We love how top Japanese restaurants serve their wasabi - freshly grated on a dried sharkskin paddle. Masu (pictured) and Cocoro source their rhizomes from Canterbury wasabi growers Coppersfolly (who also make Pure Wasabi Paste). Masu's Nic Watt likens the use of freshly grated versus powdered wasabi to the drinking of espresso rather than instant coffee. We hope this international trend for ditching the powder and honouring the Japanese tradition keeps growing in New Zealand.

1. Learn, taste and indulge at this week's Flight of the Cocktail Festival, with live music, markets, cocktail classes and more. Orleans and Racket Bar, tonight until Sunday.

2. Dine at Auckland Zoo in a pop-up restaurant on July 26. Each of the four palm oil-free courses will be inspired by an animal and cooked by a different chef. Followed by an auction, with proceeds to Auckland Conservation Fund. Tickets and info from


3. Peruse the boutique producers at The Food Show, and find new and unusual essentials. July 31 to Aug 3 at ASB Showgrounds, tickets from

4. Hit Queenstown in style at Clicquot in the Snow, July 30 to Aug 3. There'll be bespoke brunch sessions, a degustation dinner and the Clicquot snow bar on Coronet Peak.

5. Mask up at the exclusive Les Gens Masquerade Ball, in the ballroom of historic Marivare House, Epsom, on August 2. This is a members-only event. Request membership at


with "The Winter Garden", a fancy raw cake made from vanilla beans, cashews, coconut oil and kale, with real berry flowers and peppermint oil foliage. The collaboration combines Amy's Secret Kitchen's decorating flair with The Raw Kitchen's nutritious un-baking. $90, order throughout July from