Monday, January 14, 2013

Wellington 1/7/2012

There used to be a program on television called, “Dinner and a Movie”.  A couple would introduce the evening’s movie along with a dinner that would complement it. During the course of the movie, the couple would go through the steps of preparing the meal. Today in Wellington could have been titled, “Cuisine and the Movies”. I went on the Gourmet Walking Tour and Jon went on a tour titled, ”In the Footsteps of the Lord of the Rings”.

Ever since the first The Lord of the Rings movie was released in 2001, New Zealand has been known as the “Home of the Middle-earth”. New Zealand’s dramatic scenery plays the mythical world of Middle-earth in both The Lords of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogy. More than 250 locations in New Zealand were used for the filming of the movies. Peter Jackson has brought much recognition and income to the city of Wellington with his  movies. 

Jon’s tour took him through Mirimar, the heart of New Zealand’s film industry, towards Mt. Victoria, where a stop was made to enjoy the panoramic view and have morning tea. This was followed by a stop to watch a documentary in which the technical team explained the process by which the movies’ special effects were created. A drive to see the statue of Gandalf  still standing above the marquee of the theatre where the movies premiered was next. Stops were made at various sights used when filming the movies, where photos showed comparisons of the sights with how they appeared in the films. The tour ended with a drive along the South Coast of Wellington. Jon returned to the ship having enjoyed this uniquely Wellington experience.

My tour began with a stop at the Old St. Paul’s Anglican church. It was a unique building,
made of only New Zealand timber. Repenting for an afternoon of gluttony seemed an appropriate beginning.

We then went to the Moore Wilson’s grocery store where we sampled three cheeses (Kapiti blue, Linkwater aged cheddar and Zingy chili feta, which promised to “zap your budz”) along with three jellies (tomato chilli, lemon saffron chutney and quince jelly). A sweet and a bitter apple juice accompanied this.
Our next stop was a gallery that sold authentic Maori artwork, where we tasted the purest, most delicious honey. 

Next it was time for coffee and a stop at the Mojo Coffee Roaster, where we met the owner, who was originally from Greece. He explained how the different coffee beans were roasted and served us a cup of “flat white” (coffee that is topped with a flat, not frothed layer of milk) and a biscuit made from his grandmother's recipe. 

Moving on, we walked through the pier to meet a chocolatier, whose home of origin was Prague. He explained why he moved to Wellington, what life was like for him and then invited us to taste his chocolates. We got to pick two pieces from the case and were given a bag with three additional pieces to take with  us. Many of the pieces were unique in that they contained a combination of herbs, but the bestseller and award winner remains the salted chocolate caramel.

Now we were ready for lunch. Making our way back through the pier we reached a restaurant and began our afternoon meal. First course was a pear and greens salad served with a sauvignon blanc from the Marlborough region, considered one of the finest wine growing regions in New Zealand. This was followed by the main course of tenderloin and mushroom, served with a New Zealand pinot noir. Dessert was a brownie with cinnamon ice cream and small nuggets of caramel on the side. With dessert came a sharper flavoured sauvignon blanc.

After lunch we had the choice of staying in town or returning to the ship. I returned to the ship. Although I do not usually have three large glasses of wine with lunch, it must have been all that walking that made me want to take a nap.

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