Taste of Auckland: To market, to market

The Producer's Market at Taste is the chance to discover exciting new flavours and ideas.

The Producer's Market. Photo / Supplied
The Producer's Market. Photo / Supplied

With more than 100 stalls, this year's artisan market is a cornucopia of fresh produce, delicious local products and everything you need to enjoy a gourmet experience in your own home.

For those with a sweet tooth, stops should be made at Oh Fudge, fanatical makers of delectably smooth fudge in exotic flavours like passionfruit, creme brulee, fig and ginger and boysenberry, Andre's Kitchen for cookies and brownies, Petal Cupcakes for melt-in-your mouth cupcakes and Whoopie, makers of New Zealand's first whoopie pies.

Whoopie pies are pretty new to our shores but we doubt they'll stay a secret for long.

First created in the United States in the 1920s, this sweet treat sits somewhere between a cupcake, and a macaron, with a cute round shape and mouthwatering flavours and fillings - think choc, cherry and coconut, or banana, walnut and cardamom.

Icecream makers Rush Munro's, Killinchy Gold and Kapiti will be offering a delicious selection of cool, creamy treats - a couple of scoops are the perfect accompaniment for strolling the market or sitting in the sun.

Those with a more savoury palate will be in their element with a wide selection of deli stalls such as Salash, who have been making dry-cured meats for generations, A Touch Of Italy, importers of mouthwatering meats, cheeses, pasta, sauces and olives, Genevieve's Cuisine, producers of specialist pates or Alexandra's Fine Foods for stocking up on spices, gourmet salts, dukkah and butter seasonings.

If you like things a little saucy there's Culley's Chilli covering the condiment spectrum from fiery hot to smoky chipotle, rich tomato to harissa, and Howe Saucy, who make legendary garlic and black sauces from family recipes.

We're dying to try the smoked eggs from the NZ Manuka Egg Company. They're cold-smoked using a special process so the egg stays raw, and you can cook them however you please - we're thinking scrambled, with toast from the Wild Wheat bakery stand. Yum.

We'll also be making a beeline for Little Bird Organics, purveyors of high-quality organic raw foods, to pick up some packets of their Mexican tomato crackers, macadamia and berry "grawnola" and vanilla and almond macaroons.

Fill a basket or two with handcrafted and specialty breads, Pic's peanut butter (handmade in Nelson and quite possibly the best we've ever tasted), Gravity coffee, nuts, olive and avocado oils, creamy Piako yoghurt, premium meats from Silver Fern Farm and Westmere Butchery, luxurious Regal Salmon and Whitestone cheeses.

Once you've got your foodie passions under control, it's time to start thinking about beverages, and once again Taste Festival visitors are really spoiled for choice.

Wine-lovers will be in heaven, with close to 30 wineries from the backyard to the boutique to the really big players all setting up shop.

Beer connoisseurs can quench their thirst with everything from Monteith's and Moa to 1010 Brewings, Peroni, Britomart Brewery and Tuatara.

Those looking for something a bit special or different can sample FAQ Lemon, an international award-winning aperitif made in the Bay Of Islands, premium local vodka from Broken Shed, white or gold aged Stolen Rum, Agwa herbal liqueur made from Bolivian coca leaves or refreshing Savanna Cider.

The Shott Beverages stall is a must-visit. They've whipped up an extensive variety of products from real fruit syrups in lemon, ginger and honey or spiced berry and coffee syrups in vanilla, caramel, hazelnut and white chocolate to cocktail mixers and smoothie concentrates.

We're also keen to get our hands on a bottle or two of Ritzling, a riesling-based spritzer with a fruity citrus twist. The newly invented drink on everyone's lips, Ritzling was created by Chris Archer, a winemaker for more than 20 years, and sounds pretty perfect for sipping by the Bandstand or on summer evenings at home in a tall glass with a wedge of lime. Aaaah ...

WIN

Win a return flight for two to Europe with Singapore Airlines
Imagine flying at 10,600m, and enjoying the gastronomic delights created especially for you by Singapore Airlines' international culinary panel of award-winning chefs; resting easy in ergonomically-styled seats with extra knee and leg room and watching an endless stream of on-demand entertainment on your personal screen as you make your way towards your choice of European destinations.

Whether it's Paris, Rome, London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Moscow or Zurich you're dreaming of, Singapore Airlines is giving visitors to Taste of Auckland 2012 the chance to win two economy-class return flights to one of their 14 fabulous European destinations.

Simply complete the KrisFlyer enrolment form found in the Taste of Auckland Menu Card and drop it in the entry box at the Singapore Airlines display near the Fisher & Paykel Chef's Kitchen to be in to win. Terms and conditions apply.

Life & Style Editor Nicky Park will be hitting opening night this evening. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for updates from the event.

* This is a Viva promotion.

- NZ Herald

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