek of the dishes we tried:

To start: Olive Pickle with Zatar and Cumin Lavosh. Loved the crispy lavosh – inspired to now make it at home!

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Course 2 (Includes two dishes):
Chicken & Lime Dumplings with almond salsa and chili. We had to order another plate of these – our favourite dish of the night!

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Crab slider with brioche, crayfish sambal and aioli. These were fantastic!

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Course 3 (Includes three dishes):
Lamb Meatballs with Saffron Mustard, Sourdough and Pickled Eggplant. These were delicious, however we agreed they were a bit on the dry side…

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Roasted Carrots with Black Quinoa, Muhummara (hot pepper dip) and Toasted Hazelnut. A good side dish, since I have been lacking in the vegetable department lately!

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Chips with Berbere, Honey Mustard and Curry Leaves – loved these, especially with the honey mustard sauce!

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Course 4: Coconut Affogato with Ice Cream and Espresso. A refreshing end to our meal.

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A special thanks to Bri and Neat Meat for spoiling us rotten! x

Odettes Eatery’s Restaurant Month Menu will be available the whole month of August and costs $40 per person for a four course banquet.

Odettes Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Odettes Eatery
Open Monday to Sunday, 11am till late
Address City Works Depot, 90 Wellesley St West, Auckland CBD
Notes Definitely book a table / Good for groups / Reservations only for 6 or more
Instagram / Facebook

For more information about Auckland Restaurant Month and a full list of events, click here.

Photo credit for non food pictures: Heart of the City / Odettes Eatery / Anna Kidman

Auckland Restaurant Month: White + Wong’s

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If you’re looking for top-notch Asian fusion food, consistently good service and a buzzing atmosphere, then look no further than White + Wong’s, located on Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour.

White + Wong’s menu is one of my favourites in Auckland – it’s ‘east meets west’ and takes its inspiration from the street food found in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand. I love the variety of food choices – think raw/cold cuts, noodles, curries, delicious dumplings and buns. Their food is fresh, flavourful and looks exciting on the plate.

I first dined at White + Wong’s a few month’s ago – we tried their edamame beans with a killer spicy and sweet sauce, a selection of their dumplings and gua bao, and their refreshing nashi pear iced teas. The service was great and the food was fantastic!

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Fast forward to earlier this month, I saw that White + Wong’s were doing a special menu for Auckland Restaurant Month. I just had to check it out! So, on Friday night, a fellow foodie friend and I tried out their 3 course menu. It was a pleasant evening, which meant we could sit outside on their expansive deck overlooking the water and boats. If you get the opportunity to sit outside, then definitely do!

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Starting with drinks, my friend ordered wine, while I couldn’t go past one of their delicious cocktails. The Madame Butterfly really stood out – Beefeater Gin, Chambord *yay*, passionfruit, lemon juice and white chocolate garnish. It was pink (my favourite colour) and the white chocolate was definitely the cherry on top. They also serve wine, beer, spirits and non-alcoholic concoctions.

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We then indulged in their 3 course menu ($40 pp) and tried the following:

Appetiser: Prawn Crackers & Chilli Salt to share.

Raw Dish: Fijian Style Kingfish Sashimi with heirloom tomatoes, chili, lime, coconut cream and coriander. A refreshing start to our meal!

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Dumplings: I chose the Wagyu Beef, Shiitake & Cumin Shumai (pictured below), while my friend had the Prawn and Coriander Ha Gao.

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Roti Roll: Roti filled with slaw, coriander, mint, lime, soy & sesame dressing, crispy shallots, toasted almonds and your choice of chicken, pork or eggplant. My friend chose the Bang Bang Chicken and I had the Char Sui Pork.

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All the meals were fresh and tasty, and had us wanting more. Our favourite dish of the night was the Roti Roll. This is something I wouldn’t normally order off a menu, so I’m really glad I got to try White + Wong’s version. The roti was crispy, yet soft, and both our chicken and pork were cooked perfectly. It made for a very flavoursome end to our night!

White + Wong’s is fast becoming one of my favourite dining places in Auckland. Head here for pre-dinner cocktails, a dumpling feast or eat to your heart’s content with their yum cha menu on weekends. Their Restaurant Month Menu will be available the whole month of August and costs $40 per person for a three course meal.

White & Wongs Bar & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

White + Wong’s
Open Monday to Sunday, 11am till late
Address 149 Quay Street, Cnr Lower Hobson & Quay Street, Viaduct Auckland
Notes Definitely book a table / Good for groups
Instagram / Facebook

For more information about Auckland Restaurant Month and a full list of events, click here.

Photo credit for non food pictures: Heart of the City / White + Wong’s