Midway Fast Food, Hastings, New Zealand

A quick one here. As if cycling around 28 miles around the coastal wineries ride today wasn’t enough, there was just a bit more cycling for me to do (another 5 miles or so), in order to go out and pick up some fish and chips for dinner. Something a bit different though, a gurnard fillet and chips. A fish that has become more popular in the last 10 years as it has been “rediscovered” after featuring on TV cookery shows and the like. It used to be just thrown back, used as bait for lobster pots, or you could get about 25p for selling a kilo of it. Now it’s more likely to set you back around 32 times that (around £8 a kilo) because it has become popular.

It certainly made for a tasty antipodean fish supper. And that’s not an onion ring, it’s a squid ring, which Mrs MOFAD had for dinner.

Not long after this was taken, we were visited by the friendly campsite cat, who was most pleased to get a few flakes of fish and some chips. And then proceeded to entertain us with a great sneaky attempt to steal something from the table. Sadly we did not capture this piece of amusement, but it went a bit like this:-

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Clearview Estate, Hawkes Bay

Elephant Hill was a bit of a let down. We carried on down the road, to our final winery destination for this trip, Clearview Estate.

Tim Turvey was told in 1985 that the location was “too cold to grow wine grapes”. Along with business partner Helma van den Berg, he ignored that and bought it anyway, planting vines in the winter of 1988 to produce the first red wine vintage in 1989, and adding to the cellar door and restaurant as the business grew.

The ‘Red Shed’ Restaurant was opened in 1992, made from materials salvaged from the old Napier railways’ locomotive repair workshop, and including three roller doors from a dismantled Ford garage from Hastings.

Today the shed was absolutely heaving. A lovely Sunday afternoon had seeen a lot of people out and about, and many of them looking for some food and drink. Luckily we had already eaten our impromptu picnic at a previous winery, as tables were all fully booked, and they even had to suspend tastings for 20 minutes or so whilst they got some more orders out of the kitchen.

This gave us a chance to relax for a little while and ponder our tastings. We enjoyed a couple of whites, some rosé and a couple of very tasty dessert wines, with a couple of bottles ending up in my trusty backpack for the long cycle back to the camp site.

It’s been a lovely couple of days of wine cycling. The perfect way to enjoy wineries at your own pace.

Elephant Hill, Hawkes Bay

After the unabashed charm of Beach House wines, we rode on to our next intended destination of Elephant Hill. It’s a bit of a culture shock after Beach House, lots of German money, efficiently invested in things like a state-of-the-art biological water treatment system that allows them to recycle winery waste water back into valuable clean water. Gone is the dusty brick of Beach House, replaced by “pre-aged copper wall cladding”.

We decided to turn around, head back down the drive, and pedal on to our next destination. This just didn’t seem to fit in with our tour.

Beach House Wines, Hawkes Bay

After yesterday’s epic cycle ride on the “wineries ride” (taking in such delights as Abbey Cellars/Fat Monk brewery), today we were on another epic trip, with the “coastal ride” our inspiration today. After a long ride out from Hastings, through the excitingly named Clive, and along the coast (great views), we reached Beach House around lunchtime. We had not planned this to be the venue for our lunch stop, so we made a quick trip to the nearby supermarket to grab some emergency picnic supplies, and had a pop up picnic sat under the vines outside the cellar door. This is encouraged by the lovely owners.

After lunching, we popped in to say hello to owner and winemaker Chris and his wife Jill and their dog Teddy (he was very friendly). The Beach House cellar door is described on their web site as a “hay bale” style – there are no frills here. It’s not quite spit and sawdust, but it’s all very simple and has a rural charm about it. They have three vineyards, chardonnay and riesling up here, and then the Track vineyard down in Gimblett Gravels (where we were yesterday) as well as some more white grapes at Ohiti Valley Road.

We sampled a dry rose, a nice Pinot Gris, a Sauvignon Blanc and a very fragrant 2014 Riesling, which found its way into the rucksack for export. We had a good long chat with Chris and Jill, talking camping and travelling and more.

Beach House is a lovely, no-nonsense, winery which is well worth a stop if you find yourself out on the coast at Te Awanga.

Brave Brewing Co, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

More boozy tastings just after breakfast? Well why not. We are on holiday after all. After our tasty breakfast, we carried on wandering around the farmers’ market, and stopped at the Edgebrook cider company for a chat and some tastings.

After that, it was time for some beer. Because New Zealand. We popped across to the Brave Brewing stall and had a good chat with the chap there, talking about beer styles and tastes.

And then trying some beers, obvs.

