Saturday, April 13, 2019

Mangawhai Saturday Market

Regional markets are some of the best entertainment around, not to mention sources of more local and sustainably grown food than any grocery. You know I love making pictures at markets, so let's go...

We stocked up like crazy for the week ahead. This NZ Geographic piece talks about the resurgence of farmers markets here:
Fifty thousand New Zealanders shop at farmers’ markets every week, with local economies and communities benefitting from the worldwide resurgence of interest in seasonal food...At least 1200 producers are currently supported by the farmers’ markets in New Zealand, a group who pursue their ideals with an almost religious fervour and are supported by consumers rediscovering great food.

The woman behind the desk at our campground told us about some major drama at the Mangawhai Saturday market that caused a splinter market to form down at the tavern. "It's the best, in my view," she confided quietly. No question where we're heading first.

Certified organic. We took all his greens and beets plus some hot peppers and rosemary.  I asked his daughter if she grew with her dad and she smiled and nodded proudly.

I chose a beautiful handmade cream from this friendly woman. Kiwis are the nicest people, and I've had to hold back writing that since we arrived (you know you'll hear it again).

Bad photo, exceptional pastry, but what else would you expect from a patisserie called Frog and Kiwi? They have a restaurant in town--click here for a menu. Let's see if we're here long enough to sample some of their French fare.

 Smoked fish and frozen scallops, yes please, from the happy fish man.

On the way out, there was harmonica music. Karaoke style, this gent played to recorded background music.

The other market was lively and engaging too. I bought a shirt from a man from Chile who had moved to England, married a Kiwi there, and ended up here. "No place like it," he said, allowing that his country of birth was astonishingly beautiful too and urging us to fly there in February via Easter Island when a significant festival was happening. (Wait, what month is this?)

Breakfast from the griddle looks tempting

Cheese man at the second market was doing a brisk business in basil cheese (green straight through--see it at 12 o'clock?), hot pepper, and bleu, samples flying. The woman ahead of us could be heard saying: But this is a lot of cheese to eat before we leave, to which her partner responded, I don't think it'll be a problem.

After loading up all our bags it was time for breakfast. Here I await our food in the courtyard in front of Bennett's Chocolates. There's a steady stream of excited people entering and delighted people leaving.

"What did you get?" I asked this group. 
"Peanut butter mice!," they said, mouths full.

Art's hot chocolate: hot milk served with a chocolate stir stick from, where else, the chocolate shop. And a marshmallow cube. Beautiful presentation.

The Queen of Flat Whites has been drinking her creamed coffee in the caravan most days, so this is a welcome treat.

Saturday noon and all is well: poached eggs on sourdough with spinach and a side of greens flash cooked in local olive oil, lemon, and salt.

Eggs bennie for Art.

Now it's our turn to check out the chocolate.

Rocky road, not my thing but insanely beautiful

A friendly woman came up to Art, who was holding this box, and asked if it were a gift, getting ready to offer a special wrapping, I suspected.

No, it's for me, responded Art.
To which she said: I think I like you.

Hearts, clowns, and teddies on a stick

The friendly staff at Bennett's Chocolates. 

 The aforementioned peanut butter mice

I was partial to these dark choco rugby balls.

Especially for Easter, giant moa chocolate eggs, yow! You'll recall my minor obsession with the giant moa. If anyone's going to take DNA and restore a species, I'm rooting for the giant moa.

Back at the campground, new arrivals with their 70s-era classic NZ caravan, discovered and purchased just three weeks ago. The inside is sweet as. On the sides it says "Don't worry, be happy," which, along with going barefoot all the time, seems to be the Kiwi motto.