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By Jacqueline Taylor
A collaboration between two high-end companies, serving the goodness of fine New Zealand cuisine and wine in an authentic Central Otago environment, Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan near Queenstown is cooking up some serious popularity. Jacqueline Taylor tastes the result.
If you’re looking for the perfect recipe for an après-ski long lunch, or a quick bite while shopping, then this is undoubtedly the best.
Gather up your ski suit or your winter coat and create a memorable dining experience that will leave you with a lasting sense of difference.
First, you’ll need two long-standing and premium Central Otago brands, Akarua Wines and Artisan Catering.
Form a collaboration between the two, include a large serving of two highly-talented and creative chefs, John Pickens and Dirk Stark, and deliver high-quality gastronomy and wine to the public showcasing the unique experiences and quality interactions Central Otago offers.
Take a short drive from Queenstown, beyond the shores of Lake Hayes en route to Arrowtown.
Stop at the majestic walnut tree by the historic Walnut Cottage. Line the courtyard garden with plenty of clear skies and sunshine, bean bags, and a cluster of braziers. Add a pinch of mulled wine, and a bucket-load of winter fondues and artisan platters.
Fill the cottage with comfort, character, and plenty of social goodness. Decorate with an eclectic mix of rustic, industrial furniture, add a modern marquée, adorn with festoon lights, and scatter in some olive trees for a Tuscan flavour. Fire up the wood-fired pizza oven, and let the entertainment begin.
Add several handfuls of high-quality produce from the South Island, including Wakanui beef, merino lamb, Mount Cook alpine salmon and some Cloudy Bay clams. Slow-cook meats for 12 hours. Blend seasonality with Central Otago flavours and mix in locally-foraged watercress and saffron. Garnish with home-grown thyme and oregano, and a significant bunch of quality and class.
Finish with a bang by combining sweet and savoury in all dishes with layers of texture and crunch.
In a separate container, pour in the minerality and acidity of Bannockburn, add some layers of complexity and hints of oak, and allow for some ageing on the lees. Open the cellar door and pair a glass of powerful, yet elegant pinot noir and a flute of award-winning méthode traditionelle with your favourite fare.
Combine all components and deliver with high-calibre service, sensational presentation, and a passion for all things wonderful that the South Island terroir offers.