The first Yelp Elite Event of 2015 kicked off at Cépage on O’Connell Street with Maison Vauron and La Fromagerie. We’d heard about Cépage, opened by Logan and Will of Black Hoof, but hadn’t been. I always seem to forget about these small hidden streets in the heart of the city. So wine and cheese make the perfect pair, change that to French wine and cheese served by knowledgeable French men – winning. Our favourite was the Epoisses Berthaut and the Chateau Marcadis Lalande De Pomerol 12 red (pronouncing anything accurately the entire night was a lost cause). We’re ready to go buy some of the wine and cheese to indulge at home and can’t wait to go dine at Cépage and Black Hoof soon, yes – Elite Events have this knock-on effect on you. This year’s Elite Event line up sounds superb, we can’t wait to try out more new products and hear from businesses we haven’t come across yet. Find out how you can be an Elite here – see you at the next one.
Over the weekend we photographed Yelp Auckland’s biggest event to date, with almost 130 people. Along with Brancott Estate wine, MOA beer and Antipodes water, The Pie Piper mum-and-daughter duo, Black Hoof, Clevedon Oysters and Puhoi Valley were also there for the fun. A mini Fujifilm instax printer was up for grabs for the best photo of the night and everyone got a White’s & Co. voucher.
It’s been a long time since we last checked in (sorry!), but we have been busy on the food front so more posts to come! We recently attended and photographed Yelp’s latest Elite Event at The Kapiti Store on Shortland Street. As many other Yelpers would agree, this was for sure the best event yet (Alex you have outdone yourself).
- (Chardonnay) Aorangi Traditional Brie: 6-8 weeks age. With a subtle mushroom flavour, this was delicious.
- (Pinot Gris) Ramara Washed Rind: 6-8 weeks age. Definitely our favourite of the night. Super creamy and incredibly smooth and soft. It was great smeared on top of the bread.
- (Syrah) Smoked Havarti: 6-8 weeks age.
- (Merlot) Tuteremoana Cheddar: 3-4 years.
- (Cabernet Sauvignon) Kikorangi Triple Cream Blue: 4-6 months. We’re not quite blue cheese fanatics but this was enjoyable. It’s very rich and a shocker to the taste buds on the first go. As Rachel mentioned, the best before label for cheese is often dependent on personal tastes. She gave us a sample of one that was one month past expiration. It was on another level, so much stronger and bolder. Let’s just say I’m not in a hurry to leave my cheese out past it’s best before.
For dessert there was of course ice cream. The four flavours were blueberry muffin, chocolate hazelnut crunch, lemongrass and ginger, and nectarine and muscavado. We loved the blueberry and the chocolate. We also tried a little dairy float with some Stoneleigh Sparkling Sauvignon.
More event photos here.
Every Yelp event we walk away with at least one new product in mind to buy later on for ourselves, like the Ramara cheese this time, the Sparkling Mio from our Sake night (click here), and the Riesling from Foxes Island (click here). Word is these events are only going to get better, I would say hurry and become a Yelp Elite member now so you don’t miss out! (Find out how here.)
Also on the side, although it’s a little late notice. Tomorrow (3rd Dec) will be the last Yelp event for the year and everybody is invited! It will be held at Jetset Bohemian with food backing a great cause: donating shoes to the Philippines. With every donation you also get some sweet discounts. The same event is happening across Australia and Singapore. More details here. Come along, bring some shoes, and don’t forget to say hi!
The Kapiti Store
19 Shortland Street, Auckland Central.
We were invited to Yelp’s third Auckland Elite Event, and this time as photographers! Since Kely was busy at university, with camera and friend in tow I took one for the team.
