Category Archives: Matakana

Latest news and updates on all things Matakana, wine and relaxation...

10 reasons to visit the Matakana Village Farmer's Market

Posted by on August 29, 2016 at 04:41 PM in Matakana

The Matakana Farmer’s Market has a reputation as a foodie’s paradise. Located just 45 minutes from Auckland and open every Saturday from 8am to 1pm, here are 10 reasons why you should visit the market this weekend.

1. Farm to Plate 

Matakana is known for its fresh produce and locally-made products.  The farmer’s market is the perfect opportunity to speak directly with the farmers, growers and producers, learning exactly how and where your veggies were grown and about the making of some of the best olive oils, sausages & cheeses that you will taste. You can’t get fresher or more sustainable than that!

2. Food for any appetite

With New Zealand staples such as meat pies and whitebait fritters, as well as mouth-watering international cuisine, with Vietnamese, Italian, and Middle Eastern foods all available, it's impossible not to leave with a full stomach.  The wonderful part … they are all made locally with love and passion!

3. Coffee

Do you need a strong caffeine fix to start your weekend? Matakana Coffee Roasters roast their beans in Matakana and will provide the perfect hit that will have you buzzing around the market.  You can buy your choice of grind in 250g, 500g or 1kg on the spot!

4. Fresh Roses

Beautiful posies in an array of colours or long stem bunches of high quality, locally-grown roses to evoke that whole country feel in your home or even your holiday or weekend retreat.  Pour votre amoureux … a rustic affair!

5. Perfect setting

Located on the banks of the Matakana River, that was once the only form of transporting milk and cream from farms around Warkworth and Matakana in the early 1900’s, the farmer’s market provides you with the perfect spot to unwind and relax in a tranquil ‘country lifestyle’ setting, while taking in the sun and the stalls.

6. City escape

Located just north of Auckland, the market feels a world away from urban life. The slow pace of the village will leave you feeling refreshed and provide the perfect start to a relaxing weekend.

7. Mahurangi Oysters

Located just outside of Matakana, Mahurangi Oysters is a family-run business producing the freshest oysters. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to try these at the market. Watch your oysters being shucked, the freshest and best way to enjoy!
8.  One Stop
The farmer’s market is considered to be the heart of Matakana Village and is surrounded by showrooms of local jewellers, artists and locally-made skincare products.  You won’t leave Matakana without your senses being tantalised!
9. Live music

Each weekend the sounds of local musicians are heard from the market entrance and like the “Pied Piper”, they will lure you with their authentic and original sounds.  A fun and joyous vibration is felt throughout the stalls, providing the perfect backdrop to sampling some of the local delicacies.

10. Spring Farm to Plate Weekend

Interested in a unique, ‘hands-on’ Matakana food experience? Takatu Lodge & Vineyard offers a Spring ‘Farm to Plate’ weekend package for you and your friends to meet some of our local artisan food producers and growers – up close and personal at the farmer’s market. Spend Saturday morning sampling a range of locally-grown ingredients, before returning to the lodge to prepare a sumptuous evening feast.  Contact us now to book your fabulous foodie’s weekend away.

Matakana's Village Farmers Market

Experience the new Sawmill Brewery

Posted by on August 22, 2016 at 06:41 PM in Matakana

The Sawmill

Great Beer, Fantastic Food

The popular Brewery, which has stood ground on the old Leigh Sawmill since 2004, has officially moved house. Eventually outgrowing the old site, a dairy paddock between Matakana and Whangateau now houses the Sawmill Brewery, a larger and more sophisticated premise that was a year in the making. 

Owners Mike Sutherland and Kirsty McKay envisioned a venue where their customers could enjoy the Sawmill’s full range of craft beer directly from the source. Fittingly, the stainless steel brewing tanks now serve as the venue’s backdrop. 

The building is indeed unique, which is no doubt a result of the creative input of all involved. From the plumber, to local artists and students, up to the marketing team, everyone was involved in creating the bespoke venue. Despite the necessary fixtures of a brewery - it is indeed a steel shed - a cosy foyer greets you and leads you to a warm ambience, created by the extensive use of natural materials such as native timber. 

The new location, set at the foot of Mt Tamahunga, boasts indoor and outdoor dining areas where visitors can enjoy perfectly paired meals and beverages. You will notice there is a common thread to the menu, perhaps hinted at by the name of the main dining room: The Smoke Room. Renowned chef Will Michell has made great use of his ‘low-and-slow’ barbecue style to create a menu full of perfectly smoked dishes. There is the smoked sardine pate with bread, or the smoked mushrooms with turmeric spiced chickpeas to tickle your fancy. Or perhaps the miso and seaweed-smoked goat, which pairs nicely with a hoppy brown ale. 

For those unaccustomed to smoky flavours, there are half a dozen more options, such as the pork cheeks, the salted Kahawai or the oysters. Of course for those with families, there are options for children that aren’t so elaborate. 

While the sophisticated menu is reason alone to visit the new brew shed, the move from the Leigh Sawmill has allowed the team to extend their range of craft beers. Brewing at the new venue since February, Mike, Kirsty and their talented team have been able to produce new ales, such as a Chocolate Stout that has craft beer enthusiasts lining up to try it. It also goes perfectly with the Peanut butter cookie and Charlie’s dark chocolate gelato sandwich for those with an undying sweet tooth! 

