Meet Nikki Gardner, a photographer, writer, 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
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.
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.
- Learn more about gorgeous Waiheke Island
- Rangihoua Estate, an olive grower and producer
- A Guide to Waiheke Island’s Vineyards, Wineries and Olive Groves
- Waiheke Island’s Olive & Artisan Food Festival
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!