This weekend I attended one of the events of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival that I had looking forward to forever!
Said event was a high tea held at the elegant Langham Hotel in the city. I’d bought my (expensive, but sooo worth it) ticket weeks ago and had been dreaming about it for yonks!
Enter event #33. High Tea: The Generosity of Food.
In a nutshell, the high tea was a sumptuous affair of meticulous, bite-sized delicacies of deliciousness (adjective-heavy, yes, but there is really no other way to describe it!), enjoyed with a panel of speakers featuring Lauraine Jacobs, Natalie Oldfield (of Dulcie May Kitchen in Mt Eden), Charlotte Wood & Fleur Sullivan (of the world famous Fleurs Place in Moeraki).
In other words, a handful of foodie superstars talking about their experience with, and love of, food (and writing).
I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect way to spend my Saturday afternoon!
First, let me talk about the food. (Also, please let me foreword this by stating that my quitting sugar project was most definitely “on hold” yesterday. When you see the sweet treats I was exposed to, you will understand why… )
We were greeted by extravagant displays of savoury items, a number of which I couldn’t quite identify but were still utterly divine!
Highlights included creamy blue cheese & pear in filo cases, parmesan shortbreads with feta, basil and tomato, and an unidentifiable flavour of macaron, that were strangely savoury, yet delightfully sweet, with a cream cheese filling.
Also on the table was a delicate batch of scones, sweetened with small chunks of apricot. Enjoyed with a smidge of berry jam and a hefty dollop of whipped cream.
Ain’t no high tea without scones and cream!
Of course, after I had already stuffed myself silly, the sweets came out.
I’m sure you can see these were absolutely delicious, no detail required.
I just about had one of everything. Actually, that’s a lie. The wonder of ‘bite-sized’ means you can eat as many as you want, yet it hardly counts…right? Among other items, I had three (yes, three!) mini cheesecake bites and savoured every single mouthful.
What can I say, cheesecake owns my heart.
However, the reason I was actually there was to hear the stories of some amazing food writers, and rediscover some cooking inspiration that I have most definitely being lacking lately!
One of the comments that stuck out for me was the fact that each of the women on the panel felt so lucky, that they are able to find joy in something (cooking) that many consider a chore. This resonated with me, as I totally agree. I feel lucky to enjoy cooking so much!
(Now, I just need to kick myself into gear and just do it more often.)
Another standout comment from Charlotte Wood, something I again (and am sure many who love baking) strongly identify with…a newly labelled kind of procrastination: procrastibaking! I consistently procrastibaked throughout my years at high school and uni - baking is the most rewarding procrastination tool!
And finally, can I just say that Fleur is one of the most incredible women and has created so much buzz for her little town of Moeraki. Have you heard of (or been lucky enough to eat at) her restaurant? Many travel from far and wide for a meal at Fleurs Place, including the one and only Rick Stein!
When the panel were asked who they would like to have over for dinner, Fleur says “Well, Will and Kate would be good for business.” And that is no joke, I wouldn’t be surprised if they really do eat there on a royal visit to New Zealand one day!
A wonderful afternoon, and a superb array of food. I walked out of the Great Room feeling inspired, happy and stuffed to the brim
Already can’t wait til next year. Bring on #AWRF2013!
Did you head along to any of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival events this year?
And, are you a ‘procrastibaker’?