Cafe chat: Cheese champions and meaty apps

CHEESE CHAMPIONS: Mike and Catherine Carey with the Barrys Bat champion cheese, aged gouda.
CHEESE CHAMPIONS: Mike and Catherine Carey with the Barrys Bat champion cheese, aged gouda.


Banks Peninsula's Barrys Bay Cheese has taken out the Champion of Champions Award at the New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards with its aged gouda. Canterbury was well-represented across the board. North Canterbury's Karikaas Natural Dairy Products took home the Champion Dutch Style Cheese Award, as well as gold medals for its vintage gouda and maasdam. Barrys Bay also won gold for its gruyere, aged gouda, maasdam, gouda, nettle gouda, and peppered havarti. Canterbury's Emilio's Cheese won the Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese Award for its stracchino.


Victoria St restaurateur Tony Astle is at it again and opening another venture in nightlife central. The Dirty Land is a compact lounge bar opening in the old Chinwag Eathai building. Mexicano's is in the other half of the building. Astle said the bar was going to be classy but relaxed with a bar food menu from Mexicano's but its own unique vibe and decor. It will be open every night from 4pm and is all red leather and velvet. The new bar is expected to open in a few days and will no doubt have all of Astle's usual flair. Check it out on Facebook, The Dirty Land, for opening dates and info.


Central Otago winery Amisfield is hosting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at its cellar door and bistro in April this year when the royal pair tour New Zealand with son, Prince George. The Central Otago Winegrowers Association will be attending to shine a spotlight on the region's wines. Amisfield has been in the wine industry for 25 years and chief executive Craig Erasmus said the visit was a chance to promote the wineries and wines of the area. Amisfield was named Best Winery Restaurant in the 2013 Cuisine Good Food Awards.


The Twisted Hop is ramping up its music this month with live gigs scheduled every weekend, paired with their craft beer range. Highlights of the new weekend schedule over the next few weeks include stand-up comedy (March 23), jam sessions (March 30) and plenty of local bands. The Hop is also planning to hold music festivals on Sundays in the next few months with more details to be announced soon. Check out The Twisted Hop on Facebook for details of gigs and the latest beers.


The Great Kiwi Beer Fest is on in two weeks and promises not only a great range of craft beers and ciders, but some live music and a range of gourmet food producers on site. The event is held annually in Hagley Park and attracts brewers from all over New Zealand. Ava Wilson, owner of Pomeroy's and Beer Baroness brewers, will be selling her first keg of a beer she brewed on International Women's Collaboration Brew day last Saturday.


The Bog Irish Bar has reopened and is trading on Victoria St in its new premises at number 50. Owner Max Bremner fitted the place out with turn of the century steampunk and traditional Irish pub theming. Check them out for a pint of Guinness.


Monteith's has released a new app, Monteith's Meatpack Hunt. The app allows users to select their favourite Monteith's beer and find suggestions for the best meat matches. The app is part of a growing trend towards matching beer with food - much as wine and food. The app is free and available on both i-devices and android. Users have the chance to win meatpacks through the app.


Edesia is hosting a degustation winemakers dinner on March 27 celebrating Waipara and Hawke's Bay wines. The dinner will have representatives of Black Estate Winery (Waipara) and Elephant Hill (Hawke's Bay) discussing wines with each course. Edesia will be matching the wines to the food and the event is about comparing and contrasting the wines from two up-and-coming wineries. The five-course meal costs $150 per person and can be booked by calling Edesia on 943 2144. Bookings essential.


Welcome Chinese Vegetarian Cafe, 2 Wharenui Rd is hosting a vegan banquet as a fundraiser for the Christchurch Vegetarian Centre. 12.30pm, March 16, $25 pp. Bookings ph 940 9483.

The Press