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. 


Fathers Day

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on August 16, 2016


Celebrate Father’s Day this year with 10% off our tours for all the dads out there!


Downtown Beer Tour - Is you dad a beer fan? Does he know his pilsner from his porter? Well why not send him on a craft beer tour of Downtown Auckland. We visit three very different locations, trying 12 + beers from all over NZ! email us here


Behind the Scenes at Auckland Fish Market - Is dad a keen fisherman? Does he grill a good bit of snapper on the BBQ? Why not send him on our behind the scenes tour of Auckland Fish Market. It’s an early start for the auction, but fans of fishing love hearing from the people who work in the industry.

Want to treat dad to something special - well let us work out tour magic and put something special together for him and you. Whether it’s a private tour on Waiheke Island or a behind the scenes at a brewery we can put something fantastic together for you! Just get in touch!

Get in touch or book directly through the website using the code "Fathersday" in the discount code box!


Happy Customers

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on August 01, 2016

There is nothing nicer that reading everyone's comments and feedback on our tours and working with partners like TripAdvisor and Viator is a great way for travelers to find the best activities in the region. This is the third year we have received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and our first Top Rated certificate from Viator!!!!! There was a fair amount of whooping and celebration in the office that's for sure!

Thanks TripAdvisor and Viator from everyone at The Big Foody Food Tours

*Our lovely intern Pia showing off the certificates from TripAdvisor and Viator. 


Posted by Website Admin on May 30, 2016

You can’t get much more kiwi that enjoying a Feijoa straight from the tree or purchased at a roadside stand in Autumn.

Very polarising, people either love them or hate them. We have a divide in our household, I absolute love them, like REALLY love them. I’ve successfully introduced them to the adventurous 1 year old who happily attempts to dig at the middle with his spoon, although he generally gives up on attempting that (co-ordination isn’t really his strong point just yet) before biting the skin & screwing up his face! I’m sure he’ll get the hang of it eventually, but unfortunately, the mere whiff of them, sends my partner into a tale spin. Oh well, all the more for me!

I love how versatile they are. The sweetness, the uniqueness, the juiciness. I will go as far to say I think they’re one of my all time favourite fruits. Here are some ideas incase you want to branch out of just cutting (or biting if you are straight under the tree!) and gobbling up the pulpy centres.

  1. Scoop out some Pulp and add to smoothies. My winning combo is a frozen banana, pulp from 3 Feijoas, a splash of Apple Juice and some Soy Milk.
  2. Go nuts with your juicer. You can make fresh juice by putting the entire Feijoa in (the machine will get rid of what it doesn’t need – add with Apple and a handful of Mint – mmmmm….SO refreshing!
  3. Pimp your Apple Crumble with some Feijoa Pulp and then go all out with an Anzac Biscuit crumble topping!
  4. Bake a cake – You can use your favourite Banana Cake or muffin Recipe & substitute out bananas for feijoas – just grate the entire Feijoa, skin n all, I promise you’ll end up with a super moist & delicious creation.
  5. Add to a salsa for extra zing! We love feijoas chopped in with apples, celery and red onion to go with pork chops.

Just get amongst it! There is that crazy time when Feijoas seem like they’re in abundance, you see them everywhere, and you think you have plenty of time to indulge, but then almost as quick as they appeared, the season is over.

We're trying feijoa everything on the tours at the moment! Feijoa chocolate, feijoa wine, feijoa chutney. Book now you so don't miss out!!!!!

Cheese Awards

Posted by Website Admin on May 17, 2016

The 2016 New Zealand Cheese Awards were held last week at the swanky Langham Hotel in Auckland with 420 entrants vying for the top spot. The Champions of Cheese award went to an Auckland Blue Cheese from Puhoi Valley Cheese, The Kawau Blue. Another blue, Kapiti Kahurangi blue won the Favourite Cheese Award by public vote.

The legends at Mercer Cheese took away the Champion Artisan Cheese award for the delicious extra mature Gouda which we taste on a number of our tours. We were delighted to see Hawkes Bay’s Origin Earth take awards for their feta and smoked cheeses. One cheese we regularly taste on the Tastebud Tour is the delicious Farmhouse Mature Goats cheese from Crescent Dairy Goats who took away the European Style Cheese Award.

New Zealand cheese goes from strength to strength and there is so much variety on offer to try all around the country. For a full list of medal winners from the 2016 New Zealand Cheese Awards follow this link.

Join our Tastebud Tour for a taste of the very best New Zealand artisan cheese or to meet the cheese makers talk to us about a private tour!