My last recommendation for New Zealand… Foxglove in Wellington was somewhere we spotted on our first night in town where we had some really great food, then I insisted we came back here on our last day to drink rose on the balcony day beds.

I am so tired in this photo, no make up just my trusty hat.

 I loved the glamorous sign on the side of the building. It’s what hooked me in for sure.

All the decor is cool, the terrace outside… 

 The beautiful green tiles on the bar…

 I loved these brass lamps… hung around record shelving on the stairs.

We drank some Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough with our meal, and later drove past this very vineyard on our trip through.

We ate handcut agria chips with smoked tomato mayo, these were pretty special.

Crispy wasabi salt and pepper calamari with coriander alioli, if squid is on the menu we cannot go without, this was beautiful although we couldn’t really taste the wasabi.

These were my favourite, goats cheese and mozzarella balls centred with apple and manuka honey which you had to squeeze into the ball before you ate it. So fun.

We just ate bar bites, it was late and we had just flown in, but the full on restaurant looked amazing so book in and have a blow out meal then go and sit on the beds upstairs on the deck and look at the stars.

Perfect.

Foxglove – Wellington, New Zealand

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One of my must do’s in New Zealand was to visit some vineyards, which I think we could have done more of but since you have to drive everywhere and once you’ve seen some really good ones… it’s more about tasting some great wine then seeing as many as possible.

So on our last day on the south island instead of rushing around trying to see a few different ones, since we couldn’t drink much or buy any wine we decided to go for a blow out lunch instead.

We chose to go to Highfield as the hostel owner said the food was amazing and the setting beautiful, plus the wine is great.

Perfect.

I loved that just beyond the bathrooms you could go onto a viewing platform and check out the wine.

We walked through a small but perfectly formed shop and a lovely dining room straight outside to the patio. 

A beautiful place to eat lunch. 

 The only problem was chosing what to have. I wanted everything. Salmon, rabbit croquettes and cheese. Yes.


Pork belly and beef and local seafood. Yes.

Luckily they have a platter, which had a selection of… everything. Sold. 

Chardonnay or Sauvignon…

 

The perfect setting. At this point I was so gutted to be leaving. Who wouldn’t want this to be on your doorstep? 

 
We ordered a bottle of Chardonnay, my favourite. It was beautiful. We each had a glass with lunch and took the rest back to enjoy with dinner.
 

And then we absolutely stuffed our faces with amazing olive oil, bread and crackers… 

…a Vietnamese style chicken salad, pork belly, marinated beef, mussels, fish, little mini tarts, mini tastes of the soup, dips, fruit, olives and cheese.
 

Big picky lunches like this, in the sunshine with Chardonnay is possibly my favourite way to eat. Tasting lots of little bits is so satisfying.

And somehow we even found room for this delight… a rich chocolate cake with raspberry compote served with mint chocolate chip. Loved this flavour combination.

We even saved a few crumbs for the this little guy, my the birds in New Zealand are cheeky, and very brave.

We loved Highfield and highly recommend you stop here to eat not just taste the wine.

Highfield – Marlborough, New Zealand

We visited many vineyards on our trip but we want to recommend one particular one because the setting is so lovely and the owners were amazing.

Chard Farm is opposite the bungee bridge, you cross over this valley then down a long winding track…

I don’t know what would happen if you met someone on the way in… there isn’t much room.

Then you drive through the vines…

And pull up to this beautiful house, very mediterranean don’t you think?

The old till…
 

 
We got an amazing red called the Tiger for my father in law, that was the name of his squadron in the RAF so we thought it’d make a good present.


Unlike the bigger vineyards there is no charge for tasting here (you can tip if you like) and they didn’t get snooty when we didn’t buy much. With two very full backpacks and two flights to go we couldn’t get more than 1 bottle in.
 

We really love Chard Farm, they are lovely go visit!
 

Chard Farm – outside of Queenstown, New Zealand

Quinta do Francês Vineyard

October 14, 2011

On a day when the rest of the family has gone off to find a beach the Husband and I decided to head into the countryside to check out a spa town in the mountains called Monchique (which was so lovely, but a little remote and felt very cut off from the world) and then on the way I was saying how it didn’t look like we were going to be able to check out any vineyards… then my Husband spotted a sign…

To Quinta do Francês, a vineyard with wine tastings, so we drove up to take a look.

This was the view off to one side of the valley, it was the only cloudy day we had the whole time we were there, and even then the sun broke through a lot and it was still warm.

These are the vines.

We had a little tour from one of the owners; run by a Husband and Wife team, he is French, she is Portuguese. He is a doctor and still practises I think and she runs the vineyard day-to-day.

They have been going since 2002 and producing wine since 2008, winning awards in their first year and most years since.

This is their cellar and producing building. I love its traditional look.


We had a tour of the small winery and Fátima explained their processes and how much wine they make etc, which was all so interesting. They have done so well in such a short time.

Then we had a little taste of the four wine they produce.

The white and rose they make using grapes they buy from others, the reds are their own grapes.

All of them were delicious.

They had to sell a vintage from 2009, which had won an award and a red from 2010 which was about half the price, more of an ‘everyday wine’

We got bottles of each to take home, and to give to my Father in Law who really appreciated a good red.

Check out these bottles! Good for a wedding don’t you think?

I didn’t know anything about Portuguese wine but learnt a little here, about the markets and that not much is exported and I did notice that good wine was really good value in the shops. We never spent more than £6 and a lot we bought was around £3-4 and it was all really great.

You should go visit! Or you can buy online – Quinta do Francês