Rocking It in Raglan

Rocking It in RaglanKiaora Bro! Hello! A Maori greeting emblazoned on the wall which matches the welcome from the friendly staff at this great little cafe in Raglan.

Rocking It in Raglan

A couple of hours from Auckland, nothing in the scheme of things!

We were staying with good friends who live near the little coastal town of Raglan, which has a laidback atmosphere because of several good surfing beaches nearby.

Rocking It in Raglan

gone surfin’. A sign seen on many shop doors in Raglan when the waves are rollin’

After an invigorating, blustery walk along the beach we’d worked up a good appetite we felt it was time to be rocking It in Raglan. It was time for brunch, one of New Zealand’s delightful customs. Brunch is a meal that seems to be served all day in many cafes and diners – fortunately none resembling the greasy spoons of yore in the UK!

The Rock-it cafe is a recent venture, situated in an unprepossessing shed which shows its origins. It started as a surfing shop, which still occupies part of the building,

Rocking It in Raglan

I dig Tractor Radio 88.2 Raglan

and also accommodates a local radio station’s studio, Tractor Radio 88.2 Raglan.

Rocking It in Raglan

Like so many places in New Zealand the welcome is terrific!

It was good to get out of the wind and choose from the menu displayed behind the counter. Most of the food is prepared on the premises using local produce where possible, with one exception that we discover later.

Rocking It in Raglan

We started with hot drinks. My particular NZ indulgence is a moccachino, a combination of hot chocolate and coffee. The former for, er, my memory and the latter for the kick! Another of New Zealand’s delights is the respect and pride they have for making good coffee, as here.

Click on the photos to see the dishes.

Rocking It in Raglan

Our food didn’t take long to arrive and, as you can see, it was a good thing that we’d been out for our invigorating walk!

A visit to Rock-it would not be complete without a taste of an intriguing speciality which I’d never heard of – the Cronut. Have you heard of this pastry?

A cross between a croissant and filled doughnut, this delicious (and calorific) confection is the exception to their home cooking rule as it is made by a specialist baker in Auckland.

Rocking It in Raglan

On a fine day as well as more seating on the deck there is a great safe open space

Rocking It in Raglan

and a tractor to play on.

We were intrigued by this bench-with-no-view… Click on photos to see why.

The Rock-it cafe serves delicious friendly food and is a good addition to what is on offer in Raglan. It has just been granted its alcohol licence and is open on Friday evenings as well as every daytime. As it is just outside the town by a creek you can paddle your kayak there!


Birthday wines

How delightful to meet up with a few Circle of Wine Writer friends to share good food, conversation and, of course, wines – which became birthday wines as it was a day of special celebration for me!

This was the first CWW BYO event and was held at the famous Lahore Kebab House just off Commercial Road in London’s East End.

Organised by Jim Budd, the new chairman of the Circle of Wine Writers, the evening was a great success and I look forward to such informal events in the future.

Here is a short video of the wines that we shared (everyone brought a special bottle with them), offering an array of tastes and excitements as we drank them with the delicious, cheerful dishes.

Thank you for arranging this event, Jim, and good luck on your charity cycle ride for Esme along the river Loire later this month.

An evening at Ayse in Savoie

Belluard, Ayze, Savoie

Ayze? Ayse? Easy – it’s either!

We’d flown into Geneva from London and driven straight to one of the special regions of Savoie – Ayse – to meet up with Sophie Barrett of Chambers Street Wines, New York.

Sophie was completing a hectic week visiting Champagne and the Jura before ending in Savoie, The first visit was at Domaine Belluard, whose 10 hectares of vines nestle on steep slopes at 450 metres above sea level, in the heart of the valley of the Arve, between Geneva and Chamonix Mont-Blanc.  

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Fishy delights in Gaucho, Piccadilly

The food of Argentina is not just prime beef, there is great fish as well. One of the special dishes of Argentina, indeed South America, is ceviche.

So I was delighted to accept an invitation to dine at Gaucho Piccadilly, just off Regent Street, on the 11th July, appropriately, to commemorate 11 years of ceviche on their menus with, yes, you guessed it, 11 different ceviches! The last time I was at Gaucho was to learn about the special wines that would be served to celebrate Malbec Day.

Ceviche Gaucho

©Daniel Lewis and Gaucho

The dishes, with the exception of one, were paired with white wines from Argentina, a country that has some great whites as well as charismatic reds, so I was looking forward to trying them with the fish.

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Dinner Chez Albert, La Ferme de Lormay

On a sunny summer evening we went with a couple of friends to a special place deep in a valley above Le Grand Bornand, Chez Albert, correctly known as La Ferme de Lormay.

We are regular visitors chez Albert, driving ten minutes down from Chinaillon into Le Grand Bornand and then 10 minutes along a wonderful valley, almost to the end to reach it. Wink wrote about a previous visit.

Albert cooks and serves authentic mountain dishes using seasonal local ingredients. He smokes his own ham, salmon and trout, and often there will be game that he has hunted himself. He has a flair and originality which is way above the local norm, made all the more special by dining in the old farm chalet built in 1786.

Here is my photo record of a good evening in Les Aravis!

Ferme de Lormay

Chez Albert, La Ferme de Lormay

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