Another Taste of Auckland event marks another year gone! It’s the first time it’s ever been at Western Springs and I loved the new participating restaurants and food brands. The only downside..the pouring rain on the Opening Night made me wish I had worn gumboots, it was that muddy!
One of my favourite dishes of the night was Cable Bay’s beef short rib, butter poached crayfish, wasabi asparagus and samphire. The crayfish was beautifully cooked – so fresh and tender. Although I wished the wasabi was a bit stronger, everything else was balanced in flavours and textures.
Light fried squid, crispy summer vegetables, mixed herbs, sweet and sour sauce
You can hear Farina from far away – there’s a constant stream of docket numbers being shouted out and people eager to see if it’s theirs. For 8 crowns I was super satisfied with the amount of squid on the plate. The sweet and sour flavours made it suitable for one of the first dishes of the night. So appetising!
From previous Auckland Taste events, I had heard good reviews coming out of iVillage but have never had the craving for it. The hanging skewers of prawns, chicken and lamb were enough to entice me this year. Even with the deceptive dark colours, the chicken was neither too dry nor too salty. The tasty combination of crushed ginger, coriander and mixed spices was soaked through the meat. An exciting dish to tease the tastebuds!
When we were sitting down with this dish, it was the one most complimented on from bypassers. Towards the end, I felt like a representative of Lava Dining. Even from the menu, Valrhona Chocolate Delice, White Truffle Ice Cream, Caramelia Squares, Dehydrated Mousse instantly caught my eye. There’s at least one restaurant that has variations of valrhona chocolate every year. I loved the crunchy caramelia squares at the bottom, and the ice cream resisted from melting for a long time! The dehydrated mousse was a bit tasteless and chalk-like compared to the lavishness of the rest of the dish but otherwise you really can’t go wrong with ordering a valrhona chocolate dessert.
The simplicity of the choux bun with warm salted caramel sauce was a satisfying end to the walking degustation. It was pouring with rain and it was addictive with spoonful after spoonful of yumminess.
The food brands this year were interesting and innovative with their stalls. Unlike the Auckland Foodshow which has hundreds of people coming through, the niche target of Taste allows for generous tasting samples of cheese, wine, salads and veggies. You can also get some pretty awesome deals on the products. Being a beverage fan, I took home 2 bottles of Shott syrups with cocktail recipes and 2 boxes of the Dilmah Tea range.
If you’re a tea lover like me, I highly recommend you to visit their stall and put your name down for the 20min Masterclass. I walked away knowing so much more about the different tea blends, their traditional high teas, and had my questions answered about the decaffeination process.
Maybe it was the Tea Masterclass, but this year I walked away from Taste feeling inspired. I talked to many of the people at the stalls and sampled lots of different products I otherwise wouldn’t have picked up from the shelf. A sunny day would have benefitted but that’s something we have to deal with in Auckland. We can’t let the weather dictate our plans! It’s on until Sunday – I recommend going for it – regardless of the weather forecast!