PUT IT ON THE LIST
• Delicious with blue cheese - the Bonelli Masoni Fig and Walnut Panforte from Sabato, produced in Italy's Colle Val d'Elsa, from an age-old family recipe.
$13.50 for 100g, $39.50 for 450g. Ph 0800 SABATO.
• Coco Ginger Paste by Phyto Farm. Packed with coconut oil, ginger, garlic and apple cider vinegar, it's the soon-to-be star of kitchen condiments, perfect for pairing with any meat or fish dish as well as for accompanying fruit, cheese and sweet slaws. $19, from Farro Fresh.
• Prepare yourself for a social December or perhaps just the Friday and Saturday nights ahead by stocking up on Misters' new cold-pressed juices. There are five variations to choose from. $5.90, 12 Wyndham St.
Calling all New Zealand chefs: S.Pellegrino has begun its Young Chef 2015 global search. Candidates must submit their signature dish online, with chosen finalists competing in a local event, after which the 20 top chefs under 30 will be selected worldwide. Winners will also team up with stylists selected by Vogue Italia, which will create looks inspired by each chef's signature dish. Submissions (on finedininglovers.com) close December 15.
FREEZE MY COCKTAIL
Fresh in time for a long hot summer comes a collaboration between Rogue Society Gin and Tommy and James from Nice Blocks. Their boozy gin-spiked popsicles come in three flavours; Blood Orange Rogue & Tonic, Berry Bramble and a Ramos Rogue Fizz, which contains orange blossom water, coconut cream and freshly squeezed lemon. Each block is the equivalent of a .5 standard drink, so please lick responsibly. Rogue Blocks are $5, available at roguesocietystore.com and a selection of summer festivals.
HANDS UP FOR LAKSA
Under the guise of Miss Changy, 22-year-old fine arts student Ruby White has been quietly hosting a series of pop-up dining events over the past year, whipping up authentic Chinese-Malaysian fare. Each event is themed around a different dish. Laksa-Laksa is at Auckland's Elam School of Fine Arts this Saturday from 11.30am-3pm. White will be slingin' out steaming bowls of Sarawak-style laksa from a hole in the wall. It's first come, first served, so don't risk a late arrival.
$15 per bowl, cash only, 26 Symonds St.
ONES TO WATCH
• Grey Lynn's culinary appeal is on the up with New York-style pizzeria Epolito's set to open on Richmond Rd. After closing the popular One Tree Hill space in December, owner Chicklena Rose, a fourth-generation Italian New Yorker, has been looking for the perfect new spot to relocate. There will be a stint of renovations before opening day, so watch this space.
• Italia Square will bring its Italian flavour to Parnell next Tuesday, via a multi-space venue, complete with grocery store, restaurant, cafe, gelateria and bar. Situated at 100 Parnell Rise, in the Geyser Building, New Zealand's first building to earn an environmental rating of six green stars.
THIS DECEMBER WE'LL BE...
Ushering in the silly season at Merediths, which is hosting five-course lunches through December on Thursdays and Fridays. The lunch affair, along with a glass of Taittinger Brut NV is $65 a person. Perfect for celebrating the end of another year with family, friends or even a tight-knit work team. Ph (09) 623 3140 to book.
• The beetroot and feta salad at The Store, Britomart. It's all about the creamy feta. - Beth Walsh
• Chop Chop in Ponsonby Central's egg net - perfectly presented, and full of tasty Vietnamese flavour via mint, minced prawn, chilli, shallots, peanuts and ginger. - Fiona Ralph
• Sunday breakfast is sorted at Mt Eden's Orvieto. Try the delicious hash browns served with poached eggs and aioli. - Anna Lee
THE HOT NEW FOODKIT
Those high in standards but low in time will find a kitchen mate in the new Farro Foodkits. The seasonally-focused kits are delivered direct to your door, with recipes developed by Ray McVinnie. All you need to do is check out the recipe options online and select which meals you'd like to cook that week. Choose from express dinner options, family friendly meals, gourmet barbecue packs and everything you need to execute a memorable Christmas roast with all the trimmings.