The joys of eating local this Christmas

Wow it’s hard to believe Christmas is upon us again and for many it has been another very trying year. So let’s celebrate Christmas with family and friends by sharing some exceptional food and drink from this very special place we are so lucky to call home – the Nelson Tasman area.

There has never been a more important time than now to support local businesses and you certainly don’t have to compromise on quality while doing so.

There are many world class producers who make everything from crisps and crackers, juices, beer and wine, freshly roasted coffee, cheeses, dairy products, chocolates, pâtés, sausages, smoked fish, fresh fish, eggs, beautiful fresh meat products from Ellis Farm in Golden Bay and of course the abundance of fresh cherries, berries and vegetables grown by very hardworking people in this area. region.

Let’s not forget the talented people who turn local produce into tasty treats, like the brewers who use local hops, the canning producers who turn local raspberries and strawberries into jam, the mushroom farmers who turn some of their deliciousness. mushrooms in dried products that we will use in soups. And the list continues!

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We’re spoiled for choice and there are far too many fantastic producers to talk about here, but some of the things we’re going to be buying for Christmas are the wildly popular 185 Strawberries in Hope, Cheeses from Thorvald, Little River, Cranky Goat (from the Marlborough Sounds but they feel like locals) and ViaVio.

Try the ViaVio fresh mozzarella with slices of ripe Isle of Capri tomatoes and fresh basil leaves plucked from a plant you picked on 185 for a classic caprese salad, topped with a local olive oil of course. .

We’re going to light up the charcoal barbecue to cook locally made sausages and dry-aged beef steaks from Raeward Fresh.

A rose created by the winemakers of the Kahurangi estate, Emmanuelle David and Neil Todd, is ideal for sipping a festive late afternoon.

Martin De Ruyter / Tips

A rose created by the winemakers of the Kahurangi estate, Emmanuelle David and Neil Todd, is ideal for sipping a festive late afternoon.

A side of salmon cooked on the charcoal barbecue for up to 14 minutes will have a slight smoky flavor, especially if you glaze it with maple syrup and a spicy Saigon-style sauce. Sprinkle the cooked salmon with finely chopped chives, a pinch of sesame seeds and you will have a delicious piece of salmon that is also wonderful cold the next day tossed in a salad.

When it comes to drinks, you have plenty of local options, the Chia Sisters range has something for everyone and Pete’s Lemonade produces low sugar soft drinks. Both producers use as many local ingredients as possible.

For me, summer is synonymous with fresh and refreshing beer and white wines as well as a few delicacies from the cellar. This Christmas Day we will be opening a bottle of No1 Family Estate Rose produced by the remarkable Daniel and Adele Le Brun in Marlborough. No1 Family Estate’s entire range of sparkling wines deserve a place at any table, but the rose is our choice for lunch.

Nelson’s wine producers produce world-class wines and we’ll be tasting a few over the holiday season. Wines like Kahurangi Estate Rose, deliciously fruity and fresh but not too sweet, are ideal for sipping in the late afternoon. Blackenbrook Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc and multiple award-winning Seifried Estate Sauvignon Blanc are perfect for summer consumption.

U-pick enthusiasts are in luck this year as Nelson experiences a bumper berry harvest.

Andy MacDonald / Tips

U-pick enthusiasts are in luck this year as Nelson experiences a bumper berry harvest.

However, if you want something special it is very difficult to beat the Moutere Chardonnay from Neudorf Vineyard, it is a benchmark chardonnay in New Zealand, a wine that others seek to emulate, but it is the The unique soil and location on which the fruit is produced which makes this wine so special, as well as a very talented team of winegrowers of course.

No matter which local wine you choose (I haven’t tried a bad one in many years), try a few until you find a style that can become your favorite.

Summer is also beer and crisps. If you’re in this area, you don’t need to look past Proper Crisps and a local beer. Brewers in the region cater for all tastes, from rich and complex to light and refreshing, you will find a beer to suit your mood and palate that is made by a group of super passionate people.

I have a hard time getting past the craft beer made by Martin Townshend at his brewery behind Toad Hall in Motueka. My favorite beer if I want something refreshing is his Black Arrow NZ Pilsner. If you want a simple, smooth beer, the Wakachangi, made by Stoke Brewery, is a light, easy-drinking style – so much to choose from!

2021 has been a very difficult year for many people as Covid once again raised its ugly head and put stress on all small business owners in the region. Border restrictions mean there is a huge labor shortage, so business owners have to adapt to work with fewer staff.

We have to remember that these small businesses are based in our community, they employ local people and they are your neighbors, so we have to support them or they will disappear. Christmas, New Years and the summer vacation season are a great time to do this.

So this Christmas I want you to make sure you enjoy the food and drink made here and share it with others less fortunate by adding something to your cart to donate to the food bank, and don’t also do not forget something for the animals. .

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and remember never to drink and drive you don’t want to spoil a time which is a time to celebrate family and friends.

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