The May Food Writers Market is always a highlight in our calendar, and this year was no exception. Catherine Milford was there.
With a new venue, a fine forecast and several new names on the list of exhibitors, the Food Writers New Zealand 2018 May Market Day looked set to be the most successful market day in recent years. And it didn’t disappoint.
After a number of successful years at the Jubilee Hall in Parnell, the decision to move the event to a new venue came in response to several factors, including more parking, free parking, easier access for exhibitors and a larger event space, as well as access to a covered outdoor barbecue, which this year was used to delicious effect by new exhibitor, Chinese pop-up eatery and steam bun aficionado Judge Bao.
This year’s market day showcased an array of New Zealand-made products from 24 stall holders from across the country. Fresh produce regulars vegetables.co.nz added plenty of colour – in both produce and personality – at the entranceway, alongside fellow Market Day favourites Barkers of Geraldine, who offered visitors a chance to try for themselves the difference in taste between traditional jams and low-sugar varieties.
The May Market Day once again affirmed that innovative food and drink production is alive and well in New Zealand, with historic brands such as Villa Maria and the NZ Heart Foundation rubbing shoulders with emerging producers like Lebanese foodmakers Kohkoz, the Alternative Meat Company and L’Authentique, who were demonstrating their new terrines and pates.
Of the 24 stall holders, 13 were new to the Market Day, many of which were also exhibiting in their capacity as winners in the 2018 Outstanding Food Producer Awards. Whitestone Cheese’s Ohau Goat Blue was a very popular offering, as were the sweet treats from Avondale-based artisan cookie makers Molly Woppy.
One of the more popular aspects of this year’s Market Day was the unofficial affiliation between exhibitors to create an even tastier experience for the attendees. Multi award-winning farm company Clevedon Buffalo Co’s marinated cheese atop Line’s Danish Knackbroed worked a treat, and visiting food writers were treated to piping-hot Reuben sandwiches courtesy of Pastrami & Rye, while discovering more about Farro Fresh’s latest ready-made meal innovations.
As always, the event created plenty of opportunities for food writers and producers to network and connect. Feedback from many of the exhibitors has been overwhelmingly positive, with several confirming interest in attending the event in 2019. Kelli-Jo Walker, from Forage & Ferment, wrote to NZFWG expressing her satisfaction with the event: “…[we] were delighted with the feedback and the new business opportunities is has presented.” And Rick Agraval from The Meat Box, who attended the market with Farro Fresh, said he felt the event provided great exposure, and wanted to enquire about being represented at next year’s.
While all the attendees left the event with an enviable array of goodies from generous exhibitors, Nestle Brand Manager Rakcha Karan scored a little something extra, winning herself a red Vitamix Ascent Series A2500i High Performance Blender, worth $1295. We’re quite keen to see what you’ve made so far Rakcha – all new recipes welcome!