Low alcohol beer, whitebait, coffee
Christchurch roaster Vivace Espresso has won this year's Supreme Award for New Zealand's Best Coffee at the ninth Huhtamaki New Zealand Coffee Awards.
Beating off 270 coffees from 65 roasting companies, Vivace's Ultimate Blend was judged the stand-out. Other Canterbury roasting wins included a second gold for Vivace in the Breville Ethically Traded section, while Caffe Prima won gold in the Starline Supermarket Espresso section and Ris'tretto Espresso claimed a bronze for best organic coffee.
The search for the country's best mixologist never seems to be over. Diageo Reserve World Class has launched its annual search for the world's best bartender, with New Zealand taking part for the first time.
Four South Islanders are among the final cut of 21 bartenders selected from around the country. Brian Keating and Ryan Simonsen from King of Snake, Christchurch, Michael Ball from The Naughty Penguin, Queenstown, and Shannon Sanderson, who tends the bar at La La Land, in Wanaka, will all be aiming to claim the title of Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year 2013.
La Porchetta Papanui is celebrating being the group's Franchisee of the Year. Owners Vicky and Michael Vincent, who also own La Porchetta Townsville, in Australia, say it has been a hard trading environment post-earthquakes so it is the determination and commitment of the staff to keep things going that is behind the win.
The Mainline Station cafe at Domett has re-opened with extra parking and beautiful gardens that are perfect for a school- holiday runaround. Dogs allowed. Owner and chef Jan Cann says he is using vegetables grown on the property for many of the sauces, chutneys and relishes he is making. Railway buffs will enjoy all the rail memorabilia from its years as a busy station. The road to the cafe is at the turnoff to Gore Bay before you get to Cheviot.
Wine magazine in China has named Villa Maria Estate the New Zealand Winery of the Year. Villa Maria has been exporting to China since 2000 and export manager Ian Clark says the market is a rapidly expanding one for New Zealand wines.
Cassels & Sons is tapping into the low-alcohol market with its latest craft brew, Low Owl. Zac Cassells says at 2.5 per cent, it is a promising start. Available from today at CBD on Madras St and at The Brewery in Woolston.
50 Bistro at The George is welcoming back whitebait, naming it this month's Food Hero. Executive chef Andrew Brown says there will be whitebait dishes on its breakfast menus (West Coast whitebait chive omelette) and pan-fried West Coast whitebait with lemon saffron beurre blanc and asparagus salad on lunch and dinner menus. "It's always interesting to describe the nuances of New Zealand whitebait to our international guests," he says.
WIN WIN WIN
To celebrate the record number of gold medals at this year's New World Wine Awards, Zest has three packs that comprise the champion red (Mud House Pinot Noir 2010), white (Wild Rock Pania Chardonnay 2010) and bubbles (Brancott Estate Sparkling Rose) to give away. To enter, email firstname.lastname@example.org with NEW WORLD in the subject line, along with your contact details, before 1pm, on Friday. One entry per person. Must be 18 years+ to enter. Winners will be notified by phone or post. Terms and conditions apply.