Guests were greeted with a glass of Foxes Island Riesling on arrival – an award-winning wine and my favourite of the night. I’d first tried Riesling when dining at Sails, and I’ve been reminiscent ever since. This was beautiful. Its sweet and fruity flavour was just right for novice drinkers like myself. The hint of white peach and jasmine creates a very fresh finish. I would’ve had a few more sips if I weren’t busy snapping away…
To complement the wine there was a selection of cheese from Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese and bread baked by Bread and Butter Bakery. The cheese supplied was St Malo, Marin Blue and St Augustine (Brie White). I enjoyed St Malo the most. The creaminess was unmatchable.
In John (owner of Foxes Island) and his partner, Kelly’s short introduction, he touched upon his inspiration as a winemaker and the process to making one of New Zealand’s best wine. We were then offered Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir (the ‘holy grail’). The Pinot Noir had more of a potent earthy aroma. The wine was denser and had a punch of spice to it.
Having seen the bottle circle around some of Auckland’s best eateries, I was delighted to finally have a drink of the pure New Zealand water, Antipodes. Rated the purest water on Earth, Morven talked about how Antipodes sourced water from a deep aquifer of more than 327m deep underground (roughly the same height as the Sky Tower!). The water has been there for more than 300 years so was the purest around. Antipodes has low mineral levels so will not corrupt out palates, wine’s best companion.
It was definitely a wonderful opportunity. I was able to reconnect with some of the Yelpers I met last time at the Sake Tasting at Ponsonby and other new Yelpers. Thanks to Alex for inviting us again.
For more photos click here .
Foxes Island City Door Cellar.
15C Williamson Avenue, Ponsonby, Auckland.
We were delighted to attend Yelp’s latest Elite Event at Ponsonby Road Bistro with Tokyo Food. This was our first time drinking sake and not only did we get to try a range of different sake, but we also received a quick masterclass session on the ins and outs of sake origins and etiquette.
First things first, sake means alcohol in Japanese, not just rice wine. Shu is the suffix that is used for referring to rice wine. It is made mainly with water, rice and mold (yes, mold). The process is similar to that of beer and the rice used is shaved beforehand – the greater the amount of shaving, the more refined the sake, and the higher the quality and more expensive it is. (You can determine this from the bottle, for example 70% represents 30% shavings, so 40% is top quality.) The shavings are then often used to make rice crackers.
We were greeted with flutes of sparkling sake, Mio, at the door – definitely ours and many other guests’ favourite of the night. It was delicious, sweet, slightly fruity, and not too strong. The sweetness is from the rice itself, there is no added sugar and is made by stopping the fermentation process early. The carbonated drink was a lovely surprise for us as a sake first-timer and was the perfect drink to start off the night. It’s also only 5% alcohol…let’s just say we topped up a few times.
We also got to try sake cocktails from the bar. One being Lychee Saketini and the other, Japanese Sgroppino. After our little masterclass session there was a quick pop quiz and we were served some chilled Kimoto-Ginjo and offered plum wine. We enjoyed the glass of Kimoto-Ginjo.
Now for some etiquette:
- You should never gulp down all your sake in one go. This shows disrespect and that you’re not taking the time to enjoy your drink at all.
- Have sake at room temperature or slightly chilled.
- If the sake is served in a masu (cedar square box) and is poured in an overflowing manner, take the glass out and drink the excess from the box. This is especially so if it is a raw cedar wood box.
- Always top up the cups of others and never your own. This may be a little problematic if your friends have come to a consensus (without you) that you should be the sober driver.
And of course there was food involved. The waiters from Ponsonby Road Bistro came around with canapés. There was salmon, fried squid and wontons. They were all delicious, and we’re thinking we need to re-visit for a full meal at the Bistro very soon.
It was definitely an enjoyable night. We had great fun and met some cool new people, a big thank you to Alex from Yelp for inviting us along. Now we are armed with knowledge to embark on our own sake adventures. But first, we need to go to Tokyo Liquor to buy some Mio!Ponsonby Road Bistro
165 Ponsonby Road, Auckland.
Sylvia Park, Wyndham Street, Khyber Pass Road.