Cafe chat: Blax is back

REBORN: Blax is back, bigger and better, says owner Jennifer Black.
REBORN: Blax is back, bigger and better, says owner Jennifer Black.

Blax back

It's welcome back to Blax, which has reopened in the former Niche cafe site in Victoria St. Owner Jennifer Black says it's been a difficult three months since losing her shop in nearby Montreal St but she was determined to stay in the area and no doubt her regulars are thanking her for it. She says the new Blax is bigger and better, especially as they now have a liquor licence. Open Mon-Fri, 7am-4pm and Sat/Sun, 8am- 4pm. Ph: 03 366 8982.

New look for campus

Gone are the days of pies and soggy chips for students on the University of Canterbury campus. Ad Lib Deli and Cafe has opened up next to the University Book Shop and is serving up an array of freshly made, good-quality meals. Owner Christine Stephenson, who also runs Cafe 101 and Reboot, on the campus has been in the cafe industry "since forever" when she opened the first Robert Harris coffee shop in the Triangle Centre. The Ad Lib menu includes dishes such as roast parsnip and beetroot with feta and drizzled with harissa dressing ($4), spinach, feta and cranberry filo ($8.50), and smoked salmon roulade ($8.50), or the most popular dish on the menu on Thursday and Friday, fish pie ($15). If you are only after a slice and coffee don't miss the apple streusel cheesecake ($4.50). Ad Lib is open Mon-Fri, 7.30am-7pm with late nights on Thursday and Friday. Open Sat 8am-2pm.

Donating for good

White Tie catering and the Christchurch City Mission are joining forces to produce meals for the city's cold, hungry and less-fortunate families. A North Canterbury farmer is donating sheep and cattle for the cause, Peter Timbs Butchery has offered to prepare the meat, and hundreds of volunteers will produce meals for the City Mission shelter and food bank for families all over Christchurch. White Tie is calling for donations to buy additional ingredients for all these meals.If you can help, donations can be made to the White Tie City Mission Fund, National Bank, 06-0817-0315242-00.

Month of feasting

Another victim of the quake, September's Feast of Canterbury, has been cancelled for this year. Festival director Sam Merchant says it's been hard on businesses operating out of temporary venues. The event has been deferred to March and renamed Canterbury's Food and Wine Month. "March will be a much warmer time of year and encourage more people to participate in the events on offer," says Merchant. For details, see

Best bacon

Ellesmere Butchery in Leeston has beaten 53 other butcheries for the top spot in the 100% New Zealand Bacon & Ham Competition 2012. Butcher Chris Brown says it was a "massive boost" to hear his sugar-cured middle bacon was named the "Bacon of Year". It is the fifth year that a Canterbury butcher has won the supreme award and Brown put the region's superior bacon-making abilities down to the passion Cantabrians put into every slice. Brown not only won the bacon of the year award, but also a gold and bronze equal award in the middle bacon category and a silver in the dry- cured middle bacon category. He is a firm believer in making bacon the authentic way. 'It's a long process, you can't rush it. You have to let all the flavours all draw in." Other winners included Jonathon Connolly of Angus Meats in Sockburn, who was awarded a joint bronze in both the middle bacon and shoulder bacon categories, and Christchurch's Jacqui Johnstone, of Euro Deli Meats, who won gold in the dry- cured middle bacon section. Ellesmere Butchery, ph: 03 324 3419.

For the kids

The Children's Food Festival on Saturday, August 11 at the Christchurch Farmers' Market at Riccarton House and Bush (9am- noon) and on Sunday, August 12 (10am- 2pm) during the Sunday Artisan Market also at Riccarton House and Bush (10am-2pm) might well turn fussies into foodies. The McCain Red Veggie truck, cooking demonstrations and a range of interactive vege- growing activities will show the world of "real food". To mark the start of the festival children will have the chance to host their own stalls on August 11. For more information see

Congratulations. . .

The winner of the Selaks New Zealand Roast Day prize pack is Kay Harris of Redwood.

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