and tried plenty of crisp and tasty Sauvignon Blanc. The men played on stunning golf courses, while my friend Catherine and I shopped for marvelously thin, non-itching wool sweaters.
When we got to the North Island, we stayed right above a fantastic black sand beach where we watched race horses being exercised in the wee hours of the morning. Our friends took us to their family beach house with a driveway so steep that I made them stop the car. I got out and happily walked through an extremely noisy rainforest admiring fat ferns, it felt a lot safer. Their darling cousins cooked us delicate whitebait fritters which we devoured with plenty of that easy to drink NZ wine.
Of course we ate lots of wonderful food. Lamb shoulder so tender it fell off the bone, briny green-lip mussels and delicate Pavlovas for dessert. I just drew the line when it came to Lamb's Fry! We had an ungodly amount of local bold and robust olive oil, and I was on a mission to drink lots of Flat Whites, a Kiwi coffee invention.
Here is my favorite official definition: “The flat white has less milk, less foam (hence flat white) and therefore proportionately more coffee than a latte. The desired texture is a velvety sensuality and there should also be a natural sweetness.” as quoted by Joseph Hoye from Electric Coffee Bean
I encountered lots of great "flatties", and I've already figured out that I need to go back. Meanwhile, I have a flat white whenever I can get my hands on one, and sometimes, I make this simple version of New Zealand's national dessert.
A very simplified “Pavlova”
Definitely a cop-out, but my friend Catherine tells me it's perfectly alright to take this shortcut; I even bought the meringue cookies. I happen to have a very good baker in the neighborhood, but the more ambitious approach would be to make home-made ones.
Makes 1 small serving
2-3 small meringue cookies
4 heaping tablespoons of unsweetened, stiffly whipped cream
¼ cup ripe strawberries or raspberries (other berries will work too)
1 Tb chopped dark chocolate
1 Tb toasted and chopped hazelnuts or almonds
Break cookies into bite size pieces. Mix berries, meringue and whipped cream carefully and fill into pretty dessert bowls. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and dark chocolate and eat immediately!