Last year I entered a competition on www.scallopfestival.co.nz. I wrote a poem about scallops titled ‘Ode to the Scallop’, which you can see at the bottom of this page. It was all for a bit of fun but I ended up winning and even though I didn’t make it down to the 2009 Festival, Dave (the Event Coordinator) was going to send me a bottle of wine. We somehow lost touch but a few months ago he tracked me down and very kindly offered a double pass to the 2010 Festival. Scallops? Wine? A friendly sea-side town? OF COURSE! My Dad loves seafood too so I presented him with the second ticket and on Saturday morning we drove down to lovely Whitianga.
As I write this I see grey clouds looming over Auckland but on Saturday the clouds were sparse and we were able to enjoy our scallops under the sun. Wristbands on and wine glasses looped around our necks, we entered just as the Mullet Man was beginning his awesome juggling and comedy act. His energy, copious use of puns and luscious mullet made me his number one fan within minutes!
After the belly laughs it was time to start filling the belly and we started with the simple yet decadent prawn kebab accompanied with a glass of Two Tracks Pinot Gris. The prawns were cooked to perfection and the wine was crisp and not overpoweringly sweet. We then headed to try the highly-acclaimed scallop dish by Cathedral Cove Macadamias and I can confirm that the hype is there for a reason. The combination of succulent scallops with the crunch of the macadamias and the freshness of the salad leaves made for an excellent dish. You can find the recipe here.
Needing a short break we headed to the beach and took in the views until our tummies started begging for more treats. While Dad satisfied his sweet tooth at Le Creperie I enjoyed Salt‘s BBQ Pork Belly and and Scallop roll served with a plum and hoisin sauce. Dad then purchased a portion of the Scussel (scallop and mussel) Fritters which we washed down with more of Two Tracks’ Pinot Gris.
We stayed until 4pm which was just after the announcement of the $1000 raffle winner – unfortunately it was neither of us. Before leaving we had a look at the many craft stalls and got in a few more minutes of people-watching. The atmosphere was perfect as couples, families and stag parties mingled together in cheerful harmony, but when you’re surrounded by delicious seafood, delightful wine and fantastic scenery, how could it be anything less?
Ode to the Scallop – Solange Francois, 2009
Some folk believe that there’s nothing more tender
Than a fine specimen of the opposite gender
But I’m a firm preacher of seafood affinity
When some years ago I lost my scallop virginity
From the very beginning it was love at first bite
As my central incisors clamped down in delight
Since that moment it was clear that this bi-valved mollusk
Would fill me with joy from dawn until dusk
So deliciously tasty with unmatched versatility
Their aroma on the grill affects my cognitive ability
And as an accompaniment, I know you’ll agree
There’s no better choice than a fine Pinot Gris
If by now you still have any inkling of doubt,
You must understand on what you’re missing out
I can’t stress enough how these Gems of the Ocean
Will set your salivary glands into a whirlpool of motion!
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