Category Archives: Farmers Markets

Top reasons to go on a Food Tour with the Big Foody Food Tours

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on November 08, 2018

Top reasons to go on a Food Tour with the Big Foody Food Tours

1. The Big Foody Food Tours, named in the World’s Best Destination for Travel Experiences according to TripAdvisor travellers and the only travel provider in New Zealand. Now that’s a good reason to join us!

 

2. We are a dedicated FOOD TOUR COMPANY, not a tour company that does food tours. It is what we do! We love it and wouldn't want to do anything else.

 

3. The BEST guides. Whether you get Elle or Colleen, they are local foodie experts from forever ago and experts in guiding, you will be entertained for hours. Bubbly and friendly, they know Auckland and it’s food scene, they will be able to make personalised recommendation for any foodie and their quirks. They are more than just food guides, you’ll finish the tour having made a new friend.


 

4. DELICIOUS stops! Taste Auckland like a local. We visit the popular, must do experiences of Auckland, but also the hidden delights only the locals know of. We take you where we take our friends and family, only selected favourites make the cut for their tastes and the best people and their stories. It’s not just about the food, it's’ about our people, our land and our producers. We serve up the stories behind our favourite spots and their incredible food.

 

5. Meet the LOCALS. Our suppliers and who we visit on our stops are considered part of our family. On our tours, we treat you like family too. Our relationships with our suppliers therefore make you part of their family. You will get insights into their passion and their livelihood so that after your tour, you will be filled with knowledge about New Zealand’s artisans and producers to take with you on your travels and back home.

 

6. Best RECOMMENDATIONS on dining in Auckland and New Zealand. Don’t end up at soulless tourist eateries, join a Big Foody Food tour for our insider knowledge of where to dine. Venture off the beaten path to experience the best of Auckland cuisine just like a local. As we have said before, we are foodie experts and we love food and dining out and we KNOW the restaurant scene. You can be guaranteed to come back from the tour with a loooong list of recommendations for dining out in Auckland and throughout New Zealand.

 

7. RELAX -  We lead the way around Auckland on our organised and customer focused tours and we are are pretty laid back and love to have a laugh! Rely on us to take care of everything and enjoy the tastes of Auckland. And even better, on our most popular tour, The Tastebud Tour we drive you around Auckland exploring the best spots in town. What better way than to explore and taste Auckland whilst sitting back and relaxing.

 

8. PERSONALISED service. Our tours are small and personalised, we try to customise (to a degree) to what you are passionate and interested about. It is about you, the customer after all. You will be able to hear every word that comes out of our guides mouth and there are always enough samples, no mass tour groups here.


9. HISTORIC SIGHTS - The Big Foody Food Tours is more than just a food tour - we take you to and point out the iconic buildings and architecture of Auckland. We talk about New Zealand’s and Auckland’s culture and what we have to offer on the entertainment scene.


 

10. TRUSTED AND EXPERIENCED Food Tour company. We have been touring around Auckland and tasting with our guests since 2009. We know what we are doing and work in the industry. We run food tours throughout New Zealand and in Portland, Oregon in the United States. We work with many large travel agencies and get referred to many private and media tours, as well as picking up many of the pre-arranged day excursions from the Cruise liners. Trust us to take you on a a food tour that is small and personalized, friendly and laid back but professional and in-the-know. We know how to create an unforgettable experience for you.

 

11. REVIEWS We love our guests and we treat them like family and the bestest friend. We thank every single one of them for the FANTASTIC reviews that they leave us. We are so thankful to them all for our Overall Traveller rating on Tripadvisor of 5.0. THANK YOU. Read some of the reviews here.

 

Come away with a new friend, a smile, a full tummy (puku in maori) and history and stories about places you’ve been and people that you have met, The Big Foody Food Tours is the Ultimate way to taste Auckland (and the rest of New Zealand and Portland, Oregon).




 

Celebrating Honey and Bee Aware Month

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on September 26, 2018

Celebrating Honey and Bee Aware Month

 

September is Bee Aware Month and we have been celebrating bee's, their caretakers - the invaluable, caring beekeepers and of course HONEY!

What better country to visit, to taste and discover the multiple variations of honey, but New Zealand of course- read our most popular blog on our website '6 Types of Honey from New Zealand' from our infamous Manuka to Kamahi and our Wildflower honey's and their distinctive tastes.

 

Bee Aware Month is an initiative by Apiculture NZ and is a full month dedicated to promotional work dedicated to "Bee Health" and educating the public on how they themselves can help protect NZ's healthy bee population. Although New Zealand's bee population is generally fairly healthy we do have more threats to be aware of than ever before including bio-security, disease, bugs and pesticide. Bees of course are needed for pollination so that we can consume the delicious fruits and food that we so love including Avocado's, Strawberries, Kiwifruit, Apples, Nuts, Coffee and even Chocolate!

