Analiese Gregory, New Zealand-born hatted chef, has a string of enviable kitchen credits to her name, including The Ledbury, Michel Bras, Mugaritz and Sydney's Quay. Her most recent collaboration with Australian Chef Clayton Wells is Taste Buds, a bespoke trans-Tasman cookbook that unifies unique flavours from each side of the ditch. Taste Buds is a culinary conversation that transcends borders to show just how much better we are together.
To celebrate the great-tasting food and regions highlighted in Taste Buds, Analiese Gregory has shared some of her top picks across her home, Aotearoa New Zealand.
Wellington: "I've always had a soft spot for Wellington, it was the city I moved to when I moved out of home to cook and travel and I remember the vibrancy of the music scene, the bars, restaurants and nightlife as well as the arts.
"In particular I love Hiakai, a local restaurant specialising in Māori cuisine, the set menu restaurant run by chef Monique Fiso, who also happens to be a skilled practitioner in the art of the Hāngi.
Logan Brown, where I used to work, is still going strong at the top of Cuba St. I used to love taking the cable car up to the botanical gardens on a day off and lying on a hill looking over the city, as well as taking a drive round the coastal suburbs right next to the water and finding small inlets to stop at."
Marlborough and North Canterbury: "The South Island is ridiculously stunning, worth visiting for the glaciers alone but I've also had amazing times eating bluff oysters in Bluff, koura from Kaikoura, and cooking at the North Canterbury wild food festival at Pegasus Bay while staying in a tiny glass-walled, walk-up cabin on top of a beautiful vineyard. The produce and foraging in this area was outstanding along with the generosity of the locals. Don't miss taking a boat out on the Marlborough Sounds either or getting your hands on one of the best things to come out of New Zealand, the live Cloudy Bay Clams. Being able to get live clams means they're even fresher and something I would love to see introduced in Australia, whether it's in your own kitchen or at a local restaurant, they're an absolute must-try."
For a taste of Cloudy Bay Clams, try the Cloudy Bay Diamond Shell Clams With A Pepperberry And Finger Lime Dressing recipe developed by Analiese Gregory and Clayton Wells, available in Taste Buds.
Waiheke Island: "Having spent a lot of time in Auckland, one of my favourite getaways was always Waiheke, where the pace of life just seemed to be a tiny bit slower, the water bluer, and the vegetation more tropical. My tip is to catch a ferry from the downtown terminal, find somewhere cute to stay overnight and hire a car so you can be mobile and explore the whole island. Go to a scenic vineyard for lunch, grab some bottles and produce for dinner then take it easy somewhere with a view out over the ocean."
Northland: "It's been a long time since I've been to "The Winterless North" but I have fond memories of small townships like Matakana and Russell, visiting wineries, wandering beaches and watching pods of dolphins, fishing for snapper, and searching for pipis in the sand. Also home to the town of Waitangi, a place of cultural significance for all New Zealanders.
Most of all, make sure you get fish and chips and eat it looking out over the ocean at least once."
To experience the sweetness of the Northland region, try Analiese's Mānuka Honey And Ginger Cake With Macadamia Sorbet, featuring Mānuka Honey gathered from beehives up and down the region.
Taste Buds is available for all to enjoy via a free digital cookbook, which is available to download discovernew.nz/australia.