Saturday, March 15, 2008

Farmer's Market and Craggy Range

These are views from Te Mata Peak. The one on the right is looking down on Craggy Range Vineyard.

This morning we visited Havelock North farmer's market, a larger one than last Sunday in Blenheim. There were vendors from the entire valley with a wide range of produce, cheeses, olives, meats, eggs, candies, coffee, etc. It was a beautiful morning, crisp and very clear. Locals were browsing, buying and enjoying the music. Some brought lawn chairs, let the children run and play, and sat sipping the great coffees. It was a real treat. One of the oil producers sells to Whole Foods in the US - Village Press. Look for their very special olive oils there.

We then spent an hour or so walking through Hastings, another art deco town and drove to a couple of vineyards. Black Barn is a lovely place with a big outdoor restaurant and special events venue. There had been a wedding there last night, so the white floral arrangements were still in place. It was spectacular.

We had a 12:30 reservation at Terroir Restaurant at Craggy Range, a vineyard in a green valley beneath Te Mata Peak. We tasted their wines first, and were very impressed with them. Each we tasted was good, from the Marlborough sauvignon blanc to the Gimblett Gravel Merlot. They also export to the US. Their wines are a little higher priced than some NZ wines, but first quality.

Our lunch was the best food we've had in NZ, and that's saying a lot. Our starter was delicate crab salad and avocado on a brioche with lemon sauce. For the main course, I had a whole snapper fresh from Hawk's Bay wood-fire grilled, and Bill had grilled lamb loin. The service was excellent. It was a memorable afternoon, sitting on the terrace with the view of Te Mata, the lake, and green lawns. Terroir is understandably well-known for it's food. If I can imagine heaven, I think I was there enjoying it this afternoon.

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