The quality of the beer brewed here is evident from the fast expansion of its stockists; 140 outlets in Auckland in the last four years. The brand is also being stocked in Wellington and Christchurch, with hopes of international exportation. 

For your chance to experience the unique food and drink available at the Sawmill Brewery, book your Spring weekend break* at Takatu Lodge & Vineyard and receive a complimentary Beer Paddle Tasting for two while grazing on a range of small dishes at the Sawmill Brewery, 1004 Leigh Road, Matakana.  (*Offer valid for stays during the period from 1 September to 31 October 2016).

Summer at Takatu Lodge and Matakana

Posted by on December 11, 2015 at 08:24 AM in Matakana

The sun rises early in the summer over Takatu Vineyard, and if you are in the mood you could be up and walking through the vines. It is one of my favourite times of the day. Usually I am in the kitchen making breakfast for our guests while they sleep peacefully behind wool black out curtains, slowly waking to discover they have had the best sleep in a long time. Last week we had guests up before the sun and off to Tawharanui to watch the sunrise and have a walk along an empty beach. Breakfast at Takatu Lodge is the best way to start your day before you head off to discover the Matakana area. I love using fresh local ingredients in season and at the moment that is strawberries from Charlies Gelato on Sharps Road. A favourite to go with these are my famous pancakes. Guests often leave with the recipe tucked away to use at home.

I try to encourage my guests to make the most of their time here as Matakana and the surrounding area have so may interesting foodie places to visit that you could easily fill in the whole weekend trying to visit them all. I love the Matakana Market early on a Saturday morning, wandering around peacefully with my shopping bag to get the ingredients to use for the following days breakfast or any Gourmet Platters that are ordered that evening. First stop is always to say hullo to "Mike", the knife sharpener and drop off anything that needs his attention. This can range from your knives, scissors to all garden tools. Then I pass by the ladies that do the amazing baking on the corner, hopefully with my eyes closed so I am not tempted by all their sweet goodies. Once around the first corner it is ok as you can then taste their dukka and cereals. Sadly for them I make all my own cereals at Takatu. I then have to weave from side to side between the local cheese, smoked garlic, bread, olive oil and vegetables.The Matakana Olive Co-operative make the most amazing handcream. Feels great, works well and smells divine. I forgot to mention our local smoked salmon and opposite them the hand made preserves. Finally I get to the roses, which are everybody's favourite and then a quick chat with James on the "Viet Q Foods" stall. Their prawn rolls and steamed buns are to die for.James is our wine maker at Takatu Vineyard so we always manage to chat until another customer comes along.

This is only a quarter of the market and my basket is filling quickly. More on the market next month.

This week I have been out and about with Sarah, our wine sales representative. We put together a wine tasting for all our local restaurant clients at Takatu Lodge for the release of our new wines. Takatu Rose 2015 and Takatu Pinot Gris 2014. It was a great success and we are now planning a harvest picnic to celebrate the end of picking. Look out for the accommodation offer to be part of this weekend.Outside, food and wine with friend...Just the best way to spend an afternoon.

Joanne's Pancakes

4 eggs separated, 1 cup milk, 1 cup plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 70g butter - melted, pinch of salt.

Combine the egg yolks & milk. Whisk in the flour & baking powder to make a smooth batter. Mix in the butter. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and fold in gently. Cook in a greased non-stick pan, 2 - 3 minutes each side. Great with pure maple syrup, Charlie's Strawberries and Whangaripo Buffalo  Yoghurt.

Matakana: The Perfect Auckland Escape

Posted by on April 28, 2015 at 09:04 AM in Matakana

It's 10am on a crisp Saturday morning. A couple relax at a rustic table at the Matakana Village Farmers Market, enjoying hot coffee and a pile of freshly cooked waffles. Nearby, people mill around the attractive stalls laden with local artisan produce.

Once just a quiet area of coastal countryside, Matakana has become known as an idyllic place to come to switch off and rejuvenate. For Aucklanders in need of a micro break from everyday city stresses but without the usual holiday hassle, Matakana is the perfect escape.

People come for its scenery, a landscape of softly rumpled hills studded with white sand jewels - the stunning beaches of Omaha, Leigh, Pakiri and Tāwharanui. Take your surfboards or just enjoy a peaceful coastal walk under the Pohutakawa trees at Tāwharanui Regional Park. Marine Reserves like Goat Island lie just off the coast so be sure to pack your snorkelling gear.

People also flock here for the region's food and wine which is a real joy. There are award winning wineries to tour, as well as breweries, bistros, cafes, pubs, roadside stalls and even a gelato garden. And of course, there's the extraordinarily popular Saturday Farmers Market where you can source everything from organic fruit and vegetables, handmade sausages, and local oysters to Italian style cheeses and bottles of award winning olive oils.

In between indulging in foodie heaven, there are numerous crafts and collectibles stores to browse and artists’ studios to visit, from ceramic works and antiques to contemporary art. The more adventurous can hire a bicycle to explore the art and wine trails.

After a day out, head back to the village for a lazy evening at the cute, boutique cinema complex before settling in for the night at your lovely accommodation. Matakana offers some memorable places to stay - Takatu Vineyard and Lodge has been called one of the best places to lay your head in the world. They also happen to create exceptional, crafted wines that sell to Michelin-starred restaurants across the globe.

With all this just an hour from Auckland, Matakana has the makings for the perfect break away, any time of the year.