"We do not make pies," laughs Heidi Franz when asked what makes her Havelock cafe different.
She opened the small licensed cafe Heidi's Treats on Main Rd in May and promises tastes of Europe.
It opens five days a week serving brunches, lunches and all-day coffee and snacks. Evening diners are welcome, too, but at this time of the year they have to book in advance.
Custom has been slow in Havelock in recent months, says Heidi, but other business owners in the seaside village have told her it typically quickens as the days get longer and summer holiday-makers are drawn to the Marlborough Sounds.
She believes there's a market for her European foods. Heidi's specialties include sour dough rye bread – good when served with cheese and beer – gluten-free, pork frankfurters with sauerkraut and semolina dumplings in bouillon (French clear soup).
Emphasis is placed on healthy food, but people seeking something sweet aren't forgotten. Classic European options include blackforest muffins and warm apple strudel with vanilla sauce.
Heidi isn't a certified chef but has been cooking all her life and guests visiting her home had often urged her to open a cafe.
She and husband Albin had been surprised by Kiwi food habits when they first came to New Zealand, she remembers. In the 1980s most families were still eating white bread, lots of pies, sausages made with fatty meat and additives, and washing it all down with burnt coffee.
Fair Trade coffee grown in Ethiopia and roasted by Matt Hellriegel at Linkwater is served at the Havelock cafe.
It invites customers to extend their good-foods experience with a range of European products filling shelves lining one side of the room. Options range from Italian dried pasta to Austrian pumpkin seed oil and German marzipan chocolate.
High-quality Kiwi food isn't forgotten, either, and other spaces are filled with manuka honey from the Taylor Pass Honey Company, Zing vegetable sauces from Blenheim's Springbrook Processing and olive oil from Tasman Bay.
The Marlborough Express