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Valentine's Day Poems...

Valentine's Day Poems...

Just before Valentine's Day we ran a competition on Facebook - pen us a Valentine's Day poem and one lucky wordsmith would recieve a hamper of sweet treats. With so many great entries we chose the winner out of a hat, but here are some of our favourites... ___ Oh...

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

It was really a treat, after the busy list of what needs doing to get to Christmas Day, to jump on a plane and head to Melbourne for New Year to celebrate a couple of birthdays - one a milestone age - and catch up with other friends we see far too infrequently, one of whom is...

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Our Festive Favourites

Our Festive Favourites

Over the festive season our showroom is transformed into Santa’s grotto – Father Christmas himself is sure to feel quite at home amongst all the sweet treats! With so much to choose from it can be quite overwhelming, so we have had the staff, who are well versed on...

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What's your favourite Panettone?

What's your favourite Panettone?

Our showroom is such a lovely place at Christmas. With the smell of panettone drifting around the showroom, every surface covered with festive goodies and Christmas trees twinkling atop of tables we know that Christmas has well and truly arrived. All the old favourites...

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Elegant Verona

Elegant Verona

The Veronese delight in effortless good living. It's not hard to see how or why. Theirs is the best of many worlds. Beautiful ancient buildings, opera, romantic history (this is, after all, the home of Romeo and Juliet), and just ten minutes away the lovely countryside - and...

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Piedmont

Piedmont

It was pouring with rain as we drove into Piedmont. However, this did not detract from the beauty of the landscape lined with even rows of grapevines interspersed with the occasional attractive looking abode. One of the reasons we were here was to visit Mandrile e Melis...

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noma

noma

From our distant shores, most of the 'World's 50 Best Restaurants' seem quite far removed for us. Considering we have also found a fair number of the fashion for foams, spheres, leathers and soils a bit underwhelming flavour wise and having never experienced 'El Bulli', (the...

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Sitting pretty in Stockholm...

Sitting pretty in Stockholm...

Now as a precursor to everything I am going to write below, I would like to admit two negative aspects to Sweden – firstly it is incredibly expensive and secondly their winter (although stunning with snow) is simply too long, with too few sunlight hours. The reason to...

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Putting on the Ritz in London...

Putting on the Ritz in London...

My dear Father joined us at the end of our time in Barcelona and after a short trip to Valencia, we headed to London. In each of these cities he has kindly reminded me that as I have now finished my degrees I must start thinking 'career'. This of course spiked in...

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Valencia - home of paella...

Valencia - home of paella...

Phil arrived to end my lone funding of Helen and her fabulous tastes (a bundle of Mac makeup, nails, gym, hair and a very necessary-for-winter-and-it's-half-price-and-I've-passed-my-exams reversible luxurious coat later) and so we ended our Barcelona mother/daughter and...

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Never enough time in Barcelona...

Never enough time in Barcelona...

So many good restaurants and so little time! That is the problem, even with three weeks in Barcelona - and that does not include all the fabulous other attractions. We still haven't got anywhere near going to Figueres to the Dali museum and many other things which were on...

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Have Mother, will travel...

Have Mother, will travel...

Well, as I begin what one of my young professional friends described as my "new nomadic life" I take my law degree and business degree in hand and ... go to Barcelona to study Spanish of course! As my mother alluded to in her earlier blog, having now spent...

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Travelling Again...

Travelling Again...

I don't know if any of you find actually getting away the most stressful part of the trip, but I do! Life has been almost too busy with births, deaths, and also farewells to some staff moving overseas and then welcoming new people, plus house purchasing. Our lovely...

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Dining Out: Ortolana

Dining Out: Ortolana

One thing I have noticed upon my return to New Zealand (having been in Europe for the past six months)  is that this really is the most beautiful country in the world. I am constantly taking photos of things that for the past 24 years I had happily walked past and not...

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Cuisine Artisan Awards

Cuisine Artisan Awards

Nothing like a full on day of fabulous flavours combined with a bit of fun. I had a great time judging the Cuisine Artisan Awards late last year and would like to congratulate not only the final ten winners and the Supreme Winner - the distinctively different and delicious...

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Dining Out: The Hamptons

Dining Out: The Hamptons

Following many rave reviews we scooted on down to the much talked about Hamptons on Shortland St, to secure ourselves one of their BBQ tables- a playful summer pop up by one of our sophisticated favs Clooney. Teemingly busy, and filled with advertising, accounting and...

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Getting Around Ghent

Getting Around Ghent

Well following 6 months attempting to complete my law degree at the University of Ghent in Belgium I thought it was about time to do a wee update. You may note that for a few months the Sabato blogs have been rather quiet (using the whip and chain on my parents was a challenge...

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Valentine's Day Inspiration...

Valentine's Day Inspiration...

They say the way to the heart is through the stomach – so celebrate the most romantic day of the year with a delicious declaration of love. Breakfast in bed Butter up your better half with breakfast in bed – our frozen croissants, pastries and preserves...

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Festive Ingredients

Festive Ingredients

With Christmas just around the corner, it's time to stock up on those festive essentials. Minerve organic French chestnutsOrganically-produced, cooked and peeled whole chestnuts, ready-to-use straight out of the jar. Perfect for stuffings and classic European desserts -...

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Noo York...

Noo York...

New York. It's a big city! Armed with a few recommendations and using Open Table to book our choices, off we went...they have Michelin stars there, so it's always interesting to see if we agree. The Breslin We started at the Breslin at the very trendy Ace Hotel -...

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Viva Las Vegas!

Viva Las Vegas!

From the Kiwi provincial delights of dining at the both very good Hopgoods (extremely generous portions) and Boathouse (delicious whitebait) in Nelson, interspersed by the big breakfasts at Fords and the comfortable, character-filled Monaco Hotel, along with an extremely...

