Monday, June 1, 2009

The Real Local Experience

The Real Local Experience

Once again I have been very pleasantly surprised, yes it does happen now and again, that I find something that I believe is a real asset to the Marlborough community
Slow food Marlborough was hosted by Kiley Nepia at our the Local Omaka Marae’s, and while I have been on many Marae’s before in the North Island this was my first experience in the South Island and what a great experience it was. Hosting our group of 32 Marlborough and international guests, Kylie and his family welcomed us with open arms and I urge all restaurateurs and hospitality people to take a leaf from their book. It is not about the food, or about the wine, it was not about the furnishings, or the heat (or lack of as it was about 2 degrees C) but it was about the welcoming and respect that we learnt for the meeting house and there customs and culture of the Maori people of Marlborough. If this could be emulated into our own restaurants and staff then we would tbe the Official Gourmet region on NZ If only we could all take a little of this back to our own houses and families then I believe that our community would be a stronger place. We paid respect to the ancestors, to the woman and children, to the food and land where we sourced our meal from and more importantly there was the respect to other cultures and people around us who shared the food.
There are two paths we can take, the Americanised path of preserved and processed with little regard to the sustainability or long term harms of the fuel we call food. Or there is the other path which we can take which follows the European and Maori cultures where food is a part of your culture and life, that we sit at the table and communicate, laugh, cry, get angry, be happy, network, negate and love as a family and friends.
It is about balance, about ensuring that people live enriched and fulfilling lives and if we can do that around our breakfast, lunch and dinner tables then we are sure to be building healthy and strong individuals and communities
Thank you to all those people that emailed and phoned in with regards to last weeks photo of the Buddhas Hand. You can buy them from the Devon Nursery in Marlborough. The fruit has a thick peel and only a small amount of acidic flesh (if any) and is juiceless and sometimes seedless. It is very fragrant and is used predominantly by the Chinese and Japanese for perfuming rooms and personal items, such as clothing. The peel of the fruit can be candied into succade. Once again I was pleasantly surprised

Succade of Buddhas Hand
Recipes vary from region to region, but the general principle is to boil the fruit, steep it in increasingly strong sugar solutions for a number of weeks, and then dry off any remaining water.
The high sugar content of finished glace fruits inhibits the growth of microorganisms, and glace fruits will keep for a number of years without any additional methods of preservation.
Fruits that hold up well to being preserved in this manner include buddhas hands, cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, pears, starfruit, pineapple, apples, oranges, lemons, limes and clementines

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