Drop delicious!

lovely salty Boerderij or farmers drop

lovely salty Boerderij or farmers drop

Drop, or liquorice as it’s called here, has one of those really polarising tastes. You like it or you don’t. And when you like it, really like it, most probable this has something to do with the Dutch. You may have grown up in the Netherlands, have some Dutch heritage or had a Dutchie introduce you to it at some point in your life.

As I grew up in the Netherlands, Drop, especially the extra salty one, is really one of my favourite treats. Lucky for me , you can buy it here in New Zealand, but it’s extortionately expensive. At least compared to what I would pay for it in the  Netherlands! So I don’t have that too often.

ButI found enough alternatives:

What has started to become fairly popular is liquorice tea, which unlike the sweets, is actually supposed to be healthy for you. Of course it’s not the same, but when I smell that lovely aniseedy smell of the teabag, I am in happy dropland !

And more chefs are using it as a marinade too, which is great! The other day I had some liquorice rubbed chicken drumsticks.  They added some other things to it as well, like ginger and sesame oil. I could really taste the lovely aniseedy taste though, just drop delicious!

What do you think of Drop and the aniseedy taste ?


Xenos no longer



There used to be ( probably still is) a retail chain in The Netherlands called ‘Xenos’. I loved having a nosey there, taking in all the strange and foreign things for sale. They had canned papaya, and different tropical sauces. They had bamboo mats and brightly coloured textiles. I can still remember the smell when going in there as even that was foreign.

Auckland is a bit like that. The multicultural world in Auckland is one of the things that makes living here such a great experience. In last year’s census 213 ethnicities were identified in NZ, more than official countries in the world! And this brings with it all the wonderfully different habits, words, tastes, produce, festivals, clothes, art, music and products.

And it is not unusual anymore in Auckland. Most local fruit shops in any suburb will have a selection of veggies, fruits and products to go with those that would not have looked out of place in the old Dutch Xenos. And a lot is not even imported anymore but grown and produced here on local NZ soil.

Xenos actually means foreign or strange. Which here in Auckland it is no longer.

Lovely Local food – do you still need convincing?

Lovely local Kaipara Oysters with home grown lemons

Lovely local Kaipara Oysters with home grown lemons

I love my local food. Wherever I go I will try and eat & drink whatever comes from the area I’m in. And why wouldn’t you? You’re going somewhere different for a reason, so why hang on to old habits and known products. Go and take the chance to immerse yourself, you may well discover your next favourite food over and over!

Local food, it’s a win-win situation don’t you think? It gives you variety as you eat only what is in season, you contribute to reducing the carbon footprint by limiting demand on long distance transport and you help the local economy by buying from your neighbours.

What a change from when I lived in the Netherlands. Food from far away was the in thing. I think this was more a sign of the times, then anything to do with the culture. Although the climate there doesn’t make it easy to be reliant on just local food.

In NZ we are very lucky with a moderate subtropical climate, so it’s fairly easy to grow anything, well on the North Island anyway! And luckily local food is quite easy to get these days as well. Farmers markets have become popular in NZ for buying and selling locally grown, caught or produced goods. Often they are very small, to match the size of our towns and population.

One of my favorite local farmers markets is in Paparoa, in the Kaipara district in the north of NZ. It’s tiny, probably has a maximum of 10 stalls of which one is live music. Any foodie would love to go there. The flounder is caught that morning, the honey produced by the bees that buzzed around our Manuka trees, and the olive oil is from the lovely couple who started the olive grove down the road just over 10 years ago. And then the local oysters.. Wow. If you like oysters, you should come and try!

Eating Local food, do you need any further convincing?