I was in Auckland two weekends back – not for the game unfortunately – but for Taste of New Zealand, a fantastic food and wine event held in Victoria Park.
Some of the country’s top restaurants offer smaller versions of their best dishes washed down with great wines, boutique beers and whiskies.
Queenstown was represented by Ben Batterbury, head chef at The Rees, and his whitebait fritters sold like, well, hot fritters.
There were plenty of celebrity chefs on hand. The new rock stars, with their middle aged foodie groupies, were there to host cooking demonstrations.
Gary Rhodes, perfectly coiffured and extremely finicky in his preparation (I watched him set up), burst on to the stage and gave a perfectly poised master-class with recipes so easy to follow I can still remember them in my head. I usually struggle to remember my own house number, so a marvellous achievement.
Rick Stein was ensconced in his Malaysia Kitchen, spending part of the time cooking for the masses and the rest of the time demonstrating, rather messily, some Malaysian classics.
I met lots of passionate people and took plenty of notes, as I believe there is a place for an event of this quality in Queenstown. Watch this space.
Paul Tudgay is the Queenstown Resort College business hospitality manager and wine appreciation lecturer
For more of Tudgay’s wine musings, go to his Wine Down site