Stories from New Zealand: Part IV

A good morning in New Zealand begins with a flat white.

We found ourselves longing for iced coffee or tea on balmy Fijian mornings. But, it was an entirely different story in New Zealand. One that challenged our love for the tropical heat. On a chilly morning, with no pressing agenda, sitting together in a rustic cafe, drinking a good, hot coffee was idyllic charm for the books.

In layman’s terms, a flat white is Australia and New Zealand’s version of coffee and milk. Specifically, steamed whole milk over a double shot of espresso. Like a cappuccino, yet less foamy and with a typically higher coffee content. Understanding the nuances of milk-with-coffee styles from around the world can be exhausting. The only real thing one needs to know, is that a flat white is unquestionably yummy.

To our delight, we found most of our tastiest meals in the morning. Time after time, we discovered absolutely adorable and delicious cafes across the country. Sweet and savory scones were popular in cafes. The savory versions being slightly new for us, but extremely well-received. With a bit of New Zealand’s best butter (from all those fancy-free cows) we nibbled our way into breakfast bliss.

In Rotarua, we found an exceptional spot, Be Rude Not to Cafe. David ordered quinoa and berry porridge, which turned out to be a pleasant and unusual dish that resembled a purplish Cream of Wheat.  Meanwhile, I had some of the world’s most delicious granola. Oh, to revel in joyous morning munching!

No one stopped us from visiting cafes throughout the day, either. An afternoon flat white was certainly taken advantage of. It also felt a teensy-bit less irresponsible to eat sweets in the afternoon, versus during the “most important meal of the day.” Thanks to our unbridled snacking, we luckily stumbled upon one of New Zealand’s most famed treats: the Afghan biscuit. It’s a soft chocolate cookie (by U.S. terminology) made with corn flakes, and topped with a dollop of chocolate icing and a walnut halve. Supposedly no one knows the origin of its name... But, it is a Kiwi favorite and we understood why.

Concerning our favorites, we truly visited New Zealand at the opportune time.  Late autumn translated to pumpkin and gourds galore- some of my most loved foods.

Within our calendar year, we would endure winter, spring, two summers, two autumns, and return to winter, again… All due to where we were on the globe. As disorienting as it may be, the littlest things can make it a priceless experience. Like eating your favorite seasonal produce twice in one year. And, sharing a good coffee over a cold autumn morning with your most special someone.

May 2014