Have you ever been to the other (down under) side of our planet? Pretty far away from Germany, right? Well, you could buy a ticket and take a 24 hour flight to Auckland via Dubai. Or you choose the cheaper and increasingly popular way of enjoying food & drinks from New Zealand. Whenever we feel some wanderlust and want to take a short trip to an exotic country, we prepare some original dishes from other countries. One of the most important things is to have the ingredients. Can you imagine a real Mexican taco dish without dried chillies, limes and avocados, tortillas de maiz or cilantro? Well, some people can…but anyway: We love original, special and excellent products from all over the world. For that reason, we were really happy about the invitation from NZ Wine and NZ Venison to have a decent feast at the event „New Zealand Chef´s Table“.

It is Monday, 3:30 p.m. and a friendly woman is passing us two glasses of wine. Alright – this looks like the right place for us. A nice location close to the Hamburg harbour, flooded with light, cozy sofas everywhere and obviously a lot of wine, and venison meat. We love wine. We have tried wine from all over the world including wines from New Zealand, most famous for its Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. The wines at this event were beyond everything we have tried before from New Zealand. Sommelier Andrew Connor led us through the wines and explained the different climates in the wine growing regions on the two islands. A very interesting point about wine cultivation in New Zealand is the fact that a lot of the vineyards are close to the shore. The salty breeze from the ocean gives the wine a very fresh and sometimes salty flavour, something that we have already experienced in wines from Mexico or California. Each of the wines were paired with a dish that fitted just perfectly. Our favourite was the biodynamic Seresin Marama Sauvignon Blanc (2014). The fresh and fruity bouquet of the wine was perfectly complemented by the very soft and tender taste of the Venison Tataki and the citrus taste of the lime and pomegranate in the dish. What a perfect white wine for warm summer evenings with friends! It would also fit perfectly with a fresh ceviche, luscious portions of tartar or filet as well. Another favourite was the Man O´War Dreadnought Syrah from 2013, accompanied by the Tandoori Sausages with a Green Tomato Chutney – Full-bodied, berry notes, dry and very rich. The sausages had a powerful tandoori taste (which we liked a lot), so you need a strong one for that dish – well done!

Tasting menu:

Cube of venison, crushed crab, sweet siracha sauce
Cube of venison, umeboshi plum
Tohu Crémant Rewa Blanc de Blanc, N.V.

Venison Tataki, Soy Mayo, Lime Sugar Puff, Pomegranate Sauce
Seresin Marama Sauvignon Blanc, 2014

BBQ Steak, Thai Aromatic Salt, Banana Pudding, Pumpkin
Palliser Estate Pinot Noir, 2015

Smoked Flank, Buffalo Mozzarella, Mango, Red Pepper
Alpha Domus The Navigator, 2012

Venison Tandoori Sausages, Green Tomato Chutney
Man O´War Dreadnought Syrah, 2013

Mexican Barbacoa, Cornbread, Avocado, Lime Ginger Marinade
Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrah, 2013

Kidney Rilette, Aubergine Tahini Creme, Saffron Goats Milk Pudding
Te Mata Awatea, 2013

Seared Liver, Cointreau, Pak Choi, Hoi Sin
Mt. Difficulty Pinot Noir, 2012
Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir, 2012

Another highlight for us: New Zealand Venison meat! Chef Shannon Campbell and butcher Simon Ellery had a special surprise for us: A whole deer carcass that was to be deboned and broken down into kitchen ready cuts. The two mates from New Zealand explained and celebrated every cut and presented every piece of this beautiful animal with a lot of passion and knowledge. You would definitely need first class gear for that job so Simon used the Rosewood collection from Victorinox. Always nice to see high level craft! Victorinox is a well-known traditional Swiss company which is especially famous for its pocketknife, the “Swiss Army Knife”. But also the cutlery is very popular: whether in five star restaurants or in home kitchens, Victorinox knives impress by exceptionally sharp and ergonomic design. The Rosewood Collection used by the chef Shannon combines the robust nature of rosewood with an elegant look.

Germans are used to eating venison or any wild meat during the autumn/winter season. New Zealand Venison is raised on the farm. It is not a wild meat in the classic sense and is available all year round. Because it is always in ‘season’ New Zealanders eat it in all seasons and in every possible way. From fresh and light spring dishes through to zingy zesty spicy summer bbq dishes right through to the colder seasons with its warming comforting flavours New Zealand venison can be ordered and eaten throughout the whole year. New Zealand Venison is a uniquely healthy product with standout attributes. Only 3% fat (less than chicken breast), more protein and twice as much iron as beef and incredibly tender. The animals are essentially free range, with large areas to roam in and they only eat fresh sweet grass. It’s a world away from the more industrialised forms of farming found elsewhere in the world. They are slaughtered at a young age of around two years. The farming of New Zealand Venison sets itself apart through its high standards of animal care, its refusal to employ hormones and antibiotics and its emphasis on natural grass feed. This attention to matching the most natural and best possible conditions of farming to the deer results in incredibly tender meat with a fresh sweet flavour. Chef Shannon even used the rump as steaks and it was totally tender – not even talking about the fillet yet, lord baby Jesus! The two guys showed us a lot of different ways to use the different parts of the animal, a real „from nose to tail“ experience – thanks for that!