Wellington has some of the most amazing food experiences around. But, venture a little further out, and you’ll find some equally amazing experiences the region has to offer. From specialty cheese shops and chocolate boutiques, to delicious cafes which double as breweries, the Wellington region is bursting with interesting finds ready for those willing to make the trip.
Located in the heart of Lower Hutt lies an understated little cheese shop by the name of Zany Zeus. Stocked with established cheesy classics such as their halloumi and feta cheese, as well as some unexpected finds like the Zany Zeus smoked yoghurt and zingy feta, this is a cheese lover’s nirvana.
The store also offers their own premium ice cream range made with their famous organic milk which is also used in a multitude of cafes and restaurants around Wellington. They offer the classics and unique flavours like pistachio, almond brittle and monkey poo. Alongside their dairy delights, Zany Zeus boasts a cabinet full of baked goods like cheesecakes and slices. Possibly their biggest claim to fame was when Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson told E News that the chocolate cake from Zany Zeus was the best piece of chocolate cake she’s had in her entire life.
This Petone gem has made waves over social media since its inception late last year, with its minimalistic Scandinavian interior and it’s ‘gram-worthy’ menu. As news spread over this exciting opening, residents from all around the region flocked to see what the fuss was all about.
Comes and Goes has a focus on fresh and simple dishes which cater to a variety of diets including vegetarian and vegan. They’ve got brunch classics like eggs benedict and waffles sorted, as well as unique dishes such as ‘The Nest’ which is essentially a bird’s nest made from shredded filo pastry containing crumbed eggs on a bed of greens, sprinkled with feta cheese. Comes and Goes also manages to weave Asian inspired dishes into the menu such as their Japanese soba noodle salad which comes with your choice of free range chicken or tofu. All dishes are neatly plated with edible flowers and other decorations which truly make them a culinary piece of edible art. If you’re in a hurry, you’re in luck as they’ve also got an excellent array of cabinet food such as rhubarb tarts, bronuts (an ingenious cross between a brioche and a donut) and brownies to satisfy any sweet tooth, as well as delicious savoury options like bacon and egg baps, and chicken and bacon sandwiches.
Situated in the Lindale Farm Centre in Paraparaumu is the family owned Kapiti Candy Co which have been in the business of creating high quality confectionary goods for the last 20 years. Their products are stocked throughout New Zealand from Whangarei to Invercargill. Bruce and Helen Mackenzie have kept faithful to traditional recipes, with some dating back many hundreds of years. Their products are locally made and handcrafted every day in their Kapiti Coast based factory. Inside their standalone store, they stock all sorts of candies, from giant lollypops to marshmallows, sherbet and fudge. They also have a range of gluten free and sugar free products for those with dietary requirements.
Salt and Wood Collective is a fusion between a microbrewery and an American style barbecue joint. Situated in the beach town of Waikanae along the Kapiti coast, it’s the perfect lunch or dinner spot after a day of soaking up the rays at the beach. Offering an exquisite array of brews made on site as well as classic BBQ offerings such as steak and pulled meats for lunch and dinner. Salt and Wood Collective also have a brunch menu chock full of crowd favourites like pancakes and eggs benedict. They also have soft shell tacos, tortilla bowls and quesadillas on offer for those needing a Mexican fix.
Translated to ‘say cheese’, the cheeky pun-loving Greytown shop C’est Cheese is filled to the brim with specialty cheeses and a wide range of gourmet food, locally made in the Wairarapa region. Some of their most notable cheeses include the locally made, award winning Kingsmeade and Cwmglyn (pronounced coom-glin) cheeses. This pioneer-village style shop offers cheese tastings which works wonders when trying to select from their extensive range. In addition to their cheese selection, C’est Cheese also have a lovely selection of cured meats, artisanal breads, chutneys and olive oil. It’s the perfect place to create your perfect platter.
Pinehaven Orchards is a true Greytown establishment. For over 100 years they have provided the locals with delicious fruits and vegetables. The original owner of Pinehaven Orchards loved experimenting with cross pollination of fruits, and it’s a little-known fact that this resulted in him creating the famous Gala apples which we all know and love. Alongside their locally grown fruits and veggies, Pinehaven also stock a range of meats from the Greytown Butchery, as well as homemade jams and pickles. Pinehaven is also famous in Greytown for their real fruit ice cream which is blended before your very eyes with fruits of your choice.
The White Swan is a Greytown establishment. The hotel, restaurant and bar beacons tourists and locals alike with its bright white exterior. If you are travelling around the Wairarapa, The White Swan is perfectly placed in the centre of the region, making it quick and easy to get around. In addition to being a great place to rest, the White Swan also has a delicious menu full of crowd favourites like fish & chips, pork belly, and burgers with fries. There are also small plates on offer which make for a great tapas-like sharing experience. Because of their great location, the White Swan have a great selection of wine, many of which are sourced straight from Martinborough.
Along the main road of Greytown you will find a tiny turn-of-the century cottage containing a special chocolate shop, by the name of Schoc. Locally owned and operated Schoc Chocolates bring a unique blend of gourmet chocolate and self-exploration to the table. They have over 60 flavours, from caramel and strawberry, to experimental flavours like pink peppercorn, and geranium. They even bring together unusual flavours such as carrot and coriander, and fennel chocolate for visitors to experiment with. Schoc places a huge emphasis on sourcing chocolate beans from organic, fair trade suppliers from countries such as Tanzania, Cuba, Ecuador and Papua New Guinea, as chocolate from these beans require a minimum amount of sugar to be added for flavour enhancement.
There’s nothing better than enjoying a spot of food after a relaxing day at a winery. Café Medici is right in the middle of Martinborough, close to the square which makes it the perfect post-winery pit stop. They offer a great selection of brunch classics such as French toast or pancakes, eggs Benedict and their Farmers Breakfast. For those tempted with more unusual brunch offerings, Café Medici also have items like chilli corn fritters and enchilada wraps on their menu. They serve the well known and loved Wellington coffee brand Mojo alongside their meals and on a sunny day, their food is best enjoyed out in the courtyard surrounded by friends.
New Zealand is incredibly lucky to have some of the best wineries in the world. Martinborough boasts some of the most sought after wine in New Zealand. Poppies is one such winery. Shane and Poppy Hammond share a true love of wine. Poppy crafts the wines while Shane manages the vines.
Alongside a variety of wines are their famous platters, which are all made by hand. Tastings are complimentary for those who stay for lunch, with Poppy herself walking you through their selection. An afternoon at Poppies is not complete without sipping a glass of their famous Poppies rosé while indulging in one of their stunningly crafted antipasto platters.