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The Dairy Made

Wellington on a Plate 2016 has started. Two and a half weeks of endless food and local foodie events lined up. Wellington's food scene really comes alive at this time of year.

Our first event was hosted by one of my favourite foodies, Ruth Pretty. The Dairy Made was a celebration of all things dairy. (Think milk, cream, butter, cheese ... mmm.) Fittingly, the event was held at The Milk Station in Otaki, an old 1900s milk station converted into a beautiful venue and function centre. Check out the decor.

I'd love a chandeleir like this
(and a house big enough to hang it).
'Old school' milk and dairy memorabilia
This copper milk jug used to carry 5l of milk at a time.
We were warmly greeted by Ruth and treated to coffee and cheese scones. The tables were beautifully set and decorated with daffodils, reminding us that spring is just around the corner.
I love the huge wooden doors in the background.
They led through to an interior courtyard.
A touch of spring.
I confess to not having read the event description properly before we arrived. Imagine my surprise to discover a menu for a four course meal with wine matching! Each dairy-inspired dish was preceded by a speaker talking about various related topics (an introduction to the venue, the chemical constructions of dairy products and a talk about the free range pork we ate for the main course). This spread the meal out, meaning we could take time to enjoy each course before the next.

We began with the first course of smoked fish pie with walnut and Colby crumble and fennel lemon salad. The wine match was 2014 Soho Jagger Pinot Gris from Awatere Valley.
First course
As if one entree wasn't enough, we had a second! Double baked cheddar, mushroom and bacon soufflé served with a refreshing sorrel and radish salad. I hadn't eaten raw sorrel before. On its own, it would taste quite overpowering but the radish complemented the flavour. The wine match was Tietjen Witters Gold Chardonnay from Gisborne.
Second course
Even the palette cleanser between courses was a noteworthy dish of its own! I could easily have eaten this kaffir lime sorbet with poached pear and frozen yoghurt for dessert. Note the original 1930s parchment paper (a butter wrapper) place mat.
Palette cleanser
The main course was all about pork cooked three ways (plus crackling). Woody's Free Range Farm founder Daniel Todd talked about the challenges of feeding quality food to around 200 free range pigs to produce a quality pork product. We enjoyed pulled pork, pork belly and pork braised in milk with apple and pork jus. The creamy Swiss style cheese potato gratin was absolutely delicious. Note the token touch of green (broccoli)! The wine match was 2012 Georgetown Pinot Noir from Central Otago.
Main course
Finally, it was onto dessert. I hadn't tasted junket before but apparently it was a staple dessert before my time. I didn't care much for this rum junket but did like the crumble on top, along with the other dessert dish of Esther's gingerbread with poached quince and vanilla whipped cream. The gingerbread would also have tasted great slightly warmed.
After dessert, we got to walk through the impressive wooden doors into an interior courtyard, where Milk Station owner Lindia Wood had opened some of the accommodation rooms for us to explore.
European style interior courtyard.
Thank you to Ruth, Lindia and the team for a delightful long lunch. Needless to say, I don't need dinner tonight!

This post first appeared on Tales From A Caffeinated Weka, please read the originial post: here

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The Dairy Made


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