An Egg, a fish and a brief trip to Hawke’s Bay

After a couple of work trips to Hamilton (and another one next week…) it was nice to take a trip up to Hawke’s Bay instead.  One of our first trips in New Zealand was to Napier in the region, though this time I was based in Taradale.  Tuesday was a gorgeous, sunny day and lovely and warm, but Wednesday it rained all day.

IMG_6008View from the motel window

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A tree in Taradale

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Another tree in Taradale

The second night there, our group dined out at the Mission Estate Winery restaurant. The vineyard is the oldest winery in New Zealand and was established in 1851 by French missionaries. Apparently, the first commercial sale was in 1870 “when a parcel of mostly dry reds was sold”.   There is still one row of Muscat grapes grafted over the years from the original stock brought to Hawke’s Bay by the Marist Fathers.

Although it had clouded over, it was still warm, so we sat outside in the gardens for a while before dinner.

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Looking out

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The vineyard

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Another tree

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The Mission Estate 1

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The Mission Estate 2

And so to dinner, where I started with the venison carpaccio, celeriac remoulade, ‘petit Scotch Egg’ with a burnt butter vinaigrette.  It was excellent – just perfect venison and the Scotch Egg was a quail’s egg encased in black pudding (side note – eggs and black pudding – a perfect combination in my book!).

IMG_6035Venison…

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…and a perfect ‘Petite Scotch Egg’

I then moved on to the fish, which on this day was served with prawns, pasta and things I forgot to write down, but the dish was sublime, with perfectly cooked fish, roasted radish and so many flavours.

IMG_6037Fish in a dish

On the sightly bumpy, but not too bad flight back to Wellington on Wednesday, I chatted to a Canadian from Vancouver (where my brother lives) who was half Scottish, half Swedish in ancestry and who lives in New Zealand.  These chance encounters remain for a long time in our memories.

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