Oh I’m the luckiest! My brother and my brother-in-law both live in New Zealand. It’s where I take my family vacations. Can u beat that????
In all the years that I have travelled extensively across the country – both the North and the South Island – every trip has been special. The first time I went there my daughter who was a year and half started to talk in full sentences just out of the blue; I think she was inspired. The second time we went I discovered the south Islands and the spectacular Queenstown and the unbelievable Milford sound. That cruise is etched in my memory for ever. New Zealand is as pristine and as pure as anything can get.
And where do I begin to talk about the fantastic produce that the country has. The meats are spectacular as are the summer fruits. There was this one meal at The Hunting Lodge – this lovely restaurant in Auckland – that I can never forget; I had the most delicious meats in a setting that was so unforgettable.
But, let me talk about my recent trip there last year. My brother, Dev Malik, who is one of the best chefs I’ve known (yeah, he was a part of the team that started Olive in Mumbai and then Delhi before he left for greener pastures, literally) made this trip a gastronomic delight! And what more, I got a chance to peep into his kitchen and learn some tricks of the trade. I always have had a lot to learn from him but what I take away most is his passion for food and all things good. I think he talks to his chicken and fish, I think he has a thing going with stuff in the kitchen. When u love food you can make food that others can love too. And so this trip was all about cooking together and drinking together and yeah, baking together.
We went up Taupo to bungee jump and then air dive and see the glow worms in caves and of course, ate as we went along.
Everywhere I went I ate a carrot cake and ice-cream and the best ice-cream I’ve ever eaten in all my life was at the The Tannery Café And Mt Atkinson Coffee; the brand is called Kohu Road. I promise you it’s really the best in NZ. And yeah, they do have some awesome coffee to go as well.
I discovered so many quaint cafes and we ate every where we got a chance; simple, slow and good food. Some of the best bread I came across was at Olaf’s Café – simple non fussy things on the menu and everything baked right there in front of you. If you get there around lunch hour you have to be really lucky to get a table.
Discovering Little and Friday Cafe was yet another highlight of my trip. You must visit whenever you are next in Auckland. Check them out here http://www.littleandfriday.com. I bought their book of some fabulous bakes and have been enjoying their stuff ever since.
Another trip to NZ is brewing soon, I have the perfect excuse in mind!