Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Glorious, Gorgeous and Free.

Finally I managed to take a week off  from working on the Christchurch Rebuild. All I wanted to do was spend time at our wee piece of paradise up the mystical  Rangitumau Valley  and get out  and about with my friends and  enjoy the culinary and bacchanalian pleasures of the Big Valley during the month of Wellington on a Plate. My holiday  got off to a great start - first up was  the Glorious 12th - a day of shooting and sumptuous food modelled on the Scottish day marking the first of the Grouse Hunting season,  held at one of the Wairarapas fine homesteads -Sulphur Wells.  I discovered I cant shoot for shit - well clay birds at least.  So I think I will have to stick at being somewhat of an expert in dressing feathered things as I am a muttonbirder and pluck and gut and cook I can.


The  day  progressed from shooting  to the piping of the haggis, and then the quaint and often hilarious "addressing of the haggis"  a  sacred ceremony of great import.  Then it was off to dinner to dine on a dish outrageous as it was tasty - the legendary Turducken. Turkey, stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken. I was hoping for a quail tucked  up its bum but alas twas not to be. The haggis was very good perhaps not as chunky as some but devoured with gusto.

The wines were from Urlar and its affable owner and Scotsman  Angus Thompson was resplendent in his kilt  with its badger sporran . Urlars wines are some of the best in the Wairarapa - and indeed a star performer in the  Gladstone sub region. The whites in particular are flinty with considerable depth and length. Wines to be savoured not quaffed.

The second Wellington on a plate event  was  the  gorgeous ladies lunch. And GOOOORGOUS it was. About a 100 well coiffured women turned out to wine, dine and whisper loudly of food, politics and family. Catered by the  Medici café in Martinborough  - the fare was rich and aromatic .   The wine  was from the Poppies vineyard - which is also home  to the stunning Poppies function venue where  for the feast redolent of Casablanca enthralled us all .  Poppies Pinot Gris, in the Alsace style was  superb but at  $40 for a take home bottle a little pricey.

It was also a privilege to meet Mary Biggs of  Lavenders Green Fame. It was warming to meet so many inspiring and talented and well connected women who keep the wheels of commerce and community turning in the Wairarapa.  It will  be a must attend event next year .

Finally a good and talented friend   who stayed with me  and was my plus 1 for the  gorgeous ladies lunch,   bought me a jar of  olives she had brined herself as a gift for her bed.The interesting thing was they were from  trees planted in Roxborough St in Wellington  by the WCC for public use.  This is an idea that appeals to the  forager hunter gatherer in me. I'm happy to climb fences to pick  damsons from an ancient plum trees on my travels around Wairarapa   and on a dewy autumn mornings can be found, basket in hand, merrily  picking  the freshest of field fungi for my brunch.

Thank you Wellington on a Plate Wairarapa team. You did good.