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Tuscany - Poderi Finerri

Tuscany - Poderi Finerri

We trekked down a long, unsealed road, wondering if we were on the right track, in the middle of a beautiful part of Tuscany, to Podere Finerri, recommended by and known to Ray McVinnie, to make the acquaintance of some great people. These were to be a gorgeous, relaxed...

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Levoni

Levoni

A family firm, headed by Nicola Levoni, an engaging, enthusiastic man in his early forties, last year celebrated 100 years of experience and success. Levoni are well known and respected in the area of prosciutto and salami. They are unique for a company of their size...

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Our Tuscan Producers...

Our Tuscan Producers...

Masoni Pietro... Aside from Easter and Christmas, when their employees swell to 30, for most of the year Masoni Pietro operate on a staff of four. The day we called into Colle Val d'Elsa, just outside Sienna, Massimiliano who runs Masoni Pietro with his mother Giovanna...

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London - Darlington's & Dining Out...

London - Darlington's & Dining Out...

On the advice of Johnnie, the seasoned, frequent traveller who you will find in our showroom dispensing both cooking and travelling tips when he's in the country, we caught the Underground from the airport to South Kensington. This was both quick and cheap at £5 per head...

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Be Aware: Travel Warnings...

Be Aware: Travel Warnings...

At this point we will just unload a few salient points about airports and airlines thus far during this trip... Airports Rome If you are going out of Rome, then allow at least an hour for security as the two occasions we passed through, we waited in a long, long...

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Our new Sicilian suppliers...

Our new Sicilian suppliers...

Alicos is our producer of the tasty Salsa pronta di Pomodoro (bottled in the cute stubby bottle with an eye-catching red and white label), artichokes in extra virgin olive oil, chilli paste with a punch and moreish tuna and onion paste. It is a small artisanal operation run...

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Sicily - Visiting Tenuta Rocchetta

Sicily - Visiting Tenuta Rocchetta

Eleven generations of Pierluigi Crescimano's family have grown olives and grapes on a site in Castelvetrano, near the ancient temples of Selinunte, where we source the elegant Sicilian extra virgin olive oil Tenuta Rocchetta. Trained as an agricultural economist, it is only...

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Eating in Paris: The Alain Milliat Restaurant...

Eating in Paris: The Alain Milliat Restaurant...

We mainly ate at bistros on the French part of our trip - our favourite being a classic we came across last time in the delightful seventh arrondissement, where you are surrounded by an artwalk of antique shops and interesting art galleries, making window browsing an education...

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Musings on Eating in Barcelona

Musings on Eating in Barcelona

Barcelona remains a very cool place to dine. From the humble tapas bar with a small selection of cured meats and padron peppers to the more avant garde Michelin-starred restaurants, the spectrum of Spanish food is well covered. Don't expect the tapas bars or the small local...

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Eating During the General Strike

Eating During the General Strike

Thursday in Barcelona and the last day of Alimentaria. However with a general strike throughout Spain planned and definitely no Metro or trains operating, getting there and back would be more than problematic, so we don't even try. We are awakened by the sound of...

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Sunday in Barcelona

Sunday in Barcelona

We arrived at 8am on a crisp Sunday morning. No queues, taxis galore and virtually no traffic made us think the trip to the hotel would be extra simple, as we did not know about the marathon. 'The roads are closed around your hotel, so I will drop you nearby and give you...

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The trip: getting there...

The trip: getting there...

Too suddenly, it seems, the time to leave for Europe has arrived. The breathless pace of the year so far (is it really almost Easter already!?!) has barely allowed pause for thought, but ready or not - it's time to pack those suitcases, jump on the plane and disappear for nigh...

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Quick visit from Valrhona...

Quick visit from Valrhona...

What's wrong with a lifestyle in which it is not only a pleasure, but a duty, to eat some of the world's best ingredients? The pressure was on last week with three days of exemplary chocolate, which does tend to happen when you have someone from Valrhona in town. They...

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And then there were none...

And then there were none...

As Rhythm and Vines is the place to be at New Year, so it seems Wellington is the magnet for 19 year old males during the year to ‘study’. Bags packed, faces set south, off we headed to install Thomas into his abode for his new seat of learning. Oh good –...

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New York, New York (by Helen)

New York, New York (by Helen)

I very rarely get to see my friend Millie, so when she mentioned she’d ditched the baggage of her former boyfriend and was heading to New York I decided that I would tag along for her whirlwind trip. A girls week in New York – the Frank Sinatra song begun playing...

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Pinoli Pine Nuts

Pinoli Pine Nuts

Thirty-one steps from tree to packet - some of them secret...that's what we found when we slipped into Blenheim to visit our 'Mr Pine Nut', Lee Paterson.It's literally a straight 30 minute drive from Renwick, though if you were going on a Sunday, should the urge take you, you...

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Days in the sun

Days in the sun

With truffles, people can go either way. More than a flavor, it can excite a base reaction. To some they taste like dirt - and they don't want them around, a reaction I first encountered with one of our busiest clients, who told me not to take them anywhere near the...

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Breakfast

Breakfast - one of the most important meals of the day... So it was recommended to me, amongst other things, a couple of years ago, to go non-dairy for a while. Lessen the load on my liver, aim for about 4 alcohol free nights a week, up the veggies, maybe add vege juice,...

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The Sandwich

The Sandwich

Small indulgences can provide you with a lot of pleasure really. My daughter's very specific instructions (and if you know Helen you will know exactly what I mean - she's a Virgo - so made able to issue direction with ease!) were: "THIS YEAR YOU MUST WRITE A...

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