Drysdale fans: Let them eat cake

By Monique Fischer -

A little slice of Whangarei could be the secret ingredient pushing rower Mahe Drysdale towards his Olympic gold medal dream.

And today anybody in the city can taste the treat for free.

The "official" carrot cake supplier to Drysdale is giving Whangarei supporters a taste of the champion's secret training regimen as he gears up for his Olympic single sculls rowing final tonight.

Whangarei's Nectar Cafe has sent down its gluten-free, organic carrot cake to Drysdale via refrigerated courier every two or so weeks for the past three years.

Owners of Nectar Cafe, Nigel and Debbie Stowe, who have links to Drysdale through his aunty Denise Donald, promised that if Mahe made the final, they'd give out their much-loved carrot cake for free on that day - and that's today.

In fact they've gone further, bringing in rowing machines today to encourage people to have a go, and have organised $2000 worth of prizes from Activ8, Sport Northland and Nectar.

Mr Stowe said it's about supporting New Zealand's rowers and getting the community together.

"Everyone will be able to write a message of support on the big blackboard and through Nectar's Facebook page which will be passed onto Mahe before his big race.

There'll be some friendly competition on the ergs [rowing machines] with prizes for the fastest times and just for giving it a go," he said.

"We're hoping to raise awareness and support. And share the cake Mahe's enjoyed for years."

Nectar's carrot cake is well-known in the area. The cafe has sold a whopping 7500 slices since opening five years ago.

The popular cake is also gluten-free, a secret change they made in February.

"We never advertised the change but not one person has noticed any difference. It still sells out the window. But for us it's about healthier eating choices.

"Most people just don't know how much better they'd feel eating gluten-free and how much a difference it would make.

"Our ultimate goal is to be completely organic," she said.

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