Farro Deliciousness Awards 2017
It’s back! Welcome to our second annual Farro Deliciousness Awards.
Supporting small New Zealand artisan producers is what makes us Farro, and October is a time where we can sit back and reflect on some of the amazing new products we’ve seen this year – those real stand-out items that we just fell in love with from the start and knew were going to be winners. The range of Farro Food Heroes out there is so heartwarming to see, and this year it was especially hard to pick out favourites from a very long list of candidates.
VOTE for your favourite and be in to win one of 3 $150 Farro food hampers.
* Voting closes on 21 October and the winners will be announced in our next issue of Feast magazine.
Trends for 2017
Farro’s new-products tasting panel each month gets to try hundreds of new products from around the country and the globe. Above all, at Farro we aim to offer you the highest quality and widest range available in any food store in Auckland, but it all ultimately comes down to taste. We aim to deliver absolute deliciousness with all the products we choose to sell in store.
Cultural influences We are so amazed and inspired by the flavours and diversity of cuisines and processes that immigrants are bringing to our own growing artisan food culture in New Zealand. Like, for example, Mattheiu from France at Little French Pastry, who is making traditional mille-feuille by hand; or Atilla, originally from Hungary, who is bringing the flavours of traditional Hungarian sausage – and his family’s secret recipe – to infuse our own local cuisine with the Hungarian Artisan Co.
Ethics and origin This year, for the first time, we’ve introduced single-farm milk at Farro and while you might be more familiar with a single-estate wine or coffee, in dairy this is something quite special. Dairy is at the heart of NZ’s food and farming history, but long gone are the days of getting milk from the farm gate. Aunt Jean’s Dairy has changed that and now we’re seeing a flood of other single-farm milk coming from other suppliers too.
We’ve also been working hard in our produce department, to open up more direct-from-the-orchard relationships – McIntosh’s Cherries is one of those examples. Our customers want to know where their food comes from and we can draw the connection right back to the family that grew it for them. ‘Conscious eating’ continues unabaited – organic, sustainable, local, traceable, supportive or fair trade goes hand-in-hand with wellness eating.
The rise in health food offerings At our new-products panel, each month we’re seeing more and more foods that are catering to specialist diets and the whole health and wellness mindset. The range is growing – from sprouting bread, to gluten-free, raw and paleo options. No matter what, we always make sure that taste, above all else, is paramount.
The Farro Deliciousness Awards 2017 winners are:
Wooden Spoon Boutique Freezery:
Movie Night popcorn-flavoured ice cream
This ice cream is seriously delicious. Who would have thought you could combine two of our favourite things about a trip to the movies into one, popcorn and ice cream! Wooden spoons popcorn-flavoured ice cream has been a huge hit, ever since it hit the shelves at Farro.
Founded in Wellington in 2011, by Sharon Galeon and Midori Willoughby, Wooden Spoon Boutique Freezery makes hand-crafted ice cream from high quality, seasonal and local ingredients. We just love it how each of their flavours are inspired by memories from their childhood, adventures to new places, and local treasures!
Aunt Jean’s: Single-farm milk in a bottle
This year, Aunt Jean’s bought back a little bit of history for us, the clink and clank of a glass milk bottle, direct from the farm. We were so excited and honoured to try the first bottles of Aunt Jean’s single-farm milk and old-fashioned glass bottles. The Raine family has been milking cows at its Oaklands Farm property for more than 80 years continuously, providing milk lovers with the opportunity to buy their milk from the farm gate and from dispensing machines in the Nelson-Tasman area since 2013. Through Aunt Jean’s Dairy, the Raines are bringing that fresh-from-the-farm feeling all the way to Farro, so you can share their delicious milk too.
The beautiful glass bottles are 100% recyclable, traditional-shaped and hold one litre. Aunt Jean’s Dairy uses milk from A2 cows* that are raised in an open-air environment, there is no palm kernel expeller in their feed and they are mainly grass-fed. The milk is also bottled at source, down on Julian and Cathy’s farm. It contains no permeates and is not homogenised, allowing Kiwis to once again buy milk where the cream rises to the top… mmm, just perfect for your porridge.
Little French Pastry: Mille-feuille
When we first tried Ben & Matthieu’s mille-feuille at our new-products panel, we thought we’d died and gone to French pastry heaven.
Ben trained as a chef in France and over the years he taught himself pastry work. “I fell in love with pastry and how [working with] it would be so calm and precise and less stressful than working in cuisine and the hectic pace of the kitchen,” Ben says. He met Matthieu, who was working as a sommelier at Clooney, and they sparked up a friendship and a mutual love of pastry and the tastes they missed from France.
They use only NZ ingredients, where possible, and like to give a creative twist to all of their creations, which they see as works of art. “It’s not just pastry. We want to create something that looks and tastes amazing, using the very best ingredients to start with. Good-quality flour, butter – if you use amazing-tasting ingredients, your pastry can only taste amazing. The fresher the better,” he says.
Traditionally, a mille-feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry alternating with two layers of pastry cream, but sometimes whipped cream or jam. The top pastry layer is dusted with icing sugar and sometimes cocoa, pastry crumbs or roasted nuts.
Bakeworks: Home St. sprouted good seed bread
Gone are the days of gluten-free bread tasting a little bit like cardboard. These nutty, wholesome and delicious Home St range of loaves from Bakeworks stand up to even their gluten-full counterparts, opening up a whole new world for the health conscious, gluten-intolerant and lovers all things BREAD!
