Vanuatu coffee

It surprised me to see three brands of Vanuatu grown coffee for sale in Luganville. Alongside the well-known Tanna coffee there was a selection from Aore Island and a haphazard collection of different bags branded as Cafe de Vanuatu. I found the origins of this coffee at VARTC ( Vanuatu Agricultural Research Technical Centre ),10km north of Luganville. The VARTC farm is quite compact and it did not take long to find children on school holidays picking the arabica beans (30 Vatu for 1kg or about 40c NZ ). From picking to roasting, the whole operation is done by hand.

With a new wharf being built in Luganville and more cruise ships visiting it would be an ideal time to package the operation for tourists in a similar way to Tanna Coffee in Efate.

In the meantime you will have to buy the very good quality arabica beans at LCM ( the best supermarket in Luganville ), I just hope the branding gets some love.






GoodBuzz in Wainuiomata

Kombucha, booch and SCOBY are new words in my vocab after a visit to photograph the GoodBuzz soft drink factory in Wainuiomata. The GoodBuzz process combines sugar, tea and water (from the Te Puna Wai Ora artesian aquifer in Petone) with the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and turns into an effervescent, healthy, non-alcoholic  drink.

In the short time GoodBuzz has been operating they already have  five kombucha brews in more than 60 cafes in Wellington, Christchurch, Hawkes Bay, New Plymouth and Nelson, and recently have been included in Auckland’s Nosh outlets.

The drinks come in five flavours - Origins, Green Jasmin, Lemon and Ginger, Jade Dew and Feijoia. A new brew made with coffee cherry (the outer red skin of  discarded coffee beans from  Go Bang in Petone)  with an amazing light apple flavour is coming soon.

Each  brew takes 8-10 days to ferment and another 7-10 days of bottle conditioning before heading out the door. The best before date is four months unchilled (a bonus when there is space restrictions in the fridge), and can be extended to nine months if refrigerated.

Another buzz emanating from the factory came from discovering owner Alex Campbell and I grew up in the same small Northland town – Kaikohe. This is where Alex’s first memories of kombucha came from – his grandmother Amy made what she called Manchurian Mushroom tea in the 1970’s. Kaikohe Kombucha - who would have thought?




Slow Magazine | Magnum Photos | Murray Lloyd Photography

Slow,  the food magazine published by the Slow Food Movement from 1998 through to 2007 is the most fabulous magazine I have ever laid my hands on.   Gueorgui Pinkassov photo on Slow magazine cover

It has a most tactile feel (pages are Bioprima Book Paper), the covers (Fabria card from the Miliani Fabriano Mills) are beautifully designed and the use of photography is extraordinary.

Ferdinando Scianna photo on cover of Slow magazine

It is the only time I have seen elephant hunting in colour paired up with black and white photographs of breast-feeding mothers. To top that off the magazine is full of Magnum photography from practitioners as diverse as Henri Cartier Bresson, Chris Steel Perkins and Gueorgui Pinkhassov. If you can track a copy down great – I have been lucky to have loaned a few copies from a friend, if not- here are a few links . This takes you to the website where you can select any magazine to peruse. Most language is Italian but you will find the occasional story in English.

The Elephant hunting story is illustrated with photos by Magnum photographers Martine Franck, Dennis Stock and also by Eugene Richards a past member of Magnum. Issue No. 46 has a funny photograph by Magnum photographer Chien -Chi Chang and another amusing photo by Ferdinando Scianna of a bar scene in Miami, Florida. On a more sombre note issue No. 50 has a striking image taken at the Tokyo Fish Market by Bruno Barbey.

The magazine may have ceased but at least the Slow Food Movement is still going.