The week before my holiday to Auckland was a touch busy at work. Not only did we have a function on but we also had to start prepp for pur New Zealand wine dinner which was on Thursday, two days before my departure. Now, it would have made more sense to go to New Zealand BEFORE the wine night but that didn’t happen.

We sold the dinner out in 7 days AND we were over our maximum(shows how much people love wine from NZ). Total guests was 108! A lot for us.

I was working on a slide show for the evening as we had a drop down screen installed in the restaurant, got some DVDs from NZ Tourism and NZ Wine Growers Assoc, and Villa Maria. Unfortunately as we needed the space for tables, we could only run with the DVDs out on the big screen in the main bar, while canapes were served. Bit of a downer, but I did teach myself Powerpoint which is a good thing!

As usual I tried to use items that are from New Zealand and did a HEAP of research on distinctly New Zealand food items. We were able to source some native spices/herbs from Will at 24 Carrot, Kawakawa, horopito and piko piko. We also used New Zealand Lamb and Hoka. As it was impractical to build a hangi for the night we looked at what foods they actually use in a hangi and decided to use the main ingredients in a dish. 

Between the fish and lamb courses we had our mystery wine which was a Villa Maria Cellar Selection Chardonnay. Most people think that NZ is best for Sauvignon Blanc and for Pinot Noir, but the most widely planted grape variety in New Zealand is actually chardonnay. We decided to go with the chardonnay to show that NZ does do other varieties really well too.

Naturally I had to make mention of the fact that the pavlova is no longer an Australain creation as we lost the claim to the Kiwi’s.

As usual bubbles on arrival with canapes. We used the Te Hana Sparkling Reserve Cuvee to start the night off.

First course: Twice baked two cheese souffle, frisee, hazelnut and chrizo crisp served with Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Gris

Second course: Pork and mushroom terrine with a grape, plum and cardamom jelly served with a slightly chilled Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir

Third course: Pan fried hoka fillet, kumera puree, piko piko pesto and pan juices served with Villa Maria Two Valleys Sauvignon Blanc 

Fourth course: Double lamb cutlet with horopito and kawakawa rub, watercress, pine nut, fetta, and raisin salad with a port and red wine reduction served with Trinity Hill “The Trinity” red blend. No photo unfortunately as my model got eaten before I could snap a pic, D’oh!!!

Fifth course: Deconstructed pavlova served with Lindauer Fraise Sparkling. You can see how hot the kitchen is even though any heat source was turned off, this was within 5 minutes of the sparkling strawberry jelly going on the plate, more of a jellied puddle than jelly.

The two most popular dishes on the night were the souffle and the pavlova. In all it was another great evening, and everyone was happy with their meals and wines.

Make sure you pop back to see photos from my trip to Auckland AND photos from our Clubs NSW Chef’s Table entry.

Thanks for stopping by today!!