Basil grown from seed in full sunshine, Isle of Capri tomatoes freshly plucked from the garden and fresh buffalo mozzarella - Insalata Caprese - It is quite simply one of the greatest pleasures of summer and is one of my favourite dishes . The flavours and textures work together brilliantly - here's to Italian food.
What impressed me the most when I photographed TRENZ in Queenstown this year was the food and wine. Local caterer Flying Trestles was hired to feed 1100 exhibitors, media and buyers lunch and tea breaks throughout the four day international tourism showcase. Divine looking salad platters such as wild rice, fennel and hazelnut or tomato, bocconcini and eggplant were complemented by hot dishes of venison denver leg, kumara and lamb pies, blue cod, and more. All washed down by fine New Zealand wine (mostly from Central Otago). For dessert huge cake stands were festooned with tiny chocolate mousse cups, lemon tarts, lamingtons or miniature meringues. Lavish lunchboxes including Mediterranean salad, Turkish rolls, sushi, locally made Patagonia chocolates and Phoenix organic juice were provided one day when the vistors were taken on "famils" with the Queenstown tourism operators. Even the muffins at morning coffee provided a mouth full of excitement.
At a regular TRENZ social event the Regional Rendevous, the country's regional marketing agencies put their best foot forward presenting wines by Quartz Reef (including the fab Methode Traditionelle), Peregrine, Akarua, Astrolabe, Gibbston Valley, Mt Difficulty and Two Paddocks (complete with Sam Neil), Te Kairanga and Te Whau. Among the many pass-around foods were whitebait fritters from the West Coast and shavings from whole rounds of Balfour cheese from Gibbston Valley Cheese.
At tea breaks professional chefs from luxury operators Touch of Spice, Millbrook, Fiordland Lodge, The Spire Hotel,Whare Kea Lodge, Sofitel Queenstown, Azur and Matakauri Lodge put on cooking demonstrations for eager viewers who then got to sample the meals. The menus included Dale Gartlands' (Matakauri Lodge) Aoraki salmon, crayfish tortellini, scampi and chervil dressing and a Kiwiana intepretation of NZ by Sadie Richens (Millbrook) with the dessert called Hokey Pokey pavalova islands.
On the exhibition floor the Prime Minister and his entourage were handed out Roxborough dried apricots by the Central Otago operators. There was a new exhibit from Zealong Tea, the Waikato organic tea operation and a move to the national stage for Zest Food Tours now touring in Auckland as well as Wellington. Bon apetite New Zealand!
Having only eaten walnuts sporadically I was intrigued to find although the nut has culinary use, the shells are used for making dynamite, oil paint, plastics and helping to drill oil wells. I am sure the dynamite discovery must have come from some lateral thinker watching the walnuts 'explode' from their husks before falling to the ground.
The walnuts (roasted) go well with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and Champagne...
...but if you desire something tasty on a smaller budget try this salad from Ruth Pretty
I love photographing food and it is always a pleasure to get involved with Wellington's restaurants and food scene. These images were all photographed on location with minimal props. David Burton's provided reviews and the photos were published in the Dominion Post Wine Guide. [envira-gallery id="5340"]
"Can you eat the food you photograph?" or "what are all the tricks to make the food look so good?" are the two questions I am most often asked about as a food photographer. Surprise registers when I say pretty much the only thing used is a little olive oil .
The only time I can remember a trick is when we put raw new potatoes in a salad, as with cooked potatoes the skins slide off . I would say lighting, fresh ingredients and props are the keys to a strong food photograph however some food photographers try other approaches - check this video out