Monthly Archives: September 2016

Celebrate Spring at Masu

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on September 30, 2016

It is a beautiful time of year here in Auckland. Spring is in full bloom with blossoms on all the trees around the city and the parks are full of daffodils, camellias and magnolias. 

To celebrate the arrive of spring, the team at Masu along with New Zealand Master of Wine Sam Harrop and Japanese Master of Wine Kenichi Ohashi, have sourced 5 very rare sakes and bought them to New Zealand. 

In a traditional sake barrel cracking yesterday, we had the privilege to have a sneak preview of the sakes, each totally different and very special. Sam Harrop provided a very informative run down on the history and variety of each Sake. Chef Nic Watt shared his delight in being able to bring these sakes to New Zealand for his patrons to enjoy and celebrate spring. 

From October 3rd to October 16th Masu are offering a very special tasting flight of all five sakes for $36.00. We will certainly be heading back! 

The sakes in the flight are:

·         Tanaka-Rokujugo (Fukuoka) – One of the most sought-after brands in Japan. The brewery is located in Fukuoka prefecture which is in southern Japan. Restrained, pristine and transparent, dry, medium weight and a tight palate texture.

Producer Tanaka remains true to family traditions in everything he does, from hand-writing the labels in calligraphy himself to using a traditional ‘squeeze’ method (called Haneki Shibori) to extract the sake with timber and stones, a very slow process that produces maximum flavour.

·         Toyo-Bijin (Yamaguchi) - This sake is adopted regularly as a sake which is served in official VIP dinners or receptions in Japan. The maker accomplishes “the expression of pure water passed through the rice.” Abundant fruity aromas, perfumed, banana-scented, semi-sweet but light finish. Yamaguchi Prefecture is located at the western end of Japan

·         Juogura (Ibaraki) – High quality. An easy-drinking, moderate umami flavour.

·         Nechi-Otokoyama (Niigata) - The sake expresses the terroir of Nechi Valley in Niigata Prefecture. It’s sought-after and produced by rare brewery which mostly cultivates chemical-free rice. Medium intensity of aromas, well-balanced fruitiness and a touch of savourines and dryness. 

·         Hanahato (Hiroshima) – An aged sake that’s a gold medal winner in the International Wine Challenge (IWC) 2014. Nutty, spicy, dried fruit, abundant complexity providing long length, full bodied.

(Tasting notes from Sam Harrop MW)


If you haven't had much experience with sake then check out our quick guide to sake here



Four of the Best Farmers Markets

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on September 27, 2016

The Big Foody Food Tours Guide to NZ Farmers Markets


We are so lucky in NZ to have plenty of excellent farmers markets dotted around the country. Four of the best are:



One of our highlights of the Otago Farmers Market is ever delicious Evansdale Cheese. We love the Tania, a manuka hot smoked brie. It is amazing in burgers and grilled cheese! Any market with a Bacon Buttie stand is a must visit so we recommend heading straight over to the Bacon Buttie Station at the Otago Market.



Gisborne Farmers Market is on the corner of Sprout Street opposite the museum every Saturday morning. One of our favourite is HiHi wine. They have a couple of big bouncy Chardonnays, one appropriately named Gizzy. Wines are around $10 / bottle and perfect for a picnic with other market produce. In season there are delicious avocados and local fruit and we’re huge fans of the fish stall who have a mouth wateringly addictive raw fish salad.



Every time we are in the Hawkes Bay there is a compulsory Sunday morning at the Hastings Farmers Market. It is one of the largest in the country and apart from the endless queue for coffee, it is absolute heaven. Check out Hawkes Bay food heros St Andrews Limes and Orcona Chilli and Peppers. We adore the Orcona dried chilies and chili flakes. St Andrews produce a Lime Curd that I have been caught eating out of the jar with a spoon! You can also enjoy local wines, nuts, meats, fruit and veg, olive oils and baked goods.


The Old Packhouse Farmers Market KeriKeri

The Old Packhouse Farmers Market is Northland’s biggest farmers market and open rain or shine on Saturday morning with the very best local produce on offer. Check out the fruit leather, especially the Feijoa and all the local cheese. It is a great spot to spend the morning with live music and lots of food stands. We stocked up on some amazing chili sauces and some amazing strawberry vinegar!


