Everyone knows that when it comes to fresh produce, the province of Hawke’s Bay has been at the forefront of feeding New Zealand and beyond for many years.
Since the 1930’s, when the legendary James Wattie first started pulping Hawke’s Bays’ surplus fruit, locals have been complimenting the regions’ harvest of fresh food by creating amazing artisan products. All any visitor to ‘the Bay’ need do to quickly grasp the extent and range of stunning food being produced in this neck-of-the-woods is wander along to any of the Farmer’s Markets that operate weekly throughout the year. They’ll find dozens of producers offering hundreds of delicious examples of Hawke’s Bay’s bounty.
Every day Bay Tours offers, as part of their Gold Reserve wine tour, a spotlight on some of these local producers with our mid-afternoon Gourmet Platter enjoyed at one of the wineries visited on the tour.
Here are 5 great Hawke’s Bay food friends we love showing off to our visitors;
A special part of the Hawke’s Bay community for more than 50 years, Hohepa farm using biodynamic sustainability principles. Forty-odd Shorthorn cows are grazed on lush herbal pastures and the two cheesemakers – one English, the other Brazilian – create a range of both hard and soft cheeses. But there’s much more to their story than just cheese. Hohepa exists to provide residential care for people with intellectual disabilities. They occupy a unique place in the heart of Hawke’s Bay.
We love & serve: Hohepa Cumin Danbo and Hohepa Blue
To die for: Hohepa Herb Quark – the best dip ever…and low in fat too!
Over 40 years ago Therese Mooren began pickling onion and gherkins in her kitchen at home. Over the subsequent decades Maison Therese has been preserving an ever growing range of New Zealand’s favourite flavours. Now run by her daughter and granddaughter, and with a much expanded operation, the company still produces its pickles, chutneys, relishes, sauces and vinaigrettes using home-kitchen methods and every jar is still filled by hand.
We love & serve: Maison Therese Lime Chutney and Bell Pepper Relish
To die for: Maison Therese Balsamic Onion Relish – slightly sweet, seriously more-ish!
A recent arrival on the Hawke’s Bay cheese scene, Origin Earth are also dedicated to soils that are biologically active and can trace each of their milk and cheese products back to the paddock and animal of origin. With a range featuring both cow and sheep milk products, this multi-award winning producer can now be found in many specialty food outlets around the country.
We love & serve: Origin Earth Cow Camembert-Style Cheese
To die for: Origin Earth Sheep Feta in Brine – It’ll melt in your mouth!
These guys, whose olivery sits on the fringes of suburban Hastings, are the largest producer of New Zealand grown table olives. Sure, they produce their own range of olive oils of course, but it’s the olives themselves that they love working with. All manner of marinated olives, pesto, tapenade, relish and dried olive products form the basis of their range. Then there’s the drizzles, sauces, vinaigrettes and oils themselves. A visit to their tasting room as part of a wine tour is hugely popular.
We love & serve: Telegraph Hill Lemon & Herb Marinated Olives
To die for: Telegraph Hill Cabernet Drizzle – a zingy lift to lamb or venison.
A favour done by Good Samaritan and keen hunter Rob Beard for a retired butcher paid dividends when, a few months later, the butcher gave Rob his beloved Black Pudding recipe. Rob had been making his own venison salami for a little while, but this was the catalyst that propelled him into further production. He now supplies 30 odd restaurants around the country and has a stall at the Hastings Farmers Market every Sunday as well as selling by mail order. If you enjoy quality salami and the like, you’ll love these.
We love & serve: Wild Game Venison Salami
To die for: Wild Game Le Boudin Noir (Venison Black Pudding) – OMG!, Superb!
Here at Bay Tours we’re very proud to showcase some of the many fabulous food products Hawke’s Bay produces, as part of our wine tours. After all, man cannot live by wine alone, right?