Good yarn a vital ingredient

By Liz Wylie

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WINNER: Nothing was wasted in Charlotte Von Pein's stunning peacock dish.PHOTOS/SARAH PROUDE
WINNER: Nothing was wasted in Charlotte Von Pein's stunning peacock dish.PHOTOS/SARAH PROUDE

A dish that used every inch of a peacock bar the beak has won the Waimarino Local Wild Food challenge.

The contest attracted 40 entries and around 400 locals and visitors to the Raetihi Cosmopolitan Club on Saturday.

Organiser and founder Bill Manson said there were some brilliant entries and he spoke to a number of people who had come to Raetihi especially to attend the event.

The winning entry was teacher Charlotte Von Pein's nose to tail peacock creation where she used "every part of the bird except the beak" creating pie, pate, sliders and sausage.

"She stuffed the heart with feta and sundried tomatoes - she didn't waste anything and it was all beautifully presented."

Second place went to Katherine Chittock for her pheasant, whitebait and berry bubbles and Paul McAlister took out third place with his hunters' scotch eggs.

"He used minced venison for the meat, and they were flavoured with herbs from his own garden," said Mr Manson.

Mrs Von Pein's daughter Ella, 7, was awarded the prize for wildest dish for her possum kebabs and possum pie, and sister Jorja, 10, won the junior section with her snail dishes.

"The peacock was shot on a friend's farm," said Mrs Von Pein.

"They are pests in the area, and we wanted to show that pests can be used as food and made very tasty."

The challenge, which began in Eastbourne, Wellington, in 2008, has become an increasingly popular contest in New Zealand and overseas.

Contestants are asked to hunt, forage or harvest ingredients for their entries and write a story about their dishes.

"The story is really important, we want to know how they came up with the recipe, how they found the ingredients and how they put it all together. Some people have come with beautiful dishes, but if they didn't have the story to go with it, they didn't win," Mr Manson said.

In addition to the competition and tastings on Saturday, visitors were treated to a demonstration on how to dress a deer carcase, talks on permaculture and sustainable hunting.

The challenge was supported by more than 40 national and regional sponsors which Mr Manson said is "phenomenal" and he looks forward to returning next year.

"It was a fantastic event and the Cossie club was an excellent venue," he said.

"I think it is safe to say we will be back again next year."

Local organiser Steve Gray said the Waimarino community have been right behind the challenge with individuals and businesses lending support.

Mr Manson and the wild food family are heading to Pegasus Bay winery in South Canterbury for the next challenge before heading to another one - back to Eastbourne, where it all began, and some Waimarino contestants will be joining in there as well.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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