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{Edible Cities} Waiheke Island, New Zealand, with Nikki from Art and Lemons

{Edible Cities} Waiheke Island, New Zealand, with Nikki from Art and Lemons

Meet Nikki Gardner, a photographerwriter, and food blogger living in Western Massachusetts. Nikki has one of the most poetic points of view of all the food bloggers I read on a weekly basis. In fact, to say her blog is a food blog feels like telling just one side of the story. She has a knack for wrapping readers in the atmosphere surrounding the dishes she shares and her creative photography complements posts that end up reading like short essays. Not that this should make you think that her food is complicated, far from it. She focuses on vegetarian recipes made with whole and natural ingredients, sourced close to home. Her photos and recipes have been featured in many major publications such as The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and design*sponge and she’s recently made her television debut. Here’s Waiheke Island, New Zealand, in her own words.

My Edible City

Nikki Gardner, photographer, writer and food blogger on Art and Lemons.Waiheke Island, New Zealand. September 10, 2007. Day two of our backpacking honeymoon in New Zealand, David and I rode a 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland to Waiheke Island. Spanning 12 miles wide, Waiheke (Maori for “the descending waters”) is the second largest island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf coast. Waiheke includes 25 miles of beaches that skirt down from the hills and away from the rocky coast.

After a short cab to the Kiwi House, a homey place that feels more like your distant Aunt’s house than a room for rent, we dropped off our bags, booked an olive oil and wine tasting tour for the afternoon, then ventured out for a short walk to Oneroa. Set on the north shore, Oneroa is an artsy town on the north shore that draws weekenders and backpackers to the Cinema, The Junk Shop, Tivoli Art & Books Gallery, The Lazy Lounge Café and Bar, or to Oneroa Beach with picnic fare from Waiheke Fruit & Veg.

MyFavorite Dish

Olive oil, Nikki Gardner's favorite product from Waiheke Island, New Zealand.Olive Oil. We met the tour van back at the house and drove off with ten others. Our first stop was Rangihoua Estate, an olive grower & producer and sample their gold and bronze award winners: Koroneiki (apple, citrus, melon, and grass), Picual (asparagus and tomato with a watercress finish), Frantoio Blend (apple, nuts, avocado, and arugula), and the Waiheke Blend (grass, pepper, watercress) which tasted as if we could sip the southern Mediterranean-like landscape through drops of oil. Waiheke’s warmer temperatures and lower rainfall make it an ideal climate for olives and grapes, with extended hot dry summers. We stopped by a handful of wineries where we grew pleasantly tipsy when we sampled wines sold only in New Zealand from Cable Bay Vineyards, Saratoga Estate Winery, Te Whau Vineyards. While they were all memorable, it was the olive oil that I still think about.

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Next Week on Edible Cities

Next week, Kalyn Denny, a food blogger living in Salt Lake City, is taking us to New Orleans. Don’t miss it!

Photo Credits: Waiheke Island picture and Nikki’s portrait by Nikki Gardner, olive tree branch by Sandy Austin.

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7 Responses to {Edible Cities} Waiheke Island, New Zealand, with Nikki from Art and Lemons

  1. Aw, I teared up a bit read this; my husband and I honeymooned on Waiheke Island for almost a week. What a wonderful, wonderful place for food. Our love for NZ olive oils and sauvignon blanc was born on that trip. Thanks for the lovely reminder!

    • Waiheke is such a great destination for a honeymoon! I’m happy Nikki’s post allowed you to reminisce.

  2. Marie, I love this series and am honored that you invited me to be part of it. Whenever I visit your site and read this column, I think How soon can I get there (insert any of the cities you’ve covered)?! Thanks for sharing these adventures!

    • It’s was a pleasure to have you Nikki! Your post reminded me of my own trip to NZ – such a lovely, low key country! Now I wish I could go back to visit the wineries and olive groves you visited.

  3. […] me to write about my favorite Edible City as part of her ongoing series. You can read my piece on Waiheke Island, New Zealand and olive oil along with all the other Edible Cities on her blog, although you’ll probably want to hop a […]

  4. I had no idea that New Zealand produced olive oil, and now I can’t wait to sample some. Thanks for the tip! I’m off to check out Nikki’s blog…

    • New Zealand olive oil is amazing! I’ve had the chance to visit the country too and brought back fantastic extra-virgin oils from the Marlborough wine country (on the Southern island). There sure is a lot to discover about NZ, my trip there is still one of my favorites.

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