First up was the Pacific Wheat Ale, brewed with gladfield pilsner & wheat malts and an Amercial ale yeast for a clean finish. Light and not too bitter (althought still too bitter for Mrs MOFAD), there’s a touch of citrus from the mix of Nelson Sauvin, Motueka, Citra and Amarillo hops. A pleasant little wheat.

This was followed by the Farmhouse ale, a saison style beer, which was historically brewed by farmworkers in Belgium for nutrition and refreshment. So many breweries are doing a saison now, but there are almost as many interpretations of it as there are breweries. This tastes like a fairly classic one (in my opinion, and it’s just that since I have no idea what an original saison would have tasted like). Fairly dry with a touch of hoppiness from a mix of Hallertauer Mittlefruh, Czech Saaz, Spalt and Sterling hops.

We finish with the best (for Mr Hophead here), the Extra Pale Ale, the Brave Brewing interpretation of an American Pale Ale (i.e. nowhere near pale enough) 🙂

This one has a mix of Gladfield Ale, Light Crystal and Gladiator malts, with Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra hops. This is a good, hoppy, pale ale, and definitely the highlight of the market for me. A bottle came along on the rest of our ride and then accompanied fish and chips later on…

 

Edgebrook Hawkes Bay Cider, Hastings, New Zelaand

Cider tastings just after breakfast? Well why not. We are on holiday after all. After our tasty breakfast, we carried on wandering around the farmers’ market, and stopped at the Edgebrook cider company for a chat and some tastings.

Whilst shooting the breeze about the state of cider the world over (the evil of Magners and Bulmers selling cider to be served over ice), we enjoyed tastings of their three ciders, which are all deliberately English in style.

Edgebrook Festive cider is a Kentish or Suffolk style of cider, made from dessert fruit which makes it light, nicely acidic and not very tannic. It’s a blend of five varieties of Hawkes Bay grown apples, including Ballarat, Braeburn and Pink Lady. On our rides we’ve seen a lot of orchards 🙂

We also tried Edgebrook Village cider, very much a west country style (the kind that Mrs MOFAD grew up on), a mixutre of sharp and sweet, with more tannins coming through.
Once again, it’s a blend of five varieties of Hawkes Bay grown apples, including New Zealand Queen, New Zealand Rose and Pink Lady.

Our other tasting was Edgebrook Orchard cider, which is more in the scrumpy style, much drier. Yet again, a blend of five varieties of Hawkes Bay grown apples, including New Zealand Queen and New Zealand Rose. s: A blend of five varieties of 100% Hawke’s Bay grown apples. Predominant cultivars are New Zealand Queen and Rose.

Whilst we could have stayed here chatting cider all day, we had wineries to get to, so had to bid the lovely chaps at Edgebrook adieu, after buying a bottle to enjoy later on.

We also liked their designs, very reminiscent of the art deco stylings of nearby Napier…

Hawkes Bay Farmers Market, Hastings, New Zealand

After yesterday’s epic cycle ride on the “wineries ride” (taking in such delights as Abbey Cellars/Fat Monk brewery), today we were on another epic trip, with the “coastal ride” our inspiration today.

We decided to start our day at the farmers’ market, which is one of the top “things to do” in Hastings. It seems like the whole town (dear New Zealanders, this is not a city) turns out for this every Sunday morning.

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It is one of New Zealand’s largest and longest running farmers’ markets, offering a diverse shopping experience, every Sunday of the year. You can shop for various ingredients for your dinner, have a coffee or have some breakfast, all whilst enjoying live music.

You meet the people behind all the lovely food, and can have a good old natter whilst sampling some of the produce. There’s even a cash point.

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We enjoyed some bacon and egg baps for breakfast, with tea and freshly pressed fruit juice. It was delicious in the morning sunshine.

There’s so much to choose from, here’s a quick round up…

Hass Avocados
Olive Oils
Smoked mushrooms
Ash Ridge Wines (we cycled past yesterday)
Bay Blueberries
Bay Espresso
Hawkes Bay honey
Brave Brewing Co (more on these later)
Danny’s Pasta
Edgebrook Cider (more on these later)​
Elmwood Table Grapes (these are what we call grapes, but they have to make a distinction between those that you eat, and those that go into wine making)
Nashi pears
Farm Fresh Asparagus
Hawkes Bay Seafoods
Hawthorne Coffee Roasters
Holly Bacon Company (mmm, bacon)
Just Feijoas (odd, soapy tasting fruit)
​Orcona Chillis ‘n’ Peppers (lots of tasty chilli sauces)
Te Mata Figs
The Bacon Sandwich Co (mmm, bacon)

And more besides. This was a great way to start the day, and is recommended to any visitor to Hastings.