Category Archives: Food Tours

The Big Foody's Favourite Ice Cream spots

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on December 06, 2018

The Big Foody's Favourite Ice Cream Spots

 

If you are only going to indulge in one cold, creamy and indulgent treat on your visit to Auckland, it will have to be where we send and recommend all our guests to visit and whom we have even created a special tour for, for our exclusive cruise customers, namely, Giapo! featuring handmade ice cream, gelato & sorbet in traditional & adventurous flavours, presented in the most amazing and creative ways!

However, there are other Ice Cream spots dotted around Auckland that are must visits too including;

  • On the outskirts of the city, as you exit suburbia and enter the rural outskirts, predominantly south, east and west, you will stumble across the small road-side Ice Cream stalls serving up the most delicious fresh berry ice creams. Often placed right beside a strawberry farm and its fields of strawberries, these fresh berry ice creams are a bit of a tradition and a must stop for locals heading out of the city on the weekends and can therefore get pretty busy!

 

  • If your are heading north, make sure that you stop in at Charlies Gelato in Matakana. One of our favourites of our lovely tour guide Colleen and her family. Charlies stocks over 40 flavours using fresh and local ingredients. It’s all handmade in small batches on a daily basis just for you. Whether you are after something fun, fruity or decadent, there will be a flavour to suit your tastes and mood! Make sure that you visit regularly so not to miss their monthly seasonal flavour.

 

  • Juicy Gelato situated on State Highway 16 heading into Kumeu, is a dream come true for gelato, icecream, sorbet and coffee lovers. With bean bags spotted around outside to enjoy your gelato on and the never ending amount of flavours, Juicy is a hot spot over the summer months.

 

  • You may know it better for it’s cheese, it’s scrumptious cheese toasties and maybe even it’s coffee, however the Kapiti Store also sells its own Kapiti ice cream, with amazing flavours like, Spicy Apple Crumble, Lemon Shortcake, Chamomile and Salted Kamahi Honey, Summer Nectarine plus your traditional flavours of course, your taste buds will be tempted for sure (ours are!)

 

These are just some of our favourites here at the Big Foody Food Tours, but there are many more, so join us on one of our Big Foody Food Tours and we’ll let you know more hidden ice cream gems.

 

Vineyard Cottages Plum Ice cream

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on December 06, 2018

Vineyard Cottages Plum Ice Cream

 

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups chopped plum (the sweeter the plum the better), plus an extra cup 1 cup milk

2 cups cream

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup vodka (you could use flavoured vodka for another level of flavour!)

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

zest of 1 lime

1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lime juice

INSTRUCTIONS

Freeze an empty freezer-safe shallow bowl or pan. Anything stainless steel works really well here but do avoid any bowls that may shatter once frozen (i.e glass)

In medium sauce pan, combine 1 cup of cream, all of the milk, sugar, and sea salt. Stirring often, heat over medium heat just until the mixture begins to steam and the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, puree 1 1/2 cups of plums, and set aside. Cover the remaining cup of chopped plums, along with any juices, and set in the fridge for later.

Combine the cream mixture, pureed plums, remaining cream, vodka, and lime juice and zest and pour into your pre-frozen bowl or pan. Place it in the freezer. After 20-30 minutes, check on the mixture, once the edges start to freeze, take out the mixture and beat it using a hand mixer.

By breaking up the ice cream, you’ll help make it smooth and creamy. You cannot beat the mixture too much.Return the pan to the freezer. Every 30 minutes or so, take it back out and beat the ice cream again. Repeat until it is firmly frozen, usually around four or five mixing sessions. On your last misxing session, add the extra cup of plums and juices. Once it’s frozen, the mixture should be smooth and creamy.

If at any time the ice cream becomes too hard, place it in the refrigerator until it becomes soft enough to beat, and then continue the process.

Store the ice cream in a covered freezer container until ready to serve


 

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!

 

6 types of Honey from New Zealand

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on September 26, 2018

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.

Clover

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

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.

Lavender

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?

 

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!

 

NZ featured in the World Ultimate Eats by Lonely Planet

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on August 16, 2018

NZ featured in the World Ultimate Eats by Lonely Planet

In exciting news I was delighted to read the  World Ultimate Eats list released from Lonely Planet this year. Slowly but surely the world is discovering New Zealand as a food tourism destination and we're delighted to be leading this charge.
I am on the executive of EAT New Zealand which is a collective of chef, food writers, tour operators and event planners who as an organisation are dedicated to the promotion of New Zealand cuisine, so this result is awesome to see.

Nin's Bin in Kaikoura where you can buy fresh crayfish.

Sampling the City of Sails Smorgasbord

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on August 14, 2018

Sampling the "City of Sails Smorgasbord"

We love showing off our city and it's hidden treasures.

A couple of weeks ago, we were honoured to host a group from the Otago Daily Times.

Check out the fantastic article that they wrote up about visiting Auckland and sampling the "City of Sails Smorgasbord"

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.