|Admiring someone else's plate|
A Taste of Auckland
I took the resident hobby photographer along to the Taste of Auckland culinary festival last Thursday (for his photography prowess, not his conversation skills L). Fortunately, those exhibiting had conversation in abundance for me so I didn’t feel lonely. The threatened rain stayed away until we were heading home and little plops began to fall. Good timing.
|Euro's lamb dish|
I’d done some research beforehand to save time dithering on what I was going to sample, so off we headed to Euro for my “main course” of lamb, while Bill chose and slurped his way through their wickedly good sauce of jalapeno crème fraiche, dotted with a small helping of crab and prawns. He won on that round. My roasted lamb rump was fine but I thought it would be great. The mint and pea panna cotta accompanying it was the real standout both for taste and attractiveness.
My wine pick from the Vilagrad Winery stand was a 3 Brothers Wairarapa Pinot Noir and strangely enough for me, this was the only glass or taste I had all evening.
|Make mine a Prawn Cocktail please|
Reversing my own meal order and returning to starters, I visited Mexico for the tall cocktail of Prawns in Chipotle Mayo with baby cos lettuce, green gazpacho and candied lime. The latter stole the show for me, with its sweet twist giving a fresh touch to the dish. Bill had the beef skirt tacos with green tomatillo, candied pepitas and nasturtium leaves, which he found just “okay”. Top marks though for Mexico’s colourful stand design.
And so to my favourite part of any meal, anytime, anywhere (I scour the dessert menu before anything else – don’t tell me you’re not the same?). There was no way I was savouring any dessert other than that from Kermadec chef, Juan Balsani. After his demo at the NZ Food Bloggers’ Conference at the Chocolate Festival in Wellington, I have been waiting for this.
|The chocolate I've been waiting for...|
If there was any reason I wish I had not taken Bill along, it was precisely at that moment when, chatting with chef Juan, he (jokingly, okay?) told him that I had his photo on our walls at home. I wished I’d worn sharp stilettos with which to force a long hole for me to drop into with my scarlet face (and given Bill a quick, sharp kick on my way down!) I recovered enough to immerse myself in the delicious experience of breaking open that chocolate globe to spoon up the glorious silky chocolate inside, combining it with the taste texture sensation of cocoa powder and green pepper tuiles, balsamic poached strawberries and polenta crumbs. Maravilloso!
For the record, Bill did another round of mains and dessert at Depot with a BBQ pulled pork slider with apple slaw and pickled jalapenos and, to finish, his favourite sweet – lemon meringue pie with cream – which looked so appealing with its perfect peaks. He was more than happy with his choices.
We headed home out of the city and over the hills after a thoroughly pleasant evening meandering around food tents, listening to cool music from the Nairobi Trio or Peter Urlich and tasting whatever took our fancy from places we'd really like to visit. That’s what Taste of Auckland is all about.