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Celebrating 21 Years of New Zealand Cuisine

Celebrating 21 Years of New Zealand Cuisine
Cuisine #126

From coffee plungers to espresso machines, venison to cervena, Müller Thurgau to Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand’s culinary culture has come a long way in 21 years. Cuisine has been there every step of the way.

New Zealand’s first food magazine toasts its 21st birthday this month, celebrating two decades of kiwi culinary enthusiasm since its first issue in January 1987.

Fresh from being named Best Food Magazine in the world at the 2007 Le Cordon Bleu World Food Media Awards, Cuisine’s January 2008 issue celebrates all that is fabulous about Kiwi summer entertaining and charts the changes in the country’s food, wine and restaurant scene in the past 21 years.

In that time, says founding editor and publisher Julie Dalzell, readers’ appetites for fine food and wine has not wavered. “The America’s Cup and Rugby World Cup may briefly tug our attention but our intense and daily interest in food and wine far outshines such transitory distractions,” she says.

Lauraine Jacobs reflects on the 21 culinary milestones – including the rise of olive oil, real coffee and specialist delicatessens, our love of Mediterranean and Asian flavours and the advent of artisan cheese and farmers’ markets.

In wine, 21 years ago Sauvignon Blanc was only just beginning to get a look in over 1980s favourite Müller Thurgau. Now varietals such as Pinot Noir are making similar advances. The increasing number of female winemakers has also changed the New Zealand wine industry and Cuisine meets five women making their mark.

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What better way to celebrate a birthday issue than with a feast of truly kiwi summer flavours – barbecues, picnics, sorbets, surf and turf, succulent New Zealand lamb and Sauvignon Blanc.

Food editor Ray McVinnie celebrates coast and country with classic meat and seafood combinations and also offers tips on preparing the ultimate non-charred barbecue food.

Lauraine Jacobs creates succulent mains with New Zealand’s finest lamb. Ginny Grant offers cooling sweet sorbets for hot summer days. Fiona Smith’s scrumptious salads are the perfect accompaniment for barbecue fare and Celia Harvey prepares an enticing gourmet picnic.

In his first issue, new wine writer John Saker reports on the stellar 2007 Sauvignon Blanc vintage represented at the Cuisine tasting. The 233 Sauvignon Blancs confirmed for the judging panel that this vintage, considered by most Marlborough producers as their best since 2001, deserves its reputation.

We meet some budding stars in the food, wine and restaurant scene, who all grew up with Cuisine and are now charting stellar careers of their own. In the art world, three 20-something artists have also provided creative inspiration for the title pages for food, wine and travel.

The January 2008 issue of Cuisine is on sale from Monday 10 December 2007.


Cuisine turns 21!

Cuisine’s Food Editor Lauraine Jacobs highlights the 21 things, in no particular order, that have changed our culinary lives in the past two decades.

1. Artisan cheeses. Ross McCallum, of Kapiti, and Bob Berry, of Whitestone, led the way but many others have risen to the challenge.

2. Real coffee. Remember filter coffee? Percolated? Plunger? The rise of coffee
culture has seen the café become the new office.

3. Olive oil. It used to be sold in chemist shops. Now we’re so used to cooking with it we’ve
turfed out the bowl of meat drippings in the refrigerator.

4. Farmers’ markets. Our emergent farmers’ markets (more than 30 and growing) have given us a sense of community and are natural outlets for organic produce.

5. Asian cuisine. No longer do we just slap on some soy sauce. Now Asian stores are bursting with ingredients.

6. Fresh herbs. In the first Cuisine we ran a feature on how to organise a herb garden. We still like to grow our own herbs, but now fresh herbs are in supermarkets year round.

7. Cervena. Cuisine was asked in the 1990s about the rebranding of venison as cervena. We had no idea this was to become one of the most successful food campaigns undertaken by a farming group.

8. Japanese roll models. Twenty-one years ago food writer Annabel Langbein included a recipe for sushi as cocktail party finger food. Sushi is now the preferred lunch of workers up and down the country.

9. The Regent. New Zealand’s first five-star hotel opened in Auckland in the late 80s. A whole raft of chefs and front-of-house staff received rigorous training that changed service standards throughout the country. (Now the Stamford Plaza.)

10. Prego. When Prego opened 21 years ago on Auckland’s Ponsonby Rd, with its fresh
and fabulous Italian menu of inspired dishes, a new era of casual dining began. (And pizza and pasta were $9.75; Mateus Rosé was $15.50; espresso $1.95.)

11. Pinot Noir. Two decades ago Cloudy Bay made history when it introduced its crisp
Sauvignon Blanc to Britain and beyond. But we never imagined then that our silky mysterious Pinot Noirs would also take the world by storm.

12. Passionate restaurateurs. Eating out has become part of our way of life and some restaurateurs, like Auckland’s Tony Adcock, have been there all the way.

13. Food processors. It was an adventurous cook who had a pricy food processor 21 years ago, but it’s now the gadget to simplify everything from mayonnaise to pastry.

14. TV chefs. Who could imagine a kid with a lisp would get men into an apron? Jamie
Oliver convinced many of us to cook and eat fresh, unpretentious food.

15. Moore Wilson’s Fresh. Wellington’s Moore family showed that there can be an alternative to the supermarket chains.

16. Deli culture. Thanks to people like Swiss-born Italian Enzo Bettio, whose Delmaine warehouse introduced a host of European specialities to New Zealanders, delis have become a major part of the Kiwi way of life.

17. All things Mediterranean. Three years before Frances Mayes famously extolled the delights of life and food under the Tuscan sun, Jacqui and Phil Dixon were already awakening us to the gourmet food products of Italy, Spain and France at their Sabato store in Mt Eden.

18. Aquaculture. Who would’ve thought we’d eat Nelson or Clevedon oysters with the same gusto as we devour Bluff’s? Or that salmon would appear as fish of the day on restaurant

menus? Live mussels in supermarkets?

19. Barbecues and the art of grilling. More than anything else, the gas grill and barbecue have changed the way we cook. Fire up the barbecue outside or the grill plate indoors and

dinner’s already halfway there.

20. Women in wine… When Jane Hunter fronted up to run Hunter’s Wines on her husband Ernie’s death, she became the first woman to own and run a winery in New Zealand.

21 …and restaurants. Peek into the kitchen of any café or restaurant and you’re bound to see at least one woman at the stoves. Women chefs like Judith Tabron almost took their lives in their hands when they entered this male domain more than 20 years ago.


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