With all the Christmas crazy about to ensure a weekend away from it all was the plan. So we left a little early on Friday to miss the car park that is what passes for Auckland traffic on a Friday afternoon. An hour or so later we were in Matakana ensconced in our cute little bach, a platter of nibbles & a glass of rose in hand. Matakana may only be an hour by road away, but really it is a world away. Slower, quieter & perfect for a little weekend getaway from the city.
It is a bustling little village on a Saturday morning with the Matakana Farmers Market on from 8am - 1pm each weekend. We were up & about early to miss the crowds & timed it perfectly arriving at the markets about 9am, coffee in hand for that requisite hit of caffeine to get us going from the Black Dog Cafe. Breakfast took a back seat as we wanted to try all that was on offer at the market. Lots of local growers with all sorts of delicious treats on offer from freshly picked fruit & veg, pickles & chutneys, mustards, cheeses, olive oils, chocolate, salamis, to local wine & beer.
Fragrant dukkah, a fiery hot mustard, fresh baked bread, beetroot relish, smoked garlic, peppery salami, local olive oil, fresh labneh, creamy ricotta & just picked vegetables all made it in to my basket.
After our stroll around the market we still had room for breakfast & popped in to the Matakana Market Kitchen, just by the markets overlooking the river. The perfect spot on a sunny morning for a little sustenance before we carried on with our weekend adventure. The menu is seasonal with a focus on local produce & features all the usual brunch fare plus a few tasty sounding alternatives.
The welsh rarebit with Puhoi cheddar, Leigh beer & piccalilli served with bacon, & an apple & Worcester dressing was very tempting as was the Parmesan scrambled eggs with prosciutto, toast & roasted tomatoes. The breakfast salad was a popular choice & I have to say the crispy coated hens egg looked particularly delicious, crispy on the outside & wonderfully oozy yoke on the inside. In the end the green eggs & ham won out for both of us so plate envy was avoided. There were good eggs, lightly scrambled with fresh herbs & ham off the bone a pleasant change from bacon alongside some vine tomatoes for a little bright sweetness.
And after breakfast...well that would be a little more shopping. There are several gorgeous little boutiques around the market square with all sorts of gifts and temptations on offer. Tucked away in the corner is Red Letter Day. If you like stationary then this would be your heaven. It does make one yearn for paper & pen rather then key board & laptop. It really is a shop for anyone that loves writing. Beautiful personal stationary, thank you cards, pens...everything you need to put pen to paper. Just before that we were inexplicably drawn in to Heavenly Soles. What is it with girls & shoes? I couldn’t help but treat myself to these adorable wedges...perfect for Summer.
Our next stop was Morris & James, famous for their brightly coloured pottery. Anthony Morris & Sue James created Morris & James pottery. Their look is bold & vibrant with a uniquely Kiwi flair & minimum impact on the environment. The main material is Matakana clay, harvested on site & then replanted with native bush.
We then just decided to follow the road to see what was at the end of it & we were lucky to come upon Hyperion winery. It is a tiny boutique vineyard nestled in rolling slopes above Matakana. The winery itself is a converted cowshed surrounded by rustic farm buildings. Hyperion was a mythological Greek sun God & that reflects the effect of sun & light on the vines to produce some tasty tipples. It being almost midday it was a perfectly acceptable hour for tasting. A little rose for later & bottle of Asteria Syrah* to take home. A deep dark red wine with a hint of vanilla & a little rich plum fruitcake flavour that will be savoured some evening very soon
*Asteria was a daughter of the titans & the goddess of nocturnal oracles and falling stars.
Next stop Brick Bay for a little art & wine.... Coming soon!