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Archive for the category “Sweet treats / High teas”

Have you taken part in the Hutt’s ‘Sweet As’ hot chocolate challenge yet?

If not, you really, really should.

13 cafes, bars and bakeries are taking part in the annual Lower Hutt ‘Sweet As’ hot chocolate challenge, which runs until 30 July, with their drink themed around a main flavour.

It’s not just the city who can run festivals and events!

Cafe Iwi choc cake

Last year’s winning Cafe Iwi chocolate cake

And I got to try two of them over the weekend.

Firstly was Toffie Bakery’s ‘Double shot of mint and chocolate’ – peppermint-infused hot chocolate served with an Old Gold Peppermint mini cupcake with peppermint buttercream icing, and peppermint chocolate as the crowning glory.

Good to see a bakery taking part, and the only one doing peppermint; a take on the after dinner mint Manager Kelsey tells me. The drink had a mild peppermint flavour against a sweetly intense chocolatey-pepperminty mini cupcake on top. And nicely presented.

Sweet As Toffie peppermint

And then came Gotham’s ‘Gotham Kiss’ – raspberry white hot chocolate with whipped cream, pink sprinkles and a raspberry and white chocolate cookie. So this one centred around raspberry.

I am a bit of a white chocolate fan, so was pleased to see more than just the dark variety in the competition, and found this one to be light, fluffy and easy to drink. Again the drink was reasonably gentle in flavour, offset by a more intense cookie.

Sweet As Gotham white.jpg

And to whet your whistle further, here’s a few others you still have time to enjoy and vote for (images below courtesy of Sweet As Hot Chocolate and Sweet As Hot Chocolate’s Facebook page, where you also vote).

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If you doubled up some days you’d still be able to grab the Sweet As passport and get a stamp from each entrant to enter the prize draw at the end of the challenge (details on the cards). Check out the full list of participants here.

So get drinking folks, there’s still 7 days left….

New vegan eating in the city

There’s a growing number of vegan options in the city that’ll meet your needs – morning, noon and night.

Boquita taco shop recently opened on Kent Terrace, with fresh, local, seasonal and vegan food.

Being the baby sister of La Boca Loca, these guys make everything themselves, including the tortillas, and totally know what they’re doing.


I’ve also been chatting with Amber Sturtz of Easy as Kai – a one-woman band bringing us Austin, Texas inspired tacos with the same focus on fresh, local, seasonal, vegetarian and vegan. And I noticed she does a vegan coconut custard pie among her sweet American-style offerings.

You can check out her wares at the Frank Kitts Underground Market on Saturdays, and many of our street festivals (Island Bay, Newtown and Aro Valley Fair). Or have them delivered to your workplace on Tuesdays, Fridays and alternate Wednesdays to Weta (next delivery date shows at the bottom of the website page). Couldn’t be easier.


And being summer, you shouldn’t miss out on cool, refreshing ‘ice creams’ either, as many sorbets and sorbetto’s in the city are vegan (vegetable binders rather than egg-based).

Case in point is Carello del Gelato on Oriental Parade.

They pride themselves on having a range of sorbets always available, all with fulsome flavours (yep, there was definitely a bunch of feijoas in the feijoa sorbet!), and nearly all vegan. Including a specialty dark chocolate that would surely satisfy any craving.

They also do soy-sorbet shakes, sorbet sundaes, and their own Mr Pops ice blocks, which include fruity vegan flavours like bursting blackberry, zesty lemon, and juicy apple. There’s also a couple of non-vegan flavours like flat white or creamy sea salted caramel, the caramel so unlike a traditional ice block that it felt like I was eating gelato on a stick.


As well as their groovy little tasting room alongside Beach Babylon, you’ll see their bike around the waterfront in summer, and the Carello name popping up during events like Wellington on a Plate. And you can still get their 2016 WOAP dessert burger at the Oriental cafe if you missed out during the festival. Nice.

There’s also a bunch of flavours in one litre pottles for take-home, so there’s no way you’ll go short of dessert with Carello del Gelato on the job.



Higher Taste, Midnight Espresso, Southern Cross Bar, Loretta, Olive Cafe, Maranui Cafe and Sweet Release are other established places that also spring to mind with vegan eats.

And I recently had a very pleasant vegan shepherds pie at the Glasshouse Restaurant at Thorndon Rydges – flavourful veg and chickpeas with a satisfying density not unlike the meaty version. Nicely done guys.


And watch out for a new plant-based cafe at Lyall Bay called The Botanist due to open anytime soon…


Tomboy treats

My feet happened to take me past the new Tomboy Cakery on Majoribanks this morning where Plentiful Deli used to be, so it would have been rude not to go in right?

