Wellington’s Ortega’s Fish Shack & Bar came with high recommendations, so we knew we’d get a great meal. We don’t usually disagree, but we did disagree on fish that night. One of us loves salmon and would always order salmon if given the opportunity. The other of us thought a new fish – one from New Zealand – really should be ordered. After all, we WERE in New Zealand. We ordered the tarakihi. Delicious, we agreed!
Our tasting of new seafood had begun and continued in earnest with blue cod, green-lipped mussels, cardinal, gurnard, and hoki. We’re not finished yet.
We ordered Scallops Florentine at VKnow in Queenstown and knew without a doubt these were the best we ever had. We asked the owner what the pink colored ingredient was that was so flavorful in the dish. He laughed and knew right away where we were from. It’s the roe of the scallop that, in the U.S., is removed before going to market.
Trying new-to-us foods in New Zealand continued. The Farmers’ Market in Nelson featured Luisa plums. We bought a bag and, with the first taste, wondered where these tasty plums had been all our lives. Omega plums were sweet yet tangy.
The next week we decided to try new varieties of peaches. The farmer from Lowes Orchard carefully labeled our 4 bags of two peaches each, allowing us to do our own formal taste testing back at our lodgings.
We really liked Coconut Ice, a very crisp peach but determined that it was in a category of it’s own and shouldn’t be judged with the other three. The clear loser was the Carecott. We both liked the other two varieties, but we split over which was the very best. Fayette (Joe’s favorite) and Paragon (Beth’s favorite) shared our highest honor. Were they better than peaches at home? We’re not sure since these were fresh off the farm, and, in the U.S., we always got out peaches at a grocery. They certainly taste like you hope a peach will – sweet and juicy with a lovely texture.
Some people sample new wines when they travel to New Zealand. We opted for trying new seafood and fruit varieties. What’s next?