Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sweet News from Down Under: One

So, as you may know... I've been travelling through the magnificent world of New Zealand for the past 10 days with my son, Andrew. Needless to say, words cannot describe the experience we have had in the world here, Down Under.
But of course... it's never all play, and there's always a little work. I mean, if you call finding and eating all the delicious confections from New Zealand work!

Here is a summary of my savoury foods and sweet treats experience from New Zealand. All pictures were taken from my phone as I devoured the food so excuse the quality of some of the pictures.
- Delicious street food! Korean pancake sweets from Corner Pancakes at Wellesley and Lorne St. (just off Queen) in Aukland, NZ.
- Auklanders LOVE their sweets - outdoor cafes are almost on every corner! One thing I noticed is that all their treats are pie shaped wedges of layered style bars or large filled cookies called, 'Melting Moments'. (I think Nanaimo bars would be a HUGE hit here). Carrot Cake seems to reign as the most popular cake flavour. Still on the hunt for a cupcake shop!

- En route to Waitomo, we stopped for some tea and cakes. More lemon slices and carrot cakes - so I opted out and picked up 3 fresh oysters. YUM!

- After a morning tour of the Waitomo Caves and the resident awe inspiring glow worms suspended from the cave-like glittering stars; we stopped for lunch at a roadside cafe. How do I describe the apple crumble and whipped ice cream? Oh wait, I know - it's food fit for the gods...

- Want a quick "DYK"? The Kiwi/Aussie dessert of choice for sale on grocery store shelves are all pure ingredients and additive free. Go Kiwi's! I attached a picture of a popular treat called, Pavlova. Also, unlike many other countries (ahem - Canada), eggs are displayed on grocery store SHELVES! They are not refrigerated. Weird!!!

- Now back to Pavlova's. After years of reading about the famous Kiwi/Aussie classic treat (Pavlova and Steam Pudding), I finally had my first taste of Pavlova - the sugary mound of whipped egg whites. It's toasty brown and crunchy on the outside, and pure, white and soft (light as silky air) in the centre. (Now I understand why this dessert is aptly named after a famous russion ballerina). I remember thoroughly anticipating my first bite. The creamy centre dissolved in my mouth and I tasted the sugary foam, which was a sharp contrast to my next bite of the crunch. All very, VERY sweet and just a couple bites was enough to satisfy. On another note, I found the steamed pudding bland and realized that it was just a simple bread pudding. Dark brown in appearance, coloured from the use of golden syrup, and was served with a custard cream sauce. Unimpressed. Fortunately, my Aussie table mates assured me the proper way to prepare a tasty steamed pudding with with lots of Brand and dried fruits.

- In the beautiful shores of Rotorua's lovely volcanic lake, we made a stop at a cafe. The pastry case was full of "slices" in multiple flavours such as Russian Slice, Jamaican Slice, Peppermind Slice, and Apple Slice. So many flavours! Someone has to introduce them to our Canadian version of Nanaimo Bars. There were also lots of pink square sponge cakes filled with fresh cream and covered in coconut called, Lamingtons and yummy looking passionfruit cheesecake.

- In the evening, we headed to a restaurant for some seafood. Andrew had a seafood soup brimming with NZ mussels, scallops and the freshest fish imaginable. I kept stealing bites of the fat juicy mussels. HHmmm... just thinking about it again is making me want to head back there and have another bowl. Take a look at this picture - things that make you say YUM!

- Check out this food from the Rotorua airport. Doesn't it look amazing - because the Spinach Feta Triangle I had definitely tasted amazing. Another great breakfast spot at the Rotorua airport is a place called, Robert Harris. All wholesome and homemade food, nothing processed, and not a styrofoam or plastic in sight.

- Just to quickly digress from food, check out the view from our window in Queenstown - the heart of New Zealands southern Alps. In the next picture, I am enjoying a delicious New Zealand Speights beer on the beach in Queenstown. It's spectacular.

To be continued...


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