The Big Foody's Favourite Honey Tips just for you

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on September 27, 2017

Our Favourite Honey Tips just for you


1) Substitute Honey for Sugar in Baking

For every cup of sugar, replace it with ¾ cup honey.

For best results, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda and reduce another liquid by ¼ cup.

Also reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees.


2) To sweeten your coffee or tea,  we recommend substituting sugar with the goodness of honey!


3) To soothe the throat and cough and to make you feel better when you are under the weather, try our concoction of lemon and honey.

Combine 1 teaspoon of honey with the juice of a lemon and dilute with warm water to your liking and drink.


4) To relieve hangovers after a big night, a few tablespoons of honey, which are filled with fructose will help you speed up your body’s metabolism of the alcohol.


6 types of Honey from New Zealand

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on September 19, 2017

6 types of Honey from New Zealand

Honey, Honey everywhere and so many different types! Here are the in’s and out’s of the different varieties including tastes, textures and where it’s most commonly found in New Zealand.

Kamahi Honey

Elle’s favourite! An intense flavour sensation with quite a strong complex flavour and perfect for recipes that require an identifiable honey taste, but pale and beautifully buttery golden in colour. It’s a fabulous honey to go with camembert and washed rind cheeses.

Produced and harvested from both the North and South Island, but mostly from the West Coast of the South Island from Kamahi Trees sitting 25 metres high in the canopies of our beautiful forests.

You will find Kamahi honey mostly creamed due to its above average tendency to crystallise.

Manuka Honey

This world renowned honey from New Zealand has a long history and is of significant value for both Maori and early European settlers for medicinal purposes.

Manuka honey is dark and amber in colour, a strongly flavoured honey with woody and nutty characteristics and intense toffee and caramel notes and can often even have a ‘jellied’ like texture.

Manuka Honey is well sought after in particular for it’s antibacterial activity and to help maintain inner balance and digestive health.

Beechwood Honeydew

Beechwood Honeydew is one of New Zealand’s premium export honeys.

A naturally dark amber honey and liquid in form, resembling golden syrup which does not normally crystallise due to the reduced levels of glucose.

Beechwood Honeydew contains high levels of antioxidants, which are helpful in maintaining and promoting beneficial gut bacteria (proboitic bacteria).

Honeydew is harvested from deep within the remote forests of New Zealand. Beechwood Honeydew Honey goes particularly well with smelly blue cheeses and with pip fruit like pears and apples.


New Zealand’s most common honey.

Through New Zealand’s historically pastoral economy and importance of sheep farming, clover (and rye) have dominated pastures throughout the countryside.

Clover honey has a delicate, mild sweet flavour and pale cream in colour.  Traditionally, South Island clover honey is lighter that of the North Islands. It is loved for it’s subtle flavour and New Zealand’s pristine countryside produces some of the world’s best clover honey.


Wildflower Honey gathered by our precious bees from around New Zealand’s countrysides and forests, the honey is uniquely flavoured honey with a bouquet of native flowers. A light, fruity flavour, packed full of goodness.


A distinctively flowery aroma with a delicate lavender scent, gathered from Lavender farms around NZ. A smooth and rich perfumed flavour and perfect to sweeten your cup of tea.

You can try selection of these gorgeous honey’s on our Big Foody Food Tours. Which will be your favourite?


Honey and Orange Fudge Recipe

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on September 06, 2017

Honey and Orange Fudge


Making fudge can be a long painful drawn out process where thermometers are involved and the risk of sugar burns are great. Or you can make it in the microwave in minutes. We prefer this option!


1 can of sweetened condensed milk

⅓ cup of local honey

2 cups of brown sugar

250g butter

Zest of one orange


Place sweetened condensed milk, honey, brown sugar and butter in a large glass bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes remove from the microwave and carefully stir mixture. Return to microwave for 8 minutes more, stirring every 2 minutes. Allow mixture to cool for 5 minutes

Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the orange zest and beat for 3-5 minutes, or until fluffy.

Line a square pan with parchment paper and tip in the fudge mix. Level out with a spatula and gently tap the pan on the counter to release any air pockets.

Allow to cool for thoroughly - usually around 3 hours.

Cut into shapes or squares and try very hard to to eat in one go!



Honey! Sweet glorious Honey!

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on September 06, 2017

Liquid Gold, they call it!

Honey! Sweet, sticky and full of goodness!

Produced by clever and busy bees by collecting the nectar of flowers, honey has long been valued and used in food and medicine throughout different cultures.


Honey is a perfect addition and ingredient to so many of our favourite foods; Honey cakes, Honey Martini’s, Honey-cured bacon, Baklava, Hot Toddy’s or just simply honey on toast or drizzled over greek yogurt (… making you hungry yet?)


But did you know that in it’s lifetime of 6-8 weeks a honey bee only produces about 5 grams of honey, that is approximately just 1 teaspoon for you to enjoy in a cup of tea. These hardworking creatures are not only a source of natural and tasty food, they are also significantly important in supporting our food chain.


