Flavours a Plenty in Local Challenge

This autumn, local eateries were challenged to create a winning dish inspired by beautiful local Bay of Plenty produce. Twelve eateries from around the region took up the Plates of Plenty Challenge, receiving a box containing local mushrooms from Fat Guy Fungi, El Jefe Meats sausages, Small Batch chocolate hazelnut butter, Ohiwa Black Diamonds truffle salt, limoncello from Distillerie Deinlein, chillies from Bay Tropics, and Kaimai Eggs, and were tasked with using at least three of the items to create a bespoke dish for the festival.

Oscar Nathan, general manager at Tourism Bay of Plenty, says the challenge is designed to establish and encourage beneficial partnerships between the region’s innovative foodie producers and respected hospitality businesses.

“We were impressed,” Oscar says, “with the creativity and culinary skills displayed by all 12 of the eateries that entered, and it was great to garner the support of the seven local producers who enthusiastically submitted their best ingredients during the challenge.”

Papamoa café Pearl Kitchen received almost a third of all the public votes cast to claim the People’s Choice Award. Their dish featured a bacon and maple scotch egg served with a sautéed mushroom medley, truffle mushroom foam, crispy potato, rocoto romesco, and a Parmigiano and madeira jus.

Pearl Kitchen head chef Nigel Reid says they sold about 400 servings of the dish throughout the 10–day Flavours of Plenty Festival (24 March – 2 April).

“We really thought about the ingredients in the Plates of Plenty Challenge box and wanted to represent them well. Scotch egg was perfect for our breakfast/lunch demographic – and who doesn’t love a scotch egg!”

Meanwhile, Alma Eatery in Ōmok   oroa caught the attention of the Plates of Plenty Challenge expert panel, earning the Judge’s Choice Award for its fagottini con funghi e tartufo.

Their dish, featuring pyramid-shaped pasta stuffed with mushrooms, Grana Padano cheese, ricotta and herbs, served with truffle butter consisting of roasted hazelnuts, sliced truffle, pekepeke-kiore, and truffle salt, made one judge note: “It was dancing on my palate.”

Alma Eatery co-owner and head chef Marco Velickovic says his whole team helped perfect the dish before its release. “It means a lot that people within the hospitality sector recognise what we’re doing. “The dish sold out most days [during the festival]. We’re even planning to add the dish to our menu, going forward.”

Keep up to date with local producers and eateries, as well as plans for the next Flavours of Plenty Festival, at flavoursofplentyfestival.com.

Words Vicki Ravlich-Horan

Share This Post