As part of this year's Horowhenua Taste Trail, several local eateries have created a special Horowhenua Dish, showcasing their skills, talent and imagination as well as the best in local produce and ingredients from the district. The Horowhenua Chronicle has been lucky enough to try some of the offerings:
Salt and Pepper Cafe
Dish: Crispy wontons filled with Turks chicken, Woodhaven Gardens spinach, and cream cheese. Served with garlic buttered Tender Tips asparagus and topped with Genoese basil pesto drizzle.
Creator: Stewart Wimms — chef/owner.
Elements: Four perfectly-cooked crispy wontons, with a rich, creamy chicken and cream cheese filling, five or six tender asparagus pieces, generous pesto drizzle and a garnish of crunchy baby leaves.
Presentation: Presented beautifully — four wontons all in a row — with plenty of bright, fresh-looking green aspects on the plate.
Wine match: Newly-released sparkling Sauvignon Blanc from winemaker Jane Cooper at local vineyard Ohau Wines.
Impressions: A vibrant dish, packed with flavour. The plated size isn't enormous, but it doesn't need to be, as the richness of the dish makes it surprisingly filling. Different flavours work harmoniously — the slight buttery saltiness of the asparagus, which had been pan-fried in garlic butter with a dash of white wine, worked well with the creamy wonton filling, while the pesto's full flavoured, olive-oil base was smooth. Contrasts have also been used effectively in this dish — the crunchy texture of the wonton cases paired with the creamy filling being the main example, while the influences of both Asian and Mediterranean cuisine are combined on one plate. Somehow the chef had managed to serve the wontons perfectly crispy, even though they were drizzled with pesto and topped with asparagus pieces.
Dish price: $15 (excluding wine)
Value for money: The quality of every single ingredient on the plate, where everything has been carefully considered and nothing is a filler, make this dish good value. It is a great way to experience the chef's creativity and the excellence of local produce that has gone into this dish for a pretty small price.
Availability: Now until the Horowhenua Taste Trail day — Saturday 24 November 2018.
More information: www.tastetrail.co.nz/horowhenuadish
What you need to know
Horowhenua Taste Trail Mains tickets have sold out, but Deluxe and Entry tickets are still available.
Deluxe Tickets include a bus tour from your chosen location. Join the VIP day out with a tour guide, visits to selected sites, five Horowhenua Taster Plates, and Taste Trail Market Bag.
Tickets: $85-$120 dependent on tour start point.
With Entry tickets, take your own vehicle and go at your own pace. You'll be able to purchase food along the way from pop-up cafes and restaurants, at an additional cost.
Tickets: Over 12 years — $15, 12 years and under free.
Tickets are strictly limited.
Tickets can be purchased online or at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō, Levin or Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, Foxton.
Capitol Restaurant of Wellington is catering for the Horowhenua Long Table Dinner which will be held on the Friday night of the Taste Trail. Capitol has recently picked up a suite of awards, receiving a hat in the Cuisine Good Food Awards and in Wellington's Hospitality Awards, Outstanding Chef of the Year.
It will be a night of fine food, with a jazz and swing trio, and insights into food production and trends in the Horowhenua.
Lewis Farms Champagne Breakfast and Dairy Masterclass with Jude Messenger have both sold out. There are still a few tickets available for Burgers and Beers at Turk's.