 

And there are 3 easy ways that YOU can help!

BEE FOOD - plant bee friendly gardens. Visit your local garden centre and ask them to suggest some plants for you

HYDRATION - Bee's need to drink water too in order to survive! Provide fresh, clean water for the bees. And put pebbles and / or twigs in the water so that they have somewhere to rest while they drink (and don't drown).

SAFE SPRAYING - don't spray your garden with harmful pesticides. Do you actually need to spray? But if you do, don't spray when the plants are in flower or bees are present. Best time of the day to spray is at sunrise or dusk when the bees are in their hives and the flowers are still closed and sleeping.

So go on, try out some of the recipes on the blog, go plant some bee friendly plants in the garden, join us on a tour sampling this precious liquid gold and celebrate our bees!

 

Our Foody Inspiration - Earthbound Honey

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on September 26, 2018

Our Foody Inspiration - Earthbound Honey

 

In keeping with Bee Aware Month, our Foody Inspiration this month are sustainable artisan beekeepers - Earthbound Honey!

If you have been on one of our tours, you will know how much we love their honey and how good their honey is and if you haven't, we think it’s about time you did! Not only will you discover local Foody heros like Earthbound Honey but taste an almighty selection of delicious food whilst learning about our history, our people and our places.

 

Earthbound Honey is locally located in the Bethells Valley in north west Auckland on their 11 acre property with Pohutukawa groves, dense Manuka forests and wildflower pastures. Owners Terry and Karlene Toomey established Earthbound Honey in 2006 when Terry left his city-based job to become a beekeeper. Karlene soon followed reducing her hours as a landscape gardener and both now work on the farm together.

Their bees produce a range of honey from their Pohutukawa, Manuka and wildflower pastures.

If you are lucky enough to visit them at their base on one of our Our People, Our Places, Our Producers tours or at one of the local Farmer's Markets, you will see that it's not just honey that makes them one of our favourite Foody Inspirations, but it’s what they create with the honey and the wax from their bees. They also produce a wide range of skincare, honey vinegar, beeswax wraps and candles.

Fascinated? Join us on one of our Big Foody food tours and you too could be sampling this liquid gold!

 

Homemade Limoncello

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on August 14, 2018

Homemade Limoncello

 

INGREDIENTS
 

5 lemons - washed (you can also subsittute limes if you wish)

1 ½ cups castor sugar

350ml vodka (don’t buy the cheapest, you will notice the difference)

375ml water

 

INSTRUCTIONS

 

Peel the lemons and place the peel and the peeled lemon (cut into cubes) into a large bowl.

Add the castor sugar and water into a pot and place over an element until the sugar has dissolved. Let the sugar syrup cool.

Add the cooled sugar syrup to the lemons and lemon peel.

Add the vodka and stir gently.

Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to allow to infuse for at least 48 hours.

Strain the liquid through a sieve discarding the peel and the lemons.

Using a funnel, pour the liquid into bottles and store in the fridge.

Serve well chilled over ice.

A little known fruit the Persimmon

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on May 17, 2018

A little known fruit - the Persimmon.

 

As we arrived at the Pick Your Own Orchard, a group of Chinese tourists were just leaving with their boot of their car packed to the brim with bags of Persimmons. “$300 worth of Persimmons they just purchased” explained the Ross, the owner of the Shiziyuan Persimmon Orchard.

The kids and I watched as they drove off and we too grabbed our plastic bags to start picking, but I explained carefully, we will not be picking $300’s worth, just half a bag full for now shall do.

For us, it certainly is a fruit not so familiar to our fruit bowl, and many have not heard nor tasted a Persimmon before.

It is not a surprise however, that the Persimmon is very highly regarded in the Asian culture with a near religious following, being Japan’s national fruit and originating from China. Being bright reddish in colour and shaped like a round Chinese lantern, they symbolise luck and often used for festive decorations and they are often given as lucky presents to newlyweds to symbolise eternal love. They are also often planted in temples as it is said four virtues - long life, sheltering birds, giving shade and freedom from insects and pests.

 

In the western world however, the persimmon has remained more of a home gardener sort of fruit. But why not change that? Persimmons are such a versatile fruit and easy to grow. They are really reliable croppers and mostly disease free. And provide a beautiful backdrop with their leaves turning spectacular shades of fiery red and burst of orange after their harvests in late autumn - even in the mildest climates. And did you know that Persimmons are technically considered a berry?!! Maybe a Persimmon tree in your backyard is not a bad idea? When slightly unripe, they have an apple-like crunch with a sweet and slight nutty flavour and when fully ripe they become a juicy, sweet, syrupy basket of goodness and this is what our Japanese and Chinese friends are obsessed with.

