Fantastic feta, incredible ice cream

"If you help me with stripping this window frame," says Plus One, apropos of our recent renovations, "later this afternoon I will take you for an ice cream."

She is treating me like a child - basically, "do your chores and you will be rewarded with treat-y food". Perfect - I wish all of life could operate like this. I assumed she meant from the shop down on the Petone Esplanade. But no. She has a much better plan in mind - if I'd known just how good, I might have dug a little deeper.

You may recall my mentioning P1's "best milkshake ever", and the delicious Zany Zeus feta and haloumi I cooked with last week. P1 has been cagy about revealing the whereabouts of their retail store. It's like she doesn't trust me. Like she thinks if I know where it is, I will be round there all the time, buying stuff. Surely it wouldn't be the end of the world if I was, anyway. Though she does have a point - I do have prior convictions on the excessive cheese-buying front.

I do have a bit of a concept about cheese, anyway - that there is "staple" cheese and "recreational" cheese. Staple cheeses are things that I think of as kitchen essentials like parmesan, feta, haloumi, cheddar - things I use to make meals, basically. Recreational cheeses, on the other hand, are things I eat as well as meals - blue cheese, brie, gouda. I'm pretty sure it's the recreational cheeses I need to lay off on, and, for the most part, lately I reckon I have. Pretty much. Sort of.

But anyway, I complete my task (well, almost), and we cruise round to the Zany Zeus retail store in Moera. Late afternoon, sunny day - and the store is packed. They do coffee, milkshakes, ice cream, Greek pastries and pies, and, of course, their range of milk, cream, yoghurt and cheese.

We have been drinking Zany Zeus' organic milk for a while now. It has a recommended retail price of under $5 for two litres. I reckon it just tastes more like what I remember milk tasting like when I was a kid. Deliciously creamy and rich, I reckon it is totally worth it.

Indeed, this passion for quality organic produce is one of the underlying principles behind the company, as we learn when we meet one of the owners, Meropi Matsis, sister of cheesemaker Michael. She is generous with tastes of their different products - I try the chili feta, a smoked feta and a new product, smoked yoghurt, that I imagine would be magnificent with barbecued meat or fish.

The shop itself looks great - a lovely, large, airy, open space, with a huge plate-glass window that looks into the prep area out back (people like to be able to see where the food is made, I think). And their range of products is excellent - top quality dairy products made with love and knowledge - no real surprise that they were heavily featured during Wellington on a Plate, with its brief of showcasing the best of locally produced food.

But all this, though lovely and grand and noble in its own right, is a sideshow to the main event - I have come for ice cream. And ice cream I shall have. They have an appetising array of flavours, ranging from berry to dark chocolate and caramel and the appeaingly named "monkey poo".

I have caramello, and P1 goes for the raspberry. This is some of the best ice cream I have ever eaten - you can really taste the quality of their organic milk and cream, and the berry and chocolate and caramel flavours are intense - this was totally worth helping out with the onerous window paint-stripping task for.

Although, she has now given up the location of the "secret" ice cream shop (I mean, I know I could have just Googled it, but realistically I wouldn't have ever got around to it). The keys to the kingdom are mine - I know where to go to buy great feta, delicious haloumi that holds its shape when you cook it, the most delicious creamy milk, and the best ice cream.

No real mystery to how this is achieved - the best quality ingredients treated with love and care and respect by people who know what they are doing - great stuff, Zany Zeus of Moera - I'll be seeing you very, very soon...

Have you visited the Zany Zeus store in Moera, or eaten their wares elsewhere? And what is your favourite "fancy" icecream treat?

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