Parnell's favourite French restaurant St Tropez turns 10 this month and, to celebrate, every night they're giving diners the chance to win a dinner voucher worth $100. Chef Jean Christophe Varnier and his wife and maitre d' Simone Varnier say the highlight of the past decade has been the people who walk through the door.
"It is pretty special the amount of friends we have made. People from all corner: lawyers, judges, politicians, sport people, celebrities, locals, tourists from Tahiti, Noumea that comes every year and still find us there."
Jean Christophe loves nothing more than to cook his favourite dishes - snails, cassoulet and tarte tatin. But his favourite is the celebration cake, croquembouche - a pyramid tower of profiteroles coated with either chocolate or caramel. "People always go wow!".
St Tropez, 149 Parnell Rd, Parnell, ph (09) 309 0996.
Viva wine editor Jo Burzynska will be signing copies of her new book, Wine Class: All you need to know about wine in New Zealand at Glengarry's Victoria Park store this Saturday between 12 and 2pm.
Inspired by her Viva columns and popular Adventures in Wine classes, the book is an accessible and entertaining guide to wine appreciation for the New Zealand wine drinker. She will also be hosting a tasting of all the New Zealand gold medal-winning wines in store at Glengarry from the 2009 International Wine and Spirit Competition, at which she judged this year.
Meet and greet
If you enjoyed reading about the success of New Zealand chef Anna Hansen in last week's Viva, then get along to Cook the Books in Ponsonby tonight and meet her.
Anna, who owns the highly successful restaurant The Modern Pantry in London, will be sharing canapes and wine with guests and talking about her inclusion in the new book Coco ($85: Phaidon).
Reservations are essential so phone now to book. The cost is $10 but that's redeemable if you buy the book. 81 Ponsonby Rd, ph (09) 360 6513 or email email@example.com
We know home baking is undergoing a renaissance, but sometimes life it too short. That's why we love the "Sabato - From our Kitchen" range of biccies. From Oat Lace Biscuits to Spiced Almond Cookies and Mini Afghans (made with Valrhona chocolate) they taste just like Mum used to make - only better. Fool your friends next time they come over with this delicious selection of baking. Sabato, 57 Normanby Rd, Mt Eden, ph (09) 630 8751.
Speaking of time-savers in the kitchen (or is that just a nice way of saying cheating?), Marcel's Crepes and Hotcakes are scrummy. They're made by a New Plymouth company, Van Dyck Foods, which is owned by Marcel Naen and Ingrid Vercammen who emigrated to Taranaki from Belgium 10 years ago.
Sweet, plain or gluten-free, these are the sort of things you can keep in the freezer and whip out for a last-minute dessert or serve with maple syrup and bacon and eggs for breakfast. Go to www.marcels.co.nz to find out more.