More things Kiwi…

Posted: January 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

I suppose that as life continues, and we move further and further away from this incredible trip we had, bits and pieces of events will come back to me. I’m posting those thoughts as much for myself and for anyone that chooses to read it.

As I suggested before, please scroll down to the beginning of our blog if you’re reading for the first time. I think that starting at the beginning is the right way to go.

OK…so more things Kiwi…

Bacon. Although we saw thousands and thousands of cattle, sheep, goats, and even venison roaming the vast countryside of New Zealand, we never saw a single pig farm. I’m sure they were there…we just didn’t spot one.

Nonetheless, there is bacon in New Zealand. But I’m not sure whether it was the presentation of the bacon, meaning the amount of doneness or lack thereof…or whether it was the quality and smoky taste of the bacon itself…but we weren’t thrilled with it.
Most times it was served undercooked, flapping around alike a gooey rubber band. I don’t need my bacon to be super-crispy, but half-raw is not what I want, either.
The other interesting factor of New Zealand bacon is that comes in two forms. The first form, simply called “bacon,” looks like pancetta. The pork belly is rolled and then smoked and then sliced thinly.

The second form is called “streaky bacon,” and that’s the kind that more closely resembles the bacon we find here at home.

I don’t know what kind of wood they use to smoke their bacon, but for me, nothing beats good old American hickory.

Cool names. Not every place in New Zealand has a cool name. Many are Maori tribe names. (For example, I mentioned Kaikoura before, which means “food, crayfish.” ) Many are names of towns found back in Europe: Christchurch, Glenorchy, etc.

But here’s my short list of cool Kiwi names:

Cape Kidnappers: named by Captain Cook, who arrived in New Zealand with a Tahitian translator onboard. The natives tried to kidnap the translator (unsuccessfully) but the name of the area stuck.

The Remarkables: Truly the most remarkable mountain range we’ve ever seen, and the view you get at any waterfront restaurant or bar in Queenstown. Like the Grand Canyon, no amount of words or pictures can convey the real beauty of these mountains.

Mount Difficulty: a winery in the Otago region, about 40 km from Queenstown. One look at how these determined people decided to plant grapevines in what seems like an unfriendly environment, and you’ll understand the name.

Rotorua: known for it’s geysers, bubbling mud pits, and Maori tourist attractions, the town reeks of sulfur. Though my daughter aptly named it “Smellytown,” to my wife and me, Rotorua sounded more like “roto-rooter.” The smell didn’t help.

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