Waipara Valley

Art in a garden

It’s been a huge weekend in the valley. It always is at this time of the year. The Culverden fete is the one to kick everything off. It is always held on the last Thursday of October, followed by Art in a Garden at Flaxmere in Hawarden, plus the Amberley A&P show on the Saturday.

What more could you want on a warm sunny spring day than to spend it in a NZ garden of National Significance listening to  the Nairobi trio,  with a chilled glass of Waipara wine wandering around appreciating sculpture, paintings, ceramics, jewellery and much more.

Flaxmere where it is held, is the garden of Penny Zino.  Large in scale, and forty nine years in the making,  it is breathtakingly beautiful with all its spring colour, and it provides the perfect backdrop for a huge variety of sculptures. At other times of the year the garden is open by appointment.
PicMonkey Collage

Yesterday, Sunday was the last day for 2015. It runs for three days, with different workshops held every year. Efficiently organised with an army of helpers it runs like clockwork. A stream side café, where you can rest, imbibe or nibble on picnic lunches, and listen to music provides welcome shade on a hot day.

                                                                The sculptures and the landscape are the stars……………..

                                                                                            from the bold……………

                                                                                        to the subtle………………

                                                                                          the colour co-ordinated……………..

                                                                       there is something to inspire everyone…………………..

If you have never been before, mark it in your next years calendar, it is definitely worth a visit.
It has been a little quiet on the blog for the past weeks, so if you are still reading………..a very big
thank you I do appreciate anyone who reads about our life here in the Waipara Valley.



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our community

One of the things I enjoy most about living here in the valley is the sense of community.


In the country your neighbours can be some distance away, that’s just the way it is.

We’ve lived in cities where we knew our neighbours, but not like here.


I think the distance between neighours  actually adds to the connection you have with them in rural areas.
I have said before there is a genuine  looking out for and helping out your neighbours in the country.


Last week we  returned home to a message on the phone from a neighbour alerting us there was an
opportunistic thief operating during the day if he was lucky enough to find you were out.  The local
policeman had emailed a long time resident, and he had spread the word, and on it went.
The country grapevine was in overdrive and working well.


Security is often taken for granted rurally. Locked doors are rare and cars are left with their keys inside.
It is not something we usually have to think about, and we like it like that.


However an arrest has been made, and its probably good for us all to become a little more safety conscious.
But it illustrates safety is not just ringing the emergency services, its about knowing those living around you who
look out for you, and take the time to pass on warnings and if you are home alone, you know can count on neighbours
along the road should you need to.


That is community, and I am grateful we live where we do.


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black diamonds

Drum roll please……………This is a first for the Waipara Valley, for Canterbury and also for New Zealand.


The first ever truffle festival, to celebrate that knobbly highly pungent tuber that grows underground.
It is a coming of age for the NZ truffle industry and is to be held in Christchurch and the Waipara Valley in
early July.


The week long celebration of all things truffle related will start with truffle tastings at Waipara, Lyttlelton and
Christchurch farmers markets Saturday 11th and 18th July.
Gareth Renowden the festival organiser says ‘it is designed to give everyone a chance to taste truffles and discover
why they are such a wonderful gourmet experience. There is something for everyone, from the first time taster to the
aficionado, and a chance to learn how and why they are doing so well in Canterbury’ So if you don’t know your bianchetto
from your perigord, a visit to one of the farmers markets is a great place to start. Canterbury is the only region that produces
all four truffle varieties.


The festival will also feature truffle dishes served at Canterbury’s best restaurants. Pegasus Bay and Black Estate will
also have special truffle dishes for the duration of the truffle season. On Friday July 18th there is a special truffle day out
in the Waipara Valley, featuring a truffle hunt, a North Canterbury pinot noir masterclass with local winemakers and an
amazing five course truffle lunch at Black Estate and Pegasus Bay. Tickets are required, and there is a limited number
for this event, so act fast so you don’t miss out.  http://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/truffle-and-pinot-day-in-the-waipara-valley-tickets-17405235528?aff=eac2


Truffle hunts will be held in the valley over the weekend as well. Read about the truffle hunt we went on with Rosie and Gareth
at Limestone Hills.


A week of truffle dishes from all participating restaurants, culminating in a superb truffle dinner on Saturday 18th when the regions finest chefs will create dishes to die for.


A truffle open house at Harlequin Public House on the afternoon of Sunday July 19th will feature truffle tastings,
and wine matchings,  plus a ‘meet the truffle dog’ session.


Truffle hound Rosie, from Limestone Hills.To enjoy a taste of truffles go to the festival
website  www.canterburytrufflefestival.co.nz for a list of participating restaurants.
It would be a shame to miss out.


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a big week in the valley

It was a big week for the valley and wider Canterbury last week. Yes we are known for our wine, but last week it was all about our food.

Pegasus Bay winery won Cuisine magazines (NZ’s premier food magazine) best winery category. I think this is the sixth time,note the big smiles of chef Teresa Pert, Belinda Donaldson restaurant manager, Bora Hong maitre’d, and well done to Black Estate, included in Cuisine’s Good Food guide.
Roots of Lyttelton took out the top Restaurant of the Year 2015 award plus an innovation award, and two hats. Harlequin Public House, and  Saggio de Vino of Christchurch, and Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley all awarded one hat.

So, note to self add these to your dining address books now, be smart and make reservations well in advance. Plus check out our special winter package with Pegasus Bay and Black Estate, dining plus gorgeous accommodation, got to be a winner.

Dine + Wine

But wait, yes,  there is more………….. Cuisine has also run a wonderful article in their July issue, on our own Hunter Gatherer’s here in the valley.
The event was hosted by seven Waipara wineries Bellbird Spring, Black Estate, Greystone,  Mountford  Estate, Muddy Waters, Pegasus Bay and Tongue in Groove. Angela Clifford of Tongue in Groove says the foraging idea came up when those involved with the wineries talked about what set Waipara wine people apart from other regions. The answer was that they all fished, farmed, hunted, and foraged in some way, and it was a vital part of their lives. So off they went for the day with wine & food writers and overseas media in tow, to earn their dinner, by gathering & bringing in what the Waipara valley countryside and seaside would yield.


Watch the video, to see our valley in all its dry summer beauty in the middle of a drought, and the wonderful bounty that was gathered and the feast that followed.  https://vimeo.com/124989478  it is a fabulous watch you will be inspired.

And news just in, Greystone wines have just won  the Decanter trophy for the best Pinot Noir from NZ with their Brothers Reserve Pinot Noir 2013, two years in a row.


Great wine and food what a combination.

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