I walked into the Tauranga Coffee Festival around 1pm and the place was packed. Even though the sun was shining, the cold wind that blew through the space wouldn’t let me forget that it was still Winter. Luckily, this was a coffee festival and there was no shortage of food and drinks
Held at the newly opened ‘Our Place’ at the heart of Tauranga’s CBD
- the site of the old Tauranga District Council's administration buildings, here shipping containers have been converted into retail space for local businesses, social enterprises and startups, as well as community events. You can find them at 91 Willow Street, Tauranga.
Personally, this is what I took from the event - places and spaces come alive when you bring together people who are passionate and pursue their craft to a high standard. You can't help and be excited and energised just being around them. I hope we continue to promotion these connections and inclusiveness in the arts, and I hope to see more of and support these types of events in the future.
Ah, the humble crumpet! Yet as I looked lovingly (yes, lovingly) at the plate in my hand, it was anything but humble. It was a colourful, flavour packed sweet treat with all the indulgence without the guilt. A vegan dessert that tasted so good, I wondered how I wasn’t Kraken Crumpets’ number one customer. Where have I been?
After doing some research, I learned that Kraken Crumpets is a duo named Hamish and Amy. Their trailer is custom made, design by Hamish, who is also an industrial designer. Their menu changes with seasonally available ingredients, and let me tell you, if I had more than one stomach, I could have tried more. You want to know the best thing about it?
The food that they serve up actually looks like the picture on their board.
It starts with the freshly made crumpets on the griddle. I ordered the Blueberry Black Forest, and awkwardly stood waiting for my name to be called. You know when you’re in a public space with a lot of people and you never quite know if you’re in the way? Yeah, like that. I guess it took about 15 minutes by the time I got my crumpet, which for a busy festival was pretty good.
For me, the chocolate ganache was everything! Something magical happened when it started to melt its glorious goodness in the sun and I just lost my mind. The sweetness of the blueberry was balanced out with the tanginess of the freeze dried raspberries, which also added a brilliant pop of colour. Add in pistachios for texture (and a subtle nuttiness) and chocolate bits in case you felt the need for more chocolate after licking the ganache from your fingers.
Damn good BBQ...really their tagline says it all. Morepork BBQ is an American-style, low ‘n’ slow cooked BBQ restaurant based in Auckland. Their space in ‘Our Place’ is their first venture outside of Auckland. On the day of the festival, they served a traditional beef burger and lamb riblets with potato salad.
Owner and chef, Clint, helped to design the custom built smoker which they used to cook with on the day. I believe that you can always tell how much love goes into preparing and cooking food from the first bite, and let me tell you, I had the goofiest smile when I tried the potato salad. It was creamy without being too rich. A perfect choice of side dish for the lamb riblet.
I’ve watched enough food television that I will forever associate the low ‘n’ slow American BBQ style with the South. As far as my foodie bucket list, it’s definitely in my top five. You may just see a RonnaEats blog on the annual Texas Fair one day soon!
OK, the lamb riblets. I don’t even know how I can begin to describe the flavour, except that I want to order their spice rub because I’m not sure I can go back to just any old rub after that. The meat was succulent, tender and you can taste the flavour right to the bone. I know, because I started sucking on the bones because I just didn’t want it to end.
I think Morepork BBQ is going to see a lot of this little Asian at their space at ‘Our Place’. It’s the start of a beautiful foodie friendship.
Noble & Savage Tea Merchants
It’s a coffee festival, so why am I writing about tea? Because I can, and I love meeting people who pursue their craft to a high standard, and that’s tea merchants Noble & Savage to a tee (oh yes, pun intended!) I may not give up coffee, though they’ve convinced me to expand my palate after meeting them. OK I knew of them, had seen their teas available at some of my favourite local hangouts in Whakatane yet it was the first time I tried their product at the festival.
In my limited tea experience, I’ve become weary of fruit flavoured teas from the supermarket. Mostly because in my experience they’re often too sweet and sickly. I wanted to buy an ‘everyday’ tea, and settled on their Ginger Limoncello. Here’s the irony, originally I didn’t buy the Orange Sky tea, and they were kind enough to give me a complimentary box. Now I’m sitting here writing sipping on my now preferred flavour of the two! They told me that the Orange Sky also made for a refreshing iced tea, and with the earthy tones of the clover was delicious either hot or cold.
They also had these tea flavoured infused treats by William Mordido, which in my opinion would be the highlight of any high tea event.
Little Drum Coffee Roasters
For those who know me, they’ve witnessed my slight obsession with soy mochas. In Whakatane at least, espresso coffee is what's available. After discovering soft brewing at the Little Drum Coffee shop, I felt like I just had a coffee awakening.
Little Drum Coffee Roasters is a small batch roaster in Mount Maunganui.
I haven’t been there yet, though I plan to because the depth and transition of flavour you get from soft brewing is incredibly fascinating. See, I was into the demonstration, I forgot to get a photo!
Will from Little Drum gave me the run-down on the difference between espresso and soft brewing. Here’s the interesting part, with soft brewing, you don’t that traditional bitterness you expect from coffee. Actually that’s what put me off from drinking coffee for years. He explained that the Colombian Arabica beans should have a high node of strawberry...which confused me because the smell reminded me more of a high percentage cacao chocolate.
Even though it was black coffee, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t bitter at all. Will also mentioned that the flavour changes as the brew cools, and sure enough, it was only then that I could finally taste and smell the strawberries. Personally, I preferred the cacao, just saying.
Well you know that saying, once you black...
Who is RonnaEats? Ronna Funtelar runs this independent foodie blog, with a philosophy to eat and write about food we can rave about. We don't ask for free meals or collaborate with our reviewed eateries, so you can be assured the reviews are unbiased and all for the love of food. Whether it's a food truck, a hole in the wall eatery, street food, local hangout or fine dining, we want to know where to head to for our next food adventure.