With summer fast approaching it is little wonder that I am getting hungry - like a big grizzly bear (yes my cub scout name is Baloo), I hibernate over winter and look forward to the melting of the snows when I can once again leave my abode and feast on the best of what mother nature has to offer.
With the promise of freshly cut asparagus from our garden, the crisp lettuces and aromas of mint and fennel alongside the emergence of new season potato tips, I can tell that this summer is going to be tasty indeed.
My first sample is as a judge at Herzog's Restaurant for the Great Wine Capitals awards and it sets the bar very high.
Delicious homemade breads, delicate tasters and a yum monkfish main course tell me that I am one lucky bear. If it was not for the fact that I had a appointment with Spy Valley to go to sooner than later, I would have happily hibernated there for the rest of the day.
Spy Valley may look further away than it actually is (it is only 2 kilometres out of Renwick) but it is well worth the visit, with a great selection of premium and ultra premium wines to taste and purchase.
It is funny how the little things are what you remember most, and a conversation around geo caching ensures I am a much smarter bear.
A quick tasting at Seresin Estate on the way home finished off the day that had begun at Framingham's in the morning - yes and I am now a fully qualified wine taster and have the certificate to prove it after the black glass test. Thanks to the Framingham team for getting us off to a great start.
Day two of my awakening saw me at Yealands Estate sampling cheese and collecting eggs from the vineyard's chook houses . . . sustainability is the key and while the eggs go to staff and guests, it is the chooks eating grass grubs that showed me that we are not the only ones in the food chain - there are piggies, piggies and more piggies as well as baby doll sheep - they all make a tasty appearance in the vineyards where the best sav blanc in the world is produced.
It is the combination of many small things done right that make Yealands stand out from the crowd
One of the keys to survival for a bear is to feast in the summer and fast in the winter, and if two days in our own backyard is anything to go by then we are in for a great year.
SPRING ASPARAGUS WITH YEALANDS FREE RANGE POACHED EGGS AND SHERRINGTON FETA CHEESE
Marlborough flaky salt
1 Tbsp Marlborough extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
4 large free-range eggs
1 cup wild rocket leaves
1 small piece of feta cheese
Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus; cook in boiling salted water until just crisp-tender, about 1-2 minutes only, drain and cool under running cold water.
Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Divide asparagus among four dinner plates.
Bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer, add 1 tablespoon white vinegar and swirl the water, break each egg on to a saucer or into small cups or bowls.
Slip eggs carefully into simmering water and poach for 2 minutes.
Lift each egg from the water with a slotted spoon and place on top of each asparagus portion.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and wild rocket, crumble over feta and enjoy.
- The Marlborough Express