 

There are two main types of Persimmon, astringent and non-astringent. Historically all Persimmon were astringent and not edible until they were completely ripe. Because of their astringent nature, they could also not be transported or kept very well, until in the 1960’s when Israeli plant breeders developed (often believed by accident) the first non-astringent Persimmon. It meant that Persimmon could be eaten while still firm and shipped practically anywhere in the world (and stored for months). Today non- astringent Persimmons are the norm and grown worldwide, the most common type of non-astringent Persimmon in the Fruyu.

 

Persimmon tea leaves are also said to have superb health benefits. They are high in fibre and high in tannins which can help digestion. They also have properties that can help prevent high blood pressure. In parts of Japan, the leaves are used to wrap sushi as they have antiseptic properties.

 

A trip out to the Persimmon Farm is definitely worth the trip out not, not just for a foodie adventure but to have a good old chat to Ross, who as it turns out, grew up on a big farm, not far from our base here at the Vineyard Cottages, he has a huge wealth of local knowledge, he worked at the historical dairy farm in Helensville and he can tell you many stories of local happenings and of course is super passionate about anything Persimmons! Ross has been on this property for over 20 years now and has opened his orchard to the public for the last 20 years. This ANZAC Day was his busiest day yet! Find him at 152 Rimmer Road, Helensville open for Pick Your Own from ANZAC Day till June (if the birds don’t get to the Persimmons first).

 

Quick and Super Easy Persimmon Sorbet

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on May 17, 2018

Quick and Super Easy Persimmon Sorbet

 

Persimmons are a super versatile fruit, simply eat them like an apple while still firm, add into salads, use them in cookies and cakes, puddings, curries or make chutneys and relishes or even fruit leather.

One of The Big Foody Food Tours favourite ways to enjoy a Persimmon is this sweet quick and super easy Persimmon sorbet.

 

  1. Choose some beautifully coloured orange Persimmons, slightly on the ripe side.
  2. Cut the tops off the Persimmons.
  3. Gently cut some criss-cross lines into the top of the Persimmons.
  4. Put the Persimmons into the freezer.
  5. About half an hour prior before planning to devour this delicious treat, take the Persimmons of of the freezer and let defrost.
  6. When the Persimmons have defrosted enough to easily scoop out its contents with a spoon, simply sit down and ENJOY!


Check out the rest of our Persimmon recipes on our blog to freshen up, lighten up and add some up colour to your Autumn meals.

 

The Big Foody's top 8 ways to indulge in Feijoas

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on March 14, 2018

The Big Foody's top 8 ways to indulge in Feijoas

New to Feijoa's or looking for ways to use up the kilo's of them scattered throughout the garden?

Here are out Top 8 favourite ways to indulge in Feijoa's;

  • Make a Feijoa Cake
  • Serve them on top of some Greek Yogurt (for breakfast or dessert) or on top of your cereal.
  • Smoothies!! Feijoas in smoothies are the best! and can be used as a substitute for bananas in smoothies as they have a very similar consistency.
  • Make a Feijoa Crumble
  • Stew them with a little bit of brown sugar and pour them over some Vanilla Ice-Cream for dessert, or Hokey- Pokey ice-cream for a real New Zealand treat!
  • Jam them - try this fabulous Vanilla and Feijoa jam
  • Freeze them, so that you can have the above all-year round! (tips on how best to freeze them on our website now).

 

Join us on a Big Foody Food Tour during the Feijoa season (between March and June) and we will go to the utmost effort to get you sampling Feijoa's!!

Freshly baked Feijoa Cake - delicious!!

Feijoas!! An Autumn Jewel has arrived

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on March 14, 2018

Feijoa’s!! An Autumn Jewel has arrived!

 

Finally we have started to see Feijoa’s starting to ripen on their trees, laying on the dewy grass under their trees in the morning waiting to be picked up and even our local fruit and veggie shop has as a small offering available to purchase.

 

But what are these Feijoa’s that New Zealanders seem to have such a cult following for?

A pretty ordinary (looking at it from the outside) green, egg-shaped fruit, but what's inside is a delicacy that has a long-awaited cult-like following every year. With a very distinctive but yet very complex flavour distinction, the inside of the fruit is juicy and made up of a clear gelatin-like seedy pulp, that becomes firmer as you get closer to the edge of the skin, with a grainy texture. The texture can be described as a mix between a pear and a guava and with the taste being described anywhere from sweet, tart, sour and of course juicy somewhere between a strawberry, pineapple and guava and with the odd person even tasting a hint of mint!