Tomboy exterior

Tomboy is a delightful cake shop with a range of inviting treats. From scones to brioche, cake, doughnuts and freshly made juices, there’s no way you won’t be able to get your day off to a great start here. You can either enjoy in-situ at the large communal table or take away if you’re strong-willed enough. And if you keep an eye on their Facebook page, you’ll see each day’s lunch-time treats as well.

Owner Kate has a hospitality background, and has always enjoyed baking. Given she’s been making beautiful cakes for a while, the natural progression was a shop of her own. Which is beautifully decorated (including the bathrooms, always a good tell) and restful, even with the buzz of folk coming in and out. The staff are well presented, friendly and welcoming, and were already addressing locals by name – a nice touch.

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So to the food. Kate has principles about no waste, fresh and local, and using whatever’s to hand in the kitchen. And simplicity – that the most satisfying cake is probably still a light fresh sponge with jam and cream, and simply decorated, as you can see from her instagram pics (they sell their jam at the shop too if you fancy).

I started with a ‘cake biscuit’, which a little birdie told me might have been the result of a happy accident (all the best inventions); like biscotti but softer in texture, and the perfect bite with my Storm and India hibiscus blossom organic hand-crafted tea. And then I managed to squeeze a rhubarb and vanilla bean brioche into my pocket for later, superb when lightly warmed (I figure if I walk to food I’m at least attempting to keep the scales balanced!).

Tomboy tea 2

My neighbours at the table declared the doughnuts worth the trip from the other side of town (apparently they have a Friday morning treat somewhere different each week, an excellent plan!), but do note that the doughnuts are Fridays only. However you can order by the boxful before noon Thursday to guarantee your fix and share the love.

In my opinion Tomboy sit right up there with other quality sweet treats around town. We’re truly blessed aren’t we?

Tomboy brioche.jpg

Kate and team finish baking around 11am each day, so although open until 2pm Tuesdays through Saturdays, they may sell out prior. So go early.

21 Majoribanks Street.





Moustache are here!

The Auckland Moustache Milk & Cookie bar girls have come to visit Wellington.

Moustache bus

They’ve brought their bus down for a few months ahead of a South Island summer tour, so we can enjoy their delicious shakes and cookies on the way (check out their back story). Although they’re likely to be here until December, it might pay to pop along soon if you fancy working your way through their offerings.

They bake their cookies in situ, and display what’s available in jars along the counter. And make their shakes fresh with real ingredients, as evidenced by my gingernut version. Given they bake small batches, odds are you’ll strike a cookie warm from the oven, which is surely the penultimate way to enjoy one of these babies (my fave so far – the white chocolate and macadamia).

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The front of the bus is decked out with seats, so you can wait in comfort if its a brisk Wellington day, including being able to  jump into the drivers seat and fulfil childhood fantasies, hat included. Good thinking.

The other thing of interest is the collaboration with the Garage Project lads to brew another batch of Moustache Ale, the first of which funded the bus outfitting. Apparently it should be ready in a month or so (somewhere around WOAP time), so keep your eye on their Facebook page for how to get your hands on one. It’s a limited run, so you might need to be quick when they appear.

Nice one girls, looking forward to my next visit already!

7 Marion StreetMoustache bus3


Chocolate giveaway

As some of you may know, the Wellington Chocolate Factory was this year’s supreme Cuisine Artisan award winner with their Great War Bar.

WCF giveaway

This is a coconut ‘milk’ bar (52% cacao) produced last year for the 100th anniversary of the Anzac events at Gallipoli and launch of the Great War Exhibition at the Dominion Museum in Wellington. It has delicious Anzac cookie crumbs along the back of house-blended, stone ground, organic, ethically traded cacao beans.

I have been kindly provided one for a give away, so if you email the correct answer to the question below to by noon this Friday 4 March 2016, with ‘Chocolate Giveaway’ in the title , you will go in the draw to win the bar.

The winner will be notified by email, and delivery arranged.

Question – Who did the artwork for the Great War Bar wrapper?

Hint – A quick google will do the trick.









The Chocolate Bar

Local lad Luke Owen Smith fell in love with the Wellington Chocolate Factory’s bean-to-bar products, and decided to delve further into the industry.

Choc bar blurbIn doing so, he’s created a business called The Chocolate Bar, sourcing and selling high quality artisan chocolate from NZ and around the world (Canada, Scotland, Vietnam, Mexico, Australia to name a few).

The website is well laid out with interesting information on all products and providers, and looks like it’d be easy to purchase from once you’ve got your eye in from tastings. Luke is at the Frank Kitts art and craft market every weekend, so there’s no excuse folks.

I tried several, and leaving our own lovely WCF bars aside which we can access easily, I was taken with the Spencer Cocoa Vanuatu 72% (smooth, smokey, bacony and hankering for a whisky – trust me, I’ve had deep fried bacon chocolate brownie, so have a benchmark!); the Taza Mexican old-style hand ground chilli chocolate (a lovely grainy texture and chilli flavour, not just heat); and the Ocho Dunedin Papua New Guinea salted caramel (not sweet and with a pleasant chewy texture).

