So; Tim and I went to the Wellington Food Show on Sunday afternoon. By the end companies are practically throwing food at you at drastically slashed prices or even - oh bliss - free. Initial thoughts: Oy with the pesto already! How many over-oily purveyors of this paste does New Zealand need? (and I say that as someone who could drink the stuff.) It was good to see a solid gluten-free presence, and kudos to the wine and beer people being generous pourers! Being the diligent blogger that I am, I brought along my camera and homespun, slightly low-rent business cards (it's business time!) And I received a lot of quizzical looks.
I thought there might be other local food bloggers there (am I the only one?) Most people either didn't know what I was talking about, thought I was doing a school project, or that I was some kind of produce research Lindsay Naegle-type person. I am but a meek harbinger of opinion and slowly-improving photographs, all in the name of love for food and cooking. If any of the people who I handed my business cards to are reading this; I simultaneously apologise if, and guarantee that, your product isn't photographed perfectly. Live a little.
Above: Barkers Apple and Pomegranite Juice. Free samples taste so much better when you ignore the voice in your head that says "$20 entrance fee!? Did they think we wouldn't notice the price hike?"
Above: Tim and I found this European Import stand which - wunderbar! - handed out samples of the Haribo bears that we had become so enamoured of in England.
Above: We sampled the Orchard Delight jam liberally; it is made the old-fangled way with no dodgy added ingredients and tastes wonderfully, genuinely fruity.
Above: See? Other people agreed. Just look at all that jam schmeered everywhere. The good people of Orchard Delights gave me their business card; they don't have a website but send enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or, you know, you could buy some in the supermarket.
Above: While we are in the realm of preserves, the man at the St Andrews Limes stand (I presume the rackish omission of apostrophe is on purpose?) was very patient as I knocked over his sample bowls while trying to take a photo. I do like to make my own curd but if you are one of those "gee, who has the time these days?" kind of people you could definitely do worse than to purchase a jar from these guys. The lime curd, which I tried, was pleasantly zingy but with that marvelously buttery-creamy aftertaste that only real curd affords. You can find them online at http://www.limes.co.nz/.
Above: The man at Rutherford and Meyer tried to convince me that there were quality high-res photos of their products online that I could use. And well he might. This photo is awful. I was in a hurry and didn't have my tripod and the lighting wasn't good so I couldn't capture the jewel-like shimmer of the various fruit pastes; nor obtain clarity of colour. Oops. They were delicious, anyway, and could be used in many different ways - although plonking one on your cheeseboard would be perfect... See much nicer pictures and recipes at the Rutherford and Meyer site.
Above: The people at Wallace Harmony foods were very enthusiastic - I hope they weren't under the illusion that I wield actual clout or something - and gave me lots of pamplets as well as marvelously delicious samples of sausages, bacon and ribs. I've said many a time that Tim and I don't eat a lot of pork. When we do, we try our best to find "happy pig" products, which are few and far between. And this is usually what we go for - genuine free range pork. I can't recommend them enough - put down that greying, pre-cooked sausage and listen - people like these are the way of the future. I may sound a little high and mighty but if I can be a mere student and support free range meat I'm sure you can. Trust me, bacon tastes extra-crispy with a side serving of righteousness. They don't have a website but email email@example.com to find out if they are stocked near to you.
Above: The fantastic people at Orcona Chillis 'n Peppers gave me 6 plump, glossy red chillis for $2 when I only asked for three, and practically fell over themselves to rearrange the baskets of beautiful chillis so I could better photograph them. Unfortunately this was my best shot. They have an extensive range of products including an intriguingly knobbly variety of chilli and plenty of sauces/relishes of varying heat intensity. Visit their site at http://www.chilli.co.nz/ if you fancy yourself the "pope of chilli town." (As Chief Wiggum once said...)
Above: I bought a tub of organic brown rice miso paste from these people, and got a free bottle of shitake sesame salad dressing...and I'm beggared if I can remember what they are called. I must have neglected to nab a business card off them. The label on the bottle says natural organic foods, but have you tried googling that lately? Carnage. I sincerely apologise as the guy was really nice, and soy products have a special place in my heart. Speaking of soy, mad props to the folks at So Good who were verrrrry generous with their giveways of soymilk packs. I think they were just surprised that I was so enthused about the stuff...
Above: Okay, so "sprouts" aren't exactly the most come-hither of foods, but these were crunchy and delicious and organic and you should know, going by my stance on lentils, how into sprouts I would be. I was given a free pack by the lady at The Wright Sprouts stand, and I couldn't seem to get a good photo of their logo so by all means visit their website if this sort of thing floats your boat. They know what they are talking about.
Above: And now for something completely different - Hamilton-based Donovan Brothers Chocolate. I purchased three dark chocolate blocks (80%) for $10 which was rather thrilling as it means I have a solid supply to bake with. One thing I will say though is that their blocks are an awkward 210 grams each. Now, when most recipes call for round figures - 100g, 250g, 200g - what made them decide to make it this size? Anyway, I'll forgive the dubious looks I got from the guys at the stall for taking my photos, because the chocolate is very, very good.
Above: Doesn't this look incredible, like a jewel-studded pile of gold? (Just me?) The Original Smoke and Spice Co. were hugely friendly and good grief their gourmet salt was fabulous. Smoky, complex, flavoursome, I could imagine it being very useful in the kitchen. Check out their website at http://www.smokeandspice.co.nz/.
Above: I'm afraid I can't remember the name of this stall at all, but it was displaying a whole swag of compelling kitchen gadgetry. The guy who seemed to be in charge was in fact the only person who actually understood what I meant by food blogging, in fact he has his own blog (about sailing)...which makes me feel worse that I didn't commit the company name to memory.
Above: Lots of shiny, shiny gadgetry. I had to hold myself back. Last year I was overtired (Tim and I had been up since 5am doing essays) and bought lots of ridiculous things, including a (surprisingly useful) mini tartelette tray and a large bottle of Creme de Peche.
Above: Finally, we paused to "ooh" and "ah" over the display cakes. Beautiful...
Above: Our haul. Amongst the exciting bargains - three bags of bagels for $5, 2 packs of real stock (I got fish and beef) for $5 (normally $10 each!) a LOT of free soymilk...and Tim got a whole ton of beer. Everyone wins! As long as the price doesn't go up again, I can't wait till next year's show. Thanks to all the tireless workers (emphatically not the ones who packed up at 5.15 though!) and to everyone for being so obliging as I took photos of everything.
As I said in the last post, it was going to be a very busy weekend. I caught up with the Lees, (extended family of mine from home) and we had a fabulous meal at the Black Harp pub on Featherston St. I would normally give some kind of review but I need to rest my weary head; if you are ever in Wellington you should absolutely go there for lunch. It's much better than its not terribly promising exterior looks. Kieran (ex-flatmate) was also down for the weekend and I'm pretty sure we got very drunk at some stage. I also studied, read 2/3rds of Samson Agonistes, and...haven't managed to get started on my next photography assignment. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, but it's a dim one...