Where does our food come from? I was recently in the Waipara Valley in North Canterbury, to take part in a remarkable event called Forage. There’s a film of it (above). The genius of forage is that it connects wine and food and links them both firmly to place.
We arrived early at Pegasus Bay winery for some breakfast and a briefing by organiser Angela Clifford. She put us each into teams, with each team containing a South Island chef, and led by a local forager. Then we set off to different locations to find all manner of things edible.
My team was sent off diving. We headed to Kaikoura, up the coast, for some diving. It was quite a drive, especially post-earthquake: Kaikoura was hit pretty hard, and a lot of roads are still closed, with diversions in place. And the seabed there has risen more than a metre.
We changed into wet suits and headed for the water, where we snorkelled for food. Some had spear guns, the rest of us worked with our hands. We didn’t find all that much, but it was amazing being in another underwater world for a while.
The teams were all due back at Pegasus Bay by 2 pm, and the eight chefs then had to examine the foraged food, and decide what to do with it. The rest of us tasted wine and then drank beer and aged Riesling (not in the same glass), before sitting down for dinner.
What followed was quite amazing. Out of these local, foraged ingredients, the chefs created a remarkable multi course menu, which was then paired with Waipara wines. I was quite stunned.
Cured cod, plum juice, sea lettuce: James Stapley
Tempura zucchini flower, burgundy truffled quail egg: Jimmy McIntyre
Crayfish, butterfish, coastal herbs, comb puree: Analeise Gregory
Medicinal tomato with rye and roadside weeds: Alex Davies
Pickled octopus, kinka ink, wild spinach: Simon Levy
Flounder, coastal greens, sardine and saffron broth: Giulio Sturla
Muscovy duck, wild plum, watercress salad: Jimmy McIntyre
Hare, pigeon and rabbit mixed grill: Jonny Schwass
Not pictured – Sheepy cheese and honeycomb ice cream, raspberries and stone fruits: Teresa Pert