Culinary bites: a yuzu vodka, a Cassia/French Café pop-up and two food festival announcements


The Hawkes Bay FAWC Winter Festival is back. Photo / Provided

Two regional food festivals were announced, a flood temporarily moved Cassia into the French Cafe, as well as two unique boutique vodka releases made with locally grown yuzu citrus fruits and umeshu plums.

City Flash Flood Leads to Delightful New Pop-Up

Wild weather hit much of the country last week and Auckland’s central city of Cassia was no exception. The Fort Lane restaurant site was badly damaged by the downpours and was forced to close shop. But crisis breeds opportunity, and now for just three weeks Cassia will be hosting a fabulous pop-up at The French Kitchen, the private dining rooms next to Symond Street’s Sid at the French Cafe. The Cassia Kitchen offers a five-course Cassia tasting menu for $90 per person — the menu includes tandoori fish, lamb meat, pork belly, and chocolate and raspberry dessert.

Open for dinner, Tuesday to Saturday, until April 16. To book, email [email protected]

The Cassia Kitchen, a pop up at the French Cafe until April 2022. Photo/Supplied
The Cassia Kitchen, a pop up at the French Cafe until April 2022. Photo/Supplied

Flavors of Abundance

The Bay of Plenty is hosting a new regional food festival, Flavors of Plenty, in April and tickets are on sale now. There are tons of events to choose from – five-course gourmet meals, tapas nights, hangi, herbal feasts, craft brewery events and more. Some of the events are already sold out, so head over to flavorsofplentyfestival.com soon.

Flavors of Plenty, a new food festival in Bay of Plenty.  Photo / Provided
Flavors of Plenty, a new food festival in Bay of Plenty. Photo / Provided

The Winter FAWC returns

The dates for the legendary winter FAWC in Hawke’s Bay have just been announced. This year, the winter food and wine classic will run from June 7-26, with more than 40 events taking place over four weekends. The full schedule and tickets will be released in early April – late fall is a great time to tour the harvest vineyards and changing seasonal colors, and the event is an annual sale, so keep an eye on fawc.co .nz and hawkesbaynz.com

The Hawkes Bay FAWC Winter Festival is back.  Photo / Provided
The Hawkes Bay FAWC Winter Festival is back. Photo / Provided

Local yuzu and umeshu + vodka

Neville and Junko Chun, farmers based in Horowhenua, just outside Wellington, are pioneers in growing yuzu (an Asian citrus fruit now found on New Zealand menus) and umeshu plums (commonly used for to make Japanese plum wine). Now the Chuns have teamed up with Scapegrace to create two vodka varietals with these unique ingredients. Both vodkas use the whole fruit for these varietals – skin, pith, flesh and seeds – with only 2,500 bottles of each variety released, so act fast. scapegracedistillery.com

Horticulturist Junko Chun, who grows yuzu in Horowhenua.  Photo / Provided
Horticulturist Junko Chun, who grows yuzu in Horowhenua. Photo / Provided

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