Check out the Auckland Farmers Markets with us on our Tastebud Tour!!!!

Welcome to Portland, OR!

Posted by Laura Morgan on September 09, 2016

Welcome to September in Portland! Finally we're getting a bit of the cool, drizzly weather that Portlanders love and long for during the hot slog of summer. Not that we don't appreciate leaving the house without jackets and boots or jumping with wild abandon into our favorite swimming holes, but that heat can be so oppressive! Luckily for visitors, too, umbrellas are finally cool again in this city!

Not to worry though, before the leaves start to change there are still some beautifully mild and sunny days ahead of us. It's also prime time for apples, pears, tomatoes and corn on urban farms and in rural parts of Oregon. In fact, everyone here in the Great Pacific Northwest tend to go out of their minds at this time of year celebrating our incredible bounty with farm dinners, special menus and food festivals galore. From the Taste of Latinoamerica at the Portland Mercado, to Feast - the food fest to end all food festivals - there is so much to do in Portland right now.

Not the least of which is the launch of The Big Foody PDX and the Central “Eats-side” tour which offers guests the opportunity to taste some of Portland's most iconic products and meet some of the movers and shakers who produce them as well. Historically the city is a blue-collar, industrial town that is surrounded by an abundance of breathtaking natural beauty, and nowhere is our industrial past more apparent than in the Central Eastside Industrial District. In recent years, however, city planners, long-time industry groups and local food and drink business owners have begun to open up the traditional meaning of “industrial” to include the creative, artisan and tech industries as well.

With the addition of multiple new public transportation hubs and the construction of Tillikum Crossing, the city’s newest pedestrian, cyclist and mass transit bridge, it is also easier and more fun than ever to spend time in the Central Eastside. From downtown’s hotels to world-class restaurants and truly-Portland shopping experiences, you can find it all here. So join us on a tour, we’ll show you around one of our favorite spots in the city and introduce you to some really cool people along the way!

*Insider tip – if you’re a photographer, or even just an avid instagrammer, the Central “Eats-side” tour is a great opportunity to get some urban photos - from street art, to some of the best views of the city from the ground – you’ll quickly learn why we’re known as Bridgetown and the most delicious city in America. 

September is Farmers Market Month

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on September 07, 2016

September is Farmers Market month here at The Big Foody and an opportunity to share with you some of the stories and history of the stall holders and farmers markets around the Auckland region.  On our weekend Tastebud Tours we visit a couple of farmers markets meeting the vendors and sampling the artisan produce, heirloom vegetables, baked goods, olive oils and cheeses. if you're venturing out and about on your own while in the city here is a list of highly recommended markets to go and check out!


Matakana Village Farmers’ Market - An hour north of Auckland this fantastic farmers market is home to some of the region's best artisans. We highly recommend taking some picnic gear and buying all the ingredients for a picnic at the beach. It is also in the middle of the North Auckland wine region where some of the most delicious red wines are produced.  We often visit this market on our private tours, so if you would like us to take you to explore this exciting region, get in touch!

Hobsonville Point Farmers’ Market  - One of our favourites! Hobsonville Point Farmers Market is tucked away at the far side of the Waitemata Harbour and situated in an old airforce hanger. Running both on Saturday and Sunday there are a large variety of vendors selling cheese, breads, honey, chutneys and much more. 

The City Farmers’ Market at Britomart - Saturday morning only. Fantastic central city market to get some supplies and enjoy a mussel fritter or two. 

Grey Lynn Farmers’ Market - Sunday morning only, this little market is inside the community centre and great for local honeys from the nearby Kemlmarna urban farm. 

Parnell Farmers’ Market Another one of our favourites and on Saturday morning only, Parnell Farmers Market is next to the Domain and the best in the city. 

La Cigale French Style Farmers’ Market Weekend market with a classic French style. 

Clevedon Village Farmers’ Market  Sunday heaven! We love this place. 40 mins south of the City Centre, Clevedon Farmers Market has some of the best produce from all around the area. We highly recommend you check out the Tomatoes from The Curious Croppers and Culleys Chilli Sauces

Coatesville Market - Held on the first Sunday of every month this large market has groceries, craft and all sorts. Go early, it gets busy.