As well as being unbelievably soft and fresh, Home St. bread is baked with sprouted and activated seeds, meaning the nutrient store has been unlocked to make them more bioavailable and easy for your body to absorb.
All the ingredients have been hand-picked, based on its nutritional properties to create something special that serves your health and your tastebuds. Dave from Home St. says: “This range is about beginnings, about sprouted goodness, about rediscovering nutritious bread again. We truly believe people are crying out for something different that is good and honest, and this range is everything we believe food should be.”
Kokako Organic Coffee: Bukonzo Joint Co-operative Union
There is a very special story behind this blend from Kokako organic. Bukonzo Joint Co-op is a cooperative union whose members – 83 percent of whom are women – currently operate 5500-plus small farms in the Rwenzori Mountains region of western Uganda. How Kokako was introduced to this special co-op is what makes this story so charming.
In August 2016, Kokako was approached by Dr Jackie Smalldridge, a New Zealand gynaecologist who volunteers with a medical team in Uganda performing life-changing surgeries supported by Medical Aid Abroad. Just down the road from the hospital where she works in Uganda is the Bukonzo Joint Co-operative Union, so on her last trip, Jackie brought back seven kilograms of their coffee and shared it with the team at Kokako.
Although the coffee was a few weeks old and was roasted dark at origin – it had potential. Kokako roasted it to a new roast profile and popped it on the cupping table. With its flavours of blackcurrant and allspice, a bright lime zest acidity, buttery body and a umami finish, Kokako knew it was onto a winner. This special edition launched earlier this year and it not only looks and tastes good, it does good too. Kokako wanted to support future trips to the region, so for every 200-gram retail pack you buy, Kokako is donating $1 to Medical Aid Abroad.
Hungarian Artison Co: Goan blend sausages
Hungarian sausage… Indian spice? Some might think it an unusual combination, to mix Indian spice and European sausage, but it really works. When chef Attila Kovacs and his partner Samantha were travelling in Goa in India, they were taken by the big market stalls with loads of sausages. Goa was a Portuguese colony, and the European love of sausage has influenced the local food scene. When a few years later Attila and Sam immigrated to NZ and started making their own traditional Hungarian sausage, or kolbàsz, in the Bay of Plenty, they decided that a Goan variation inspired by their travels was in order.
Attila uses his old family recipe that has been handed down for generations – a mix of pork with a unique blend of salt and spices including paprika, which is one of his most important and commonly used spices. He hangs his salamis for 48 hours in a warm room to get a slight fermentation going. They are then cold smoked at 20C for 4-5 hours, before being left in the ageing room for 3-4 weeks, sometimes 5 weeks, depending on the size. The Goan blend combines Indian spices and is really quite something as an alternative to chorizo or added flavour for soups and casseroles.
Tio Pablo: Totopitos
Move over corn chips. Tio Pablo introduced us to their totpitos this year and we instantly fell in love. These are the dippers your guacomole has been waiting for! Totopitos are simply Tio Pablo’s famous corn tortillas chopped, fried in sunflower oil and lightly seasoned. They come in three flavours: salted, citrus chilli (our personal favo) and spicy. They’re available in snack-sized bags too, so perfect for parties or for salsa and snacking.
Bagel Love: Cream cheese – garlic herb
Shirley from Bagel Love is a special producer in our Farro family. We see her every day at each of our stores, delivering her freshly baked Bagel Love bagels, so we were really excited for her to have added a selection of flavoured cream cheeses to our deli range – because where would bagels be without cream cheese?
The garlic and herb version is a perfect combo with smoked salmon and we particularly love the best-seller ginger and walnut with a thin smear of jam on top for a sweet breakfast on the weekends. Just superb!
The arrival of fresh cherries each year is hotly anticipated at Farro, and it really signals that summer is here and Christmas is just around the corner. Last year we were delighted to work with the McIntosh family in Alexandra to get the pick of their crop of sweet red cherries. We were so delighted to be working with a single orchard source to bring you some of the best cherries in the country.
Located in sunny Central Otago, the McIntosh farm has been in the family since 1881. The first fruit trees were planted on the property in 1910 although it took a few more years for the first cherry trees to arrive in the 1960s. Today, Stuart and Sharyn McIntosh, with their son Wayne and his partner Jacky, own and operate the orchard. They are third and fourth-generation McIntoshes, continuing a very proud family tradition.
Cherries have a short but much-anticipated season and when they are ready to harvest, from mid-December to February, they are hand-picked and carefully tended. Rich red, firm and juicy, with a flavour that bursts with the first bite – they’re an absolute delight!
Very Good Dumplings: The name says it all
Michael’s food truck is a familiar sight around Grey Lynn, you’ll often see him serving up dumplings at the Grey Lynn farmer’s market on Sunday mornings or refuelling the Saturday sport crowds, across the road from Cox’s Bay reserve. While fresh from the food truck is fantastic, a lot of his regulars asked: “can we get them at Farro so we can enjoy them at home too?” So, we were delighted to be the first retailer to sell Very Good Dumplings from August this year.
A mix of delicious free-range meat or vegetarian ingredients make up the traditional Asian-style dumplings, complete with the amazing dipping sauce. We really love the Turkish-style Manti dumpling too. Certified organic lamb, balanced with fragrant spices and mint, and all held together by the nuttiness of organic chickpeas and parsley. We love to serve it with Greek yoghurt, sumac and fresh mint.
VOTE FOR THE PEOPLES CHOICE DELICIOUSNESS AWARD
Products that were launched in Farro between October 2016 and October 2017 qualified for our Best of 2017 Deliciousness Awards.