There is one thing that we can definitely say and that is that a Feijoa tastes like a Feijoa!! An indescribable, unique and complex taste! One that should definitely be on everyone’s to try-list at least once!

 

Feijoas are however not a native to New Zealand, but originate from southern South America namely southern Brazil, Uruguay, western Paraguay and northern Argentina. Feijoas need a very specific subtropical climate to grow and this is why even in New Zealand, Feijoas are not abundant throughout the whole country, finding Feijoa in Christchurch for instance is a complete rarity.

The first Feijoa were actually collected in the wild rainforests of southern  Brazil by a German botanist in 1815. They were introduced into New Zealand over a hundred or so years later in the 1920’s.

 

The cult- following of Feijoas is intensified, by the very short season that they are ripe. The Feijoa season starts in March and goes till June (these days we are very luck by the number of different varieties available to us, giving us continued fruiting trees throughout that season). To make matters worse for Feijoa lovers, Feijoas are also very prone to bruising, so unfortunately very hard to keep (or travel long distances).

 

Delicious to eat fresh, make jams or bake with! Feijoas’ are a definite favourite here at the Big Foody Food Tours. Join us on a tour in March to June and we will go to the utmost effort to get you sampling Feijoas on our tours!

Not available fresh? New Zealand is obsessed with ‘feijoa flavoured’ products! Try our favourite and their bestselling Feijoa Chocolate from Bennetts at Mangawhai, Simply Squeezed’s Feijoa Smoothies readily available in Supermarkets or Macey’s Feijoa lollies available in most dairies.


 

Fresh New Zealand Feijoas

Who are Forty Thieves?

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on December 29, 2017

Forty Thieves Nut Butters

Who are Forty Thieves? Forty Thieves was founded by Shyr and Brent, lovers of the outdoors and healthy foods. After spending time exploring the the big wide world, they returned home to New Zealand and ready for a challenge.

Forty Thieves are now producers of delicious nut butters in out-of-the-ordinary flavours including Salted Macadamia with Maple and Vanilla Bean, Cacao Hazelnut with toasted coconut, Peanut Almond with Cacao nibs and Sunflower cashew with Chia Seeds!!!!

It is a common fact that their Salted Macadamia nut butter is utterly addictive.

We at the Big Foody asked them what they love about Auckland “I love that the city is surrounded by water. There are so many beautiful beaches up north and along the west coast and lovely bays and great walks east and south”

The Auckland CBD, Ponsonby and Grey Lynn are their favourite suburbs to eat out and their favourite places to eat out “right now - Scarecrow and The Fed for classic New York style deli food. Fresh asian flavours served up at Mekong Baby. I'm also a big fan of the growing food truck scene and am obsessed with The Rolling Pin's vegan dumplings”.

Come join us on one of our tours, for the Ultimate Auckland Food tour experience and taste these amazing nut butters!

 

Introducing Sonja's Taste of Austria

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on December 06, 2017

Sonja’s Taste of Austria, creates delicious sweet desserts and gourmet frozen meals inspired by Austria, homemade from local, fresh New Zealand produce.

 

Sonja’s passion for baking and cooking started from a very young age of 6 years old, where mud cakes garnished with daisies and dandelions were her expertise.

Her cooking and baking talents emerged over the years whilst growing a love for different cultures and their cuisines.

After her mother passed down her old Austrian cook books, a passion for the Austrian way of cooking and its’ cuisine became her love, a much indulged in hobby, in which she could relax, unwind and express herself and of-course hold some extreme dinner parties for her friends!

With Austrian inspiration behind her and fresh New Zealand produce at her fingertips, she lovingly creates beautiful sweet desserts that delight, and frozen gourmet meals that will satisfy anyone's appetite.

You will find Sonja at the Parnell Farmers market on a Saturday morning stocked up with the most divine treats and meals.

Although Sonja lives slightly out of Auckland, Sonja still adores Auckland “because it is vibrant and diverse”.

Since coming to live here, she has watched New Zealand evolve “from a place of plain simple food to a foodies paradise”.

“Farmers markets are the best showroom for all the wonderful products that are created”.

She loves to eat out at Yum Cha Pearl Gardens in Newmarket, and also enjoys Aucklands waterfront with its “abundance of great places to eat” and its stunning scenery.

Her most favourite place to eat however, is right at home, where she and her husband experiment with all the wonderful products found right here in New Zealand.

As well as finding Sonya at the Parnell Farmers market on a Saturday, make sure that you visit her website which you can order straight off, to either order from for pick up from the Farmers market or if you live in Tuakau, delivered straight to your door.