The limited edition Marou Heart of Darkness 85% went home with me and might just be my favourite. The cacao grows on an island in the Mekong Delta (Vietnam) and although having no coconut, is alleged to taste like coconut. I didn’t necessarily get coconut, but did enjoy the creamily smooth and sweet toasty experience with a pleasing backnote (maybe what others identify as coconut), so can see why it was a gold winner at international chocolate awards.

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Luke plans to do some events next year, so watch out for tea and chocolate matching, and tastings at venues around town. And whip down to the  Frank Kitts art and craft market next weekend (and every weekend after that), to have a tasting and solve your prezzie dilemmas.

Frank Kitts carpark on Jervois Quay.



Louis Sergeant sweet couture…

UPDATE: Louis Sergeant have extended their treats range to include savoury items as well as the sweet, and do high teas every afternoon. 7 days 9am to 5pm.

Whether you have a sweet or savoury tooth, Louis Sergeant will be sure to satisfy.

Louis S cakesFound at 146 Featherston Street (in the old Capri location), Louis Sergeant is effectively a french tea house doing pastries, lunchtime baguettes and salads, georgous sweet things, high teas, cheeseboards with fresh oven-baked bread, and lastly (but not leastly) French bubbles and wines.

Louis Sergeant himself is the former Head Patisserie chef from Hippopotamus at the Museum Hotel, so you will recognise the precision and delicacy of the items here, as well as the quality in the setup (a sleek black and white interior, soothing and slightly sultry french Louis S baguettemusic playing, beautiful cups and teapots, water from large perfume-shaped bottles, an old decorative cash register, a beautiful french portrait above the couches, etc etc).

My first two experiences have been outstanding in food terms, and pleasant in experience and service terms (a little settling in to go).  The first was a lunch-time baguette sandwich of haloumi, fig, rocket and lemon infused olive oil (superb balance of textures and flavours), and on a Saturday morning an almond croissant just warm out of the oven (died and heaven sprung to mind).

Louis S decorI am eyeing up the platter of french cheeses with warm bread fresh from the oven and french bubbles one Friday evening soon (very soon!), and can imagine this will become a regular stop when in this part of town.

LS are currently still working out what hours are best so keep an eye on their Facebook page, but generally Tuesday to Thursday 8am to 5.30pm (late Thursdays possibly coming), Friday 8am to 8pm (for that after work wine and cheese), and Saturday 10am to 5pm.




The LB high tea

Birthday high tea time again (well that’s the excuse anyway!) and this year was Logan Brown.

Delicious.  Food, setting and company.

LB cups

Interesting teas (pomegranate, plum) to complement the more usual (jasmine green, earl grey, cinnamon) and dainty perfectly formed morsels to inhale.

Baby wagyu meat and potato topped pies, cucumber sandwiches, raspberry lamingtons, cheese croquettes with onion jam, baby scones, salted caramel slice, reverse cheesecake in a glass, gingery ginger crunch….

LB high tea

Attentive service and regularly topped up teapots.

Need I say more?

192 Cuba Street

LB map

The Le Moulin secret

No rouge.

Le Moulin is a long-time Wellington institution turning out delicious bakery goodies and french breads.

Le moulin cornet

Light flakey pastries, beautiful soft fillings (when they’re meant to be) and fresh ingredients – check out this Cornet beauty, just divine.

Have a read of the Omnivores post describing more of the beautiful offerings in detail.

No space for sitting, so plan to take your goodies to savour in another setting.

248 Willis Street near Vivian, Thursday to Sunday.


Le moulin map

Stonestead at Te Marua

Stonestead is definitely worth the trip to Te Marua.  Especially on a nice day.

Devonshire teas in a peaceful tree and cottage setting out front, or more personal garden space out back.

There’s also indoor seating upstairs above the ‘kitchen’.


Kevin (owner/operator) makes all scones himself (date, raisin or cheese on the day we visited), and offers a choice of teas and jams to accompany.

The scones were very good, light but generous, and with beautiful home-made strawberry, apricot or blackberry jam and cream.

I couldn’t go past a date scone with blackberry jam, and Christmas Tea (might as well stretch Christmas as far as possible!).

Stonestead scone


The presentation is well done, with individual trays of matching Dudson fine china purchased in England by Kevin (40 sets in fact).

And all for $7.

If you have time to chat to Kevin, there’s a lovely back story about ballroom dancing and a trip to England as inspiration for starting the devonshire teas at his Te Marua property.

Stonestead tray

There’s also a quiltery next door for crafty inspiration before or after.

Usual days of operation are Thursday to Sunday.  Other group visits by arrangement.

I will definitely be back with others.

Just off the main road at Te Marua.

Stonestead map







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