i am susan thye. aka chocolatesuze. sydney, australia. gemini. married to noods. this is a food and lifestyle blog. i like cheeseburgers, cake and fried chicken.
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12 March 2012, 04:02
I’ve never been to New Zealand before. Shocking I know, as New Zealand is so close to Australia and well known for their awesome produce and delicious wines. When I was invited to Cloudy Bay’s Estate Vineyards for their annual Forage event I jumped at the chance (and ran to renew my expired passport). Buzzing with excitement, our group of writers and reporters from all over the world arrived at Cloudy Bay’s cellar door at the winery on Jacksons Road in the heart of the Marlborough wine region. We were greeted with the Pōwhiri, the Māori ceremony of welcome.
After the ceremony there was the Hongi which is the pressing of noses to signify the joining together of the hosts and visitors.
We move inside for champagne and into the cellar where a beautifully set table is bathed by the light of hanging lanterns.
Blenheim-based Swiss chef Alain Hauswirth has a chat with us before our dinner begins.
Now I am the first to admit that my knowledge of wine isn’t too extensive so was really looking forward to trying out some wines and having the chance to ask winemaker Sarah Burton all sorts of random questions. The 2007 Te Koko is a smash hit with the table, surprisingly light and pairing well with our first course.
The portion of seared tuna is pretty massive but I demolish it with ease after the less than average plane food. The tangle of rice noodles is a bit on the sweet side with the addition of vanilla in the coconut reduction but the greens with XO sauce balances out the flavours.
A giant platter of sliced meats arrive- beef, pork, veal and venison and we are ready for some fondue action!
At first we are all polite and slowly decorate our plates with baked potatoes, some slices of meat and dollops of sauces- the pesto was by far my fav.
We spear the slices of meat onto teensy tiny skewers and swirl them into the broth until they’re cooked to our liking. The trick was as soon as your meat had cooked you dump it on your plate and immediately spear another slice to cook while you eat. Or um you steal another fork and cook several slices at once…
And then there was the most incredible cheese I have ever had omg how I heart cheese! The Neudorf Richmond Red was a semi-hard sheep milk cheese that had a slightly nutty flavour and so freaking tasty that I must’ve eaten at least half the wedge.
An early night for us as we know a massive day is planned for the next day so we shuttle bus back to Marlborough Chateau (95/117 High Street Blenheim) and spy plush kiwi toys and a bottle of Cloudy Bay’s Sav Blanc ’12 in case we were still thirsty hehe
The next day we were split into groups with each group heading to a different point in the Marlborough region to gather and explore the best produce of New Zealand and bring it back for an epic degustation- our group was East and our first stop was Sweet Nature Honey (829 Taylor Pass Rd, RD4, Blenheim). Other than our photographer, none of us were game to join beekeper Darren Clifford as he showed us a hive and how to take out a frame of honeycomb.
A bee smoker is used to pacify the bees before the frame is removed and any bees still clinging are lightly brushed away and the frame is placed in a sealed box and taken back to the factory.
ChocolateSuze was invited to Forage 2012 as a guest of Cloudy Bay
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