My First Taste of Auckland Attendance
Exactly one week ago we were invited to Taste of Auckland with Qantas VIP Tickets. This was my first time ever at the event. Some of the ideas that I had were only from the TV commercials, poster advertisements I see and each time I pass by Victoria Park just before November when the event proceeds. We came on the day of its opening and this time it was at Western Springs just a few minutes’ drive from my office.
After the Western Motorway traffic we arrived at the location without having to queue. We were welcomed in the Qantas Lounge with some welcome drinks. After sipping that first red wine we started to go around and do some tasting. There were heaps of exhibitors but I would not identify each one here. We tried most of what they offer (more than 50 different food items out of 100+ exhibitors and restaurants) but I can only comment about the ones that stood out in my opinion. All of the food items here are some if not the most of the best quality New Zealand has to offer; wines, cheeses, sauces, dips down to ready to cook meals and cold cuts.
We started with Brazilian Cheese Breads by Durello. No doubt it was a good start for me. This is very addictive, I can keep on munching this one endlessly. Then we had this tuatua, a shellfish that comes from the clam family. It’s the first time I tried it and they actually serves it raw. At first I was hesitant but I thought I should give it a try too. It was freshly shucked in front of me; nutty, it does not feel raw at all and surprisingly I liked it. We then passed by this Beekist tomato stand where they serve skewered caprese. I can guarantee that it was one of the best caprese I ever tasted; the tomatoes were so tasty, sweet and tangy perfect with the fresh mozzarella. Then we had this buffalo wings made with a ready-made sauce from Culleys which tasted the real thing without the greasy butter it is usually made of.
Moving on, we tried different wines and liquors then had some freshly grilled beef and pork, both meats were grilled to their perfection, it was really tasty and very juicy. We also passed by the Kapiti booth where we were given some amazing ice creams. Next beside it was this Puhoi valley booth where we tried all of their offerings; the yoghurts, milk and cheeses, as expected they were all good I wished I stayed here a little bit longer. We especially like their yoghurt; it’s so creamy and full of flavour.
After all of that small bites plus other tasting not mentioned here, we were almost full. We also tried some of the meals they got to offer. This dish from Koto; the Pork Two Ways, Soft Noodles, Herbs, KOTO dressing. I feel like I am eating some deconstructed Vietnamese fresh rice roll, pork was seasoned really well and the mixture of sweet, sour and saltiness in that sauce makes this dish really shine. It was really good.
Next on the menu was this Southern Fried Jerk Chicken, Chipotle Mayo (10 Crowns/$10.00) from Miss Clawdy. We know this restaurant a bit well as we dined in here multiple times already and my wife loves it. The chicken was really crunchy and good, seasoned real well not too spicy but I find it bit dry but we can understand their stand was one of the most crowded one so it is quite hard to make this consistently. We waited for this chicken with more than 20 orders ahead of us. I reckon this is one of their most popular dishes.
Then for dessert we went to Bracu’s stall and have this Roasted White Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich with Raspberries and Hazelnuts (10 Crowns/$10.00); a very filling dessert and a perfect way to should have end my meal. I loved the touch of the frozen raspberries the most. But just when we were about to have our sip of hot tea by the Dilmah stand, we passed through Moustache Cookies. I heard they make really good cookies and their Snickers flavour is a talk of the town. What a luck it was when they actually did not sell the cookies at the event but instead gave it away as a sample! Who am I to resist this moist and chewy cookie? Now I could not wait for that nice and hot cup of tea any longer.
At the Dilmah stand, we found out they only have teas as a part of a whole high tea menu where it is served with 8 different desserts and different tea flavours. This time I only took a shot of one of the cakes they got on offer and passed. I just needed a cup of tea which the gentleman glady gave for free.
This first time was a great experience. The $25.00 entrance fee would be enough to fill up your tummy with the free tastes you can get from the exhibits without you taking out extra cash.
Enjoy the rest of the photos from the gallery below.