Without bees, we would not have many of our foods including Strawberries, Avocados, Kiwifruit, Apples, Nuts and even Coffee and Chocolate! All of these foods are needed to be pollinated by honey bees.


This month (September), New Zealand celebrates Bee Aware month. Run by Apiculture New Zealand, they put a spotlight on the role that Bees play on pollinators of our food.


New Zealand is famous for it’s Manuka Honey, produced by bees by collecting nectar from Manuka flowers. Manuka is a native plant to New Zealand and it’s honey has been shown to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.


Earthbound Honey, Organic Beekeepers is located in Bethells Valley, north-west of Auckland, New Zealand and our visitors are lucky enough to sample a selection of their honey on our Auckland tours.

Earthbound Honey are artisan, organic beekeepers producing local organic honey, collected exclusively by their own bees from Manuka, Pohutukawa and wildflowers. They offer pollination services to local orchardists and farmers and pick-up any unwanted Bee swarms from us urban folk!


As well as their beautiful selection of honey, they also produce a range of Balms, salves, candles and honey vinegar.

Next time your in Auckland make sure that you join us on one our our Big Foody food tours and taste Earthbounds bountiful produce.


On the other side of the world in Portland, Oregon in the United States, you will find Bee Local, where our customers get to sample raw honey, full of flavour and health benefits. Honey that is never blended, retains its pollen and is only gently filtered. Established in 2011 by Damien Magista after discovering that the hives that he had placed in his hometown of Portland Oregon, had completely different flavour profiles, colours and textures. Bee Local has since grown into a national company with their goal to become “the most trusted, transparent and tasty honey company in America”. Next time you are in Portland make sure that you book yourself a Portland food tour with The Big Foody and taste some of their amazing honey.




When The Boss Is Away!

Posted by Colleen Holden on July 24, 2017

Wow! What a month of touring! 
Our fearless leader aka Big Cheese aka Elle, was away for the month of July, and I was left holding the baby, the actual baby (Miss Charlotte is now 6 months old, where does the time go?!) and the Foody baby! (the Business) but jeeze what a neat time we had.
Apologies for the lack of instagram posts - in her rush to jet set away, I didn't pick her brains for the blimmin password and as she usually scolds me for making my beloved Grid Pics, I thought better to infuriate her by posting them on Facebook willy nilly in her absence! So....I've saved up the hightlights til now.
To be honest, I've been pretty darned terrible at remembering to snap pictures whilst on tour lately. My mouth tends to run away on me (as usual) & I also end up busy playing paparazzi for our guests juggling their phones & sometimes proper cameras (shock horror! people STILL use them!) taking snaps of them so they don't end up with a holiday album full of selfies

You'll see snaps of: 

Our favourite Earthbound honey enjoyed in the sun in the amphitheater at The Pumphouse in Takapuna

Fresh Tamarillos from the farmers market in the weekend - mixed reviews from our american taste testers! 

Exploring Golf Courses with curious Koreans 

The sheer delight from a guest from Yorkshire enjoying Giapo's genius ice cream creation from a Yorkshire pud!

Auckland showing off some stunning crisp but clear days 

Glorious seafood enjoyed on the water front 

Korean Pancakes that delight everyone that comes into contact with them 

What you can't see pictures of:

Cheeky Australians hassling my kiwi accent (so predictable huh?!) 

Close friends creating lifelong memories while on a celebratory birthday trip

Honeymooners just starting out their overseas adventures together (Aaaaawwww)

Wonder and amazement about The Albert Park Tunnels from a local on tour.

Laughter (complete with full snorting) during a conversation stuck up with a quirky retailer

The glorious smell of freshly roasted coffee by one of the pioneers on the Auckland coffee scene 

A mad dash in the pouring rain that came from NOWHERE (typical Auckland weather!) to get into the Auckland Museum at the end of the tour 

The look of surprise followed by ecstasy on the face of a cheese lover after tasting some of our locally produced edam.  

Warm friendly hugs with guests who I don't want to say bye to!

Wow! What a nice little moment of reflection! We really do meet some super awesome people on tour, even though we may only spend a half day with them, that few hours really leaves an impact. For me heading out to tour in the morning or afternoon is like Forrest Gumps Box of Chocolates, you just never know what you're gonna get! 

We have guests from all walks of life, of all ages and from all over the world and even locals who are heading out to play 'tourist' for the day.
Our guests are usually super excited to explore our city, pick our brains with all sorts of interesting questions (including a lot about Rugby!) and by the end of the tour, I've come away having learnt something about their home town (which of course gives me the urge to travel!) and sometimes a little extra appreciation for what we have here in my own backyard (our GIANT green lipped mussels, all things feijoa, easy access to meat pies wherever we are, our relatively safe and clean city, stunning beaches, cheese, cheese, cheese, our laid back friendly nature, awesome variety of asian cuisine scattered thoughout the city and suburbs and loads more)
I consider myself very lucky to do this on a regular basis that's for sure. But now that Elle is back, I'll stop checking my phone at 3am to see if a new booking has come in! I'll leave that to her!
Thanks for reading my waffling thoughts & thanks to all our amazing suppliers who consistently make our guests welcome (and some who sneak me extra cheese)

