Goodies from fresh produce to delicious drinks and tasty herbs will be available to buy or sample at next week's Taste festival.
Taste of Auckland is not just about fine dining in restaurants. The festival also celebrates the wide array of food and wine producers that make this country a foodie's heaven. There will be more than 120 exhibitors showing off their wares in the gourmet producers market, so prepare to spend a good part of your day nibbling and sipping your way around. On show around the market will be everything from cheese, to tea, to beer, to ice cream, to chocolate and much more - including several products making their debut at the event.
Arano will launch a new "prototype juice", asking guests at the event whether it should go into production. The beetroot and boysenberry red juice is packed with antioxidants, and if it goes into production will be the only product on the market to be 70 per cent beetroot. But festival-goers will decide whether the juice is finished and ready to go - if the answer is yes, the producers say it will be in shops by Christmas.
Also on show at the market will be a number of new vintage wines from Cable Bay. The Waiheke vineyard, dedicated to producing hand-crafted New Zealand wines known for their subtlety, elegance and depth, will have available some of their new release wines from the best vintages in Waiheke's history, including the Cable Bay Waiheke Island Rose 2010, Cable Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Cable Bay Waiheke Island Pinot Gris 2010, Cable Bay Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2008, Cable Bay Waiheke Island Five Hills Bordeaux Blend 2006 and Cable Bay Waiheke Island Syrah 2009. Wine will be on sale at Cellar Door prices, with the chance to enjoy by the glass before you choose. Cable Bay will also be selling their award winning Estate Grown extra virgin olive oil.
Chocoholic foodies will be in heaven at the Simply Delicious stand, with top quality, hand-crafted chocolates - including chocolate truffles, pralines, coffee stirrers, stunning chocolate high-heeled shoes and chocolate Christmas cottages. Perfect for some self indulgence or to start off your Christmas gift buying.
A wide selection of gourmet cheeses will be on show at the markets as well, including a stand from Puhoi Valley Cheese with the perfect cheeseboard selected by their artisan cheese maker available. That includes their rich and indulgently creamy Puhoi Valley Triple Cream Brie, made using triple the cream of a standard brie; a Farm Fresh Goat's Cheese; the sharp, full flavoured Puhoi Valley Aged Cheddar covered in a dark blue wax; and the Valley Distinction Blue, a creamy, spicy and sweet blue cheese that is matured for four weeks before being dipped in wax. You can try their most popular cheeses before you buy as well.
Dargaville based vodka brand Purple Monkey Finger will have vodka cocktails available at their stand for those 18 and older. Made the traditional way from locally grown kumara, bottles of Purple Monkey Finger will also be available to purchase and take home.
For those with a fruitier cocktail bent, visit the Bees Blessing stand which will have their new organic strawberry syrup/cordial - perfect with soda water or as a cocktail mixer; or used as a topping on a variety of sweet things. Made from organic strawberries, organic honey and a dash of lemon juice, the syrup is 100 per cent natural. You can enter the draw to win a Bees Blessing gift basket too.
The party will continue at the Herbs Online stand, which will have blends tasted as party dips, and a sampling of their Mulling Spice as warm spiced apple juice. They'll also offer their range of New Zealand solar harvested salt, with summer recipes using their dried blends.
Fine artistic preserves will be available from Maison Therese, with a range of pickles, chutneys, relishes, marinades and vinaigrettes; while at the Tastes From Around New Zealand stand there will be a range of their most popular gourmet products. New Zealand's best bacons from the last two years (Peter Timbs honey-cured streaky bacon and Redcliffs dry-cured middle bacon, both from Christchurch) will be for sale, and they will also have the new seafood sausage range from Seakai Seafood Sausages. The foodie website will offer samples, as well as a range of Christmas gift boxes to buy.
Look out for Ange Redfern and her team from the ever-popular Ponsonby delicatessen Ripe. Along with delicious goodies to try, Ange will be promoting her new cookbook.
Other products will also be on show to be tested and tasted, like organic culinary and cosmetic oils, skincare products and other native remedies from Tauranga based company Lamborganics - the first to be certified organic in New Zealand. They'll be showcasing their range of products including the Wai ariki brand of gourmet avocado oils, and the Regenerate brand of nourishing skinfood that is free from chemicals preservatives and artificial life extenders.