It’s nigh on impossible to nail down time with extraordinary chef Peter Gordon. Whether he’s re-vamping menus, visiting tropical isles to sample their wares or checking in on his many ventures, Peter Gordon sure knows how to keep himself busy. We check up on a couple of his culinary babies to find out how they’re growing.
The team at express has visited the wonderful Bellota (pronounced “bay-otta”) before and was able to sample some of the wonderful wares Peter and his team has on offer. From grilled Botifarra chorizo to lemon and cinnamon baked custard, Peter’s tapas bar outside SkyCity Auckland offers you the opportunity to experience a culinary journey through regional Spain from May to October.
The restaurant itself is absolutely gorgeous and the food is to die for. What’s more, Peter has had real fun creating the menus for Bellota – each month you will be immersed in the delicacies of Spain and be treated to a showcase of food and wine with an exciting and different regional menu each month.
Aragón – June: Due to its location Aragón has always been somewhere people pass through on their way to somewhere else. Consequently its culture and cuisine is the result of centuries of foreign influence. Known for their high calorie olive oil, the Argonese often drizzle it on just about everything from bread to borage to enhance the nutritional value and improve flavours.
Navarra – July: Navarra was one of the first places in Spain to dabble in gourmet cuisine. Thanks to its availability of vegetables, Navarra dishes have always been light in character with a certain natural elegance. To further cement their culinary importance to Spain, the wines from Navarra vineyards, especially rosé, are considered some of the best in the country.
La Rioja – August: The cuisine of La Rioja, known primarily for its world-famous wine. As for the food, the culinary identity of La Rioja lies in the detail. Thanks to an abundance of fruit and vegetables and the mountains providing sheep and game, you can expect to see things such as chilli sausages, goats’ milk cottage cheese and red bell peppers which dry outside in the autumn.
Cantabria – September: The inhabitants of Cantabria are known for being close to nature and many farms still bake their own bread and craft their own cheese. Cantabria’s cuisine is generally dominated by dishes based on fresh fish and fine seafood, with the fresh and processed anchovy specialties having a first-class reputation throughout the whole of Spain.
Galicia – October: There is no shortage of food in Galicia with over 80 different types of saltwater fish, cultivating large quantities of fruit and vegetables and raising their own poultry, pigs and cattle.
Bellota is also giving you the chance to experience Spain firsthand. For every $20 spent (which must include a food item) you will receive a stamp in your culinary journey passport. Collect six stamps and you will go in the draw to win a fantastic holiday to Spain – return economy flights to Barcelona, plus seven night’s accommodation in a four-star hotel for two. The promotion ends 31 October with the grand prize draw on 9 November. For more information on A Journey Through Spain visit www.skycity.co.nz/bellota.
Matariki is the Maori name for the cluster of stars known as Pleiades, whose appearance around the shortest day signals the start of the lunar growing cycle. This year, Matariki will rise into the skies on 21 June beginning of a month of celebration and events throughout New Zealand; it is a time-honoured tradition.
To celebrate Matariki, Peter and his signature restaurant Dine by Peter Gordon are set to put on an event that allows diners to experience the Maori New Year through their taste buds.
Peter’s plan is to put on a five-course degustation menu inspired by Maori cuisine that reflects the history and culture of New Zealand. He’s teamed up with the folks at Matariki Wines for the event – winemaker Leith Ashworth from Matariki will be there on opening night to take diners through a unique look at the winery and to ask questions people may have about the delightful drops they’re sampling.
Peter says, “As a chef with Maori heritage, Ngati Kahungunu, Matariki has special significance for me. It represents renewal and reflection, but the themes that especially resonate with me are to do with respecting and celebrating the land we live in and the crops that sustain us.
“The forthcoming harvest, cultivating the new and coming together as one people to share food are at the heart of Matariki. I’m delighted that at Dine we’re offering this menu that honours this tradition.”
Peter’s marvellous Matariki celebration runs from 22 – 28 June. If you’re looking to drink the five-course menu is $185 per person or without wines it is just $115 per person. Diners also get the chance to win an exclusive and fabulous Hawke’s Bay Luxury Food and Wine Weekend valued at over $5500! The prize includes two nights’ accommodation for two at Mangapapa Petit Hotel in their luxurious Mangapapa Suite, an eight-course degustation dinner for two matched with wines at Pacifica Restaurant, a private winery tour and tasting session at Matariki Wines with the winemaker, return flights to Napier for two courtesy of House of Travel Jenny Nilsson, Hawke’s Bay, courtesy pick-up and drop-off to/from airport and a Magnum bottle of Matariki’s flagship wine Matariki Quintology 2005.
Bookings for the event can be made by calling dine by Peter Gordon on 09 363 7030 or by visiting www.skycityauckland.co.nz/Restaurants/dine. And remember, if you’re as excited about this as everyone else reading this, you’ll have to be quick!