Truffle Season

Posted by on June 27, 2017

The precious little balls of underground fungi are starting to ripen and be discovered by truffle dogs throughout our region. Canterbury has more truffle growers and truffles than anywhere else in New Zealand, and the biggest collection of them is in my region, North Canterbury.
This is recognised during the Canterbury Truffle Festival, which is happens from 15th to 30th of July. It’s a food and wine event which celebrates the coming of age of the New Zealand truffle business. It has become one of New Zealand’s premier gourmet experiences, and compliments the increasing focus on this region for premium food and wine.
The truffle season itself is much longer than this, particularly at Limestone Hills where they grow four different types of truffle, extending the season throughout most of the year. Watching Rosie the Beagle hunt for truffles is one of my favourite parts of the Wild Food and Winery Tour. Rosie invariably gets distracted by the hazelnuts which have fallen from the trees the truffles grow under. Just as all seems lost, she’ll remind you why she’s one of the best in the business and unearth something precious. It’s almost as if she has a sense of timing and drama!
I’m organising a special event as part of the Truffle Festival this year. It’s called ‘Truffle Day Out’ and will be held on Sunday 30th July. It will be a great introduction to the region; its wine and truffles. The day will begin with a truffle hunt at a local truffiere, continue with a wine & truffle tasting masterclass, include lunch cooked by one of our regions most famous chefs, Jonny Schwass, and move on to an afternoon cooking workshop with the legend himself. There will be truffle to purchase, and lots of tips and techniques to take away with you.
If those mysterious, seductive and transformative underground fungal treats are on your bucket list this will be the perfect way to spend a day. Book tickets here:

Five Days of Fun and Friendships

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on March 28, 2017

Recipe for a great five days. 

10 Australians

1 American

1 Kiwi

1 Minibus

A handful of the following:

Coffee Roaster, organic honey, curd nerd, wine maker, brewer, veggie gardener, oyster shucker and his mrs, food writer and know it all, chef, baker, some wild food, Olive Oil without Popeye,

Generous amounts of :

Good humour, fresh food, great views and sparkling harbour waters. 


Using the Kiwi, marinate the Australians and American for 6 months in using a premade mix. 

Day one

Begin by soaking in caffeine for an hour. Drain and mix with cheese and a light feed. Leave for a couple of hours. Feed again with cheese, beer, lamb and feijoas. Rest overnight. 

Day Two

Sweeten with honey and add a fresh vegetable salsa. Mix wines and soak for an hour. Finish the process for the day adding a little beer and hazelnuts 

Day Three

Forage and find wild berries and leaves. Place mix in a water bath in the fresh air.  Add an ugly carrot and cover for the day. 

Day Four

Long process day. Wake early. Discard the minibus and split into two groups. Mix for one hour. Add foodwriter to the mix and leave with other ingredients in the open air. With care add the oyster shucker and his Mrs. Spread liberally with fresh air and fresh lemon. Light feeding and mix for an hour. Rest on the beach. Feed in a metal container.

Day Five

Separate Kiwi from the rest of the group. Separately leave in a water bath for an hour. Drown in olive oil and wine. Wrap in Pasta and serve.


The end result should look like this. 


Stay With Us

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on March 08, 2017

We're a little bit biased but we're right, Auckland has many many hidden gems and we've been lucky enough to take over one of them! The Vineyard Cottages were built in the early 2000's by Bill and Eileen Spence on the back of their vineyard Matua Estate. The Spence brothers were famous for introducing Sauvignon Blanc to New Zealand which is now over 75% of the wine produced in New Zealand

We packed our lives into a truck,  threw the cat in a cage and dogs in the front seat of the car and moved to the rolling hills of the Waikoukou Valley and North West Auckland. There are seven cottages each individually decorated to match the variety of wine they are named after. The pinnacle of the property is the little event centre which can host up to 35 people for events and weddings. A veranda wraps around the lodge perfect for BBQ's and long lunches. 

It was love at first sight and over the last three months we've travelled around the area and met some of the nicest people in the region, all very passionate about the local area and showing it off. The Kumeu wine region has a number of boutique vineyards producing world class wines. The glorious black sand Muriwai Beach is 15kms away from the cottages and home to an enormous gannet colony. We've walked the dogs for miles along the black sands as the waves have crashed around us and sand has sparkled below our feet. 

The area is very famous for it's produce too and having said goodbye to our old faithful vegetable garden, we've thoroughly enjoyed the farm stands and local veggie shops where produce is coming straight from their land and onto the shelves.

Later this month we have our first five day food and wine tour of the Auckland Region and will be adding more dates for later this year and 2018!!!! To sign up for the five day tours, please email us at so we can add you to the list!

We've had such an amazing variety of guests coming to stay with us in the last three months and some wonderful nights sharing travel and food stories. From local wedding guests to international tourists, conference groups and honeymooners, this is the perfect spot to kick back and relax!