New Zealand Tour in 2015

I am beside myself with excitement and just bursting to tell you the BIG news... In February next year I'll be bringing you my first New Zealand Tour... and hopefully 10 of you lucky gastronomads will be along with me for the ride!

New Zealand produces some of the best wine in the world, but you may not know about our sophisticated, clean, beautifully cooked food and produce. Every Summer when I return here I am constantly amazed by the quality and standard, and no where more so than in the gorgeous Hawkes Bay wine region and the sparkling seaside city of Auckland. We divide our time between these two fabulous places and sample the best of the best.

New Zealand went from being the embarrassing cousin to the glamorous aunt in half a generation and there’s been no looking back. We love the land, take pride in craftsmanship and have a strong sense of integrity. We produce and export food which both tastes good and is good for you. Look at our delicious lamb - 31 million sheep can't be wrong. Think a rack, roasted to pink in the middle and served with a pea, parmesan, olive oil and mint smash and a glass of pinot noir. Our fresh and grassy olive oil is world class - (I'm particularly partial to Peta Mathias Olive Oil), and have I mentioned coffee – we invented the flat white and now we’re all experts on grind and crema.

Hawkes Bay on the east coast of the North Island is all about award winning wines, farmer’s markets, sunshine and olive oil. We stay at the beautiful Black Barn Vineyards (Frommer's Top 10 Vineyard visits of the World), spend time on tribal Maori lands understanding their spiritual and cultural ways, visit a working farm, enjoy cooking lessons avec moi, bicycle around the vineyards and learn how to make cheese.

Auckland is the busy and buzzy restaurant capital of New Zealand. It is multicultural (European, Polynesian and Asian) and this is reflected in the food – we call it Pacific Rim and it's sophisticated, light and modern. We stay at the divine Hotel DeBrett (winner of New Zealand's Best Small Hotel 2014 – Asia Pacific Hotel Awards), we set sail in a waka (Maori double-hulled canoe) spending a day in the warm embrace of traditional cooking and crafts, dine in chic cutting edge restaurants, learn from the hottest guest chefs and drown ourselves in the art of coffee making, city markets and shopping.

Honestly I can't tell you how wonderful it's been sampling the best of what this country has to offer .... but it had to be done in order to bring you a tour that is real New Zealand – authentic, refined and fabulous all at once! New Zealand is my home and I would love to show it to you through my gastronomic eyes.