As promised on Day 1 of the New Zealand Bloggers Conference, BOTH days of the conference would start with chocolate.
Oh yes. It was true.
What a great morning perk from the late night eating on Day 1! Jo Coffey from L’Affaire au Chocolat gave us a mini masterclass with a *ding!* cue to pop another piece of chocolate in our mouths each time. A habit still to be weaned off 😉
We explored not just the taste, but the smell and sound of different chocolates. As Jo mentioned, good chocolate should not leave you craving for more, so for those self-acclaimed chocolate addicts, it’s probably the sugar you’re addicted to! And if you’ve ever had that greasy feeling on the roof of your mouth from chocolate, your chocolate probably contains palm oil as opposed to cocoa butter as they should do.
Next up, Rachel Taulelei from the Yellow Brick Road spoke to us about sustainable fishing and seafood. She’s absolutely right, in NZ we’re all skinless, boneless eaters! We don’t want to touch fish or even know it’s a fish.
Sustainability is often an overused and misunderstood word. It’s all about responsibility and respect. So next time you’re buying your fish, ask about the source and catch method to support our wonderful marine creatures!
After another delicious morning tea (swoon at the yummy pastries), it was time for more tastings!
You’ll never want to have bottled fizzy drinks again after you’ve tried Six Barrel Soda‘s delicious syrups. From Kola nut, Ginger and Lemon, my favourite has got to be Ginger. Just a whiff of it and you’ll be cured of any colds and sniffles.
As a teaser to our hugely anticipated lunch, we had Chris Archer from Archer McRae come in with “bottled happiness”. Ritzling is a new take on the traditional Riesling, infused with soft bubbles. This is one wine you can play around and have fun with. Add a squeeze of lime, dress it up! Even the label shows off the funky personality. LOVE.
Masterclass and lunch with Little Penang.
One whiff of the spices and you’ll already be salivating. Malaysian restaurants seem to be the popular thing in Wellington as opposed to Thai in Auckland. But ask any Wellingtonian foodie about Little Penang and you’ll get a widening of the eyes and a smile that tells you this is one must-go destination. Right up at the top of the list.
I’m so glad we got to meet the owners first hand and learn about Malaysian cuisine. Authenticity is a must to Little Penang and they’re so passionate about the flavours that they ask their relatives to bring ingredients when they visit NZ!
We were totally spoilt for lunch with a continuous train of food coming out of the kitchen. My untrained palate died at first course from the spiciness but I loved the flavours so much I asked for an extra serving of coconut rice. Some of us were smarter and brought out their Collective Dairy yoghurt drinks to douse their burning tongue. Note: never drink water when your tongue is on fire. It’s either tea or dairy drinks to the rescue.
As if lunch wasn’t enough, we were treated to a second lunch with a mini masterclass with The Dumpling House. Vicky Ma, the Dumpling Queen herself showed us how to make savoury dumplings with sweet dumplings to end as a special treat. Tip: add rosewater to the sweet dumpling dough for that extra special taste. I always buy the pre-made pastries but seeing how easily the pastry was rolled through the pasta machine, I’m inspired to make my pastry from scratch next time!
Up til now we had basically been putting more and more food into our mouths so to round-off the amazing tasting day, we were treated to 2 more masterclasses in the afternoon to spice up our inspiration in the kitchen.
You can imagine the anticipation of walking into the gleaming new Le Cordon Bleu kitchen.. to see this already laid out for each of us 😀
Sebastien Lambert, the Patisserie Head Tutor at Le Cordon Bleu was here to teach us all about pastry making.
Working with pastry can be a real kitchen nightmare cleanup but Sebastien shows us how easy it is to smear the pastry out to mix it. Pastry tip #1: If you want the base of your tart thinner, just roll out the middle part thinner when you’re preparing your dough. Resounding “oooohs!” confirmed I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t discovered this seemingly obvious trick. Sebastien also mentioned that you should prick your pastry with your fork THEN turn it over on your tin instead of the other way round. That way the air travels better through the cone shaped holes.
Then it was our turn to “feed the chickens” when tossing the flour to create our own beautiful pastry bases.
Cue 3:30itis. Steve Barrett of Peoples Coffee was here to the rescue. In between smelling the beautifully roasted beans to slamming instant coffee, it was the perfect end to a foodie conference.
Thanks so much to Allison and Shirleen for organising the whole conference! We all owe you so much and you can tell from the 40 shining faces that we just loved every single moment of it. It was fantastic to put faces to blogs and get to know foodie bloggers from all over New Zealand. Everyone’s passion and love of food was so contagious and made the whole conference just that much more special!
September now and from the tweets I’ve been seeing, it looks like we’re all on a post conference/WellyOnAPlate detox 🙂
Until next year ladies + 2 gentlemen! xx