We were recommended to try this class from our good blogger friend BonVoyageLauren and we are so glad we did it! It was our first ever cooking class and the theme was Italian, so we got to do homemade pasta, among other delicious treats.
It was easier than you’d think to make the pasta and so much fun. Plus, it tasted amazing!! One of the main goals of this specific class done by Main Course, is to show you how easy and affordable it is to make your own pasta. All you really need is flour and eggs, plus the pasta maker to flatten it out of course. It definitely inspired us to get a pasta machine in the future. Other than that, you can use any flat surface to dry your noodles on. We made tagliatelle pasta but you can make your own ravioli, lasagne, anything really!
In this specific 3-hour class we made 3 delicious courses: a white bean & pancetta soup, homemade tagliatelle pasta with Italian sausage, and tiramisu for dessert! The instructor was very informative and it was great to be able to watch him put each course together before we tried it on our own.
We are so glad we finally went to a cooking class, and Main Course offers so many different types of classes – there is sure to be one you will love too! It has inspired us to try more cooking classes while we travel, including two we have already booked during our Thailand trip. Bon appetite!
If you’re like us, your travel decisions are often dictated by food. That is one of the reasons why we are so excited to visit Thailand since we love Thai food so much! When you visit Auckland you will see there is some great Kiwi food such as: lamb, green-lipped mussels, and fish & chips on the beach, however – Asian food is really the most abundant. This is because so many people from all over Asia have moved to New Zealand to live and work. The number of Asian, or Asian-fusion restaurants around Auckland is huge and it is really good and authentic too, especially if you visit any of the spots on Dominion Road.
To start your food journey on Dominion or Balmoral Road can be intimating though, considering most of the signs are in Chinese or another language other than English. So, to get a great taste from a couple different spots on that famous road, we recommend doing a food tour from Eat Auckland.
They also offer tours in Ponsonby and Sandringham (the original location), but we knew we wanted to try this one to see where the best Chinese & dumpling restaurants are and this tour definitely succeeded in that! We had 7 stops along Dominion and Balmoral Road, including a Chinese Medical Shop and traditional tea shop. The exact tour we did was called Balmoral – Dumplings & More Chinese Food Tour and is only offered on certain dates so make sure you check their calendar first.
On our tour we tasted: steamed and snowflake dumplings and XinJiang noodles at the first stop called Shaolin Kung Fu Noodles.
Then we moved to Xi’an where we tried their specialty of Xi’an Chinese Burgers.
Next food stop was called Spicy House to try a couple of tasty tofu dishes.
This was followed by Bun Hut where we had Jian Bing Guo Zi (almost like a crepe filled with green onions) and Chinese Pancakes.
Following that stop we visited the traditional Tekkoon Tea Shop to do some shopping and tasting of rare, authentic Chinese teas. From there we only needed to walk a few doors down to visit a more modern take on tea, with some samples from Hulu Cat, the bubble tea and mocktail stand.
We ended our culinary experiences at the Flavour House where we tasted both the traditional Shanghai soup dumplings and Sugared Kumara for dessert. Delicious!!
NZ Wine Pro– Villa Maria Wine Makers Experience Tour
We have tried many, many wineries since we’ve been living in New Zealand on our own time, but really wanted to try out a designated wine tour. Some of our favorite stops for a great day filled with wine are Waiheke Island and Brick Bay Winery and Sculpture Tour in Matakana. However, one that has been on our list since we moved here but haven’t gotten around to visiting yet was the very popular Villa Maria. I already knew I loved their wines from buying them at the grocery store, but when we found the Villa Maria Wine Makers Experience Tour, we knew it would be the perfect activity for our last weekend in New Zealand!
The tour we did with NZ Wine Pros takes you first through the CBD of Auckland, past the water at the Viaduct and through one of the beautiful suburbs of Remuera.
From there we went through the historic and gorgeous Cornwall Park. Our knowledgeable guide told us about the history of the 550 acre park that was gifted to the city by John Logan Campbell. Although Campbell was a trained doctor from Scotland, he invested in everything in New Zealand. He started a brewery, flour mill, imported salt/sugar, and started Auckland savings bank. They only venture he ever failed at was trying to produce olive oil. Agreeing planting 5,000 olive trees, none grew any olives.
Cornwall Park is actually a working farm on a volcano that is 15,000 years old. Fun fact: The summit of the park is called One Tree Hill except there is no longer any tree there! A rebel in the British army cut down the original tree during the First World War. Then, only 10 years ago, a Maori activist cut down the western pine that was planted in its place due to the fact that it was not a native New Zealand tree.
From there, we travelled to the gorgeous Villa Maria Wine Estate. In New Zealand the wine industry represents a 1.6 billion dollar industry (with 80% of those exports being sav blanc). Villa Maria is the largest privately owned Winery in the country.
We were lucky enough to see the storage area where the wine is kept in barrels as well as large cool tanks. The biggest of these tanks stores the sauv blanc since that is their best seller.
We also saw the bottling line facility although it was not operating on the weekend. On a normal day, this facility bottles 12,500 bottles of wine per hour!
And finally, our favorite part of the day came and we got to try 6 delicious wines! We even bought a bottle of sauv blanc and rosé to take home with us. This truly was a lovely afternoon, and we really enjoyed having a nice recap of this city we have come to know and love, but it would also be really great for someone visiting Auckland for the first time. Plus, it ends with drinking wine…so what could be better! Cheers!